Help Which generator is best?

subnet

Boot
Mill,

Do you remember the 4.2 Kw (I think) gennies that we had in the basket at the front of the M577’s?

It would take a lot of changing to get me away from thinking those were among the worst generators ever made.

After screwing around with ours for months, trips to DS & GS Maint, we local purchased a couple of Honda’s. Kept the 4.2 on the track, ran it occasional for PMCS and show downs, but NEVER relied on it.

I used to look at them and get pissed. Next in line we’re the pumps that we used for water and fuel. Parts were essentially interchangeable. We had a couple too many down which was pushing our ERC rating below acceptable (USR) and I found that out Maint Chief was waiting on parts… It turned out that by moving some around we could get back to where we needed to be. Chief was adamant that “cannibalization” was against regs. We had a serious and animated discussion that ended with an order to move the parts as “controlled substitution” in the next hour and to get his head in the game. Turns out he needed a trip to the “drying out” place to get his stuff together. I don’t think he ever thought of me the same way after that visit.

Jeff B.
We had an inspection for my unit and before hand, they made us throw out our row of 5 foot tall bolt bins and any extra parts....
Thankfully, someone thought it would be a good idea to hide the harder to find parts, in the attic of one of the offices, someone climed up and pulled the parts up with a strap
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
We had an inspection for my unit and before hand, they made us throw out our row of 5 foot tall bolt bins and any extra parts....
Thankfully, someone thought it would be a good idea to hide the harder to find parts, in the attic of one of the offices, someone climed up and pulled the parts up with a strap
Unauthorized Excess

We loaded everything up in a 5-ton and dispatched it on a "linen run" to Hanau.
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
Ran across a meme posted the other day, about a 1970s refrigerator outliving the whole family, while new ones die in 2 years lol
We had a 1950's frig (possibly older than that, even) that worked just fine up to about 2005, and even then, it probably could have been repaired. I'm pretty sure it only died because it had been moved several times in less than a year -- but it still worked for a while after the last move.

On the generators, those electric power pacs are pretty much silent and don't give off carbon monoxide. Might not be able to run everything (though full-time RV'ers and people living in their vehicles often do manage with one), but if you get set up for it, you can run your essential services. Recharge with solar panels. IMO, one of the best, and most legitimate uses for solar power. There are a number of reviews on-line for the power pacs. Look on YouTube.

Kathleen
 

subnet

Boot
We had a 1950's frig (possibly older than that, even) that worked just fine up to about 2005, and even then, it probably could have been repaired. I'm pretty sure it only died because it had been moved several times in less than a year -- but it still worked for a while after the last move.

On the generators, those electric power pacs are pretty much silent and don't give off carbon monoxide. Might not be able to run everything (though full-time RV'ers and people living in their vehicles often do manage with one), but if you get set up for it, you can run your essential services. Recharge with solar panels. IMO, one of the best, and most legitimate uses for solar power. There are a number of reviews on-line for the power pacs. Look on YouTube.

Kathleen
We have been eyeballing the smaller solar genies here and there, that have the ability to daisy chain, so we can add more power storage, as we can afford it.
2-3k+ is a bit steep at the moment.
The boss won't go for an 18k dollar Tesla solar wall setup..lol
 
I figured Westinghouse would be a good brand since Westinghouse has been around since the invention of electricity. I think Westinghouse even hired Tesla at one point.
Tesla's Niagara Falls AC power generation system - the first of its kind (Tesla was the inventor of AC power) - was funded and promoted by George Westinghouse - against the competition of Thomas Edison and his DC power generation system.


intothegoodnight
 

db cooper

The Other Resident Spook
Absolutely. But the problem I see with solar is, it's hard to hide the panels. Taking that into consideration, I still prefer the solar over the drone of a generator.
Generators are freezer insurance.
No matter what one does, be it a wind mill poking into the sky that can be seen for miles, or a solar panel array that a blind person can stumble upon, or a generator that produces noise - they can and will give you away to others in need or mobs.

One thing I can say about our generator is it is quiet. It simply cannot be heard from the road. But it can be seen, and a privacy fence will fix that. Our closest neighbor is 3/4 mile away.

We all have to do what we feel is best suited for our situation and budget.
 
reason for gas genny is if necessary you can adapt it to run on everything from alcohol to production gas (look up wood burning ‘car’ or production gas’)
Bear in mind that the BTU value of the different chemical/liquid fuels varies considerably between them - for instance, using alcohol versus gasoline in your vehicle or generator will result in the engine burning nearly TWICE as much alcohol fuel to generate the same expected engine power output - engine output power dictates how big of a generator head unit that a given engine will be able to run/operate reliably/effectively.

LP/NG also have a lower BTU rating than gasoline, though not as low as alcohol (the lower the BTU rating of a chemical fuel, the less energy contained in a given volume of that fuel).


intothegoodnight
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
We have been eyeballing the smaller solar genies here and there, that have the ability to daisy chain, so we can add more power storage, as we can afford it.
2-3k+ is a bit steep at the moment.
The boss won't go for an 18k dollar Tesla solar wall setup..lol
I haven't gotten one of the solar power pacs yet. It's on the list, but I may not get to it before the supply chain completely falls apart. What I do have is one big solar panel, two of the portable camping panels, and a solar battery charger. Oh, and a solar fence charger with battery, which someone smarter than me could probably make useful for more than just fences. I also have a well pump that can run off the big solar panel, a couple of small pumps (pump shower water out of a bucket types) that are rechargeable with any of the solar panels, lights and fire igniters that are rechargeable with any of the panels, a small fan that is rechargeable, and a compressor-powered small portable frig/freezer that can be run off the larger panel or a large (marine, RV, golf cart) battery). I want to add another frig/freezer unit so I can use one as a frig and the other as a freezer, but even just having one is better than an ice chest. Oh, and I have a couple of small radios, plus laptop, tablet, and phone. So we've got water, lighting, refrigeration, and information/entertainment covered, without needing to have a huge expensive system. Anyone can do it, one piece at a time, and could transport everything in a small vehicle if necessary.

Kathleen

ETA: Forgot all the battery-operated power tools, which can be recharged by the larger solar panel. I do have hand tools, but the power tools can be very handy to have around.
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
I hear it all the time...."post-SHTF, generators will (insert standard excuse not to buy one).

You can get a decent 2000w inverter for 500bux, a honda eu2000 for about one large.

Consider the cost of your freezer contents and the value of having some power during an extended outage.

Even if there was a "Lights Out" event, it would buy you a few days to can or whatever your frozen food.


((Shrug))

People make their own choices for their own reason.
 
Ran across a meme posted the other day, about a 1970s refrigerator outliving the whole family, while new ones die in 2 years lol
Old Maytag/Speed Queen/Whirlpool/Kenmore et al washers and dryers, too. Parts are STILL available for certain old models.

And, then there are the old industrial-grade institutional and coin-op washers and dryers that are designed to "take a licking, and keep on ticking."


intothegoodnight
 

ShadowMan

Designated Old Fart
Suggest you check out "HOME POWER" magazine archives, especially back issues where they discuss Guerilla Solar power. Which is focused on situations like yours where you can't use many of the power alternates available to home owners. I remember several issues that specifically talked about renters and apartments and how to take advantage of solar panels in those situations. There was one that person built special brackets that would hang on the balcony and suspend several solar panels used to charge portable battery packs and could essential things and a small array of 12 volt LED's for light.

Consider solar powered pathway lights that you can set out during the day and bring in at night for backup subdued lighting. Also a solar oven for cooking would be a good addition. There are several designs out there that folded up are no bigger than an apple box for storage.
 

artichoke

Senior Member
I don't really care about "clean", as measured by the greenies. If propane is clean, the process of extracting it from natural gas (which is mostly methane but also contains some longer carbon molecules, like propane) and transporting it on little trucks is inefficient. And if tshtf, I want something readily available. If gasoline is no longer available, not much else will be. So, gasoline.

I have a Champion 6500W portable generator (8250W peak) that I got from Costco. It runs the whole house, but that doesn't include the water heater which uses heating oil. It can be converted to propane with some simple procedure in the instruction manual. They've gone up recently but you can probably still get it for under $1000. I'm happy with Champion, so I got the same brand of tiller.

Not long after getting the generator was Superstorm Sandy and we had no power for 11 1/2 days. Every day I would take cash to the nearby gas station to fill up my 12 or so gallons worth of cans, and we ran the generator all day. Cash because the station's credit card machine was offline. 12 gallons worth of cans because everything was available after the storm, including generators, except gas cans, so I couldn't get more. We've used the generator now for over 10 years with never a problem.

At least in our area, when there are outages, nobody minds if you bend the rules reasonably, and the police appreciate self-reliance which reduces their workload, and what the courts don't find out about won't hurt them, so maybe you could put one out on the porch or outdoors and run electricity into the apt.
 

LoupGarou

Ancient Fuzzball
Here is the problem with calling the battery/inverter packs a "generator" or even a generator replacement...

The Generark mentioned in the OP is a Li-NMC Li-Ion pack that has a rated capacity of 1002 Watt Hours (WH). Technically, that means that you can power a 1000 watt load for about an hour before the battery is fully dead. Think of this as a ratio, so technically, it could power a 500 watt load for about 2 hours, or a 100 watt load for about 10 hours. I am saying technically, because batteries are NOT actually linear and are less efficient with higher loads and more efficient with smaller loads. The nameplate rating itself is USUALLY rated over a 20 hour rate and NOT a 1 hour rate. So in real world use, you are NOT going to get 1 hour powering a 1000 watt load with any 1000 WH battery pack before the pack is completely dead. Most packs are more likely to power the 1000 watt load for about 40-45 minutes. Likewise, a they will power a 10 watt load longer than 100 hours before going flat. But powering the load is not the only efficiency issue that you have to think about, battery charging is also a less than perfect event. The Generark mentioned shows that it will charge with 200W of solar panels in about 8 hours, which is probably taking into effect both that you may not get "good" sun for 8 hours a day, but also that it is going to need 1400-1600 Watt-Hours (200W X 8 hours) in to charge the 1000WH pack. And keep in mind that it will take at least the 8 hours of sun, which in the winter or during rainy season many of us may not have on a daily basis.

It's not that these devices don't have a use, but a LOT of the advertising wording makes people think that these devices are a direct replacement for a generator that will keep powering loads for hours or days on end and when finally empty can be charged back up in a matter of an hour or two. They are good for small loads that need to be powered away from the grid, or for small loads during an emergency. One off these is NOT going to keep your fridge and freezer cold for 24 hours a day. It may gain you back 6-8 hours of cooling each day on and off as long as you always have 8 hours of sun to charge it back up. If I had to use something like this for loads like a fridge or a freezer, I would get two battery packs and at least 3 sets of panels (6 panels total) which would allow me to hold the maximum 200 watts even less than ideal sun. The two packs could be rotated out as to equalize the wear and tear on them, and if I had a cloudy day I could run the fridge or freezer for an hour and a half and then pull the plug for 4-6 hours to make the charge last longer (and just not open the fridge or freezer door).

You can make these systems work for a lot of things, but I don't see them as a general replacement for a gas or propane generator, then again, they might be the ONLY power once the grid goes down for a while and the propane and gas stops flowing...
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
Suggest you check out "HOME POWER" magazine archives, especially back issues where they discuss Guerilla Solar power. Which is focused on situations like yours where you can't use many of the power alternates available to home owners. I remember several issues that specifically talked about renters and apartments and how to take advantage of solar panels in those situations. There was one that person built special brackets that would hang on the balcony and suspend several solar panels used to charge portable battery packs and could essential things and a small array of 12 volt LED's for light.

Consider solar powered pathway lights that you can set out during the day and bring in at night for backup subdued lighting. Also a solar oven for cooking would be a good addition. There are several designs out there that folded up are no bigger than an apple box for storage.
I just got one of the tubular solar cookers -- it's about the size and weight of a camp chair folded up and in it's carry bag. Haven't used my cooker yet -- it's been too cloudy. Which is why we have alternate means of cooking....

Kathleen
 

db cooper

The Other Resident Spook
If using a whole-house gen., like the Generac, is it possible to just switch off the breakers for the non-essential items to conserve fuel when the gen. is running?
This is determined during the electrical wiring phase, as the Generac requires a separate control panel. All the circuits from the main breaker panel are transferred to this Generac panel. Those circuits you do not want powered by the generator do not get transferred to this panel. The smaller the load, the less fuel consumption, the smaller the fuel consumption the more run time you can get out of your fuel supply.

Genset sm.jpg

Picture shows our setup. Note the generator in the foreground is elevated. This is highly recommended for snow drift regions. Even come grass mowing time, the genset being elevated prevents damage by accidentally banging into it with the mower.

We live in a trouble wide, which requires an outside panel.
 

Jeff B.

Don’t let the Piss Ants get you down…
Unauthorized Excess

We loaded everything up in a 5-ton and dispatched it on a "linen run" to Hanau.
As a Battalion S4, I worked a lot of deals and made quite a few trades for various things. We had a new BC come in and do an inspection (HHC) and he then inquired about the 3 other Seavans in the Motor Pool. I was asked for, produced the keys and showed him. He had me lock them back up and later on on his office, we reached an agreement. He said…. No surprises and nothing that’s “wrong”. He said my rep was solid, if a bit colorful.

A good S4 keeps his BC out of Property Book trouble. And magically comes up with the nutty crap the S3 needs for his “innovative training”.



Jeff B.
 

Jeff B.

Don’t let the Piss Ants get you down…
I don't really care about "clean", as measured by the greenies. If propane is clean, the process of extracting it from natural gas (which is mostly methane but also contains some longer carbon molecules, like propane) and transporting it on little trucks is inefficient. And if tshtf, I want something readily available. If gasoline is no longer available, not much else will be. So, gasoline.

I have a Champion 6500W portable generator (8250W peak) that I got from Costco. It runs the whole house, but that doesn't include the water heater which uses heating oil. It can be converted to propane with some simple procedure in the instruction manual. They've gone up recently but you can probably still get it for under $1000. I'm happy with Champion, so I got the same brand of tiller.

Not long after getting the generator was Superstorm Sandy and we had no power for 11 1/2 days. Every day I would take cash to the nearby gas station to fill up my 12 or so gallons worth of cans, and we ran the generator all day. Cash because the station's credit card machine was offline. 12 gallons worth of cans because everything was available after the storm, including generators, except gas cans, so I couldn't get more. We've used the generator now for over 10 years with never a problem.

At least in our area, when there are outages, nobody minds if you bend the rules reasonably, and the police appreciate self-reliance which reduces their workload, and what the courts don't find out about won't hurt them, so maybe you could put one out on the porch or outdoors and run electricity into the apt.
I need to get off my butt and look into one of those.

Jeff B.
 

db cooper

The Other Resident Spook
."post-SHTF, generators will
Post SHTF anything will be a futile effort. Whatever you want, so will everyone else. Mobs will rule. This is why we chose propane over gas for a generator, a large 500 gallon tank will last a loooong time. Try storing 500 gallons of gasoline, and see how well it keeps with time, not to mention the fire hazard. When the SHTF you want to be inconspicuous.
 

MinnesotaSmith

TB Fanatic
For gasoline vs. diesel gensets: latter ~2x as expensive, and heavier, but last I looked, but the fuel can be stored up to what, 10x as long? Also better-built. Easy choice for serious preppers IMO.
 

fi103r

Veteran Member
Propane isn't the problem....the resultant combustion gasses ARE.
A little knowledge will kill someone.
Bear in mind that the BTU value of the different chemical/liquid fuels varies considerably between them - for instance, using alcohol versus gasoline in your vehicle or generator will result in the engine burning nearly TWICE as much alcohol fuel to generate the same expected engine power output - engine output power dictates how big of a generator head unit that a given engine will be able to run/operate reliably/effectively.

LP/NG also have a lower BTU rating than gasoline, though not as low as alcohol (the lower the BTU rating of a chemical fuel, the less energy contained in a given volume of that fuel).


intothegoodnight
yup alcohol/methanol usually 1/3 to 1/4 drop
in horsepower
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
For gasoline vs. diesel gensets: latter ~2x as expensive, and heavier, but last I looked, but the fuel can be stored up to what, 10x as long? Also better-built. Easy choice for serious preppers IMO.
Diesel?

Untreated, a year.

It gets worse than stale gasoline.


Here's an injector pump on a 50KW Generac with old diesel. The bio content is horrid. (I've discussed before)

It should be surgically clean...note all the skuzz, fuzz, scum and gullion.

If you're lucky, a $1000 pump rebuild. I had a few of these that were so locked-up they couldn't be rebuilt....$6,000. (pump from generac only...bastards)


 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
The "right" emergency power is a very nebulous thing.

It really depends on what you need to power.

An apartment dweller is pretty screwed. No good place for panels, batteries & gear...or a generator.
 

mostlyharmless

Veteran Member
I also have the inverter-based Champion generator 2000 watt. Not duel, but they are available in duel fuel.

The Champion, Honda (high priced) and Kawasaki (also high priced) in 2000 to 3000 watt I think now come in duel fuel, and are extremely quite. They are made that way to be used in RV parks.

Mine runs on the back deck, and you can't hear it while standing on the front porch. IN the house it will be heard, but probably not all around the neighborhood.

The main problem with using a genie indoors with a gas powered one is the exhaust fumes. Probably not with a propane one. Since they use propane lift trucks indoors. However there is still the problem with air, and a cracked window will be needed.

I would also note that nowhere does anyone recommend using a genie INDOORS. Living in an apt. is rough for survival.

Depending on what floor, and how close to your car you are, you might consider an inverter of big enough size to use with your car, and an extension cord.

In survival mode about the only thing you will need a genie for, is your refrigerator, forget TV and AC's. So have other sub's available like candles, flashlights, etc.

BTW you can get a smaller inverter for your car, so as to not have to run an extention cord for charging phones, and changing batteries for flashlights, etc....

Just some thoughts that I hope helps.
Never ever, as in NOT EVER run a generator indoors. Period. Regardless of fuel source.

I was referring to storing it indoors. NEVER EVER run it indoors!! We've had enough folks die here this past year or so!!
 

Lone_Hawk

Resident Spook
Honda EU3000 very expensive but very quiet, buddy has one and I was amazed how quiet it was.
I have a Honda EU6500. And yes, it was expensive when I bought it back in 2009. But it has been an excellent generator and if I go out there and pull the rope it will start and run smoothly. I'm thinking about getting a tractor muffler to add to the exhaust to quieten it down some. When the power is out and the world is quiet you can still hear it a block away.

I have a whole house hookup and put it in the shop with the door rolled down to just above the exhaust and let her run. We were without power for a week and went through 15 gallons of gas pretty much running it for 10 hours a day. I wanted to see what we could do.

The first time without power I kicked the breakers on the AC and water heater. We still used the electric stove and oven and it took the load just fine. All of our lighting is LED so that is low draw. After a week of cold showers, the next time I left the water heater on. It still powered everything without an issue. Fuel consumption went up to 20 gallons for a week powering the water heater also.
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
The "right" emergency power is a very nebulous thing.

It really depends on what you need to power.

An apartment dweller is pretty screwed. No good place for panels, batteries & gear...or a generator.
Apartments depend on orientation and whether or not they have access to the outdoors. They are never ideal, but my oldest daughter is in a second-floor apartment right now in Texas, and has a south-facing balcony. Theoretically she could have one or more of the folding camping solar panels to hang out on the balcony and at least keep some things charged up.

Kathleen
 

KFhunter

Veteran Member
Ok I skipped about 30 posts when it got super annoying because apparently no one reads the OP's needs, wants and restrictions for living in an apartment.

Obviously whole home gensets are out.

Loud portable units are out.

There's a possibility of a small quiet inverter generator on a balcony, if you have room.

Another option is a battery "generator" that plugs into a wall outlet, keeps charged, then when power is out keeps your fridge going for a couple days.

You're very limited with apartment life. You could rent a small storage unit within walking distance and put a genny in there, if you have a vehicle you could put a genny chained to it and run a cord in a window possibly, but in shtf you'd loose that sucker. Unless you share it with other apartment dwellers and everyone guards it with guns for the privilege of using it.


We still don't have enough information to make a solid recommendation yet.
 

KFhunter

Veteran Member
This is an example of a home power station, there's no engine, just batteries. Enough to keep you fridge going a week if you don't open it a bunch and its not boiling hot inside your apartment due to no AC. This can stay right in your apartment, no fumes, no noise other than maybe a small computer like fan.

Very expensive at $6 grand.
 

Attachments

Milkweed Host

Veteran Member
Lots of ideas above.

A person can build their own power bank, which could be far more reliable that one of these
brief case types.

12 volt Lithium iron phosphate batteries come in all sizes. They are powerful and light weight, but cost more
They can be charged with solar panels or an AC wall charger. The batteries are light, so then can be easily
carried to another location and connected to one or more solar panels. monocrystalline being better than ploy.

USB ports along with other connections are readily available on Ebay right now and easy to install or make
up your own system. It's not difficult.

A charge controller is nice, but not really required if you pay attention to your smaller system.
A charge controller can waste about 10% of your power. Just like an inverter waste power.
IT's best to use 12 volt battery power in it's current form, if possible.

As an example on the lower end, have at least one LiFePo4 battery, even if it's like a 10ah 12 volt,
an AC wall charger and maybe a 20 watt Mono solar panel, USB ports, along with E27 (External mm)(USA) base LED warm
white bulb. Something like an Edison filament style 4watt that can be placed into a regular lamp, the using
jumpers. (don't turn your lamp on with 120V AC with that 4 watt DC bulb installed)
With USB ports you purchased on EBAY or someplace else, you can keep cell phones, flashlights charged.
A solar panel can be placed in a window that see direct sunlight.
Something like this will take the edge off in a power outage.

100 ah LifePo4 batteries along with an AC 120 volt wall charger alone, will also fill in a gap.

With the above in mind, you can increase everything in size and cost. If can be held on hand, just like insurance,
when you need it.

A 12 volt DC freezer/refrig can be run from a vehicle or larger battery bank. Something like this will drain the
battery power faster. Using battery power for heating will drain it extremely fast, so a battery is not an
efficient source of heat.

Also right know there are lots of 12 volt forms of entertainment, like DVD players and the 12 volt DC
TVs (digital)

There are many options for someone who has limited space. The key is to have something to fill in
a gap during a power outage.

Anyway, the above is one of many options out there.

For myself I have all of the above plus much more and two gas generators, and lots of different deep cycle batteries,
for different uses, all sealed for indoor use. I believe in backups for the backups.
 
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