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795 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 235953 11-May-2018 09:42
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With the threat of a more tropical climate becoming the norm and the increased likelihood of more frequent or severe power outages or "emergency conditions" I really need to get my butt in gear and build a proper, robust emergency kit.

 

One of the things I was considering was a small diesel generator/inverter - enough to run a few household essentials and charge devices etc.

 

     

  1. Are these worth having?
  2. What brands and specs/features should I look for?
  3. Can you get a decent "buy it for life" unit for under $1000?

 

Cheers





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  Reply # 2013846 11-May-2018 09:49
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Things with generators, motors and "buy it for life" doesn't go hand in hand with "Cheap"

 

 

 

Imported chinese generators before, Don't even bother. These were the brand BOLD and were really good until little things started to fail.




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  Reply # 2013849 11-May-2018 09:53
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Coil:

Things with generators, motors and "buy it for life" doesn't go hand in hand with "Cheap"


 


Imported chinese generators before, Don't even bother. These were the brand BOLD and were really good until little things started to fail.



Yeah I suspected as much. Assume a Honda or Briggs/Stratton is problavu the way to go - spend $2k once rather than $600 very few years... its not the kind of thing you want to be let down by when you need it!




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  Reply # 2013874 11-May-2018 10:31
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Item:
Coil:

 

Things with generators, motors and "buy it for life" doesn't go hand in hand with "Cheap"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imported chinese generators before, Don't even bother. These were the brand BOLD and were really good until little things started to fail.

 



Yeah I suspected as much. Assume a Honda or Briggs/Stratton is problavu the way to go - spend $2k once rather than $600 very few years... its not the kind of thing you want to be let down by when you need it!

 

 

 

You said it! Honda, Yamaha are the go. I think the small Hondas use B&S engines.
I believe you want an inverter type that outputs a pure sine wave.

 

I like the Yammy Gens, Honda are good too.
 






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neb

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  Reply # 2014394 11-May-2018 21:14
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A general comment on generators, or at least generators of some years ago, don't know what they're like today, you're going to see issues of voltage and frequency fluctuation that you won't see in normal mains power supplies. For example when you connect/switch in a load there'll be a sudden slowdown of the prime mover until the servomechanism can adjust the fuel flow to provide more power to compensate. This can lead to a change in frequency, but you can also get changes in voltage as the load changes.

 

 

So it depends what you want to power. Keeping your fridge running is one thing, but I'd be a bit nervous about running expensive computer gear off one. In theory a switchmode supply will deal with all sorts of out-of-spec crap, but I'd still be a bit nervous about it. You then also run into issues with trying to deal with generator issues, e.g. putting a ferroresonant conditioner behind one would seem to be an ideal solution except that ferros don't deal with frequency glitches well.

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  Reply # 2014399 11-May-2018 21:27
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You could always put a small UPS in front of anything sensitive.





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  Reply # 2014400 11-May-2018 21:29
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Why have you specified a diesel generator, as opposed to petrol?





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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2014402 11-May-2018 21:33
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timmmay:

 

Why have you specified a diesel generator, as opposed to petrol?

 

 

 

 

Assumed diesel was the norm, but some research indeed shows plenty of petrol out there as well.

 

 

 

Don't really care either way - petrol/diesel/blood of the innocent is all good, just looking for a small, safe genny for very occasional emergency usage as part of our home emergency kit!





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  Reply # 2014404 11-May-2018 21:35
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neb: A general comment on generators, or at least generators of some years ago, don't know what they're like today, you're going to see issues of voltage and frequency fluctuation that you won't see in normal mains power supplies. For example when you connect/switch in a load there'll be a sudden slowdown of the prime mover until the servomechanism can adjust the fuel flow to provide more power to compensate. This can lead to a change in frequency, but you can also get changes in voltage as the load changes. So it depends what you want to power. Keeping your fridge running is one thing, but I'd be a bit nervous about running expensive computer gear off one. In theory a switchmode supply will deal with all sorts of out-of-spec crap, but I'd still be a bit nervous about it. You then also run into issues with trying to deal with generator issues, e.g. putting a ferroresonant conditioner behind one would seem to be an ideal solution except that ferros don't deal with frequency glitches well.

 

 

 

Thanks for the advice. I think this is why I would need an "inverter" type generator as I believe this resolves these issues?





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  Reply # 2014406 11-May-2018 21:38
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timmmay:

You could always put a small UPS in front of anything sensitive.

 

 

You'd want to look at what the UPS is capable of dealing with both in terms of conditioning the power passing through it and dealing with arbitrary changes in voltage or frequency. They're designed to handle outright cuts and brownouts, but I don't know how many will deal with frequencies or voltages wandering above and below spec. That's why a ferro is good if you're worried about voltage drift but not frequency drift (as well as taking care of all sorts of crap on the mains, they're pretty impressive devices).



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2014407 11-May-2018 21:39
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Are TradeTested own brand any good or just rebranded no-name cheapo Chinese stuff?

 

If so, looks like the cheapest Honda Inverter is around $1800

 

https://www.tradetested.co.nz/tools-hardware/generators/digital-inverter/petrol/honda-eu10i-inverter-generator-1000w.html

 

 





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  Reply # 2014411 11-May-2018 21:44
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Item:

Thanks for the advice. I think this is why I would need an "inverter" type generator as I believe this resolves these issues?

 

 

Yeah, if you can afford it I'd definitely go for that. An inverter-type generator is basically an AC/AC converter (as opposed to the more usual DC/DC converter) that takes whatever the generator outputs, converts it to DC via a switchmode power supply, and then converts that back into a 240V sinewave for the output. Downside is that the extra electronics makes them quite a bit more pricey than a standard generator that only needs to run your fridge during a blackout. So it depends on what you want to spend...

neb

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  Reply # 2014412 11-May-2018 21:46
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Item:

If so, looks like the cheapest Honda Inverter is around $1800

 

 

Just checked, Bunnings have a Ryobi for $1,100. That's a pretty good price for a brand-name inverter generator.

 

 

Hmm, and a two-stroke for $740. Just to put that into perspective, their 1.1kW four-stroke is $400. So the inverter tech does come at a premium, but it looks like it's come down tremendously since when I looked at it.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2014434 11-May-2018 22:37
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Check the Honda series generators depending of your power needs. I wouldn't buy anything else, really. You'll expericence the difference when it comes to spare parts, maintenance and service.





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  Reply # 2014442 11-May-2018 22:58
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What are you classing as household essentials?

Anything with a motor will probably require a supply capable of supplying much more than the rated power of the appliance.




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  Reply # 2014449 11-May-2018 23:46
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I was like you, worried about the changing weather pattern.

So some 6 months ago, bought a 2000w Honda inverter, 20i
Then it got left sitting around and I was wondering that I just paid a huge amount of money for just doing nothing.

Then we had the big Auckland Power Cut, and boy did that inverter came useful.
Ran our house water pump easily, our deep freezer, and my PC as well. Not at the same time of course.
Petrol consumption is not too bad, one tank lasted quite a long time, with the inverter running at full tilt
Did not timed it, so cannot tell you how long it was.

Made a Suicide Plug, ie male plug on both ends, and plug into a power point, MAKING sure mains is off at power board and at meter for good measure.
Apparently the inverter can literally blow up when power comes on.

I did thought about diesel, but came to following conclusion.
1. Diesel more expensive, for brand name Inverter, and heavier.
2. Harder to pull start a diesel, especially cold. Forget about battery start, another complicating factor.
3. Cannot store diesel for long, I cycle my petrol containers thru my car.

Being a last resort equipment, I decided to get something that I can truly rely on, regardless.
So it only brand name for me.

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