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Old 11-11-2011, 07:56 PM   #1
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Generator question


Hi;
For a small or mid-sized portable generator (4,000 to 6,000 watts) running on gasoline;
If I have a load of 3500 watts for example:
Would a generator rated at 6,000 watts (running at 58.3% of its rated load) use less gasoline per hour than a generator rated at 5,000 watts (running at 70% of its rated load)?

I am planning a generator purchase. The figures I provided are just ball-park for the required wattage.

Thanks

FW

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Old 11-12-2011, 04:28 AM   #2
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They would use about the same amount of gas, the larger one perhaps a tad more.

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Old 11-12-2011, 09:30 AM   #3
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I agree a 6500-5500 honda and a 5000-4500 honda both at 50% load for example will use .59 vs .55 gallon per hour respectivley. So if you crank up the on the smaller unit its probably a wash.
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Old 11-12-2011, 02:55 PM   #4
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Thanks guys;
I guess, considering that I don't expect to be using the generator frequently, it wouldn't be cost effective to buy something that is much larger than we need. However, I would think that a larger generator running at a lower capacity would last longer, as it would generate less heat in its windings.

FW
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Old 11-12-2011, 03:42 PM   #5
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While gasoline generators are good in an emergency, they are a bit of a pain to use long term. As a 5 day power outage individual after Irene, I can attest to the issue. Luckily, the local gas stations had power and were able to pump gas. Had they also been without power, I would of had to access the 2 vehicle tanks(49 gallons).
We ran the generator(Coleman 5000 watt) for about 12 hours a day on about 6 1/2-7 gallons a day.
I changed the oil 2 times during the week as per the run times.
It's pretty noisey.
You need to make sure no carbon monoxide enters the house.
As a result of that, I'm looking into a natural gas standby generator of 10000 watts. It will handle 10 circuits, it starts automatically, it's quieter(67 decibles) and I don't need to concern myself with filling it up.
Price point of about $3k plus installation is the point of contention I'm working on.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
While gasoline generators are good in an emergency, they are a bit of a pain to use long term. As a 5 day power outage individual after Irene, I can attest to the issue. Luckily, the local gas stations had power and were able to pump gas. Had they also been without power, I would of had to access the 2 vehicle tanks(49 gallons).
We ran the generator(Coleman 5000 watt) for about 12 hours a day on about 6 1/2-7 gallons a day.
I changed the oil 2 times during the week as per the run times.
It's pretty noisey.
You need to make sure no carbon monoxide enters the house.
As a result of that, I'm looking into a natural gas standby generator of 10000 watts. It will handle 10 circuits, it starts automatically, it's quieter(67 decibles) and I don't need to concern myself with filling it up.
Price point of about $3k plus installation is the point of contention I'm working on.
I would love to go that route, but current budget will not permit it.

So, you ran your genny only 12 hours per day? I had my brother's machine running 24 hrs/day for 2 days. I was praying that it would keep running, and that my brother wouldn't need it at his house. My prayers were apparently answered.
I changed out the oil to Mobeil one 5W-30 after we were done with it. I realize now that I should have changed out the oil before we even started the machine, and probably again after the 1st 24hr period of continuous running. But at least the oil level was OK when I checked it, and there is a cutoff on the machine for low oil pressure, although I don't know how much good that really does; It may cut out after damage has already been done...

I have still not been able to get a "rating" on portable generators in regards to how long they can be run continuously.

FW
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:19 PM   #7
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I saw no need to run it 24 hours. The refrigerators were closed and held their temps overnight. I didn't need it for anything else.
And I needed some peace and quiet from the noise.
I have no idea how long you can run these things continuously. Use it as you need it and change the oil as per the instructions.
Maybe there's a "Generator " forum out there with longevity ratings.
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:36 PM   #8
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On the subject of small portable generators, has anyone ever seen a NG conversion kit for one of the small ones. I wonder if anyone makes these kits?

Mark

Answered my own question, they do make Tri-Fuel unit, gas, NG and LP all with the change of a selection lever.
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
I saw no need to run it 24 hours. The refrigerators were closed and held their temps overnight. I didn't need it for anything else.
And I needed some peace and quiet from the noise.
I have no idea how long you can run these things continuously. Use it as you need it and change the oil as per the instructions.
Maybe there's a "Generator " forum out there with longevity ratings.
I agree. If you are in an emergency situation why would you run it 24/7? Gas would be in short supply. You need to go into survival mode and not comfort. LED lighting is a must. Just keep your food cool and heat with wood or gas. Washing machines and AC are out of the question. I would opt for a low rpm diesel generator. The Briggs and Stratton powered ones will fail at the worst time. My 2 cents, dorf dude...
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:27 PM   #10
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i have a 3500 and ran it 24/7 thru Irene with a shutdown check 6AM and 6PM for oil and gas refills 5 gallon capacity fill.amperages were normal night lights,computer,TV refrig...3500 watts is around 30 amps thats extreme.tops PM runs 10 amps on generated 208Vs into the house on each side of the lines
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Old 11-14-2011, 04:44 PM   #11
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I have a 2000 watt Honda generator. When the power goes out, I can run the furnace, tv, lights, and fridge for 12 hours on 1 gallon of gas. I can barely notice it running because it is so quiet.

It is needed for our cabin also because we have no power there. It runs the fridge, battery charger, lights, and tv without a problem.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by shumakerscott View Post
I agree. If you are in an emergency situation why would you run it 24/7? Gas would be in short supply. You need to go into survival mode and not comfort. LED lighting is a must. Just keep your food cool and heat with wood or gas. Washing machines and AC are out of the question. I would opt for a low rpm diesel generator. The Briggs and Stratton powered ones will fail at the worst time. My 2 cents, dorf dude...
Yes, I heat with gas, but the furnace requires electricity to run the circulating pump and power the relay. Not a lot of power; I think the pump draws 2-3 amps @ 115V.

other issue is my 89 year old dad, and a teenager who live in the house.
My dad was very depressed the first night before we brought the generator here. My teenage niece would have gone totally crazy without the computer, or we would have had to let her stay at my brother's house, where he had power.

I had purchased several LED flashlights before Irene, and never lost power, but they were great to have for the October snowstorm.
I had the re-chargeable automatic "nite-lite" types in certain places, but the ones I left on all night only stayed lit for about 4 hours without power.

I personally don't have a problem doing without power for days. I have done some backpacking and other tenting for up to 7 days/nights and enjoyed it. Oddly enough, once while staying at a campsite in Vermont, the guy in the site next to mine was using a small generator to power something or other. He was in an RV, and had a DISH antenna on the roof.
It amazes me how people can come to secluded campsites and still have to have their TV, and smart phones.

My dad seems to be intent on having a generator, but I think I can work something out to keep the required power to a minimum, and not have to run it during the night. It was noisy running all night, but we needed the heat...
Perhaps a couple of car batteries and an inverter to power the furnace, then re-charge the batteries from the generator during the day, while powering the furnace as well.

I need to think this through before making a decision.

Thanks for all your help/advice.

FW
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:46 PM   #13
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You guys got me thinking now.
Maybe a battery power pack, solar panels, and an inverter would be a better solution.
I have to do some math and research to figure out what I would need, and whether it would be suitable. But the nice thing about this is that it is independent of the state of the power grid. No need to buy gasoline (dependent on power grid), and it would seem to me, more efficient.

FW
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Old 11-25-2011, 06:36 PM   #14
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Does anyone know how much more I would (should) need to spend to get a portable generator that will run on either gasoline or propane?

Thanks

FW
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:26 AM   #15
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Generator question


Just google "tri-fuel generator"

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