Suitcase generators - Honda vs. everything else

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by SnowMule, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. ausfahrt

    ausfahrt mach schnell

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    I will also recommend the Honda EU2000i. I bought mine several years ago for about $800 and it has never let me down. They cost a bit more these days but are definitely worth it. I got mine here:

    http://www.wisesales.com/generators-1/honda-generators-1.html

    I am also interested in the diesel genset discussion as my wife and I are looking at some off grid properties. I am interested in this one and wonder if anybody has any experience with it.....

    http://www.generatorsales.com/order/yanmar_4kw.asp?page=yanmar_4kw
    #81
  2. oj may

    oj may Have bike, will travel.

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    After seeing the problems of getting gas in an emergency situation, I am also thinking about a diesel genset. We have an oil fired furnace, so I have a big oil tank as a backup fuel source. This one looks pretty nice, I will be interested to see if anyone posts up a personal experience with it. Thanks for the link.
    #82
  3. Tweaker

    Tweaker ...

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    Sounds to me you should be putting less thought into generators and more thought into solar panels, a low voltage well pump and a water storage tank. A storage tank no matter what. <$5,000 and you rarely buy fuel again. Add more as needed.
    #83
  4. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    I probably need 3 to 4kw to startup the pump, probably less to run it once started.

    The used generator I am looking at is a Honda 3kw inverter "Handi" model. It only weighs about 70 pounds and I figure this would be a good one for camping and with my truck when dirt biking. Also, if I had to, this would be one I could loan out.

    I would want a larger water cooled diesel genset regardless, but I just bought this house so I am kind of cash poor (I need to buy an AWD car too as my Bimmer just won't make it through any snow we will get this winter).

    IF the 3kw genset isn't enough then I can get another just like it (or close enough to use the pairing module for Honda inverter gensets) and use them together until I can afford a diesel. Then I would let the kids have one of the small Hondas for their house.

    I know some of the stuff coming out of China is okay, but some of it isn't. The Honda generators are a known quality so I will stick with them. Plus I like the size and weight, and the fact that I can pair it with another, and the fact that it is an inverter model (haven't seen any used China made inverter models) and therefore uses less fuel and is quieter.
    #84
  5. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    Solar is in the plans, but I am going to wait another year or two to build up more cash and for the price on panels to come down. I would also like for better battery tech to make it on the market.

    I have thought about a storage tank, but I don't have enough elevation on the upper side above the house to get enough pressure to do without a pump. I would need at least 45 foot elevation to get 20 PSI and the well is barely ten feet above the house and then the terrain doesn't get that much higher.

    Still, a cistern/tank up the hill would help somewhat and would allow me to at least get a little water from the faucets if the pump wasn't running. I might also be able to run a just a booster pump.

    That is all in the future plans too. This winter I just need some at least some minimal emergency power and an AWD commuter car (I have a large 4WD truck, but it lost 5th gear and it is too large to be good for commuting).

    I have a lot of plans for things and stuff to do to spend money on and now that I spent all my money on buying the property I don't have much left to buy or do any of it. I don't even have curtains yet (the room with the woodstove has large picture windows that are double pane, but they leak heat) or rugs or stuff like that.
    #85
  6. ghostrider.y2k

    ghostrider.y2k ride enything but HD

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    I run 10kw power head from a 220D Mercedes diesel engine.

    Engine is a overkill for that small power head but I was able to gear it down to run engine in lower rpm for better fuel consumption.
    #86
  7. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    It isn't just fuel, if you are going to be running the generator for any length of time (more than a few hours, more than a few days) you probably want a water cooled diesel engine anyway.

    For short term emergencies (or camping), say the power goes out once and you need to run a generator for a couple of hours for a day or two and you are running at less than say 80% of the rated continuous power, and this is something that happens once a year or so, then okay, a small air cooled generator is fine.

    But if you need to run for 4 to 8 hours (or more) a day for a week or two or more, and this happens several times a year, then you are probably going to wear out a small air cooled generator in very little time at all.

    I am going with the small gas powered air cooled generator for now because I can always use it when camping/dirt biking and/or to loan out to a neighbor or family. A water cooled diesel genset with more than enough power to run everything I have, including everything in the shop, for weeks, may not really be needed, but it will be nice to have and will add to the value of the property (along with a solar setup).

    Also, diesels can be run at least partially on propane or natural gas (google "propane fumigation diesel") which extends the run time of the genset and (depending on the cost of propane) may decrease fuel costs. Propane also will store longer (almost indefinitely) than diesel or gasoline and can be used for heating, cooking or even cooling.

    If you have natural gas then it is much cheaper than propane and you can run a diesel genset on it too. If the infrastructure was there (CNG filling stations) I would run CNG in my truck, but unfortunately we don't have any public CNG refueling stations in the region and I don't have NG to my property.
    #87
  8. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    Been looking at used Honda "suitcase" generators.

    Most of the local used ones are not that much cheaper than new that I would not just go ahead and get a new one.

    Noticed that Wise Sales has some good prices (free shipping) and they have a a triple parallel kit for the inverter generators that lets you hook up three inverters of different sizes. So I could get a 2000i for now, buy another Honda inverter later, and maybe yet another - same or different size.

    Some things this may help for my usage:

    a) Let's me have at least one for now while I am a bit tight on money.

    b) Let's me add on more later as cash reserves are increased and I recover from depleting my savings buying the property. I like to keep enough reserves for living expenses (including mortgage) for at least 6 months.

    c) Gives me the flexibility to get different sizes.

    d) Lets me get one and add a tri-fuel kit to it. This is good for both my own use (will have backup propane here and on the truck) and to loan out to my kids (they have NG at their house).

    Some things I found doing research:

    1) There is a tri fuel kit that puts the regulator at the NG/LPG source instead of the generator. For a suitcase genset this is better because it doesn't make the genset have the kit hanging off it.

    2) The triple parallel kit.

    3) There is a guy who makes a remote electric start kit for the 2000i (generally for an RV). It is $800, but if that is what you want/need, there it is. For my truck/RV this might actually be desirable.
    #88
  9. tony the tiger

    tony the tiger Long timer

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    ^^unless you're running ~really~ old fuel, the Honda EU2000i starts easily enough that an electric start isn't necessary. One - two pulls at the most and it's running. :1drink
    #89
  10. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    I am sure the e-start is to facilitate the remote start feature.

    There are also some people who are disabled enough that they cannot pull a rope starter regardless of how easy it is.
    #90
  11. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    well - i need to get on the ball.

    had some wind last night - lost power for about 20 minutes.

    not unusual for the PNW, but i think it is something i should take heed of.
    #91
  12. garandman

    garandman Wandering Minstrel

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    In NY and NJ they were selling for $1,000 to $1,400. The distributor is back-ordered: I have a Companion on order and won't get it for a while - estimated delivery was at least two weeks. Sandy also impacted the price of fuel cans nationally, it seems.
    That kit says it is for EU1000i and EU2000i.

    If I had to do it again I would have purchased the EU2000i Companion first as it has the 30A plug. Given that parallel kit is $300, that's more than the price difference between an EU1000 and EU2000 - so why bother? Buy a Companion first and if you need more the parallel kit for two EU2000i's is $40.

    I've pull-started our EU3000iS as well, just to see how it worked. It's easy. We've put the battery on a tender just the same.
    #92