Are the Cheap Generators any Good?

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Are the Cheap Generators any Good?

Postby Toytaco2 » Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:28 pm

I'm thinking about picking up one of those small/cheap 1000 watt generators - Mainly to run my battery charger and a few light bulbs, etc. during winter hunting trips. With the current 20% off HF coupon, their model can be had for about $160.

Does anyone know if these units, or any of the other low cost models are any good, or, should they be avoided altogether? If you own one, how often do you actually use it and how noisy are they? :thinking:

Thanks,
Mike
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Postby 48Rob » Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:49 pm

:? Huh? CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THAT DARN GENERATOR! :?

"Noisy" is relative...

If you are all alone with no one to bother, it will work.
If you have close neighbors, it will still work, but they won't be happy...

I don't have one that small, but all our generators are pretty noisy.
Acceptable at a construction site, but at a camp...?

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Postby starleen2 » Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:24 pm

I don't use a generator - i prefer to use an inverter - for a 1000 watter to run what I need and an ocassional charge from the TV is better for us. I don't have to carry another piece of camping gear. If A chagre for a battery is all you need - then perhaps a solar charger will work
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Postby Dean in Eureka, CA » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:28 pm

Moola = less noise, happier neighbors. :thumbsup:
I have the Honda 3000 and it's great. :thumbsup:
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Postby Arne » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:32 pm

Cheap gens usually have 500 hour motors, compared to Honda, which are 1500 hour motors, if I recall correctly....

so, depends on how much you plan on using it...... if a lot of hours, spend the extra money.
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Postby wannabefree » Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:16 am

How about solar? For nearly the same price you can get a 25-50 Watt panel to charge your battery. And no noise.
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Postby GPW » Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:04 am

We use the HF 45 watt solar panels , and it charges our DD battery just fine ... no troubles...and it's "GREEN" !!! :thumbsup:
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Postby Arne » Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:20 am

Green is good if it works for you. I have a honda eu2000 for a/c and heat. If I have shore power available, I use that... right now, the only way I'd go with panels was if I stayed put a lot, and could build them into the roof.

Solar panels are bulky and not all created out of the same mold. Here is a bit about h/f 45w panel kits........ for now, I'll stick with campground 115 and my gen...

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List price is $249, but almost always on sale for $199. This works out to $4.00/Watt, a very good price. However, they do take up a lot of space for the energy they put out. I have 2 sets that I use to power my station, charge rechargeable items (like cell phones, etc), and run several 12VDC halogen lights. Don't use the included "charger" as it will likely ruin your batteries (See my review of the Steca Sigma, if looking for a controller). The lights are a little too blue shifted for my taste, but I use them on cloudy days as needed.

The panels themselves are made by Topray, a Chinese company (at Harbor Freight!?!). They are Amorphous solar panels (hence the somewhat weak output and cheap price), putting out 15Watts @ about 22VDC open circuit in full sunlight. The kit includes a mounting bracket that will hold all 3 panels. I cut up a 2X4 to make a simple frame and weighed the whole thing down with a few 5 gal buckets filled with sand. This arrangement has stood up to wind gusts of 30+MPH without moving an inch.

I have been using the current setup for about a month. Prior to that I had one set, but they were not enough to charge the bank (2 100Ahr gell cells), hence the second set. Before that I was using a small panel and 17Ahr battery using a different controller.

We'll see how they perform in December, but for summer use, they can't be beat. Again, the only reason to buy these over monocrystalline panels is for the price/Watt. If you have some space available and don't need bleeding edge technology, these are a good way to go.
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Postby Toytaco2 » Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:40 pm

So far it sounds as if no one has much to say about those "cheap/small generators". In the middle of winter there's usually no one else around who would care about the noise and a couple hours of electric light and warmth goes along way when its getting dark by 6:00 in the evening. I still wonder how well the cheap ones actually work and if the motor is only 500 hours compared to 1500 hours on the expensive models - so what - they're alot more than 3 time cheaper than the Hondas. Anyone have any experience with them?
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Postby Arne » Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:59 pm

yes, I had a 4k model with a b/s engine. It was loud. I had to put it behind the garage and wear ear muffs when I was near it......

I'm sure the 2k models are not as loud. But, cheap generators usually do not deliver 'clean' electricity...

quote: The Honda Inverter Technology makes this generator ideally suited for use with sensitive electronics (e.g., computer, fax, printer, and telephone, stereo) because the generator produces a clean sine wave of energy that prevents surging.

So, if you are running a microwave and don't mind loud.... go cheap.
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Postby sdtripper2 » Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:22 pm

Toy: :)

By your read ~ I thinks you want to spend money for the less expensive
generator and that's your story and your sticking too it?

If so ~ I for one would like follow uP posts on your experiences, such as the
brand and model you decide on and how you & other people interact with
your buy when camping in the wilds.

If you do find your new buy is too loud by some chance you might consider a
muffler option for small engines

Good luck on your decision making ~ 8)

Steve
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is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards." -------Theodore Roosevelt

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Postby Arne » Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:57 pm

now that kipor has changed/upped its prices... you buy cheap, you get cheap..... you pay more, you get quality in low db and better sine wave electricity...

Now, take your choice. It isn't that complex.
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I hope I never get too old to play (Arne, Sept 11, 2010)
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Postby Toytaco2 » Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:42 pm

Actually, after hearing all the input so far, I think I'll just forget about the idea of a cheap generator. I pretty much agree with the "you get what you pay for reasoning" (with a very few exceptions.) I don't think I would ever use a gererator enough to justify the cost of the higher priced models. Thanks for the help everyone. This forum is great!!! :applause:
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Postby madjack » Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:45 pm

T2, my take onit is...IF I wanted a small gen, I would seriously consider one of these from Sportsmans Guide ...at 200 bucks, I could buy 4 of them for the cost of a comparable Honda...the Honda might be the cat's meow but I don't think it would outlast 4 of the others.......
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Postby dhazard » Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:52 pm

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