electrical generator brands

Old 07-21-06, 08:02 PM
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electrical generator brands

Hi folks;
With the continuing electrical outages here in the N.E. ( no power since Tuesday!) I have decided to obtain a portable electrical generator to keep fridge and boiler running. Here I need some input, which are the better brand manufacturers? I am looking at either a Generac or a Porter/Cable. Are these any good, and what are some of your ideas on these or any others.?
Also any ideas on a transfer switch appreciated.
Old 07-22-06, 06:43 AM
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Generac and Coleman are widely used brands. The ONAN generators popular with RV people are among the quietest. Porter Cable makes top quality tools, so I would expect their generator to be good. I believe they use a Honda engine. Not positve about that.

If you plan do more than just plug a refrigerator into it, that is if you plan in any way to connect this to the house wiring, a transfer switch is mandatory.

Have you estimated how many watts you require? You need to list all the lighting, frig, AC, etc. that you wish to use.

Note that the generator must be outdoors, and not near any window. There were numerous deaths in the Katrina aftermath from CO poisoing from generators. and I read about some deaths recently in St. Louis with the power outage there.

I don't know if you have shopped around, but if history is any lesson, you will likely not be able to find a generator. They tend to disappear from the stores almost immediately in the wake of events like you major power outage.
Old 07-22-06, 07:39 AM
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Thanks for the comeback. I want this project to be a one shot deal so that is why I am trying to gather the info. I have used Porter Cable brands tools and feel the same way but want to gather other opinions ( besides mine, but it is the only one that counts! ).
I have shopped and found some for competitive prices but am now down to the brand choice. I don't trust the Orange Box as they only push what they carry, same with the other outlets, and I am not naieve, but that's marketing.
That is why part two of the question concerns the transfer switch brands. This will be done by a licensed electrician, even though I know what has to be done, because of insurance underwriting requirements.
Again , thanks for the input.
Old 07-22-06, 03:00 PM
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Whatever you get, the engine is a key component.

Consider how long you plan to keep the unit, and how much usage it will see. Raise either, and you need to steer towards a quality engine like a Honda. A Briggs is good for cutting grass, but you need an engine that can handle running for 14+ hours at a time.

Next, fuel.
Gas, diesel, propane (LP) , natural gas (NG)?
Most generators with the option will make more power on propane. The Generac whole house models, for example, typicaly make 3k more watts on propane than on natural gas.
ie their 13k NG unit will make 15k on LP.

Some generators have conversion kits available, some even allow you to use just about any fuel that's available at the time.

Next, do you want electric/automatic start? More cost, and if you want auto-start, then an automatic transfer switch is a must.

What does your budget allow?
If you have about $3500 (plus installation), and either LP or NG at your location, I would go with the Generac 13/15k unit. That's large enough to run pretty much anything you want.

For portable, look for a Porter-Cable with the Honda engine. You are still going to be in the near $2000 range (I paid $1800 for my PC 6500 watt manual start model).

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