clean vs dirty generator power

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  #1  
Old 10-06-07, 12:41 PM
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clean vs dirty generator power

I am buying an inverter type generator (Honda EU3000) to run a home office loaded with computers, printers, etc - based on the recommendation of our electrician. During power outages I have been running the house, which also has a lot of electronics, on a 3-4 yr old Troy Built 3550; am I looking for trouble with the Troy Built in frying my household electronics? Our electrician was non-committal about it. Should I buy another invertor type for the house too? Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-06-07, 12:52 PM
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Generators produce very dirty power. Unless you have the proper equipment, you should not run electronic equipment on them. That would include televisions, microwaves, computers, etc.

At the very least, make sure that your UPS will work to clean up the power feeding your computer.
 
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Old 10-06-07, 01:12 PM
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Not sure about the Troy built, but the Honda is very clean.
Click on the link below and check out the "Features & Benefits" section then click on the link "Inverter (Computer Friendly) "

http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/eu3000.htm
 
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Old 10-06-07, 02:26 PM
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The inverter-type generators (Honda, Yamaha, Robin-Subaru, etc.) have excellent power quality. Unfortunately they are all a bit small as far as output (watts) and most, if not all, are 120 volt only.

The inverter generators are actually high-frequency alternators that rectify the output to D.C. and then invert that D.C. back to A.C. with a frequency-controlled inverter.

They are also quite a bit more expensive than non-inverter units.
 
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Old 10-06-07, 04:36 PM
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A standard genset is certainly not the best power source for home electronics. Whether or not it will actually damage the electronics or simply cause them not to work properly would be hard to predict. Personally, I wouldn't chance it with a brand new plasma screen but an old 13" CRT or CD player, sure.

The real trouble with standard (non-inverter) gensets is not so much the voltage fluctuations which most appliances can cope with, but the frequency instability. Electronics are designed for the very stable 60Hz we get from line power, but a portable genset can easily vary +/- 10% in both frequency and voltage.

Unless you absolutely need your electronics, I would simply unplug or flip off the breakers of the expensive stuff and use the standard genset for the house furnace blower, fridge, etc. Whatever electronics you need, use the Honda and an extension cord. The standard generator will be able to cope with the starting current surge of appliance motors much better than the inverter can, so it's really the preferred tool for that job.
 
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Old 10-07-07, 08:49 AM
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As I always say not an expert but I have to wonder a bit about the statement
Electronics are designed for the very stable 60Hz we get from line power,
A computer for instance really runs on DC from a regulated power supply. While older TVs may still sync on the 60 Hz line frequencies most are solid state running on low voltage DC even if they do plug into 120v AC. The 120 just provides power supply which provides the DC voltage. Yes I can see high voltage as a problem but am less inclined to see the frequency problem. Or is it wave form affecting the peak inverse voltage? Just wondering.
 
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Old 10-07-07, 04:46 PM
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The other thing i will like to add the details here with the inverter generator most inveter generators dont have much surge capitcty at all.

For any one want to get the generators you have to becarefull with the rating there it can get tricky there,.

bear with me a sec but you will understand this in a min

most generator will have two ratings one is running wattage and the other rating is surge wattage.

the running wattage is most common used term but it will not give you any leeway when you try to start up electric motors they can throw hovaic on the system.

the surge wattage it mean it have some reserve to handle montery peak load to start up the electric motor[s] typically many motor will take 3X to 6X of running wattage to start up but once it get started it will stay at running wattage

merci, Marc
 
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Old 10-12-07, 07:53 PM
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I'm curious if you guys would you consider my Gaurdian 13 kw gas powered genset output too "dirty" to run our computer????? I was hoping otherwise.

Thanks
 
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Old 10-19-07, 01:33 PM
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here is my two cents

I think there is a tendency to underestimate the capability of modern desktop computer supplies. Yes, they are "cheap", but look for the CE mark. This will mean its designed and tested to quite a bit of powerline mayhem. Fast transients, surge, under/over volts, more. My mac even deals with about a one second blackout without blinking.
The frequency control should not be a factor. If your genset is running slower than 50Hz, 3000rpm, you have bigger trouble.
That all said, i can't imagine running a computer without a UPS. They are fairly cheap, and what happens if the genset runs out of fuel, in the middle of saving files?
From what I see with marginal generator home usage, is reefer motors, a/c compressor, and washing machine motors take a lot of abuse during starting (or the attempt to start). Having a motor sit there getting hot due to a too long ext cord or too small genset is a bigger issue than the freq control to a tv or computer.
 
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Old 10-19-07, 01:51 PM
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Does anyone think the ac power coming down the lines is clean? Maybe cleaner than some generators, but still....
 
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Old 10-19-07, 02:04 PM
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The power from the utility is very clean. If you do not believe me, place it on an oscilloscope some time. It will be a nice sine wave and the voltage will remain fairly constant.
 
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Old 10-19-07, 04:37 PM
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There was a big windstorm here yesterday afternoon. I had my little Yamaha inverter gennie running for about four hours. It was supplying my (one year old) furnace, refrigerator, computer (with cable modem and router) 27 inch CRT television, DVD player and DVR along with whatever interior lighting I needed. Only the TV, DVD and DVR are on UPS.

The only problem I had was about two hours in I lost the cable service.
 
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Old 10-19-07, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
The power from the utility is very clean. If you do not believe me, place it on an oscilloscope some time. It will be a nice sine wave and the voltage will remain fairly constant.
The keywords are "sine wave". My cheapo 2.5kw genny was designed to power a saw or a drill on a construction site, and I can use it for my furnace blower or fridge or coffee maker. (As Mrs. Douglas sez, "You can't plug a seven in with a two!").

But when I connect it to the computer or TV it plays havoc. I did put an o-scope on it, and the wave is a sawtooth riding on a square. It's also erratic and drifts above and below 60Hz.

My brother's power went out last winter and he tried a cheap genny. It wouldn't run his brand-spankin' new microprocessor-controlled furnace.

To Gen: The Guardian does have a nice sine wave output. You have nothing to worry about.
 
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Old 10-20-07, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
The power from the utility is very clean. If you do not believe me, place it on an oscilloscope some time. It will be a nice sine wave and the voltage will remain fairly constant.
You're right. I was confusing power quality with clean power. It is fairly clean, just full of surges and sags.
 
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