Cheap generator recommendations?

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-05-08, 09:35 PM
Andrew's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 960
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Question Cheap generator recommendations?

Hi All,
I need some input on this question:
I need a small inexpensive portable generator to be used during power outages for our small house. We only need to be able to power our gas-fired boiler (only a small 120V circulating pump & control transformer), a refrigerator, and a few lights. That's it. I do not anticipate the need for more than 2500-3500 watts maximum, including starting watts, and the generator will be used only ocassionally. Also, I need to keep the physical size and weight of the machine as low as possible, so my wife can haul it out and connect it if I'm not home.
Has anyone had any luck with the inexpensive "Chicago Electric" generators Harbor Freight sells? I looked them over in the store, and they seem to be relatively solid machines with long run times. They are certainly not as good as Honda, Yamaha, Coleman, Briggs & Stratton, etc, but the price is within my very limited budget.
Any suggestions or experiences?
Thanks much!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-05-08, 11:39 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
Posts: 4,808
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The 2500 watts is barely big engouh what you are describing it.

and i really advise you may end up investing a transfer switch for it [ this is getting strict now ] and have a outdoor inlet box set up so you can run the portable genny outside with proper sized cord senice the 2500~3500 watt genny is strictaly a 120 volt unit i doubt they will have 120/240 volt repectale that small but if do that fine.

and check on Habor Freght they should have small transfer switch on stock as well but i am not famuir with that company at all so if you have a link you can post it that will be fine.

oh the other thing you may end up get the permit for using the transfer switch the reason why i say that because that way the inspector can verify it is a safe set up and also the POCO will know you have portable generator with transfer switch. [ they are going after illegal setup pretty hard now ]

and back to the topic about the Chicago Electric portable gennys really i dont have much experance but they are very ecomeny unit and dont have much features in there as better one are. but the most imporat part is make sure you have GFCI on it if dont have it then dont buy it [ some small one dont have one on hand i know of .]

if more question please do post it here.

Merci, Marc

note: this is not a ad but a link to a transfer switch so you get a basic idea what you are looking for [ i carry quite few diffrent brands ]manual transfer switch
 

Last edited by french277V; 03-06-08 at 12:47 AM. Reason: add a link for transfer switch
  #3  
Old 03-06-08, 05:03 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 176
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Menards has an econo. Chinese made honda lookalike that I purchased for my Mom and Dad, It works great and is rated for 3000 watts surge and will run for 6-8 hours, I think it is a great value for something that may only run for a day every year, and I think my mother can handle it, it retails for about $300. However I do recommend the dis-connect switch for safety of Elec. utility workers.
 
  #4  
Old 03-06-08, 04:28 PM
Andrew's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 960
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Thanks guys!
Yes, I plan to have a manual transfer switch, but a small one with only a few circuits. Marc, is there any requirement that I install the outside mounted inlet, or can I throw the cable through the basement window to the panel mount inlet on the transfer switch itself? It is right inside the window, maybe 4' away.
The 3500 watt model from Harbor Freight does in fact have the 120/240 outlet, but strangely it is a L14-30R, not the usual L14-20R as seen on most smaller generators. Here is a link to the model I am considering:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=96838

Greenguy, I did see that unit at Menards, and am considering it, thanks!
 
  #5  
Old 03-06-08, 08:09 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
Posts: 4,808
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Andy .,, I would pony up a little and get the outdoor inlet box hook up right instead running thru the basement window and it look better that way and also it will prevent some damage if not carefull.

the L14-30R is pretty common one on most generators and just make sure you have proper sized generator cord for that unit [ better have slightly oversized most generator cord i useally run into useally are #10 or larger]

Merci, Marc
 
  #6  
Old 03-07-08, 11:57 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Saint Louis
Posts: 259
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
This is not the best place to find a good generator.
The best place is RV.net under the technical support area that has a 300+ page discussion.
 
  #7  
Old 03-07-08, 12:27 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,944
Received 42 Votes on 40 Posts
I would also recommend the inlet box. You don't want the engine running right outside an open window. The risk of carbon monoxide buildup inside the house is too dangerous.
 
  #8  
Old 03-07-08, 12:52 PM
Andrew's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 960
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
All good suggestions.
Thanks guys!
 
  #9  
Old 03-11-08, 07:56 PM
Andrew's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 960
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Guys, thanks for all the help. After a bit of reevaluation of my needs, I realized that I actually need less power than I thought. Today, I purchased a little Coleman Powermate 1400W generator at Menard's, which should run my hydronic circulator, a few CFL's, and fridge just fine.
Thanks again
 
  #10  
Old 04-16-08, 05:25 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi Andrew,

I just purchased the Chicago Electric Generato 3500. Was wondering if you could find and wheel kits for it? It's a lot heavier then I thought and I can't move it around like I thought I would be able to.
 
  #11  
Old 04-16-08, 11:33 PM
Andrew's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 960
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Hi Play-
I ended up returning the unused Coleman 1400W unit, & bought a Wen 3500W generator from Menard's. It is very much like the Chicago Electric generator you describe, except that it comes with wheels. Wen does offer an accessory wheel kit that might fit your unit, if it looks aything like mine (and it probably does!)
Here's a link to the kit:

http://www.wenproducts.com/index.asp...ROD&ProdID=126

Good luck!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: