# Portable Generator Questions

#### Jackyl

Joined Mar 30, 2009
3
Hey guys, I have been calling genset manufacturers, driving co-workers nuts, and searching all over the web for a genset forum for well over a month now. I'm hoping this site will put an end to the madness.

I want around a 5kw portable genset to run at home in the event of a power outage / SHTF situation. I intend on running it out of the garage, backfeeding the house via 220v outlet...maybe letting a neighbor run a 15a off me as well. I know well enough to flip the mains beforehand. I imagine I would only need to cycle the genset every few hours. I mostly intend to provide incan lighting, maybe some florescent if they can handle it, a decent sized refrigerator, and a rather large deep freezer. Maybe TV / radio / cell phone charger. I have a heat-pump, and my AC unit is rated @ 19A I believe. Not sure how feasable it would be to run either furnace or AC off this size of a genset...even if it was the only thing running.

I know I'll need a good, heavy gauge 30A twist-lock. The units I'm looking at don't have the auto voltage regulator, which I suspect is crap anyway. They are also engine on generator head type rather than invertor type, so I suspect power cleanliness will be an issue for some things around the house. What types of items can I run straight off the genset, and what items would require some sort of line conditioner? If I really need a line conditioner, where to look and how much are we talking?

Not sure this is the right place for this question, but maybe someone knows about gensets enough to offer their opinion. I know the Honda / Yamaha invertors are about as good as it gets, but they are ridiculiously overpriced for what I am looking for. I am looking for a good, used, like new Briggs / Generac in the $400-$500 range. Everything I have been told about these contractor type units are Briggs / Generac uses their own in-house wound generator heads. Like everything else, Chinese alternators are junk. Also wouldn't mind an old Powermate with Briggs gen head and Honda GX series industrial engine. Your thoughts?

Any advice you all can provide, I'd GREATLY appreciate it...thanks!!!

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#### thatoneguy

Joined Feb 19, 2009
6,349
It depends on how bad the output is, you will need to measure the RMS output on a true RMS meter, and if possible, an oscilloscope on it.

The regulator is a requirement, we had several people stop by recently that were blowing up household electronics when the regulator failed and output drifted over 150V.

For your planned usage, I'd suggest biting the bullet and getting a purpose built backup generator, rather than a portable generator, and install it with a switchover breaker box. Backfeeding that amount of power is a bit of a fire danger.

#### Jackyl

Joined Mar 30, 2009
3
Crap, was afraid of that. Will have to put it off for a while then. I figured having something like this on hand was a lot better than nothing, but if I can't use it as stated, I guess not. I found that more often than not, they do not have AVR. WTF are they intended for without it?

Love the avatar..think I might recognize the s/n from another forum.

#### thatoneguy

Joined Feb 19, 2009
6,349
get both! 87 people agree.