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Running timber framing tools off a generator #8524 04/07/04 12:05 AM
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Ian Lawford Offline OP
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Hi folks,

I'm looking for some advice on generators. I need to run my tools off of a generator. I'm probably not going to be running more than one tool at a time and my most powerful tool is 3 1/2 hp (approx. 2600 Watts). I have no idea what kind of surge is created when I start my tools. I guess my real concern is that I want to find the right generator for my tools so that I don't run the risk of my tools heating up and depreciating their life time.
I noticed that the price doubles when were talking about a Honda engine compared to lets a say Tecumseh in a generator of the same power rating . Is there really such an appreciable difference besides the name?
Many thanks,
Ian

Re: Running timber framing tools off a generator #8525 04/07/04 09:36 PM
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Andy Roeper Offline
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A motor can easily draw 10 times its running current on start up. I don't know what the current curve for the newer "soft start" motors looks like - though I suspect they will not be too common on TF tools for a while. If you size for 1 1/2 to 2x your running current and stick with heavy exension cords I should think you would have little if any problems.

As for the Honda engines - they are VERY quiet. I run an EU2000i for my camper and some tool work. I can barely hear it from 30' away and the Honda has an excellent reputation for reliability. The Tecumseh does not have a repuration for quiet and I've not heard great comment on relialbility. Yamaha has a good name as well. Check the specs for output harmonics (lower is better) when looking at the generator end of things - this too can make a difference in tool life.

Re: Running timber framing tools off a generator #8526 04/08/04 03:41 PM
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Mark Davidson Offline
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Honda engines last
We have a 15 year old honda on our sawmill and it runs as good as the day it arrived.
-Mark in Ontario.

Re: Running timber framing tools off a generator #8527 04/09/04 02:03 AM
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Gabel Offline
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I agree with Mark. I have an air compressor with a 5 horse Honda on it and it still cranks on the first pull after 10 years.

Gabel Holder

Re: Running timber framing tools off a generator #8528 04/10/04 04:45 PM
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Emmett C Greenleaf Offline
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Gasoline engine generators appear to have an interesting price vs noise index of sorts. The reliability issue also points in the direction of the Honda engine. As the noise diminishes the price increases rather steeply. The Honda is by far the quietest. My Coleman runs for 9 hours on a single 5 gallon fill of petrol but it is very noisy. So we are left with What price noise, or, if you prefer, what price quiet. A 5500 watt unit (like my Coleman) runs under $500, a similar output Honda runs over $1300. Am in the process of constructing a noise baffle box and getting a local machine shop to fabricate a quiet muffler (one is not available fron the manufacturer). Time will tell if the noise suppression works, you do the math for the cost saving. A caution, if you plan to work or camp in a National Forest an approved spark arrestor is mandatory.
Some options you may want to consider with or without a generator. There are several brands of rugged high torque cordkess 18v power tools which will run all day on two 2.4amphour batteries which charge in an hour each. I am fond of the Bosch brand which includes a planer along with drill/drivers and saws. Bosch "brutes"
can be purchased at considerable savings over the MSRP. Recently we did a lot of peg hole drilling on the Charleston bus shelter using my Bosch without any problems at all.
Work safe, have fun.

Re: Running timber framing tools off a generator #8529 04/12/04 11:08 PM
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Ian Lawford Offline OP
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Ok. Thank you everyone for your advice on generators. It seems there is an overwhelming positive testament to Honda engines and their reliability.

Cheers,

Ian cool

Re: Running timber framing tools off a generator #8530 04/14/04 05:09 PM
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k12rman Offline
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I built a 24 x 36 1 1/2 story NE frame with a 5KW LP converted generator I purchased from Harbor freight for under $500. It worked great and with the LP i could run it in the basement with little ventilation without the fumes driving me out. eek

Re: Running timber framing tools off a generator #8531 04/15/04 06:34 PM
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Emmett C Greenleaf Offline
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Interesting,
How noisy is the LP gen ?
What kinda fuel consumption ?
Inquiring minds wanna know.

Re: Running timber framing tools off a generator #8532 04/16/04 11:33 AM
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k12rman Offline
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It does not make any more noise than it's gasoline counterpart. I guess I went through 3 or four grill bottles to do a whole frame. I turned off the generator in between my series of planned cuts. I converted the generator to LP myself, it was a good move. Now there is no carburetor to gum up between uses.
(http://www.propanecarbs.com/small_engines.html) wink

Re: Running timber framing tools off a generator #8533 04/20/04 12:43 AM
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Ian Lawford Offline OP
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One other question. Do some generators deliver current more smoothly than others or is this not something that I should consider.
I know from induction motors that capacitors are added to smooth things out.
I only brought this up b/c I was told some generators are suitable for running computers off of and other are not because of voltage spikes or surges. By the same token would voltage spikes diminish the life time of my tools? Has anyone considered using a power bar to plug into their generators?
Any thoughts?

Ian eek

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