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Old 05-08-2013, 04:41 PM
  #1
lopflyers
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Default Power generator

Im new to electrics, one of the two fields I fly from ( the closest to home) don't have electricity. I carry a lawn mower battery but it doesn't like my 6 cells.No matter how much I charge that sucker it will give me an input error message. I was going to buy a bigger, maybe a car or truck battery but someone told me a power generator is a better idea.I found this in in Harbor Freight :63cc, 900 Watts Max/800 Watts Rated Portable Generator Is this any good for the field?Will it handle my 6 cells?Can I charge 4 batteries at the same time like I do at home?Thanks
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:59 AM
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Most likely - but what kind of charger do you have? If it's 600 watts or less I don't see why it shouldn't work.

Your lawn mower battery could probably put out around 50 watts continuous.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:29 AM
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I just connect my charger to my car's battery. For most parkflyer batteries I can charge all day without concern.

That Harbor Freight generator will work but is noisy as can be.

I have also used car jumper packs. I have one hanging off the side of my workbench. Similar to this
http://www.amazon.com/Schumacher-IP-...=pd_sbs_auto_3

Unless you are flying REALLYbig planes with really big battery packs, use the car battery. Works fine.


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Old 06-18-2013, 06:52 PM
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The Harbor Freight generators can be bought currently for 99.95
The quieter generators start at about 600, and are inverter types. Nuf said.

The HF generators are 2 cycle and come from China..
There is some type of anti corrosion coating in the fuel tank. It's best to rinse the tank out with regular gas and drain before you
put 2 cycle fuel in the tank.  Spring for the one year exchange warranty. 
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:44 PM
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I have (2) deep cycle batteries from Costco. I can charge all day even my 5s 5000 and my 6s 5500 packs. If you have a bunch of 3s 2200 or smaller packs. Your car battery will work all day long.


Buzz.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:22 PM
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Note that the HF generator is LOUD!
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:03 AM
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Problems I've had with the HF generators.
Every time I get a good one, someone steals it! (I'm on the third decent one)
At this point, I've had to return several.
One had an ignition module failure
Two developed a hard engine knock after less than a tank of fuel.
Two were very difficult to start.
One had a carb float problem that caused fuel to run out on the ground.
The current one seems to have some corrosion problem on the gas tank.
it looks like the gas cap rubber gasket (of all things) is causing the problem.
Some of the generators have a poorly fitted choke butterfly, making them harder to start than they should be.
The same generators are sold under different names and prices by different stores (Sears, Lowe's, and many others.)
$89-$179

Some years ago, I talked with the then importer, concerning larger units. When asked about durability and repair parts,
His comments were to the effect that if it fails in warranty, it's replaced. When enough bad units are collected, they get sent back to the mfr.
His opinion was that if the unit failed after the warranty period, it was time to buy a new one.
After all, the generators I was looking at were priced at less than half of comparable "name brand" generators. I ended up buying
a 15-18KW 30HP "portable" generator (made in China) from a more or less name brand (Genrac), at a much better price than the more common ones you might find
in the usual stores.

Our subdivision has a long standing history of power failure, due to overhead lines, trees, squirrels, and a long branch run from the main line
The previous owner had a couple of unvented natural gas heaters installed that I removed, due to the hazards with children and CO.
The original gas furnace could be operated at a reduced level that was just enough to keep the pipes from freezing without any power.
It was replaced, due to age and a heat exchanger that was dubious in condition. The new gas furnace requires power to operate (forced draft), etc.

Anyway -

When I originally bought a portable generator,, it was to power the house for up to several days. This was based upon a three day failure during cold weather,
and a four day failure during hot weather. In both cases, extreme weather in other parts of the country a few days earlier had resulted in the local power company sending
almost all of it's repair crews out of area, so they were not available to handle "small area" outages. The whole deal was getting stranger! The first problem was to find a reasonably priced
manual change over switch. Due to the way the house is wired, and the design of the main panel and breakers, it was actually less cost and hassle to switch the whole house from utility power to the generator.
I finally found a unit from Gentran that was about one third the cost of the average unit. Next problem was a combination of the power company and the county. As part of the work, it was also reasonable to replace
the bent power mast sticking out of my roof, so the power company had to disconnect and reconnect the power to the mast weather head. Then, they require that the county inspector give his blessing to reconnect the power.
Knowing that such an installation was a first in my area, I got in touch with one of the long time local electricians that was well respected by the county.
When the install was complete, we ended up with not one of the usual inspectors, but all of them, including the supervisor. Seems that none of them had ever seen such an installation, or the type of manual transfer switch used.

Year before last, one of the down the street neighbors fell into some Money, and decided to add a heated pool, combined with a large brick entertainment building, sauna, and so forth, including a two car garage. This was topped off with
a large sun following solar install, and all the stuff to even sell power back to the power company. My little manual transfer panel install was dwarfed by the project!

If nothing else, the availability of the generator has acted as cheap insurance, in that normally when power failures occur, they are fixed within a hour or so.
After about four years of ownership, I've had to use it twice for an extended period, and the rest of the hours are the once a month run up and test under a relatively light load.

Last edited by chuckk2; 11-04-2013 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:51 PM
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As a follow-on to this thread. The HF low cost generator is a bit small and noisy for some uses. Some of the solid state chargers don't get along with it!
Home Depot had a sale recently on a Ryobi 2000i inverter generator that I could not resist buying.
It's about 1/2 the cost of the comparable Honda unit, and when you look at the innards, so similar that the engine must either be a copy or from the same mfr.
Very quiet, although some of the Honda 2000i's are slightly quieter. After about two hours of run in, the engine usually starts with an average of two to three pulls.
(One or two at a slow rate to turn things over, and one or two to actually start. Once run, a shut down for fuel, etc., and restart usually takes one to two pulls.
Voltage regulation is much better than the HF, and the inverter allows a slower engine speed under a light load. I wish that the starting handle was a bit larger,
since I can get only three of my fingers on it..
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:16 PM
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I have two small inverter generators called Champion, Made in China, one is 1000 watts which I bought about 4 yrs ago and in an excellent little worker at about $399 at the time. Only slightly louder than my buddies 1000 watt Honda. Works so well I bought a 2000 watt version last yr. on sale at $499 for a backup and to use for funflies so other guys can plug into it.
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