Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reply to: Winter Preparedness: Buying a Generator

Reply to: Winter Preparedness: Buying a Generator

Anonymous said...With the same ~$1000 budget for a generator, you can get 300Watts of solar panels, charge controller, and batteries that will let you run LED lighting and communication.

Add an inverter/charger and you are more prepared for low-quality power common in collapsing economies that are still limping along. A generator is for running large loads and charging battery bank during long periods without good sunshine. I'd combine my loads that are big (freezer/clothes washer/water pump/power tools) and run a gas gen-set to use them, while the battery is also getting some charge. Morning is a good time to run for a few hours, then do service on genset. 24/7 operation of 3600 rpm genset to be able to flip on a light or watch tv is noisy, fuel-guzzling and wears out the genset rapidly. Disagree that propane is a good alt-fuel for genset: the engine is generally low-compression to be able to use 85 octane "regular" or worse fuel, not high-octane equivalent that propane is. Dedicated propane engine, sure. Propane is almost as dangerous as gasoline, and should not be used or stored where people sleep. Diesel is much less dangerous to store or handle, and the US-Mil thinks so too.
Fusing and transfer switching makes power safer, as does planning ahead.

Renogy 100W Mono Starter Kit: 100W Solar Panel+20' Solar Cable+30A PWM Charge Controller+Z Bracket Mounts
A solar setup sure is a good idea, but the 100W solar panels plus Deepcylce batteries and inverter does add up quickly to the price. LED lights isnt as much of a concern , the problem is more demanding appliances such as the fridge, washing machine and AC. For that, the generator will give you power as long as there’s fuel. With batteries, once you ran out, you’re out of luck until youe recharge with solar or a generator. Of course combining a solar power system with a generator would be the best of both worlds.


Anonymous said...

I have a generator and PV panels. The generator will indeed power bigger appliances in a grid down situation but why? Why would you plan to run a generator using up all your fuel just to keep the fridge cold? In a grid down situation you should go to minimal power use. A few hours of light in the evening, a radio/TV and a laptop. Luckily even a small PV system and two fairly cheap deep cycle batteries will do this dependably for a long time without the need for a lot of stashed fuel.

FerFAL said...

I agree but some people dont have a choice. The heating they have requires more electricity, or they have to pump water. Whenever possible, indeed, limit the use of power as much as possible. dont run your genny just to watch tv or to cool with the AC.

Anonymous said...

in winter there's less sunlight. there could be more cloud cover. and the
ANGLE of the sun's rays provide less
accumulation. solar in winter sucks.