A question for all of you and CDK in particular

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by dskira, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Some of you memebrs are very good on the electrical field and engine field. I read post from CDK and he knows a lot and he is not alone, like Gonzo and Michael knows a lot about something I am quite ignorant about.
    My question is:
    I would like a very small, very very small 1000W max (mostly 500W) and very light generator. Is a 2 stroke generator will be of use in a long run, let say no more than 15 hours a week?
    The two stroke was for me of some interrest because of the weight, and the fact they give from 500W to 1000W which will be in my range.
    Any thought?
  2. rubenova
    Joined: Aug 2011
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    Location: Fidalgo Island, WA

    rubenova Junior Member

    Interesting question. I have read that small generators are lucky to make it to 1000 hours of life. 15 hours a week would be 780 hours per year. So would your application tolerate a new genset every year? There are cell phone towers that run a generator at night (when solar won't work) for 6 months at a time between refueling and oil changes, and last 4 or 5 years. Not sure of the rating...or price. I would be interested in a small, heavy duty generator if anyone knows of any.
    1 person likes this.
  3. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: Vancouver

    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    Hi Daniel. I've imported many different items out of China,generators included.
    Any 2 stroke recent gen-set will be made there,few are OK but most do not last and they use much more fuel than a 4 stroke. Plus are noisy,smelly,etc. and I've had then blow up after 5 hours of use.

    I'd recommend a Honda 1000 or Yamaha 4 stroke-they are almost silent and can run about 12-13 hours on a gallon at about 1/3 power..about 30 pounds.

    Have DC and AC ouput..and will outlast a cheap 2 stroke unit by probably 10 times.

    I know the 2 stroke ones are tempting at $120-150,but if you can afford it go for a good used Honda/Yamaha. I have one and it is stellar

    Something like this

    1 person likes this.
  4. groper
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: australia

    groper Senior Member

    i second the honda or yamaha 1000w 4 strokes, brilliant little generators, very quiet too... you would be mad to buy anything else...
  5. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 5,372
    Likes: 255, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3380
    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    I agree with WestVanHan, Daniel. I would stay away from 2-stroke, especially of cheap chinese ones. The money you'll save on buying them will be soon thrown away on fuel and repairs bills. Or on the engine substitution.

    A general rule valid for all engines (of any type) is that the smaller they are, the less efficient they are. 1 kW is 1.3 HP, a really small size for an engine. In addition to that general rule, 2-strokes are even less efficient by their nature. They are polluters by nature, because of oil and fuel spillage in the exhaust/intake stroke, due to partial overlapping of these two phases.

    I would go 4-stroke, though I know they cost more. Have you seen these little toys by Honda and Yamaha: http://generators.findthebest.com/compare/221-473/Honda-EU1000i-vs-Yamaha-Inverter-EF1000iS ?

    1 person likes this.
  6. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Well this is a clear answer. Thank you so much.
    Yes the Honda it is :).
    I was afraid you all say that ..$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$:D
  7. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Brisbane

    Landlubber Senior Member

    Quality is remembered, long after price is forgotten.....go Honda.
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  8. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I have no experience. A friend of mine has a small olive and citrus farm off the power grid. Solar, small windmill and batteries only. He also has a small, handy size , Honda generator. He has had that Honda generator for several years... looks pretty beat up and covered in dust.......never heard any complaints.

    I would expect that it has several hundred of hours use . Id say check out a Honda.
    1 person likes this.
  9. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Ok Michael you said it: Go Honda :)

    Yes Landlubber you'r right I had the answer on my signature :idea:
  10. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 5,372
    Likes: 255, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3380
    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    LOL!!! :D :D :D
  11. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    Honda. It took me twenty years to cave on that one. Now I just feel stupid for waiting so long. They're like cell phones- once you have one....
  12. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    A bit of hesitation from my side...
    I once advised a distant neighbor to buy a Honda generator. After he had used it for approx. 2 years he put it on my doorstep and asked me to repair it because the governor had stopped working, so rpm and output became load dependent.
    The mechanism is in the crankcase, so I politely declined.

    It turned out the guy used it at least 30 hours each week, which puts the life expectancy at 3000 hours.

    There is (was) a little Italian generator called Mase-500 , with a 2-stroke engine and an electric (rotating coil) controller I've never seen on any other small generator. Mine started leaking fuel after 30 years because the plastic fuel hose cracked, so it does not have true eternal life, but it comes close. I keep it in my boat because it has 12/24V 25 Amps outputs that make it a good battery charger.

    At home I use a Chinese 4-stroke kart engine with a 3.5 to 1 belt driven 90 Amps alternator. It provides charging current for a 400 Ah battery bank on cloudy days when the grid is down and the solar array does next to nothing. It runs at 1200 rpm and does make some noise, but I prefer that over the 3000 rpm of any small commercial generator.
    1 person likes this.
  13. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Thank you for your answer CDK, this is an eye opener.
    Interresting your experience with the Mase ( I heard somewhere of this name brand)
    So the Honda is a difficult thing to repair. Good to know.
    1 person likes this.
  14. jonr
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    Location: Great Lakes

    jonr Senior Member

    I have heard a few things about getting more hours from a generator.

    a) run it at less than 1/2 of max output
    b) always let it warm up fully before applying load
    c) follow a proper break-in when new (usually short bursts of high load)
    d) frequent oil changes (75 hours?)
    e) add a little two-stroke oil to the gas (in a 4-stroke)
    f) use a diesel (but there goes small, light and quiet)

    I suppose that most of these apply to just about any engine/application.

  15. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    a) If it run at half load, is the alternator will give only half the power needed?
    b) make sense
    c) dito
    d) Yes and often forgoten to do it in my compressor :rolleyes:
    e) I didn't know that trick, but I suppose it can't hurt. I am just afraid of gum producing in the carburator?
    f) Right, that will defeat the purpose.
    Any way thanks for your input
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