Generac Portable Generator

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by rockycmt, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. rockycmt

    rockycmt New Member

    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    New York
    I am looking to buy a portable generator for my house. Just to run a few things if we have an outage. Fridge/tv/few lamps. Looking to buy a 5000w generac. I see that they are a popular whole house type model. Do they make good engines? Is it up there with briggs and honda... Do they make avail parts like filters, plugs, etc?
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,532
    Location:
    North Carolina
  3. Gary in NJ

    Gary in NJ New Member

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    NJ
    In order to properly size the generator to your needs, you need to determine your requirements. While it's understandable to run the refrigerator and the family room, wouldn't it also be nice to run the heat, DHW and if you have a well, the well pump.

    If your DHW is an electric source, a 5Kw generator will not be large enough as the DHW heater will consume 5Kw by itself.

    Also, you will need a generator transfer station. This is the safest way to protect yourself and those working on the wires near your house. When done right, a generator is a blessing during a crisis. When done wrong, it can be deadly.

    One last thing, good luck finding a generator and transfer box right now. 10/4 cable has been hard to find since the last hurricane.
  4. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    992
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Briggs and Honda are night and day. As in crap and chocolate mousse.

    In my experience, Generac has come a long way. They used to have a terrible reputation, but the past few years they have really come around in quality and service.
  5. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I fix many portables as well as much larger units.

    Generac's are pretty spotty on quality and design......Some are fine and some are pretty poor. Larger units are very poorly engineered in many areas.

    I repaired a bunch of Generac portables in the last storm we had and most had the same problem. Failed voltage regulator and one had an idle control board failure. The replacemnt regulators were labeled as Briggs parts as was the idle board...

    When we try to find parts for some models.....the engines are Briggs.....and some of the other parts are Briggs....the rest is cobbled together by Generac.....


    I have a shop full of portables again as we got slammed in my area with a snow storm and power is still out in many areas. Trees and branches did all the damage.

    I was lucky...my next door neighbor was not.....His service was taken down off the house by a heavy branch as it came down. He had an old clunker of a generator and it crapped out after a few hours. I offered him my Honda.....It is at least 10 years old and I've used it a zillion times, It ran for 3 days straight for him and kept his heat going........

    We sell a kit of Briggs units and they are pretty good. We sold every 5kw portable unit we had on Monday....We sell a lot of larger permanent standby automatic units for homes as well. My neighbor bought a 5kw Briggs.....the last one we had.

    When you buy a generator there are a lot of issues that come with it and you can't just leave it laying in a corner for months or years and expect it to work in an emergency....or power failure....It needs to be looked after and maintained and used properly and safely......
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  6. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,787
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Rich, I guess I got lucky with my Generac 4700XL that I bought prior to the Y2K fiasko. I bought in in the Fall of 1999, tested it, but of course never needed it. I installed a transfer panel also to prepare for the big event of 2000 and the Power Grid going down. After finding it was not needed, I drained the tank, pickled the engine, and left in in my shed for several years. Then one summer a few years ago, we had a big blackout on the East Coast. Dragged the Generac out, fueled it up, and it started up very easily. Running the house lights, fridge, TV's, fans and all was great for the about 10 hour blackout. I checked it again recently, and it also started up easily. I never got to need it for long periods, so I have no idea how it would hold up, but I'm happy with mine as it is.
  7. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Bob...you did what most people don't....you drained the fuel and protected the engine. Gummed up carburetors and stale fuel is pretty common.

    Among the Generacs I repaired during the last storm was a 5500XL and 3 6500's. All 4 had blown voltage regulators and 1 had the bad control board that controls idle as well as output.

    I test these units by externally applying DC voltage to the brushes.....If I can get normal AC output I know the rotor and stator are good and than get the other parts for it. Voltage regulators go bad ALL the time on generators of all sizes....I change them a lot.

    We have a fleet of trailer mounted units. From 20KW up to 400KW......I built some of them....in the early years of the company I work for......20 years....

    We tie them in all the time ....
  8. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I recently discovered SEAFOAM, and people tell me it is great stuff ...

    http://www.seafoamsales.com/products.html
  9. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Messages:
    3,956
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    In reality , How long does gasoline last in storage ?

    It looks like a Natural Gas Generator is the way to go, for a whole house unit.

    Depends on where you live.


    Hook an old school generator to that old school bicycle and have your spouse petal, While you watch TV.
  10. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,787
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    As far as Gasoline longevity, for the past 5 or so years I have been using a product called STA-BIL, or something like that that keeps the gasoline from going stale and forming gum for one year at normal dose or 2 years at double dose. In my experience, it really does work. I have forgotten in the past sometimes to drain the fuel in my Karschak Pressure washer (left in my shed, all water drained/flushed out of pump and hose) and the next season, I had to remove the carburetor bowl, clean it and the jet out before I could use it again. since I started using the product, that does not happen. But on the Generator, when I have no idea when I will use it next, hopefully never, I drain the fuel from the tank and run the carb empty, pull the plug, put a little oil in and turn the engine over a few revs, yadda yadda.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,515
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    5,000 watts is NOT a "whole house generator". IT will run a refrigerator, freezer, a sump pump, and a gas furnace, along with some light bulbs, but that is about all.
  12. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california

    Thats the American spirit! Close another factory in wisconsin employing 6,000 people so those little Chinese can make the so called Japanese "honda's'. For a bowl of rice a day. And double the price. And triple it after every US storm.

    The Honda is rat poison to our country and the Briggs is your saviour.

    And paying wages a human can live on. Which money STAYS in the USA.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  13. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I unloaded 20- 5KW Briggs portables today....

    And 5 larger home standby units....also Briggs.....

    We have more home standby units on the way.....They come with ATS.....Automatic Transfer Switches....

    My best friend, a Dentist wishes he had one as he has had no power since last saturday and is usuing a little 3500 watt Made in China unit he got from us......one that actually has worked!

    We bought a full cargo box direct from China a number of years ago. Various small generators. From 1500 up to 6500 and some diesels. One of the worst business decisions ever made where I work. We just wanted to be able to sell someone something comparable to the cheap stuff out there when people brought in their broken small units.....

    The failure rate on the ones we bought the most.....3500's is nearly 100%......We have spent endless time and energy dealing with this junk.

    I hate Made in China but we can hardly escape it.

    I fix welders, name brand machines....Miller and Lincoln......I find more and more components inside Miller machines labeled Made in China......Miller was a typical all american family business started in the 1920's......Now they are owned by a parent company and must have started buying components offshore. They generally used American parts and made a good deal of their own parts themselves......and wound their own coils and built their own PC boards.....Now stuff says Made in China.....I really hate to see that but it is a sign of the times......
  14. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Messages:
    3,956
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Made in China and Made in Japan are very far apart in quality.

    Japan makes better Electronics stuff then we do.

    China will never come close, When it comes to Electronics.

    Cheap Stamped out guns and firecrackers are what China does best.

    Of coarse they make all of that fine China.

    I have some Fine China in my China Cabinet.


    Honda and all the rest are not what they once were.


    Made in America is getting closer, Because their workers are moving here...


    They are good people.
  15. Gary in NJ

    Gary in NJ New Member

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    NJ
    I drain my tank and carb after each use. It was 5 years since my generator was last started (last Saturday) and it started on the first pull. I thought for sure that it would take a few pulls. I was caught off guard.

    Gasoline with 10% to 15% ethanol doesn't last for long. It begins to separate after 90 days. If a vehicle (motor) will sit for 3 to 6 months I would use a stabilizer (Sta-Bil, Seafoam or my favorite Star-Tron). For something like a generator that could sit for years before being pressed into service, I would drain all of the fuel.
  16. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    992
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    You are simply a fool, and you don't know what you are talking about.
    You DO NOT know me and you are making stupid assumptions. I am one of the most pro-buy-American people I know, for as many thins as I can, small or large.
    I do two things when making a large(er) purchase. I look for where it is made and how good the quality is. Unfortunately this does not always lead to American made. If it leads me to Japanese, Canadian, or European made items so be it. Manufacturing has become a global market anyway.

    YES, IMO close down a factory that is producing JUNK. Just because we make it here does not make it good stuff. Look at American cars from the late 70's thru early 90's. Almost ALL junk!
    If a Briggs genny is junk, and a Honda is top quality I am buying Honda if at all possible.

    Unions are the rat poison you speak of demanding unrealistic wages and benefits for workers who are basically just on-the-job trained. As soon as we start making quality merchandise here it WILL sell. Until then keep shopping at walmart and target and buying cheap chinese sh*t products. DO not blame Honda's superior quality, blame the American consumer and Sam Walton.

    Also, show me some facts that Honda generators are made in China. I'd like to see what you come up with. :rolleyes:

    If this posts gets me a scolding I don't give a damn. You are out of line and need a reality check!
  17. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Forum master, dont scold or delete, we can handle ourselves please....

    Only vulgar, knuckle scraping imbeciles need use the word 'fool' on a forum. You have also applied that phrase to the previous 2 posters, if you bother to read them..

    Here is one warehouse full of your precious Chinese Hondas that will put 6,715 more or less American workers out of business:

    http://www.diytrade.com/china/4/products/4422622/Honda_engine.html

    [be sure to scroll down to see the full sabotage of America]

    Briggs is still the WORLDS largest MFG of small engines and most of them are still made here. Fly your little American flag [made in China] on your Honda lawn mower?

    I hope you have lots of Briggs union customers owing you money when they hit the line outside the burger king for a job app. Got a lot of jobs from Japan or china lately? DUH.

    http://www.briggsandstratton.com/en... and Stratton engine manufacturing locations/

    Like so many others, you have fallen for colorful marketing, and the good rep of honda motorcycles, which have no relationship to their assault on Briggs with a scam motor. By the way, your absurd remarks about union crooks requires me to point out to you again that the Briggs guy has a house in the USA and might call you for work . Now, look up the cost of replacement Chinese Honda engines vs. USA ones, and the Hondas are MORE money. The money Honda saves on labor by feeding their child workers old rice goes right in their pocket.

    Sit by your phone and wait for that service call in hang-wai-woo province!
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  18. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,532
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Warning Gentlemen

    Unless we are adding something constructive to this thread then let’s stop posting.

    No more about NFTA, it doesn’t have anything to do with original post.

    And please no more personal attacks. If you want to talk junk about one or the other brand please do so without talking junk about each other.
  19. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    992
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Wow, nice. You're joking, right??? The use of that word certainly has it's place on forums as it lets us get our point across with having to censor profanity, which unfortunately fits the situation better. I was thinking of a lot of other words as I types "fool".
    I do not fall for marketing, as you accuse. On the contrary, I am the type to expose sketchy marketing. Once again, you do NOT know me. Do NOT profess to.


    I am not talking about a certain Honda engine, which BTW is the bottom of the line engine put on other people's cheap generators simply to say they have a "Honda" engine.
    Find me a Honda generator that is made in China.

    I have owned or installed MANY "Briggs" generators in one form or another. For the most part they are junk IMO.

    I have way more union guys calling ME for jobs than I do calling me for work. I am small time and I am swamped. I have five AMERICAN MADE Generac standby units to install in the next moth alone, on top of being already booked solid. The union argument is NOT one you will EVER sway my opinion on.

    YOU were the one to make this personal and political. I can go all day on this with you, but I don't want to drag this thread down bickering with the likes of you.


    Sorry JW, hopefully the FALSE accusations and conjecture on the part of other members will stop.
  20. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I have to rate Honda as easily the best generators I have worked on.

    Briggs, Generac, Coleman, and every other common US brand do not compare favorably.....

    We have sold some Cummins-Onan and Wacker branded Inverter-Generators and they have been totally reliable. No one that bought one had any problem and rave about them...Robin-Subaru engines.....



    Honda's sell for considerably more generally but are worth it in reliability.

    A year or two ago I disassembled a Honda EU3000 (Inverter-Generator). The engine was shot......We thought maybe we could get a replacement engine for it and fix it.....It took me hours to get it apart and it was such a complex assembly it would have been extremely tough to get it back together correctly. AND I can generally disassemble anything and put it back together RIGHT! I said it was built to withstand a ThermoNuclear event.......LOL

    I called a local Honda dealer and asked their shop guy if he ever did a job like this.....NO was his answer and he said they could hardly recall working on one.....They are a big internet supplier of Honda's...

    I took the pile of parts and tossed it in the scrap dumpster.....

    One of my best friends is a retired UNION electrician.....He was a jobsite foreman for many years. Mulitmillion dollar jobs.....He retired at 60. He made a very good living but definately worked some tough jobs and conditions. Most people in the union these days have very little work and are out of work more than they are working. My friends nephew put over 20 years in with the union.....In the last 5-10 years he's worked steadily very little.....Spent lots of time collecting unemployment and waiting for work......He went to work with my company and has been working for us for a year.....wages are no where near what his union scale was but he has lots of things he never had as a union worker and OT is pretty plentifull. I once worked as an electrician and could have gotten in the union.....for a price since that is how it was done back than. If I had I would probably be retired like my friend.....Times are way different....
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