Geni and cord question.

A place to discuss all things involving power and lighting. Generator tips, alternative energy, lighting your camp/bike/art/self and more.

Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby MacGlenver » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:39 am

Agree with all comments on batteries & gennys (also, thanks for the watt-hour breakdown -- I've been considering getting a deep cycle for lighting).

A friend bought a cheapo 2200 watt genny for a local burn in GA. We would have had our camp burned down if we had had neighbors close by (even with a sound dampening box). I found a 2009 Honda EU 2000i on craigslist for $600 (talked down from $700). If you go in person to buy one, check the # of hours that it's been run. I found out how to do this only after buying mine. The manual says a green light on the back of the genny will blink a certain # of times depending on how many hours its been used (0 blinks = <100hrs, 1 blink = 100-200 hrs, etc., if i recall). Luckily mine didnt blink, even though the guy estimated that it'd had 150 hours of usage.

Reliability is a concern as well. We rented a crappy generator another time and it wouldnt stay on for more than 5 minutes. After hours of messing with it, we took it back and rented from somewhere else.

Bottom line, dont buy shitty generators. They make life worse, not better (unless you have tons of gas and can house them 200 feet away).
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby tattoogoddess » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:34 am

Found a eu2000i at a pawn shop bout an hour from here. Soon as my refund drops in the bank thursday/friday we are going to go get it if it is still there. $575. Cross your fingers! Wonder if I can talk him down to $500?
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby MacGlenver » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:37 pm

tattoogoddess wrote:Found a eu2000i at a pawn shop bout an hour from here. Soon as my refund drops in the bank thursday/friday we are going to go get it if it is still there. $575. Cross your fingers! Wonder if I can talk him down to $500?


Nice! Check for damage, have him open the service hatch on the front and make sure things look clean & nice. Ask for the year and if he has the manual. All may be ways to get the price down. Obviously do a test start and make sure it runs smoothly for several minutes. Bring something like a hair dryer (that doesnt exceed the max wattage of the genny) to plug in to make sure it powers it properly (from both outlets).
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby tattoogoddess » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:42 pm

Anything else I should take a look at or do?
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby MacGlenver » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:14 pm

You could have him open the air filter cover as well and see if its dirty. Spose you could check the engine oil to see if it looks really black or if it is/isnt full (unscrew cap and tip very slightly toward you, a little oil will come out if it is full). If your generator model is on this list, you can also check the approximate # of hours of usage by checking # of green LED blinks when you start it: http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/649696_.html. People run genny's for thousands of hours, so a few hundred hours is probably not a concern unless the unit looks abused. Hondas are incredibly tough generators. Main issue i've heard of is if someone doesnt drain the fuel properly from the carb, which can cause it to gum up, but that can be cleaned out (watch some youtube videos), or replaced if necessary. The guy I bought mine from said he had to get the carb replaced because he stored it without properly draining the fuel bowl. No way for you to realistically check that at a pawn shop -- just be sure it starts pretty easily. If the fuel system was drained completely it may take 20+ pulls to prime the system, but if it wasnt fully drained it should start with a couple pulls (choke on).

I dont know if all of these tests are really critical, but it can't hurt, and may help you argue down the price.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby GreyCoyote » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:20 pm

TG: You made a wise choice. In the world of gasoline portables, there is Honda, and then there is everything else. I have two, and they are dear to me. They are expensive for good reason. Most portables are considered used-up by 300 hours. Hondas routinely do 4x that and more, and they do it quietly and with about half the fuel of some other brands.

For a Honda, there are three secrets to long life:

1. Synthetic oil. Buy the best, change it regularly, and check it daily. On the playa change it every 50 hours.
2. Use only fresh (less than 2 week old) fuel and treat it with a quality top-cylinder lube. Drain it dry when it wont be used for more than a couple of weeks. If you do this there is no need for a stabilizer. Ever.
3. Maintain the air filters. The EU2000 has two: a prefilter (foam) and a paper filter. Check them every couple of days. Replace the paper filter often (maybe every 50 hours on the playa).

If you do this, they will last a very long time.

Fwiw, you can expect an EU2000i to start on the first pull every time if it is properly maintained.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:38 pm

I'll second every word of that, except to add that the equivalent Yamahas are just as nice.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby MacGlenver » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:55 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:I'll second every word of that, except to add that the equivalent Yamahas are just as nice.


Have also heard that the Yamahas dont suffer from the carb draining issue that the Hondas have, though I'm not sure what the specific design difference is.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby Savannah » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:32 pm

Wonderfully helpful thread, you guys! This is going to help a number of people, I'm sure.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby GreyCoyote » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:34 pm

I had a Yamaha, and they are not bad machines at all. But the Hondas have a better real world surge capability. Example: my chop saw will start and run on the Honda EU2000i, but never gets up to speed on the equivalent Yamaha. Even with Yamaha's highly-touted boost/surge feature, the Honda wins. Same with powering a 7500 btu window AC. But then on resistive loads, the Yamaha beats the Honda by about 100-ish watts.

I guess if you know what you are powering, you can buy accordingly. Certainly the Yamaha leaves more $$$ in your wallet.

As to draining the carbs, I used the same technique on both: drain the tank, start it up, and run it to fuel exhaustion. Problem solved. Nothing left to cause gum or varnish issues.

Another thought: the Yamaha I had lacked the parallel feature, which is why I eventually sold it. All EU's can parallel right frommthe factory.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby tattoogoddess » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:48 pm

We bought it today. Paid 565. Is in great condition. Forgot to look at the lights. Will do tomm. We went to check the oil and it went all over the floor. Wasn't on so maybe that was why? Help? Took 2 pulls to start. Oil was a brown amber. Not black. Went and looked at deep cells. Found a marine deep cell for 84 plus 15 core at o'rielys. Didn't buy. Should we get that? The gel deep cell was like 220 ( no thanks!)

Now with the inverter... Same situation with the cords then?
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby BBadger » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:11 pm

Make sure the battery you buy is 12V, or sums to 12V. I normally suggest the deep cycle lead-acid batteries at Costco. They're 6V, 220AH ($85 or so each), so you need two for 12V, strung in series.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby junglesmacks » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:24 pm

Nice work!

GO TO WALMART FOR YOUR BATTERY. I'm telling you. Get the biggest marine deep cycle series they sell which is a 29 series.

To do a quick comparison, look at the CA (Cranking Amps). That battery you saw in OR's only 610 CAs for $89. The EverStart MAXX-29 at Wally World is 845 for $99. In case it comes up, I did some further digging and found that this battery was rated for 114 Ah.

I run two of these in parallel on the boat and they will run a 5 amplifier sound system pushing 5100 watts RMS for a nice, lonnnnng time... 8)

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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby GreyCoyote » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:24 pm

tattoogoddess wrote:We bought it today. Paid 565. Is in great condition. Forgot to look at the lights. Will do tomm. We went to check the oil and it went all over the floor. Wasn't on so maybe that was why? Help? Took 2 pulls to start. Oil was a brown amber. Not black. Went and looked at deep cells. Found a marine deep cell for 84 plus 15 core at o'rielys. Didn't buy. Should we get that? The gel deep cell was like 220 ( no thanks!)

Now with the inverter... Same situation with the cords then?


If you spilled oil and the genset was sitting on a level surface, the generator is considerably overfilled. With the unit cold and not running, the highest oil level allowable is up to the top of the dipstick (or eyeballing it, the third thread down from the top of the dipstick hole). Anything more is overfilled, and this not only kills fuel economy and will foul the sparkplug, it can also damage the seals on the engine. This is an expensive repair and you have to have dealership tools to accomplish.

Something you might have Tom download if he hasn't already is the EU2000i Operators Manual from Honda. The link is: http://m.powerequipment.honda.com/pdf/m ... Z07610.pdf Very useful.

As to the color of the oil, that isn't necessarily an indicator of wear or use. These engines run so clean that you can have 100+ hours on the oil and it's still amber and translucent (instead of black and opaque like in the old days). So consider doing a quick oil change regardless. Will cost you $7 for a quart of ultra-premium synthetic, and the engine will love you for it. There is also a tool for about $11 that acts like a clip-on drain extension and this will keep you from making a mess inside the casing during an oil change. Google it. It's well worth the price. Otherwise invest in a big roll of paper towels and be prepared to make an oily mess. Its just part of the charm.

Two pulls to start it is fine. It may take a little more at playa altitude (4000 ft). Max continuous sea level load is 1600 watts, but you need to derate by 3.5% per 1000 feet, so back off that sea level rating by 15% for TTITD.

To clarify, you must check the oil level only when the engine is stopped and cool. If you try to check it while its running, you will be covered in hot oil.

Have fun with your new toy.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby tattoogoddess » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:34 pm

We plan on taking it in somewhere an having them look over the whole thing. Can any mechanic do this?

Also will one battery work if just running the 70 watts and the 20 watt fan at the same time? I figure yes as such a small load. Based on we will say 120 max at one time. How long would that battery at wal mart run off each charge if we drain it each time and roughly how long to charge?
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby BBadger » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:38 pm

Ideal runtime for a battery = 0.5 x Volts x (AmpHours) / LoadWatts. The volts and amp-hour rating are specified for the battery, and the 0.5 factor is because you'll want to only discharge to 50% each time, not completely, otherwise you lose capacity and cycles.

Note that you still need some kind of inverter to get the batteries to work with AC devices such as fans, etc., and you will need a charge controller for charging your batteries so that it doesn't take as long and does the right type of charging. Then you can see what the charge time is from the charge controller.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:40 pm

If you're gonna do the battery thing, you'll want a halfway decent car battery charger; nobody uses the Honda's built-in 12V battery charging feature, it's one of the few useless features on the thing.
I hate to have to recommend this for Burning Man, but very definitely chain or cable-lock the thing to something solid. I actually built a steel cage for mine. 99% of Burners are super-cool... but that Honda is solid gold to the ugly 1%.

If you ever get a second one and want to combine them (Honda calls it paralleling them) you don't need Honda's overpriced "Parallel Operation Cables". Those parallel operation ports on the front are simply connected directly to the 120VAC outlets - you can cut off the female end of a 12-guage extension cord, put a male plug on it (so you have a male at both ends) and simply plug one into the other. Just don't leave one end of that cord unplugged and touch the terminals... although I'm sure I didn't have to tell ya' that!
The drill is: plug both sets together FIRST, THEN start either or both Hondas up.

Nice score by the way! That's a lot less than I forked out. Sorry about the harsh tone earlier, but it was really important to save you from throwing your money away on junk!
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby BeachBum » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:47 pm

BeachBum wrote:tatoogoddess, cool!

(ps - others are gonna recommend a far more complicated setup, or try to do exacting calculations. No need to do so at all.)
( setup: generator -> car battery charger -> battery -> inverter -> small stereo/LED lights )


Congrats on getting the quiet generator! For the rest, recommended is to keep it simple and cheap. Everyone has their own preferences, and it really doesn't matter.

All you're running are a very small sound system and like 20 or 30 Watts of lights. You can get an equivalent to the auto-parts-store battery for $20 or $30 less at the two other places, it doesn't really matter except for price. Costco/Kirkland batteries tend to have thicker internal plates than others, but it doesn't matter for most playa uses, so Malmart batteries are cool, even though the company ain't, but the camp is. Any camp that has the audacity to build a 10 story "phallic structure" and balls on playa is cool. Battery capacity (Amp-hours) doesn't matter much to you since you have a generator to recharge it every second or third day, so just cheaply get a 12V marine battery size 24 or up.

Without the fan, you'll probably only need to charge the battery for a few hours a couple of times during the week. As someone mentioned earlier, your stereo usually draws far less than 70 Watts, mostly like 10 or 15 Watts. With the very small fan, maybe the battery needs recharged like every other day. If you don't want to recharge the battery every other day, you can run the fan only when it's really hot outside, or plug the fan directly into the generator when you run the fan. It doesn't matter, you got a quiet generator to do so. :-)

As Capt. Goddammit very politely says ;-) get a hold of a standard car battery charger, you'll need one eventually anyways, everyone should have one and you probably have one already. Get a 400 Watt inverter, or two so you have a backup. Out here, a western-big-box-electronics-store has them for like $35, i don't know prices back in the midwest. Any outdoor extension cable will work on playa.

Just test out your setup beforehand (note: some fans don't work with the cheap inverters and would need to be plugged directly into the generator).

Have fun! It's all for the fun of it! :-)

(my preference that doesn't matter is adding 5 Watt LED Christmas light strings to setups like this, minimal power usage and they brighten things up nicely!)
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:02 am

The fan is just the heavy duty pc fan (the 5 gallon bucket swamp cooler. Just using it for a 6x6 dome tent) so it won't be to many watts.

The stero is a ful, 70 watts. It party cause of the bass speaker. It is a 5.1 stero surround sound for a tv or computer. The little booger has got some juice.

We have 2 strings of solar x mas lights currently. I am thinking of making 2 of those hula hoop lights. (Google it) but not sure if I will go solar or not.

I may get a bunch of led Christmas lights and string them around the square of the 20x20 car port so like 160 feet worth? Wonder how many watts that would be.

The dj light like said is only 20 watts and will be used at night. The only thing running most of the time will be the stereo.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby BeachBum » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:11 am

Ha ha ha ha! Love it!

People typically start with something small, and then say, "Adding this would be cool!" And it is, if you can recharge the battery, like you can with the generator, it doesn't matter in the least :-)

Some overkill of "the dreaded maths", as someone said in another thread:

I tested a 24 size Costco marine battery (85 Amp-hours x 12V ~= 1000 Watt-hours, of which about 600 Watt-hours are useable before the inverter screams) with a Xenix 4 channel mixer, 1000 Watt car stereo amplifier, powering two 120 Watt max living room sized Kenwood speakers by running them LOUDLY at home for like 10 hours a day a couple years ago. The battery lasted almost a full month before needing to be recharged.

Say your stereo takes 20 Watts normally (it's really lower), times 14 hours a day = 280 Watt-hours per day.
A big PC fan is under 8 Watts. Let's say you run it 12 hours a day. That's about 100 Watt-hours per day.
A 20 Watt light times 8 hours per night = 160 Watt-hours per night.
70 LED Christmas light strings are like 20 feet and use 5 Watts each. Using 8 of them for 160 feet times 8 hours a night = 320 Watt-hours per night. This is gonna be very, very bright! Cool!

This sums up to 860 Watt-hours per 24 hours. Add in another 15% due to inverter power loss, and say 1000 Watt-hours per day. It's really way lower though, especially so if some stuff is turned off at 1 or 2am, or if you only get 3 or 4 strings of the LED Christmas lights, which is enough to go around the car port.

So, for this, even for the full 100 Watt-hours per day, get a Costco size 27 (105 Amp-hour = 1260 Watt hour, ~700 W-h useable) or Malmart size 29 (114 Amp-hour = 1400 Watt-hour, ~800 W-h useable) 12V marine battery. And,you'll probably need like a 20 Amp battery charger, rather than the cheaper 10 Amp battery chargers. Still under $120 or so. And, turn on the generator for about 3 or 4 hours total daily, like early each evening or whenever. Protect both the car-battery-charger and the inverter from significant playa dust, both short out easily. That would handle it.

setup: generator -> car-battery-charger -> battery -> 12V PC fan and inverter -> stereo/disco-light/LED-light-strings

One trick is to just "wingnut down" the inverter "ring terminals" on the battery small posts, never removing them, this guarantees the inverter never sees more than the battery 12V or 13V during the week. Then "clip" the car-battery-charger to the bigger battery posts when recharging the battery. I think that most newer, better battery chargers can be left connected at all times also, others know better than me, or check the manual.

LED light strings, cool! Have fun!
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby MacGlenver » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:27 am

GreyCoyote wrote:There is also a tool for about $11 that acts like a clip-on drain extension and this will keep you from making a mess inside the casing during an oil change. Google it. It's well worth the price. Otherwise invest in a big roll of paper towels and be prepared to make an oily mess. Its just part of the charm.


Skip the $11 drain extender & make one of these:
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby GreyCoyote » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:35 pm

Ha! MG nailed it. I like his solution better. I may have to make one just because.

The tool I have actually screws-in to the oil dipstick hole and seals with a gasket. Nicely machined, but it's the same idea. If I had seen this video before I bought mine, I wouldn't have bought mine.

On the subject of charging batteries, just one more thing. The rate of charge is an issue. Generally for a lead-acid deep cycle battery you want to keep the charge rate at 1/10th of the amp-hour capacity of the battery or less. (ie, a 100 AH battery gets the charging current limited to 10 amps). This prevents excessive outgassing and prolongs the battery life considerably. In some systems the limit is set to 1/20th of the AH rating. (I.e, a 100 AH battery would be charged at 5 amps). These systems are the ones where the battery is constantly being charged/discharged and the life-span costs drive the charging strategy.

For playa use, automatic, "computer-controlled" chargers are best. Schnauer makes one that is a 2/10/20/50 amp model that works very nicely and has an excellent bang for the buck. It's available at WallyWart in the auto section for about $70. Well worth it. It senses battery condition and adapts the charge curve accordingly. And its fast without being abusive to the battery. It will cycle between 10 and 20 amps during the bulk charging phase, and drop down to anywhere between .125 amps and 2.0 amps during the float cycle. It can be left connected forever and won't overcharge. BUT, it should be disconnected during discharge or it will tend to get confused. I have used this charger on everything from a lawnmower to a dozer with two large 4G batteries with great success.

Likely more than you wanted to know, but someone may find it useful.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:33 pm

Ok I'm starting to get uber über confused. Tell me what battery to buy and what to charge it with. I'm lost
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:40 pm

tattoogoddess wrote:Ok I'm starting to get uber über confused. Tell me what battery to buy and what to charge it with. I'm lost


Image

EverStart 29 series marine battery - Wally World
Image


+

Schumacher 100A digital battery charger.. 50A will work fine too - Wally World
Image

Or, keep going in circles with these guys.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:44 pm

ok that was easy. im a girl just tell me what to do lol

ok so from the geni to the black box charger down there.... something conects them am i correct?

geni > cord> charger> red black cord>battery

do i have that right?

i feel like such a dumb ass. even tom is kinda in the dark to this.
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tattoogoddess
 
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby BeachBum » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:16 pm

The pictures make it nice and easy :-)

Everyone has their own preferred way of doing it and their own preferred items. As long as it works and gets the job done.

I wanted to give the basic info on how incredibly easy it is to use a battery to really light up a camp and provide some sound, without having to run a generator to do so. When one walks down A, B, C or D streets in the evening, most camps are dark, unless their generator happens to be running. It doesn't need to be that way, it's so easy to light up camps. Running a home stereo and some strings of LED Christmas lights off a battery is so simple, yet such a low percentage of camps seem to do so. Maybe, like junglesmacks has figured out, explaining it by pictures would help ;-)
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby BBadger » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:52 am

Gasoline --> Generator --> Generator 120V outputs --> Cord --> Battery Charger --> Charger alligator clips --> Battery terminals (red = +, black = --).

Take a picture of your whole rig when you buy the parts just to verify.
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:19 am

BeachBum wrote:The pictures make it nice and easy :-)

Everyone has their own preferred way of doing it and their own preferred items. As long as it works and gets the job done.

I wanted to give the basic info on how incredibly easy it is to use a battery to really light up a camp and provide some sound, without having to run a generator to do so. When one walks down A, B, C or D streets in the evening, most camps are dark, unless their generator happens to be running. It doesn't need to be that way, it's so easy to light up camps. Running a home stereo and some strings of LED Christmas lights off a battery is so simple, yet such a low percentage of camps seem to do so. Maybe, like junglesmacks has figured out, explaining it by pictures would help ;-)



I agree!

My camp is NEVER dark and I don't bring a genny. 8)
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby junglesmacks » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:38 am

One last thing.. the 120v inverter that you connect to the battery in order to plug everything in!

You can do your own searching, but get at least a 1000W (continuous) inverter if you can but make sure to look at the continuous and peak ratings together. The one below is 1000W continuous/2000W peak.

You're getting the gist of this, right? Run your things off of the battery/inverter. When the battery gets low, charge it with the generator.

Cobra CPI1000 - $80 - Amazon
Image
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Re: Geni and cord question.

Postby Zhust » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:03 pm

Good luck with a "modified sine" inverter. It will always work with incandescent lights and coffee makers. It might or might not fry your battery charger, iPod charger, electric fan, stereo ... pretty much anything else. "Modified sine" is a way to deliver AC power cheaper, but it's not a pure sine wave like you get from an AC outlet. (Admittedly, it has worked absolutely fine with every set of LED lights I put on it.)

I always recommend the Samlex Pure-Sine inverters. I have a 300 watt PST-30S-12A. It is efficient and reliable. It is also more expensive: that inverter is about $150 (e.g. from a place called "EcoDirect.com" on the Internet) versus $80 for a "modified sine" 1000W inverter.

pst-30s-12a-1100x680.jpg


But you need 1000 watts sometimes, right? Well for one you have the generator, but if you were running off batteries, 1000 watts at 83% efficiency (from the Cobra user manual) means you'd need 100 amps, so your 100 amp-hour battery would last all of about 5 minutes. (It should be an hour, right? Well that's if you discharge at the "0.1C rate" or 0.1 * 100 amp-hours/hour.)

Also, watch the quiescent current — the amount of power it takes to just stay on. The Samlex draws a pretty hefty "under 0.7A" according to the manual, so that's 70 hours on the 100AH battery. The Cobra 1000W lists "under 0.6A" or 83 hours.
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