Another inverter generator question

SolarWombatSolarWombat Registered Users Posts: 9
I've been pretty convinced that I want to buy a Honda EU2000i or 3000is. However, I went to the 'generator guy' in town, and he said I should not get an inverter generator for charging batteries. I think his rationale was that it's too hard on them and they die an early death. Is this true? I'll only need to use it for battery charging a few times a year, and like the quiet nature of these inverter types, even though they cost more.

Thanks! You all have been amazingly helpful.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    Get a new "generator guy"; that one doesn't know what he's talking about.
    A load is a load. Poor Power Factor of some inverter chargers use a bit more Watts (measured as Volt * Amps) than good ones (like Magnum's PF corrected units) but if sized right it works. I should know: the EU2000i has been the back-up charge source on my Outback system for years now, and before that it was the EU1000i. That last one was used as prime power originally, then the sole charge source for half a year before the panels got installed. It has over 6,000 hours on it. Pretty far from premature failure.

    Besides me you'll find a lot of the folk on this forum use these inverter gens for back-up charge power. You won't find any complaints, save the El Cheapo gens (not name brand).
  • rplarryrplarry Solar Expert Posts: 203 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    Ditto what the coot said, the 2000 is an excellent little generator.
    Larry
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Solar Expert Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    Good advice, get a new generator guy.

    I've been using a Yamaha EF2400iS for the past 5 years. It doesn't care if it's being used with an Iota 75A charger, a 5000 BTU A/C unit, a 13,500 RV A/C unit, power tools, blah blah.

    The power coming out of my inverter generator is cleaner than the grid.

    Testing I've done with mine: http://www.2manytoyz.com/yamaha2400.html

    The built-in chargers do work, don't take up space, but are typically limited to <10A. Mine is only 8 Amps. Good for an emergency situation - dead tow vehicle battery, can use the generator to recharge the battery. But when topping up the battery bank, I simply plug the Iota charger in to the generator. Works great.

    Honda & Yamaha both make excellent inverter type generators. They also make inexpensive LOUD conventional generators, so be careful when shopping. Just because it's a Red or Blue generator, doesn't mean it's one of the quiet series.
  • tr0ytr0y Solar Expert Posts: 99 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    I am another vote for the Honda 2000. I bought ours 2nd hand on craigslist, no idea how many hours but in very good shape, We ran it for 6 months 10 to 12 hours a day 7 days a week, charging our battery bank, running tools, and as back up power, 'till we got around to getting panels up. Since then it is back up for the solar on our travel trailer and runs the AC when we are somewhere hot.

    I am guessing with 4000 hours plus on ours other than replacing a foot and the starting cord, it's perfect. Well it's kinda ugly and abused looking now but it runs great.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    In defense of the generator guy, he may have been suggesting that using the 12vdc side of the eu is not a good idea. That is true, as it is very inefficient and not a good charge source, but it certainly would hurt the genny.

    Tony
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    I think your generator guy gave you good advice for the use-case you're describing. There are 2 big advantages to the EU: it's more fuel efficient when running at low load and of course the output is a clean sine wave. You will pay more for these two features than for a regular generator.

    And if you're going to be running on your generator for a substantial period of time, then those two features are worthwhile having- but as you've stated you just want to use the gen to charge the batteries, I think it's a waste to spend the extra cash on features you don't need. Presumably you have solar or some other charging source and just need the generator for the odd emergency use where you'll be charging the batts from 50% DoD to 80% DoD. In that range, the generator can run at high load, so there's no advantage to having the fuel efficiency of the EU's at low load.

    If you have an inverter/charger, then during the charging phase the generator will be passed through to your loads- so there may be something in having a pure sinewave output on the gen if you have very sensitive equipment that won't like a normal gen's output (and you can't turn those loads off while you're gen charging).

    I'd recommend a normal Honda gen with AVR (automatic voltage regulation) if you're using an inverter/charger. And without AVR if you're using a dedicated battery charger- just make sure the charger isn't too picky about the input voltage.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    As a counter argument to what stephendv said, as the batteries charge the load will decrease (especially above 80%), so the inverter genset's ability to run slower will be useful.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    But if it's just for the occasional emergency charging when the batts are really flat, then there may not be any need to charge above 80% ;)
  • DillDill Solar Expert Posts: 170 ✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    I bought my EU1000i for one reason: it's the quietest stock generator I've ever 'not' heard. The fact it's awesome on fuel doesn't hurt either! I know the Yamaha's are very similar as well. Highly recommended.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question
    Dill wrote: »
    I bought my EU1000i for one reason: it's the quietest stock generator I've ever 'not' heard. The fact it's awesome on fuel doesn't hurt either!

    I've heard one that is as quiet and fuel-efficient, but can handle a 3000 watt load continuous (several times that peak). My Prius/UPS setup. :cool:
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question
    techntrek wrote: »
    I've heard one that is as quiet and fuel-efficient, but can handle a 3000 watt load continuous (several times that peak). My Prius/UPS setup. :cool:

    Bit of a difference in price, though. :p
  • MadJackMadJack Solar Expert Posts: 47 ✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question

    I've been on a Honda EB 3000, and for the last year [in July] a Honda EU300is as my primary power. No grid available here...
    If you have cheap BULK propane delivery available buy one set up for propane along with a 100 gallon tank. You won't be hauling and lifting gas cans, spilling gas on yourself and paying stupid gasoline prices. Gasoline is just under $4 a gallon and I can buy bulk propane for $2.69 a gallon.
    Sure wish I had bought the propane model!
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question
    Bit of a difference in price, though. :p

    Nah, both of the major parts (Prius & UPS) are a "sunk cost", so the only real cost was a little extra wiring and the additional sub panel.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Another inverter generator question
    MadJack wrote: »
    Gasoline is just under $4 a gallon and I can buy bulk propane for $2.69 a gallon.

    You can get a conversion kit. However, keep in mind that LPG only has 80% of the BTUs of gasoline, so your cost/hr needs to be adjusted for LPG. If you use 1 gallon per hour of gasoline you'll use ~1.25 gallons of LPG.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
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