Advise on Generator & Inverter combo

santanatwins

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Jan 20, 2004
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I was wondering if the guru's on this board could help me out.

I currently have a 2.5 k inverter running on 4 x 12volt batteries. But as many of you know the blackouts seem to be coming back. And the amount of electricity that the inverter gets is sometimes not enough to recharge the batteries. So I'm debating on getting a generator to back-up the inverter.
These are my options:

A Coleman Maxa Powermate 5000 watt with a 10hp motor. The price is $399

or

A Coleman Mega Pulse 1850 watt. The price is $299

Will the smaller unit be sufficent to recharge the batteries?
Are these prices a good deal?
Or should I pay the extra $100 and get the 5000 watt unit?
Does anyone have experience with Coleman generators?

Speed is of the essense since these are sale prices and I don't think they will last for more than a day or two?
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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I think you should e-mail me

Since you are in Santiago, I do think you chould send me an email. There are some good solutions to your problem.

As the man said, more is better, but stay away from gasoline engines.

Depending on what you want to run in your house, and the quality of life you expect, you need to look closely at your options.

HB :D:D
 

santanatwins

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Jan 20, 2004
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Main question would be.......

I know it's best to have more power available but, will the 5000 watt unit be over-kill. I am planning on purchasing 4 more batteries so that I can connect my friegh to the inverter. And my last 4 monthly electric bills have been in the range of $700 pesos so we don't use too much energy.

I could use the extra $100 for something else but if it's worth it I will buy the bigger unit.
 

MrMike

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Mar 2, 2003
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Um... I have a coleman 7.5 kilo

And it is nearly useless for inverter combo use. It does not output power of sufficient quality to charge batteries, (most inverters require a high quality waveform for charging since they only use the peaks) and it is deafeningly loud even from a reasonable distance. Additionally, the potentially long runtimes for backup purposes are very damaging and I have had to have major repairs done on it several times. (even though I have never run it for longer than 6 hours at a time - or 1 tank of gas)

Please do yourself a favor and get a small diesel generator, then immediately start looking for someone to contract for regular maintenance checks.
 

Rocky

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santanatwins said:
These are my options:

A Coleman Maxa Powermate 5000 watt with a 10hp motor. The price is $399

or

A Coleman Mega Pulse 1850 watt. The price is $299

QUOTE]
From what I understand from previous posts, these Coleman units are pieces of junk for our usage. They are designed for occasional use when camping.
If my 2900 watt Honda generator cost $850 US, what does that tell you about the Coleman unit that has 60% more power at less than half the price?
JUNK...
Although I agree that diesel generators are better units and more economical to run, I agree with you that a small gas generator will do the job for you.
Diesel generators are a lot more expensive to buy.
If you were planning to run it everyday, then it would be a different story.
Those few rare times when I have run my batteries down, do not justify the additional expense of buying diesel, and I do manage to charge my batteries up, with my small semi-quiet Honda.
PS: You may want to try buying 4 additional batteries, before going the planta route, and make sure your charger control is set to it's highest position.
PPS: Is your inverter a Trace/Xantrex?
 

santanatwins

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I have until Oct. 2 for the sale. So all the input you guys can give is well appreciated.

I went back and the correct unit is a Coleman Maxa 5000 ER Plus Powermate.

I checked a few spots online and it was going for over $600...so it seems like a good buy.
 

MrMike

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Well you got my input - don't buy a Coleman unless you want to end up selling it on the used market and looking for something better.

I am about 75% sure that Coleman does not have any manufacturing or engineering facilities, I think they just re-brand other people's factory seconds and designs they didn't feel were good enough to represent their own brands, kind of like Radio Shack.
 

Robert

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I have also heard that the Coleman units work much as boat anchors and are a complete waste of time and money in the DR.

Like Rocky say's, nice for camping...
 

santanatwins

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Jan 20, 2004
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Thanks for the advise

I think I'll hold off until something else presents itself.

Let's just hope the power situation doesn't get any worse or I might just have to buy the coleman.
 

gringo in dr

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santanatwins said:
I think I'll hold off until something else presents itself.

Let's just hope the power situation doesn't get any worse or I might just have to buy the coleman.
The coleman or any other gas generator is not going to work for your application. They can't handle the load of charging your batteries. They can't handle the run times needed in the DR.

Those are toys. Nothing more. After a few months you will be looking at a decent diesel unit and you will be $400 down.
 

MrMike

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gringo in dr said:
The coleman or any other gas generator is not going to work for your application. They can't handle the load of charging your batteries. They can't handle the run times needed in the DR.

Those are toys. Nothing more. After a few months you will be looking at a decent diesel unit and you will be $400 down.
Unlike inverters, gasoline generators are rated by peak power, not constant load. So running a 5 kilo generator at a 5 kilo constant draw is going to damage it, they only expect you to use half constantly. An inverter, when charging will suck up every bit of power it can get, in the case of a Xantrex Inverter it will draw it's full capacity to charge, plus whatever ins needed to run other appliances.

So if you have a 2.5 kilo inverter, and your house draws on average 1.5 kilos while you are in inverter mode, then using a generator to charge you will be drawing 2.5 + 1.5 from the generator, very quickly burning out a 5 kilo gasoline generator, which is only meant for extended use at 2.5 kilos.
 

Festero

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Appropriate use is the key here.

In keeping with several comments, it's not that Coleman generators are crap ... they're just not made for REGULAR use. They serve a particular need, that's all.

I have a 7500w Coleman that is great for the one to three times per year I need to use it to power my house during a major storm or when someone drives into a utility pole, but boy is it loud! Gasoline is less stable and more dangerous to store than diesel too.

For regular use like in the DR with frequent power outages plus battery charging, take the advise of those who know. False economy to buy an inappropriate unit for less $ now, then end up junking it later. Not to mention all the down time and wasted time repairing it when a good unit will keep purring away with regular basic maintenance.
 

Rocky

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It depends..

gringo in dr said:
The coleman or any other gas generator is not going to work for your application. They can't handle the load of charging your batteries. They can't handle the run times needed in the DR.

Those are toys. Nothing more. After a few months you will be looking at a decent diesel unit and you will be $400 down.
If you intend on using it everyday, then by all means, start shopping for a diesel unit and get your loan application into the bank ASAP.
If you are planning on using it like I do, just as a back up for when your batteries run down, on rare occasions, (I have used mine 6 times since I bought it in July) then a gas generator will do the job.
As for the load from the battery charger in your inverter, assuming it is a Trace, you turn the control down to it's lowest setting before starting the generator up.
Once your generator is up and running, you can slowly turn the charge control up to the point that it starts to lower the revs on the generator, then back it off a little bit.
If you clamp on an ampmeter, you will be able to observe how many amps you are puting back into your batteries, while running your other utilities.
When the power comes back on, you can turn your charger back up to full.
 

AQUACHEM11

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santanatwins said:
I was wondering if the guru's on this board could help me out.

my family there has a gentron standby generator with a transfer switch, this generator is run by propane/natural gas and can run 23hrs out of a 24 hr day hope this helps