PSN-L Email List Message

Subject: Re: Gas Generator recommendations
From: Ken Navarre kjn@.......
Date: Mon, 07 May 2001 21:36:02 -0700

> With all of this talk about blackouts here in California I have been
> thinking about getting a gas (propane?) generator. Can anyone recommend a
> small reliable unit that's not to noisy? I would think a 2500-3000 watt unit
> should be fine. I only want to power a couple of computers, monitors, hubs,
> DSL modems and maybe a few florescent lights. I don't need to power any
> heavy equipment like my refrigerator.

Having had my share of generators in the 350 watt - 12 Kw range I think I'm a
fairly good source of experience on this subject.  For years I was on "a quest"
for the quietest backup generator.  For my purposes an inverter was not the sole
answer.  I use a 600 watt inverter in my motorhome for backup power during
"quiet hours".  As for generators I settled on the Honda line of generators,
despite the bright red color which is kind'a hard to camouflage, due to the
excellent sound baffling they use.  For 90% of our energy use in the motorhome a
small Honda EX-650 worked great.  It was small, fairly light (60 lbs) and would
power the satellite system, TV, charge the batteries, run the lights and the
laptop seismic system for about 6 hours on less than 1/3 gallon of fuel.  The
Generac, Coleman, and crap sold at Costco should be reserved for contractors who
are working on someone else's home and aren't concerned about ticking off our
neighbors.  They are fairly cheap but have zip for baffling.   I've had them all
and sold them well below cost just to get rid of them after running them for a
short period of time.  Due to the noise issue I even considered tossing them in
the ocean as a public service!

Honda entered the "ultra quite" market last year with their EU series
generators.  I bought one of the EU-1000i  before they were cleared for use by
the infinitely wise California Air Resources Board.  The problem: the engine
used in the EU series inverter/generator was the same as that used in the Honda
gardening equip.  But since the generator is stationary the engine was NOT
approved for that use...  Didn't matter that the emissions & fuel consumption
was the best in the market...  Do you suppose that CARB has anything to do with

Anyway, the EU-1000i has a 12 volt alternator (if I recall correctly) that
drives a 110 VAC inverter instead of a 110VAC generator.  It simulates a full
sine wave very well as evidenced by the way that it runs my computers & monitors
on "field day".  It weighs only 29 lbs with a full load of .6 gallons of gas.
It is only 18"x10"x15" and is VERY quiet!  Something like 55 db @ 25 feet.  It
does have one issue that the EX series didn't have.  I could run a microwave
oven for a short period of time with the 110 VAC generator.  The
inverter/generator is more sensitive to overloads and trips immediately whereas
the generator would handle a brief overload.  It has an "eco-mode" that turns
the output of the generator to the minimum required by lowering the rpm of the
engine.  The inverter still outputs 110VAC even under the lower input voltage.
It's way cool!

Cost of the EU1000i  (1000 watts rated - probably only about 800 in reality) is
just under $700.  It's a bit more pricey than the EX-650 and the straight 1000
watt (EX-1000) generator.  I was by a shop last week and I see that Honda has
released a 2kw model called (oddly enough) EU-2000i.  It's just a tad heavier,
bigger, nosier than the EU-1000i but is still very "neighborhood friendly".  I
also have the 3Kw EU-3000i to backup the home systems now that California has
become one of the largest third world nations on the planet because of wonderful
foresight on numerous people's parts (but that gets us off the topic of

Basically, the EX- 650 is very quiet and has a full 650 watt ac generator.  It
is fuel efficient and luggable.  The EX-1000 is a bit bigger and not quite as
quiet but neither unit will piss off your neighbors even if you run it at
night.  The EU-1000i/2000i/3000i is a bit more expensive, a bit more fickle if
you tend to overload it, and the quietest units around.  I get 7 - 8 hours of
runtime on 1/2 gallon of fuel with a 75% load on the 1000i.  The EU-1000i is a
nice unit.  I bought mine off the Internet from Mayberry Sales in New Jersey and
they paid the shipping and I had no CA tax.  Check out   and
compare prices with your local Honda dealer...  The 3000i is 30% - 40% more
expensive than than a comparably sized ac generator but it is MUCH quieter and a
bit lighter - don't let someone walk off with it...  Keep under lock & key or
chained to a large dog!

Ken Navarre


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Larry Cochrane <cochrane@..............>