Minimum Generator Size

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Repairs & Maintenance' started by KJMcNeil, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. KJMcNeil

    KJMcNeil Member

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    I recently put my pup in a tiny garage to start working on the roof repairs. The garage has no power so I need either a small generator or a power station. I'm just curious if anyone knows what the smallest generator I can use to power lights? I don't need anything other than lights. If I get the right genny, would outlets also work?
     
  2. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    You can get by easily with a 2000 watt Harbor Freight Predator Generator for $400
     
  3. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Short answer, YES, and YES.

    Longer answer:
    There are two types of generators. Utility (Construction) type, and inverter type.

    Utility types are very large, very heavy, very loud, and quite cheap.
    Inverter types are small, light, very quite, and cost more.

    To run lights, you could get away with the smallest generator that exists.

    Sticking with harbor freight (because they carry the full gamut, not cause I recommend them, I'd recommend a Honda)
    This is the type I'd recommend:
    Invertor
    https://www.harborfreight.com/2000-...iNDQ5Ljk5IiwicHJvZHVjdF9p ZCI6IjExNzg4In0=

    $450-500 1600 running watts @ 65 dB. (65dB is equivalent to "Conversation in restaurant, office, background music, Air conditioning unit at 100 feet.")

    This is enough to run power tools (which you will probably need as well)

    The next type is what's called a Utility:
    https://www.harborfreight.com/4000-watt-max-starting-gas-powered-generator-epa-iii-63079.html

    $360 3200 running watts @ 72 dB (70 dB is twice as loud as 60dB, vacuum cleaner is a good equivilant)
    More power but 3 times the size, and more than double the noise.

    Lastly, there is this ..... thing.......

    https://www.harborfreight.com/900-watt-max-starting-2-cycle-gas-powered-generator-epacarb-63025.html

    $125 700 watts @ 91dB (Hearing damage after 8 hours of exposure, Jet landing)
    Also, 700 watts is not a lot of power. Lights yes, power tools, no.

    The point I'm making, is that you have to look at all three (Price, Power, and Sound).

    If you plan on taking it camping, spend the money to get the inverter. It's WORTH it.
     
  4. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I use a 1400/1800 watt Champion to power lights and an occasional power tool at a remote piece of property weekly. Usually the run is 3 or 4 hours. My current gen is going on 4 years old and never a problem. Tractor Supply has them for about 200 bucks.
     
  5. KJMcNeil

    KJMcNeil Member

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    Ok so I just had another train of thought. I'm seeing some portable power stations with 110v ac. Would one of these power a battery tender/charger long enough to recharge the batt? Then I could just run off 12v?
     
  6. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    A bit cumbersome, but I would recommend getting a good battery charger, 10 to 15 amps, and taking the battery home to charge overnight between work sessions. You could run lights all day after that.

    If you need 110 to run power tools a small genny would work and you would only need to run it while using the tools. Another option for this would be 18 to 20 amp tools, also recharged at home. Most manufacturers make several different tools that run off the same batteries. A good source for discounted and remanufactured tools is cpooutlets.com.
     
  7. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    Just to make sure you know, a generator run in a closed space will kill you due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Even with the garage door open you run serious risks. The generator must be run outside the space, preferably on the downwind side of the door and as far away from the workspace as possible.
     
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  8. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Why? You've not indicated that you need 120 vac to power tools, only lights. Presumably your trailer already has 12 vdc battery so just buy a couple of 12 vdc LED light bulbs, like this.

    https://www.amazon.com/12V-Low-Voltage-Light-Bulbs/dp/B07B8QC12N/ref=sxin_3_ac_d_rm?ac_md=0-0-MTIgdm9sdCBsaWdodCBidWxi-ac_d_rm&crid=1GVFHC2603SS5&keywords=12+volt+light+bulb&pd_rd_i=B07B8QC12N&pd_rd_r=3601a1f8-1ecb-47a8-a62f-56a3d8357aa8&pd_rd_w=Mmdts&pd_rd_wg=MTGhK&pf_rd_p=404c4843-2c96-4d0d-a5fe-2b0598693e61&pf_rd_r=XNM55GTW8Z2FJ945GFGH&qid=1568729658&sprefix=12+volt+,aps,182
     
  9. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    I beleive in getting more then what you think you need.. Even though you may think you'll never use the genny while camping, having one that can run everything inside the trailer may open new camping doors for you, because you are then eqiped to do so..

    Last year we bought a backup genny for the house.. I could have gotten one that would supply power to things like the water pump, furnace (or ac) and a couple circuits but decided I may as well get one that could power the entire house.. so bought an 11.5kw Champion..
     
  10. KJMcNeil

    KJMcNeil Member

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    I hadn't even thought about the CO issue. That changes every thing. I just bought a cordless power tool kit that came with two batts. I'm looking at some rechargeable flood lights and will probably just bring my 12v home to charge when needed. I'll probably try this route first then consider a better power source if this doesn't suffice.
     

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