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1000w Genrator Voltage Question

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by K4JNS, Apr 29, 2012.

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  1. K4JNS

    K4JNS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a 1000watt generator no name brand I got from a yard sell yesterday 20 bucks :) I already know I need a "Voltage Conditioner" as it drops from what I can tell. Is something like this going to be ok to run my power supply and rig off of?

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Rhino-1000W-Power-Conditioner/16318474?findingMethod=rr

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/APC-LE120...onditioner-With-AVR/13213504?findingMethod=rr

    This was just a quick search, I like the prices and the rhino stands out over the other one. But hate to buy something I dont need or wont work for what I'm thinking it will. Never operated out side the house so never had this problem before. Just thought it was the deal of the day so I got it. Thanks for any feed back.

    Josh
    K4JNS
     
  2. KA5S

    KA5S Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've run a Field Day station off a cheap Chinese generator (like this one) without problems, and a desktop computer too. I did use an AC PS across a floated 12V battery to run the rig, and a fast acting inverter to run the computer when the generator ran out of gas or stopped for some other reason (it did). That suggests to me that you might not need a power conditioner if all you do is charge a 12V battery and run some lamps.

    More recently I have used a much more expensive (but quieter) Honda 1000 watt inverter-based generator, which produces a well regulated, time-base-stabilized 60 Hz, 120VAC waveform. Cheaper Chinese ones versions are now available (example in URL). Some reviewers of the latter aren't happy about reliability.


    Cortland
    KA5S
     
  3. K4JNS

    K4JNS Ham Member QRZ Page

    What I have noticed from the power supply and the radio voltmeter is that not always but sometimes it will dip down so low that it actually shows the alarm light on the power supply. The volt meter on the rig will go from 13.8 to 10.5 volts. This is not all the time but I didn't like seeing that so now I'm not sure what to do. I thought about going about it like gen bat charger bat the rig but if I can cut that all out with a voltage conditioner I rather buy that then a bat and bat charger. Not sure if that will fix the issue tho, so really dont want to just go out and buy one. Am I on the right track?
     
  4. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd shift focus to identifying the root cause of brown-outs right at the generator, with an AC voltmeter and extended observation. In the meanwhile, suggest using a lower value load than your p.s./rig during testing.

    A voltage conditioner, battery, and charger will be of little help if the gennny dies soon. GL & 73
     
  5. K4JNS

    K4JNS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I dont think its going to die. Thing looks like its never been used/low low hours on it. Guess I thought it might have been something common with these Chinese generators. That would explain dirty vs. honda clean power somewhat more to me.
     
  6. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, I hope you're right, but I fail to understand how drops down to 10.5V can be considered dirty power (as in noisy, spikey, hashy). It sounds like a defective generator, regardless of how new and pretty it looks.
     
  7. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The generator must be dropping a lot for a regulated power supply to dip that low. The stages before the regulator in the power supply operate at a much higher voltage to give the power supply the capablity to produce the final voltage. Like the capacitors in the power supply will be charged to about 24VDC and then applied to the regulator section. For a power supply to put out only 10.5VDC the available 24VDC must drop below 11.2VDC. That's over a 50% drop. That would mean the generator dropped from 120VAC to less than 60VAC. That's a lot! There are very few AC conditioners that can make up that difference. The ones that can are like a UPS and use an internal battery to produce the 120VAC that is missing or low. Their capacity to maintain operations depends a lot on who made them. There are time limits on how long the battery can produce the proper voltage. The more you pay the greater the capacity and length of service will be.
    I'd go with Plan "B". Get a good quality generator and stop worrying about trying to get a bad generator working.
    73
    Gary
     
  8. WD4OOZ

    WD4OOZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most generators have 2 ratings. A 1000 watt maximum (surge) and a continous rating of 550 watts. (for example) When the generator continuous rating is exceeded the voltage output will drop just like you have described, and will not return until the load is removed or disconnected. Some generators have an automatic disconnect that allows the generator to recover before reconnecting the load. Test your generator with a continuous load starting around 200 watts with 2x 100 watt light bulbs. Let the generator run for 15 to 20 min and then add another 100 w light bulb until you reach the wattage that causes the generator voltage to start dropping. You now know what output wattage level that your generator is capable of handling on a continuous load. I suspect your setup overloaded the generator. To keep a constant load on the generator you may want to use it to charge a battery and then connect your equipment to the battery. Your battery charger will provide a more constant load on the generator than your rig will. Living in SE Florida for 30 plus years I have 3 generators at different outputs so I can use the smallest generator for the application needed. This saves gas and a lot of money...

    WD4OOZ
     
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm assuming the generator actually produces AC and it's not well regulated. The ones that are well regulated are often inverter types using high efficiency switchmode inverters to produce the AC output, and those are very forgiving and will hold up the 120Vac with huge variations in input voltage.

    If you use a switch mode power supply on your rig(s) and not a linear one, it may do the same thing. Most of my switch mode power supplies (even the ones found in common computers) will accept an AC line voltage from 90 to 264Vac, at almost any frequency (50-400 Hz is fine) and produce the same, fixed regulated output voltages over that entire range. They're designed to do that, and they do.
     
  10. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The price sounds right.

    Maybe a carburetor clean or rebuild may be in order.

    Most generators that have been setting have gum built up, being clean helps.

    Is this a 2 or 4 cycle ?

    Is a inverter built it ?

    It should have a Governor or some type of regulation built in.

    You can test it with a electric heater or light bulbs, save the radio and your PS, until you get it working properly.

    Not using gas with alcohol helps also. (Exxon does not add %10 alcohol here)
     
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