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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?

    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.

  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.

  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.
  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...

  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 Platinum Subscriber Platinum 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)
  11. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    run staton off generator

    The easy and effective way around replacing the generator would be using a simple automotive battery charger and a few car batteries in parallel.
    Running your rigs from the batteries to have a stable voltage source no matter if the generator hiccups to a brief low voltage. The batteries are charging when you are not transmitting !
    Lighting can run off the ac from the generator.
    I Would think most modern radios run off 12VDC and at home you have to use the AC supply to convert your house AC voltage to 12 V anyway.
    Innefficient to run from poorly regulated generator to ACPS to rig, but the batteries here give you solid voltage regulation no matter what the generator is doing, as long as the average AC voltage is correct..
  12. K4JNS

    K4JNS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok this afternoon did some more looking into it and have figured out that the gen was not calibrated right from the factory or some other way. Turned up a little to get the voltage right and the hertz to 60. Added a apc voltage reg/conditoner and I'm happy with the out come now. Didnt have to buy the apc forgot we already had one. Cant wait to try out camping this weekend.
  13. K4JNS

    K4JNS Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK after using this setup for a couple of days. I have shifted over to the battery idea, from k8jd. I think you pay for what you get when it comes to a generator for sure now lol. I feel I will have a lot more safety for the rig running off a deep cycle marine battery. I have been looking into a smart charger at walmart. 10/6/2 amp that should be better on the battery then the charger built in the generator. And still should be able to have some room for lights. Can I run the rig with the charger on the battery is my question now? I know it may create rf but will the charger strain if its in use?
  14. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Leaving the battery should not be a problem, A good battery will filter the ripple. RF could be a issue, but probably not.

    Most of the generators are about 10 Amps out on the DC charge connection, and would work as well as a Smart Charger.

    A Smart charger is good, If you plan on continuously charging for days.
  15. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I may have missed it , it seems you left out a lot of info ?
    How much of a load are you pulling with your setup ?
    About 30 yrs. ago they started BSing us with ratings , the large number [ on generator ] used to be the continuous rating and the small number was the surge , its average that 1000 watt generators have a continuous rating of 850 watt .
    Most generators , except for low RPM commercial rigs , reduce RPM when the load is low , so just that could be your issue , again detailed info ?
    So with almost any generator out there [ except the commercial low RPM ] you need to provide at least a min. load to keep the RPMs up & voltage steady , this assumes your garage sale goody is in operating condition .
    So back info on the station in question , what rig , will it run on 13.8 volts , did you have a power supply in line , measure what the draw in the generator is with the complete station .
    A battery back-up is good to keep all your gear from having issues with vary voltage / outage , the only issue may be not keeping voltage at the rig / PS at 13.8 , not 12 volts .
    Of course to avoid all kinds of issues stay far away from chineez / walmart gunk , many reasons .
  16. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I screwed up on my post.

    I meant to say Leaving the battery on the charger should not be a problem.

    The fact that a battery will be around 12.5 volts Cold when loaded down, The voltage can get marginal for a radio if not continuously charged. Depends on the radio.

    Wal-Mart stuff not made in the USA ? lol. They went to selling junk just as soon as the old man died.

    I bought a 1200 watt 120 volt inverter at Wal-Mart for a good price for use with a deep cycle battery during Hurricanes.

    The Inverter low voltage shutdown caused it to be unusable when the battery got around 12 Volts.
    Most Inverters are made to be used with a automobile running and the battery being charged.

    Batteries are nice, and charging them off of a generator is the berries during Hurricanes, or other power outage.

    In this area they run the nice generators on Natural Gas.
  17. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Again multiple issues , most charges drop off to a trickle charge current after the regulator sees battery voltage a full charge of 12.75 volts , the problem with leaving battery on most chargers , the trickle charge will boil off water , especially on smaller batteries .
    Most inverters is a misnomer , until recently with the flood of chineez junk , most inverters were high power quality either in commercial applications or alternative energy , these were intended to be used with lower voltage limits and incorporated battery boosters = sacrifice current to bring up voltage .
    Some time you can trick some of the cheeper gear with simple fixes , like using a light bulb [ the watt size of bulb depends on the details of what you have ] on the generator to keep some demand to keep RPM / voltage up .
    There different types of conditioners , some limit high spikes and some have capacitors to help with low spikes .
  18. K4JNS

    K4JNS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Its a 2 cycle 1000w generator 800w continuous Rig ft450 jet stream switching ps even when running, it would be so back and forth on voltage 114-125. So I thought a apc voltage regulator would fix it and it some what did. But the thing would be clicking like crazy because the voltage would rise and fall. Got me thinking I should just go get a deep cycle batter 109ah and the charger posted above. I just cant understand how long this will run the rig on full output and the charge time it will take to recharge. Also can the rig run with the battery on the charger so there is no down time? This all started as a camping set up to get ready for field day but has turned into a head ache. I was reading on arrl about 1000w gen would power radio light and laptop? isnt working that way for me.
  19. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is what I thought of - that rating is peak, which is probably 5 seconds. Depending on the design, the derating might be 700 to 750 watts, and if it's really cheap, yea 650? My FT-2000D would exceed the rating of the generator in continuous use. A power supply charging a battery and operating a rig might well be too much, throw in a computer and UPS? I think you have too little power maybe.

    Failing that, it may be a mechanical issue - hard to tell without much more data.
  20. KA5S

    KA5S Subscriber QRZ Page

    My experience with a cheap Chinese generator was a "900 Watt" unit bought at a local chain, Meijer, for ~$100. I ran a normal PS off it into a deep cycle battery, and connected that to the rig and a Xantrex XS400 inverter to run a lamp and a desktop computer for when the AC power went off. That was for FD; when the generator ran out of fuel the rig and computer kept going. Could have used a laptop computer for better duration overall, but the one I'd intended to use suffered a case of pen-on-keyboard (smashed screen) disease. I use a similar setup (with a charger not generator) in my Shack to keep one rig and the main computer going during power interruptions.

    About 1963 tried running a Lafayette receiver off a 300 watt palm-sized generator. That old tube radio loaded the genset down and it was very (audibly) noisy but worked; the receiver wasn't very stable to begin with and not much worse on the generator.

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