Generators

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 07:15
ThreadID: 104230 Views:2529 Replies:5 FollowUps:21
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Hi
I am looking at buying a new 2.6kVA portable generator to enable us to do more free camping. I guess the accessory with the biggest current draw will be the aircon/heater in our caravan. I initially thought of the standards; Honda and Yamaha, but shopping around have come across the Kipor brand that is much cheaper. So, whilst I have seen a thread on this subject dating back to 2010, I would welcome some current feedback from owners of these generators regarding their reliability, ease of starting, noise levels when running etc.
Thanks
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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 08:14

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 08:14
Why are you concerned about noise levels ?
Living is a journey,it depends on where you go !
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AnswerID: 517796

Reply By: customline - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 09:01

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 09:01
G'day Senna136 ,I have a KIPOR 2600 and have had no problems .Noisewise all brands are noisey under load .KIPOR are cheaper and seem to have got their act together in reliability .So for me these are good .Why pay more .

AnswerID: 517798

Reply By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 10:39

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 10:39
Hi Senna

I would suspect that you intend to connect the generator to the van by means of the van power inlet socket
You should be made aware that the van RCD /safety switch [if fitted ] gives NO PROTECTION against electric shock in THAT case.!!

The general safety recommendation when using such generators is to only connect ONE Class1 device /appliance at any time[Class 1 have a 3pin plug]

Multiple Class 2[2pin plus] can be connnected with a very low level of risk

Connecting more than ONE Class1 device encreases the risks of a dangerous electrical fault developing

Your VAN itself is will be that ONE Class1 device it then will have several additional class 1 devices connected
THAT is the risk.

Deaths have occurred using such generators with more than ONE class 1 device!!


Note: A plug in portable RCD power board also is useless & does not give ANY protection!!
PeterQ
AnswerID: 517808

Follow Up By: blown4by - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 11:06

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 11:06
Also ensure the generator is always earthed preferably with and earth stake and earth lead. A generator that is not earthed, such as sitting on the back of a tradies ute, or poorly earthed, just by relying on ground contact alone, will offer no earth leakage protection.
Regarding brands, I am more than happy with my Honda and was happy to pay the extra for peace of mind, parts availability, warranty and longevity. I have several Honda engines that are over 40 years old and the head hasn't been off one of them yet.
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FollowupID: 797521

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:49

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:49
HI blown4by

Sorry, but that info is not correct
The generator SHOULD not be earthed deliberately by an earth stake or any other means
The Rules state :
"An earth stake IS NOT REQUIRED or recommended"

This is in despite of what SOME instruction manuals may say!!!
The only earthing required is by means of the extension lead plugged into the generator to the load
Deliberately "earthing",to mother earth,does not encrease safety ,& can actually do more harm than good!!!

PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797527

Follow Up By: Senna136 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:49

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:49
Thanks oldtrack - what are your recommendations then?
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FollowupID: 797528

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:59

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:59
HI
I cannot edit, so will add
Earthing the portable generator to mother earth does not in anyway help the RCD to function!!
'DO NOT USE AN EATH STAKE or deliberately earth your portable generator/inverter to mother earth in any way!!

Further to the above :
The Van camper etc, itself also should also not be deliberately connected to mother earth by an earth stake or any other means,

The only earthing required is by means of the earth connection in the power lead[extension lead] to the power outlet!!!
Additional earthing can introduce problems ,without giving ANY advantages!

PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797530

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 13:39

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 13:39
HI Senna
Apart from having the generator modifiedr & having a RCD or URCD permanently fitted & correctly wired[By an electrician ]

You could have your van RCD changed for a "Universal RCD"
This is a specilal form of RCD which can be used with portable generators & inverter plugged into the Van power outlet
It could also be permanently fitted & connected to the generator
For more info contact '
"info@powerstream.com"

Usual disclaimer
I have no interests in the company, but believe the product to be a great safety device for ALL portable generator users


PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797532

Follow Up By: blown4by - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 14:35

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 14:35
oldtrack123,
How then do you explain why most portable gen sets, particularly the larger ones, are supplied with an earth stake and an earth terminal to attach the earth lead from the earth stake? I was not referring to the operation of the RCD but the earth leakage protection device ELCB if a good earth is not established.
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FollowupID: 797535

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 15:26

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 15:26
Hi
You are no doubt referring to portable generators which are Fixed wired into a switch boards Or have a switch board attached, Including a RCD permaneny connected
THEY are wired differently, with connections made in the switch board,to ensure the RCD functions
& do require A Satisfacrory earth that must meet specified requirements

THAT is a completly different situation to the small portable units that RVers' use & how THEY use them


Because the situations are totally different

Incidently, a RCD & ELCB are the same thing


PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797537

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 15:41

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 15:41
HI
Again an addition to above
A small portable generator ,such as RVers & most tradies use, is not fitted with a permanent RCD/ELCB , so an earth stake has no advantage!!
IF it does have A RCD PERMANENTLY fitted & wired,
internal wiring changes have to be made for the RCD/ELCB to be functional

but an earth stake or diliberate connection to mother earth is "not needed or recommended "as it can lead to problems !!


If the generator is permanently wired into the van with the correct wiring & Switching arrangement, the van RCD will be fully operational, BUT AGAIN "AN EARTH STAKE IS NEITHER REQUIRED OR RECOMMENDED"
PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797539

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 20:22

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 20:22
Despite oldtrack123's pretty good advice, I would like to take issue with his statement ...

"Incidently, a RCD & ELCB are the same thing"

Both items are classified as circuit breakers. However, an RCD (Residual Current Device) is a device specifically designed to PREVENT DAMAGE TO, AND PROTECT THE HUMAN BODY from electric shock.
An RCD contains a sensing coil that detects any slight current imbalance, and when it is detected, the sensing coil trips the contact and disconnects the power.
An RCD is highly sensitive, and is often subject to regular and often unnecessary tripping, when even the slightest current imbalance is detected.

An ELCB (EARTH Leakage Circuit Breaker) detects current leaking to EARTH, and is designed specifically to PROTECT CIRCUITRY - and NOT the human body.
You can still get a killer shock from a system fitted just with an ELCB.

That is the reason why RCD's are now standard, compulsory fitment, in houses and factories in many States.
They are designed to SAVE LIVES - not SAVE CIRCUITRY.

Oldtrack123 is correct in that an earth is not required with a small portable generator.
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FollowupID: 797559

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:14

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:14
Incidently Ron you are splitting hairs – a lot of ELCB’s are residual current devices - designed to trip out around 20 milli amp – but they can be non-residual current devices that use other methods of protecting against electrocution. Oldtrack is correct in saying Safety Switches are ineffective when used on a normal portable generator.
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FollowupID: 797563

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:20

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:20
HI Ron

You are refering to a different type of ELCB which in actual fact would have been better referred to as a RVD
One normally used by supply authorities to monitor faults in the power lines to earth


"RCD" is a relatively new term just as that has beenreplace in comon langauge as been replaced by "Safety switch'

If you can obtain a copy of old Electrical wiring rules from around 70s you will find they are referred to as "ELCB" breakers

The RCD monitors the current flowing through Active & Neutral
IF an out of balance of sufficient magnitude [between 10 & 100 miilli Amps depending on situation & type, it trips.

For that out of balance to occur the current must have an alternative path back to the source , which is by means of the Earth system[not necessarily mother earth] to neutral bond


The Earliest form of these way back in the early 60s where referred to as "ELCB" circuit breakers
stands for "earth leak core balance" circuit breakers & worked on exactly the same principles as modern RCDs

The only difference is modern electronics now are used

I actually worked for a company [head service technician] who were Qld Distributers of Klockner Mueller brand in the 60<80s
I had many a problem with cionvincing people they were not faulty when they tripped & that the problem was low insulation values in the wiring ,equipment


PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797565

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:29

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:29
Peter - Excellent response, thank you. The definitions, name abbreviations and designs of the various circuit breakers, can most certainly lead to confusion.

I just wanted to clear up the impression that anyone may have gotten, than any CB will perform the same purpose as an RCD.

Cheers - Ron.
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FollowupID: 797567

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:40

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:40
HI
Again because I cannot edit I will add to this:
"For that out of balance to occur the current must have an alternative path back to the source , which is by means of the Earth system[not necessarily mother earth] to neutral bond"

That means a CURRENT leakage to earthing system[not necessarily mother earth]from the active, bypassing some of the current from the neutral of the ELCB/RCD causing an OUT of balance in the ELCB /RCD

Nothing to do with voltage sensing

Whole purpose of the basic unit is electric shock protection.

But they can be/ are often coupled with a suitably rated OVERLOAD cb for circuit or equipment protection

A M.E.N System is not necessary for operation

Just a bonded earth to neutral system such as would be done IF the generator was PERMANETLY fitted & wired [in the correct manner] into a van ,motor home , etc


PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797569

Reply By: olcoolone - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:43

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:43
When using it please be considerate to other campers and caravanners around you...... no matter how quiet it is.
AnswerID: 517819

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew L (QLD) - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:49

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 12:49
x 2 please. There's a fair few inconsiderate generator owners running around.

I don't understand the concept of free camping, but running a generator for cooling, watching TV etc.

Spend a few dollars on a decent solar installation, batteries, change to LED lighting, outdoor cooking and enjoy...free camping and natural outdoors with the rest of us. ;)
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FollowupID: 797526

Follow Up By: wizzer73 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 16:40

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 16:40
The lead between the genny and the van should never exceed 2 meters in length.

wizzer
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FollowupID: 797541

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:19

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:19
Don't be silly Wizzer
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FollowupID: 797564

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:25

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:25
wizzer73 posted:
The lead between the genny and the van should never exceed 2 meters in length.

wizzer"

HI Wizzer
Why???
I've never heard of that one
ANY" APPROVED" 3core extenson lead can be used
BUT do not join leads to feed a van /camper etc
'The extension lead shall be in one piec"
No joins or connectors!!

PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797566

Follow Up By: wizzer73 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:38

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:38
A short lead is just a way of being considerate to fellow campers as olcoolone stated.

wizzer
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FollowupID: 797568

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:45

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:45
HI Wizzer
Good
I'll go with that, having been the victim of long extension leads to get the generator away from their location & close to others, on many occasion.

PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797571

Follow Up By: wizzer73 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:55

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 21:55
Yes generators can be a decisive issue around the campfire. I dont think people that buy them realize this. Its like a ford holden thing lol.

wizzer
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FollowupID: 797573

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 22:11

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 22:11
HI Wizzer
I guess it could become a safety issue.
Incorrect use could lead to a broken jaw or worse!!

PeterQ
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FollowupID: 797574

Reply By: desray (WA - Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 00:01

Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 00:01
Senna 136 back to the original question.... How about one of these http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/NEW-GenTrax-4-4kVA-Generator-PureSine-Inverter-Portable-Petrol-Silent-Camping-/271210130844?pt=AU_Hardware&hash=item3f25622d9c

I have one bought locally not from ebay. It works good starts first time even runs the air con in the van. A little noisy? and a little heavy when full of fuel about 30kilos.
AnswerID: 517849

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