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#300219 - 10/15/21 11:37 PM Re: Gas generator alternatives? [Re: jshannon]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2908
Originally Posted By: jshannon
Inverter losses can be from 5%-30%? I am trying to remember what the RV folks said about that subject.


5% are the nice high end systems, 30% are the cheap built into the RV or portable ones.

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#300220 - 10/16/21 03:14 AM Re: Gas generator alternatives? [Re: Famdoc]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 3054
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: Famdoc
I'm cheerfully clueless as to the energy inefficiency of using a vehicle + invertor versus a dedicated generator. Would you have the time to share some hard data on the subject or a website one might be directed to?
For some /many folks the additional cost, storage and ongoing preventative maintenance needs and space needed for a separate generator are deal makers/breakers.


I am respectful of the financial considerations. These are very real for many people.

What I was trying to say is that running a large engine to power a relatively tiny alternator and battery means that a lot of gas is burned for a relatively small amount of electricity. That's the inefficiency I was talking about. A generator is designed to be much more efficient.

In a pinch, that doesn't matter so much. As I said, I keep a pure sine inverter that can connect to my vehicles, so I can connect the dots if I have to, efficiency be damned.

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#300221 - 10/16/21 01:34 PM Re: Gas generator alternatives? [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3657
Loc: USA
For those who donít know, pure sine wave power is better for electronics, particularly things like TVs, microwave ovens, laser printers, battery chargers, CPAP machines and computers. Generators that output pure sine wave power are often the higher-end of the manufacturerís line, and frequently will run quieter, have an auto-throttle for load, and have other nice features.

When I bought my generator I couldnít afford pure sine wave for the output I needed, and my primary use case was the refrigerator, electric space heaters, and sump pumps. But I do have higher-end UPS systems protecting specific devices in my house. These devices both give me a battery backup for power outages and also output very clean power. Iím holding off upgrading my generator in part because I know I can power sensitive devices that way.

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#300222 - 10/16/21 02:02 PM Re: Gas generator alternatives? [Re: Bingley]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 3054
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Agreed, pure sine inverters are much better. Looking at Amazon, the price of portable pure sine wave inverters has gone way down. The efficiency of mid-priced ones seems to have gone up too, which is nice.

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#300224 - 10/17/21 12:51 AM Re: Gas generator alternatives? [Re: chaosmagnet]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2908
Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet

When I bought my generator I couldnít afford pure sine wave for the output I needed, and my primary use case was the refrigerator, electric space heaters, and sump pumps. But I do have higher-end UPS systems protecting specific devices in my house. These devices both give me a battery backup for power outages and also output very clean power. Iím holding off upgrading my generator in part because I know I can power sensitive devices that way.


Do you have a true online UPS?

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#300225 - 10/17/21 02:01 AM Re: Gas generator alternatives? [Re: Eugene]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3657
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Eugene
Do you have a true online UPS?


This is an excellent question.

No, Iím running Tripp-Lite SMART1500LCDTís, one covering our Internet router and primary WiFi access point, and one covering critical loads in my home lab. The TV is plugged into one of the surge protection (not battery backup) outlets on the first one.

The double conversion units cost 4x as much at the same capacity.

To get pure sine wave we would probably need to charge the UPSís and run equipment off of them after theyíve been disconnected from the generator. Iím thinking the TV and BluRay player. Lower quality (meaning almost all of them) power bricks would suffer significant loss of operational lifetime running on modified sine wave power. The printer would too, but anyone who runs a laser printer off of a small to medium UPS is fixing to fry said UPS.

On the positive side, most of the devices in our house are made by Apple. Appleís power bricks are some of the best made, with rectifiers that run great on modified sine wave power. My desktop PC power supply will likely suffer a minor loss of operational lifetime running on modified sine wave. I doubt Iíd notice unless I ran that machine on the generator for weeks. I donít plan to run any of my IT lab gear off the generator.

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#300226 - 10/17/21 04:07 AM Re: Gas generator alternatives? [Re: Bingley]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2908
Reason I ask is most consumer UPS's don't give you that clean power unless the input voltage has gone low enough to cause it to switch to battery, under its normal operation the input power is fed straight though, noise, spikes small surges and all.
You may be aware but I find any are not. Basically the lower cost UPS's are the offline also called switching type. Some will incorporate a surge protector in as well, but sometimes, like yours they are separate outlets from the battery backup outlets. Most of these UPS's will switch to battery if the input voltage goes too high as well but spikes and noise are usually too quick to cause them to switch.

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#300235 - 10/17/21 11:32 PM Re: Gas generator alternatives? [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3657
Loc: USA
I have significant professional experience with Tripp-Liite and think very highly of their products ó no affiliation now, but I worked for some of their resellers in the past. So while my electronics are well protected against surges, blackouts and brownouts, theyíre not well-protected against modified sine-wave power produced by my generator.

Only a dual-conversion AKA true online UPS will take modified sine-wave power and turn it into true sine-wave power.

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