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12fretter 06-30-2012 07:41 PM

I'm usually pretty good at research, but darned if I can find a generator in the 5-7K watt range that is made in the USA. It seems all Generacs in that range are from China. Briggs and Stratton says most of their engines are made in the USA, but I ran across a store that listed a good one for me but specifically said it was not made in the USA.

Anyone have any clues? I'm not totally opposed to made in Japan, but I won't bet my families lives on made in China.

fireguy 06-30-2012 07:50 PM

I think the Northstar generators have Japanese Yanmar motors and US power heads. Hope this helps.

Dillinger 07-01-2012 12:59 AM

I have more than a little experience in this department having spent 8 years with the power company. After extensive research, we put a Kohler, natural gas, line fed, back up generator with ATS in at my place that has served us well for the past 7 years. The thing is a tank and our house is NEVER without power.

Are you looking for a man portable, gas powered option that you can haul out, fire up and plug in?

Or are you looking for a solution that will power your house for a couple of days if the really bad weather hits?

Be happy to help with what I have learned if you need some info.


12fretter 07-01-2012 04:00 AM


What I am looking for is enough to keep my two small chest freezers, medium fridge and a couple small things going in the event of crisis. I figured I would need 3600 PEAK watts so I am after a unit with about 6-7Kw peak, and 4-5K running watts to give me enough overhead.

I want a new unit because the first thing I will do is convert it to tri-fuel. And I don't want anyone elses bad fuel habits.

I was looking at units like the Troy Bilt which has a B&S engine which I know can be serviced almost anywhere. Just not thrilled about Troy Bilt. On the other hand, my Troy Bilt pressure washer has served me well for 10 years without the least bit of problems. The gen was $649 I think, at Lowes.

Am I pricing myself into junk or can one be found somewhere around that price?

Dillinger 07-01-2012 05:21 PM

12fretter - First off, my hat is off to you for doing your research. A lot of folks don't go to this level. *respect*

For the casual reader: With appliances like freezers, or anything with a motor, you have a Locked Rotor Current that can double, triple or more the amount of cold current amps you need to start a device. What this means is when you have no power, you plug in your "needed" items and fire up your generator, if it can't ramp up to the required number of amps of draw, it will fail to be able to start the device and could flat kill the motor on the generator.

One of the problems with home owners and small, portable, plug in generators is that people don't take into account their amperage needs and that these devices can induce power back into the commercial line power which can cause severe problems when the power comes back on.

I don't expect this to be a problem with the OP. ;)

12fret - I assume your equipment all runs on 120 and are not 240 volt devices? Because that will up your overall size need on the generator.

I have seen just about every man portable generator out there over the years of power outages and storm duty.

Briggs & Stratton and Honda definitely lead the pack when it comes to home purchases in this area and I can recommend both as being reliable, tough and dependable when the lights go out.

Like some purchases (gun safes of immediate interest to this group) buying a generator is wrought with peril because if you spend the cash and don't get enough power, you will feel slighted. Also once you get in the "comfortable habit" of having access to power when no one else does, your family will soon want you to stretch that to other circuits in the house. :roll eyes:

While you have identified what your "thought of" peak demand is, you might want to consider doubling that just based on the acceptance of comfort factor which will definitely kick in.

It's not a cheap investment. I think our unit was around $3,300 which I got on 12 months no interest because free money is cool. :cool: I poured the concrete pad myself and had a buddy do the natural gas plumbing, so I was out about another $300-$400 there. The installation of the Automatic Transfer Switch, which came with the unit, cost me another $200 worth of bar-b-que food and drink because I have another buddy who is a licensed electrician.

Having said that, the unit & price incurred has paid for itself 2 dozen times over when the power went out and I wasn't home to hook up a man portable unit. It adds value to the house, provides sound piece of mind to me about the safety/comfort of my gal and the dogs if I am not home and gives me solice should anything severe happen weather or zombie wise. :o

The thought of getting a generator is a great one. Analyzing the immediate needs of your household is an excellent first step. But make sure and build in a safety net for yourself in the event of "comfort" because I can assure you - when cold and dark comes, you are going to be MOST happy you did.

If I can offer any assistance, please hit me up. Good luck with your search.


kfox75 07-01-2012 05:43 PM

Thanks for the info on generators JD. You helped me narrow my search down as well.

Birchhatchery 07-02-2012 02:34 AM

i am looking in to getting a PTO powered generator one that i can hook the tractor up to and hook it up to the main power and run everything in the house like the power was never out anyone have any expericne with these ive been looking around but found nothing real interesting yet i also would like to find out that can run off of 20-30 hp

techiej 07-02-2012 02:53 AM

Last genny we had used a Honda G20 based (gas) motor and was was rated 10 kw with peak of 12 kw and had 120 & 240 outlets...elecyric start. The brand was power master but I dont't know if they are still around or not.

We had the house wired with a disconnect/transfer switch and plugged in via 240.

Also used the genny to run a MIG welder.

While I had a Kubota tractor (27 hp) I elected to not use the PTO as I would probably need the tractor at the same time ti clear debris, snow, etc. Also I could jump start the genny from the tractor if the battery on the genny died.

RJMercer 07-02-2012 03:12 PM


Originally Posted by Birchhatchery (Post 855988)
i am looking in to getting a PTO powered generator one that i can hook the tractor up to and hook it up to the main power and run everything in the house like the power was never out anyone have any expericne with these ive been looking around but found nothing real interesting yet i also would like to find out that can run off of 20-30 hp

PTO generators are super handy if you already have the tractor to turn one.

They have a few downsides though. The ones I've seen are usually rated to work for about a week a year. If you are in a long term blackout there is a chance the generator won't hold out for long.

They require 2hp per kw since tractors don't have a governor system to regulate engine rpm. So if I used my tractor to power my house, I have a 34hp tractor so I could only run part of my 24kw service since all I can make is 17kw. Those numbers are pto hp, not engine hp. You lose a few hp getting the power to the pto. Decide what your essentials are and switch off the other breakers.

They are less fuel efficient than a direct drive diesel generator since the engine rpm has to go through so many gears to get stepped down to the standard cat.1 540 rpm then get stepped back up to 1800 or 3600 at the generator head. 1 gallons an hour or more could be the norm at full load.

Birchhatchery 07-02-2012 07:35 PM

i have 2 ford tractors and all i want to run is 3 freeszers 1 fridge and the furnace and maybe a light or to

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