Best generator for $500.00 or less...

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by rsbhunter, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Going up to property end of month

    Ok, i know that my property isn't situated "perfectly" for solar, and there are some trees that will have to come down....I looked at google Earth today, and it (my property) had full sun from about 8:30 am to 5:45 pm....It will take some tree cutting, and i will do a azimuth chart while i'm there to see IF i can figure out the sun's path/arc during the winter months....Is there anything i can do as far as situating the cabin... What is the allowable distance i will want my battery/power station (will be a separate shed) from the cabin...i know it depends on the gauge of wire, etc...but what is the outer limit that you guy's suggest...i know closer is better, but just in case Murphy comes into play..?????? Also, i am looking at a Champion 4000max/3500 watt generator for a small generator(right at $300.00), the reviews are good on what iv'e read, just wondering if anyone has any personal experience with them? Thanks for all the help....rsbhunter
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    If you buy that Piece of JUNK Genset, you will be SORRY, before the first 1000 Hours of Operation expire. Much better to go with a SLOW Turner, Diesel.... Yea they cost more, but they will still be running when your grandchildren take over the place..... .... YMMV....
    oldawg likes this.
  3. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+


    BTPost, this won't be for the solar backup, this is just to be used while building the cabin...running a circular saw, and a small compressor for a nail gun..... maybe a light at night....i plan on getting a much better genset for solar batt charging....but for the $300.00, and i have a deal on a CC that gives me $50.00 towards the first purchase, if i pay it off at first billing (and i will!) then it ends up costing me around $265.00 with tax and out the door....If it dies after i get the cabin built, then iv'e gotten my moneies worth....Can't see buying a $1000-2000 gen that i don't want to leave on the property while i'm not there, unprotected...this one i can haul with me...rsbhunter
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    For your described (construction and camping) purpose, that gennie will do OK. For long term, heavier duty is wanted, and diesel would be preferred.
  5. Suerto

    Suerto Monkey+

    To extend the life of my crappy cummins 6500 gasser genny, I converted it to run tri-fuel (gasoline / propane / natty gas) primarily has been and will be run on propane.. parts run $300 or so..

    I mention this, as, consolidating fuel needs for operation (fuels that store readily and indefinitely) was adventagious for my particular plan, which is not too dis-similar to yours..

    Converting my gas genny to run on the same fuel source my camper uses, was less costly and weight inhibitive, than buying a diesel genny. I converted my jeep to propane as well.

    Trucks run on diesel, to haul all my crap.. ccc

    Just sayin
  6. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    Summer is coming check craigs list and pawn shops I picked up a used Honda 2000 for $85.00, After Y2K there were a lot of used gen sets out there cheap, that are better that a champion.
  7. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    That piece of junk will most likely do just fine for building the cabin. Especially if it has an idle down feature. Also, you need to check the hertz while running with your kill a watt meter to make sure it is within 60 hertz specs for any motors at all.
  8. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Checking hertz

    Will do Nadja, like i said, this is for a short term use....i don't expect gold for the price of aluminum.....As far as used, most of the stuff around here is JUNK!!!!! But the sellers think they have gold!!! Problem living in a city where the closest decent size town is 180 miles......People here have the attitude of "where else you gonna go?" and prices reflect it....Thanks for the tips, i saw ad ad for this one, and for the $$$$ i honestly think i could do worse....rsbhunter
  9. usmcvet

    usmcvet Monkey+

    Want to double you money?[drooling]
  10. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Champion genset

    Forgot to add, i believe it does have the idle down feature...a couple of the reviews i read stated it did......rsbhunter
  11. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    Those reviews must have been made by the importers.They are chicom junk.Clones. The rubber in the fuel system is NOT rated for ethanol .The internal machining is not up to the standards of a freshman shop class. They come through our shop regularly and the complaints of "won't start"or "doesn't generate" and some of these things aren't even a year old. Cheap is good except when it don't work.JMO
  12. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+


    Yeah, it's always a possibility of that happening.......But iv'e found that in all things , cars, weapons, etc.....sometimes no matter what name is on them, they break.......i can't see spending anywhere from $2k to $5k on a generator now, that will have to be hauled on a trailer for 3 day trips.....I might regret getting this one, but thats happened to me with women also, and they worked fine at first!!!!!!!!!!
    tulianr and oldawg like this.
  13. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Ok, was looking at getting a generator for use while building my cabin...Will run a small air compressor (enough for a nail gun) and a circular saw...not at the same time.....Had been looking at the Champion 4000peak/3500 run watt model...had good reviews, but was advised against , what are the make/models that you would suggest for a usable genset that will do what i need? With having to pay for a driveway and bldg pad to be cleared, and materials for the cabin its self, i am on a budget...the good backup genset (whether diesel, propane or gas) will have to wait til i am closer to moving there full time, as i want a pad and shed built for it....Thanks for any guy's know alot more about these things than i do...rsbhunter
  14. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Find a RV JunkYard, or look on Craig'sList, and look for Onan CCK, NH, or J Series Gensets. These are going to be USED, and OLD, but they are all built like Tanks and will still be running when your Grandchildren take over the place. Onan's of this class, have a Operational Lifetime of more than 10K Hours. Many can be had for the Bucks, in your price range. Kohler also built a competing models of Gensets, that can fill this same functions. All the Service, Parts and Operation Manuals can be found here: Antique Engines Antique Tractors Steam Engines and Old Iron in the Onan, or Kohler forums. ..... YMMV....
    oldawg, hank2222 and VisuTrac like this.
  15. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

    You may look int steping up into a 1000$ WELEDER GENERATOR,,, that would help alot in what your set out to do.
  16. farmboyJD

    farmboyJD Monkey++

    onan gen

    What BTPost says: search Craigslist for Onan. I've purchased a few in good condition for $400. They're heavier, 2 cylinder models running at 1800 rpm from RV's. They can be your backup gen for your solar system, as they are made to last. Most salvaged from RV's only have a few hundred hours.
    BTPost, Nadja and oldawg like this.
  17. Harbin

    Harbin Monkey+

    We are in the process of building a house so my needs were pretty much the same- something I could load in and out of my truck by myself and the cheaper the better. The CL listings around here were the same too, either complete trash or way over priced. The few that did pop up were gone by the time I would call. We will be installing a larger permanent generator after the house is done, so once I get power pulled to the house I plan to sell it- which is scheduled for next week. Below is a link to the model I decided on, the only downside is it doesn't have 220V. When I need 220V (like when the well was being installed) I borrow my Uncle's Generac 5500. This little one starts right up usually on the first pull and so far hasn't let me down. I picked up the wheel kit for it. Over the weekend I used it to drill 8 holes through 6" of concrete with 3" and 4" coring bits. You could hear it load up but it never had a problem and the voltmeter on the side barely dropped from 125V while under load. DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt 7.0 HP OHV 4-Cycle Gas Powered Portable Generator: Patio, Lawn & Garden

    My carpenter has a Honda that I think is rated at 7000W, he got it used for $1400. Make no mistake- his is much nicer and makes about the same noise while being twice the size. There is definitely a quality difference but for my needs this little one is working out great.
  18. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    tulianr likes this.
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