Pros:adequate power for most power needs
popular brand with spare parts available
tri-fuel kit available aftermarket
Cons:constant high RPM
low fuel economy
no low oil cut off
made in china
The Bottom Line: Get if if you need genset for emergency. Would not recommend for continuous use. Never keep untreated gasoline in the tank. Make sure it is adequately sized.
I bought this generator after spending a day without electricity during Irene worrying continuosly if my battery-powered backup sump pump is able to handle all the water. It was also quite inconvenient since my well pump would not work at all and evel little things like flushing toilet was a challenge. 5.5 Kw is probably overkill but it should be sufficient to power everything in the house except few things like electric stove, electric dryer and 5 ton air conditioner which I am totally happy with.
Recommend this product?
Also getting tri-fuel conversion kit so I am able to power it with NG/LP/gas and that should make it easier to store and find fuel in emergency. As recent snowstorm showed obtaining gasoline in the area with no electricity is extremely difficult. It is easier with the LP and if you have NG at your home you can operate your converted genset many times cheaper and more reliably then anone on the gasoline.
Generator itself is built well, delivered by freight from major online retailer for $700 and starts easily. I will keep factory supplied oil for first 5 hours then switch to 5W30 Mobil1 I am using in my cars and bying in bulk.
Generator is made in China. It came mostly assempled, just attach wheels, add oil and good to go. It is quite loud even though it has shuper-lo-tone muffler. It is running at 3600RPM. Some people had good luck with adding cheapest car mufflers to the system to quiet it down but I am not planning to do so at the moment.
When adding gasoline make sure you either mix it with fuel stabilizer or use up all remaining gasoline from the tank; otherwise gasoline goes bad within 30-90 days. Bad gasoline means hard or impossible start in emergency. It is also good idea to keep your gasoline mixed with stailizer and rotate it every year. This is another reason I decided to convert it to tri-fuel, this way I don't have to worry about storing/draining gasoline, just keep few filled 20Lb tanks under the deck.
This generator is equipped with 1650 B&S engine, 342 cc (not 305 cc reported on some websites). It does NOT have low oil cutoff. Fuel utilization is speced around 0.5 Gal/hour at half load and won't change significantly as load decreases/increases since it operates at constant 3600 RPM. Make sure you size genset properly for your needs as bigger engine will use more fuel. Read instruction carefully and remove extra cover from the engine when is not operated in feezing temperatures. That will keep it slightly cooler and save some gas.
Generator provides 240 V power jack and can be connected to the house via interlock switch or transfer switch. I think this is smallest genset with 240V capability (maybe except older 5KW model). Generator has bonded neutral. When connecting to the house using transfer or interlock switch, to be code compliant you want to switch to floating neutral by removing short vire under alternator cover connecting ground and neutral.
Recommended accesories: chain with padlock (generators are in high demand during power outages), 30 amp extention cord for 240V jack, fuel stabilizer.
Update 11 Nov 2012: Used it after Sandy for about 5 days. Since were short on gas and did not know when the power is going to be back, only ran it for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening to cool down fridges and have water/shower. It was powering the fridge, freezer, nighbor freezer, woll pump, oil boiler, few lights and 20 amp marine battery charger, on average about 1/4 of rated continuous output. Total run time was 20 hours, used about 0.35-0.40 gal. of gasoline per hour.
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