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No. of Recommendations: 28
$799.99 after $200 OFF
Cummins Onan P5450e Portable Generator
Includes Wheel Kit
Item # 361841
Price includes delivery


You can have "an emergency generator" for a lot less than that. For under $100, actually.

First, go to WalMart, CostCo, or wherever and buy a power inverter. Get one for 400-500 watts, this will cost you fro $40-$60.

Now to make an inverter work you need something that makes DC power.

See out there in the driveway? That thing called "a car"? That's what makes the DC power. If the inverter comes with a cigarette lighter plug, throw it away because the wires leading to the cigarette lighter will only carry about 100 watts safely. Buy a set of sturdier alligator clipleads which you will clip to the car battery directly, then to the inverter. Those will be about $10. Maybe $15. Now get a hefty extension cord to run power wherever you want. The longer the cord, the heavier gauge it should be, because you will suffer a voltage drop across long distances, and a better cord will ameliorate that. Figure $25.

A refrigerator will take 300, maybe 400 watts, (some big ones take more) and that's only when the compressor is running. (A computer is under 100 watts. Other stuff: http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/howmuch.html) So if you lose power for a couple days, you can run the fridge for an hour, which will give it enough "cool" to last 24 hours if you don't constantly open and close the door, or you can just run the car a couple times a day and "charge up" the cool.

Basically you can run most stuff in your house except stuff which makes heat (coffeemaker, space heater, hair dryer.) The rest of the time you can run the car and plug in the TV, or a videogame, or even the computer, if you're a mind to.

Generators are a drag, because you have to run them every month or so so they don't "gunk up." And you have to keep the fuel fresh, because if you don't, and a year goes by and you try to start it up, it probably won't.

But your car probably has fresh fuel in it most of the time, it has a power plant consisting of an alternator and battery, and it doesn't take much to get it going and keep it going. A gallon of gas will last around 6 hours at idle, but some car alternators don't produce "excess" juice at idle, so you may have to sit there and gun it a little, or do the stick-on-the-pedal trick. Dunno, it varies. When you're finished stealing the juice, let the car run for another 5 minutes to make sure the battery is "topped off." You don't want to let the kids play computer games and then find out you can't start the car.

An emergency generator. Under $100. Maybe as little as $40-$50. Throw the inverter and clips in the trunk and it works at all campsites, emergency rendesvous, and anywhere else you take the car.
 
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