Powring computer from a generator

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Livewire, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. Livewire

    Livewire Guest

    I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)

    I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?
     
    Livewire, Jul 8, 2004
    #1
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  2. Livewire

    Unknown Guest

    When you say outside, one wonders how far from an AC outlet? Will a long
    extension cord do?
    "Livewire" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    > am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    >
    > I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    > know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    > mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?
    >
     
    Unknown, Jul 8, 2004
    #2
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  3. Livewire

    Livewire Guest

    In article <XHdHc.2555$>,
    says...
    > When you say outside, one wonders how far from an AC outlet? Will a long
    > extension cord do?
    > "Livewire" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    > > am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    > >
    > > I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    > > know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    > > mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?
    > >

    >
    >

    Sadly no -- I'm talking the middle of a field. I can't afford both a
    laptop and a generator and the generator wins because it costs less and
    cane also be useful for lighting and other mains-voltage gear. Assuming,
    that is, that the generator will safely power the computer and laser.
     
    Livewire, Jul 8, 2004
    #3
  4. Livewire

    EricP Guest

    On Thu, 8 Jul 2004 16:14:41 +0100, Livewire
    <> wrote:

    >I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    >am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    >
    >I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    >know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    >mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?


    What's the power requirement of the two likely to be?
     
    EricP, Jul 8, 2004
    #4
  5. "EricP" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Thu, 8 Jul 2004 16:14:41 +0100, Livewire
    > <> wrote:
    >
    > >I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    > >am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    > >
    > >I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    > >know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    > >mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?

    >
    > What's the power requirement of the two likely to be?


    Are you printing off brochures for cows?
    **SS**
     
    Secret Squrrel, Jul 8, 2004
    #5
  6. Livewire

    Livewire Guest

    In article <40ed7822$0$7806$>,
    says...
    >
    > "EricP" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > On Thu, 8 Jul 2004 16:14:41 +0100, Livewire
    > > <> wrote:
    > >
    > > >I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    > > >am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    > > >
    > > >I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    > > >know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    > > >mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?

    > >
    > > What's the power requirement of the two likely to be?

    >
    > Are you printing off brochures for cows?
    > **SS**
    >
    >
    >

    Not brochures . . . a moospaper!

    Actually it is for agricultural events. And I'm looking to buy a 2kw
    generator (2.4 KVA) which will be more than I'll ever need.
     
    Livewire, Jul 8, 2004
    #6
  7. Livewire

    Paul - xxx Guest

    Livewire typed:
    > I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    > am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    >
    > I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    > know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    > mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?


    We do something similar to this for lap-timing, race-control, PA, etc etc
    for the model car meetings which we race at, which are often in a field,
    miles from anywhere else .. ;)

    We use a petrol generator and a bog-standard UPS, in-line with a re-settable
    (small button) surge protection for itself., along with an RCD device for
    human protection. (Overkill we think, but .. ) I wouldn't use just a surge
    protector, they're often a 'one-shot' deal .. ie, if there's a surge they
    blow instead of your PC .. In which case you replace the surge protector.
    If you _really_ want protection then spend more money on the UPS than on the
    generator. Not only do they protect the PC from lack of petrol, they also
    do a great job of smoothing the power delivery.

    Only problem we've ever had is forgetting to re-fill the petrol tank every
    six hours, and we run sometimes 12 hour days from 7 am to whenever we decide
    to finish. The computer and UPS have survived at least three times a year
    of the generator stopping, once for over an hour, with no loss of data or
    subsequent problems.

    --
    Paul ...

    (8(|) ... Homer Rocks
     
    Paul - xxx, Jul 8, 2004
    #7
  8. Livewire

    Livewire Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    > Livewire typed:
    > > I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    > > am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    > >
    > > I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    > > know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    > > mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?

    >
    > We do something similar to this for lap-timing, race-control, PA, etc etc
    > for the model car meetings which we race at, which are often in a field,
    > miles from anywhere else .. ;)
    >
    > We use a petrol generator and a bog-standard UPS, in-line with a re-settable
    > (small button) surge protection for itself., along with an RCD device for
    > human protection. (Overkill we think, but .. ) I wouldn't use just a surge
    > protector, they're often a 'one-shot' deal .. ie, if there's a surge they
    > blow instead of your PC .. In which case you replace the surge protector.
    > If you _really_ want protection then spend more money on the UPS than on the
    > generator. Not only do they protect the PC from lack of petrol, they also
    > do a great job of smoothing the power delivery.
    >
    > Only problem we've ever had is forgetting to re-fill the petrol tank every
    > six hours, and we run sometimes 12 hour days from 7 am to whenever we decide
    > to finish. The computer and UPS have survived at least three times a year
    > of the generator stopping, once for over an hour, with no loss of data or
    > subsequent problems.
    >
    >

    Thanks for this seriously useful help. I think it points me exactly in
    the direction I need.
     
    Livewire, Jul 8, 2004
    #8
  9. Livewire

    Paul - xxx Guest

    Livewire typed:
    > In article <>,
    > says...
    >> Livewire typed:
    >>> I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    >>> am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    >>>
    >>> I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    >>> know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    >>> mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?

    >>
    >> We do something similar to this for lap-timing, race-control, PA, etc etc
    >> for the model car meetings which we race at, which are often in a field,
    >> miles from anywhere else .. ;)
    >>
    >> We use a petrol generator and a bog-standard UPS, in-line with a
    >> re-settable (small button) surge protection for itself., along with an
    >> RCD device for human protection. (Overkill we think, but .. ) I
    >> wouldn't use just a surge protector, they're often a 'one-shot' deal ..
    >> ie, if there's a surge they blow instead of your PC .. In which case you
    >> replace the surge protector. If you _really_ want protection then spend
    >> more money on the UPS than on the generator. Not only do they protect
    >> the PC from lack of petrol, they also do a great job of smoothing the
    >> power delivery.
    >>
    >> Only problem we've ever had is forgetting to re-fill the petrol tank
    >> every six hours, and we run sometimes 12 hour days from 7 am to whenever
    >> we decide to finish. The computer and UPS have survived at least three
    >> times a year of the generator stopping, once for over an hour, with no
    >> loss of data or subsequent problems.
    >>
    >>

    > Thanks for this seriously useful help. I think it points me exactly in
    > the direction I need.


    No worries .. ;)

    --
    Paul ...

    (8(|) ... Homer Rocks
     
    Paul - xxx, Jul 8, 2004
    #9
  10. Livewire

    w_tom Guest

    That UPS recommendation is flawed. Typical UPSes would
    connect computer directly to AC mains when not in battery
    backup mode. The UPS would only kick in when generator was so
    grossly out of control that voltage dropped excessively. How
    low must voltage drop before it affects a PC? Voltage so low
    that incandescent bulbs are at 40% intensity. If any
    generator is that bad, then it is better scrapped.

    There is no plug-in solution to 'any' generator. PCs are so
    resilient that most every generator would never harm the PC.
    However we cannot say this for every generator. IOW don't
    spend money on plug-in solutions to a defective generator.
    Get a minimally acceptable generator that is serious and that
    makes specific engineering claims - with numbers. No numbers
    means those specification are called junk science.

    A benchmark in generators is Honda. They have excellent
    regulation and response due to their superior design. Those
    are two essential specs that every generator must provide.
    Hondas are extremely light. They burn cleanly. They have
    some of the best fuel economy (because they better adapt to
    all loads). And (this is most important in any outdoor event)
    they are extremely quiet.

    IOW if you want a generator, then your requirements are met
    inside the generator - and not with any plug-in solution.
    Exactly why you need numerical specs - and not subjective
    recommendations.

    To further demonstrate the problem with another poster -
    surge protectors are only 'one shot' devices when myth
    purveyors have openly deceived the consumer. Effective surge
    protectors shunt (they don't stop, block, filter or absorb
    surges) without damage. They remain fully functional after
    the transient. They do their job without human even aware
    that the transient occurred.

    This made bluntly obvious by manufacturer datasheets for the
    internal active components. Component manufacture is quiet
    clear about what their product must do inside the protector.
    If a surge protector component is damaged by the transient,
    then the surge protector was grossly undersized. The
    protector was built in violation of those component
    manufacturer's data sheet. However making protectors
    undersized is so profitable especially when protectors are
    recommended by the technically naive on subjective myths.

    A transient too small to damage computer, instead, damages
    the grossly overpriced and undersized protector. Then the
    technically naive says, "Surge protector sacrificed itself to
    protect my computer." Reality: protector was so grossly
    undersized that a transient too small to cause computer
    damage, instead, damaged the ineffective protector. Just
    another way to get the naive to recommend ineffective
    products. Grossly undersize the protector so that the naive
    recommend it.

    Neither a surge protector nor the exact same circuit in a
    plug-in UPS will provide generator protection. That
    protection must be part of the generator. Honda is a
    benchmark. Furthermore computers are so resilient that even
    poor generators should not damage a properly constructed
    computer.

    Learn what your generator must do. Look at Hondas. Start
    by learning what a generator must accomplish. Any good
    generator means no need for UPS or surge protector to drive
    computers.

    But then, again, I cannot stress the importance of a quiet
    generator.

    Livewire wrote:
    > In article <>, says...
    > > We do something similar to this for lap-timing, race-control, PA, etc etc
    > > for the model car meetings which we race at, which are often in a field,
    > > miles from anywhere else .. ;)
    > >
    > > We use a petrol generator and a bog-standard UPS, in-line with a re-settable
    > > (small button) surge protection for itself., along with an RCD device for
    > > human protection. (Overkill we think, but .. ) I wouldn't use just a surge
    > > protector, they're often a 'one-shot' deal .. ie, if there's a surge they
    > > blow instead of your PC .. In which case you replace the surge protector.
    > > If you _really_ want protection then spend more money on the UPS than on the
    > > generator. Not only do they protect the PC from lack of petrol, they also
    > > do a great job of smoothing the power delivery.
    > >
    > > Only problem we've ever had is forgetting to re-fill the petrol tank every
    > > six hours, and we run sometimes 12 hour days from 7 am to whenever we decide
    > > to finish. The computer and UPS have survived at least three times a year
    > > of the generator stopping, once for over an hour, with no loss of data or
    > > subsequent problems.
    > >
    > >

    > Thanks for this seriously useful help. I think it points
    > me exactly in the direction I need.
     
    w_tom, Jul 8, 2004
    #10
  11. Livewire

    Fred Holmes Guest

    My experience with a 5 kw Honda gasoline generator and an APC UPS is
    that they don't work together. The UPS kicks in when the generator is
    running normally. APC explains this by the fact that the computer
    power supply draws current in short, high-current pulses, and that the
    5 kw generator is not designed to supply the high-current pulses even
    when it it capable of an average power output much greater than the
    computer. APC recommends a generator of at least 10 kw for this, not
    a portable unit at all.

    I'd be interested in any report of a UPS that successfully works with
    small generators, 5 kw, or even down to a 1800 watt Colman camp
    generator. Or a particular brand / model of generator that will work
    with APC UPSs. APC wasn't helpful on this issue.

    Fred Holmes


    On Thu, 8 Jul 2004 16:14:41 +0100, Livewire
    <> wrote:

    >I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    >am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    >
    >I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    >know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    >mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?
     
    Fred Holmes, Jul 15, 2004
    #11
  12. Livewire

    Unknown Guest

    Those are absolutely ridiculous statements. Any generator with enough output
    should be able to work with a UPS.
    A 1000 watt generator should work. If the UPS kicks in then the generator
    merely has poor regulation. That is quality of the generator not its output
    capability. However, the generator might be fine and the UPS is of very poor
    quality.
    The only way to determine is to record the generator output on a graph or
    watch it on an oscillascope.
    The computer system does draw current in short pulses. These are known as
    pulse mode power supplies but, are by NO MEANS high current pulses. I would
    request the specs for the UPS.
    "Fred Holmes" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > My experience with a 5 kw Honda gasoline generator and an APC UPS is
    > that they don't work together. The UPS kicks in when the generator is
    > running normally. APC explains this by the fact that the computer
    > power supply draws current in short, high-current pulses, and that the
    > 5 kw generator is not designed to supply the high-current pulses even
    > when it it capable of an average power output much greater than the
    > computer. APC recommends a generator of at least 10 kw for this, not
    > a portable unit at all.
    >
    > I'd be interested in any report of a UPS that successfully works with
    > small generators, 5 kw, or even down to a 1800 watt Colman camp
    > generator. Or a particular brand / model of generator that will work
    > with APC UPSs. APC wasn't helpful on this issue.
    >
    > Fred Holmes
    >
    >
    > On Thu, 8 Jul 2004 16:14:41 +0100, Livewire
    > <> wrote:
    >
    > >I need to use a computer and laser printer outside over the summer and
    > >am looking to buy a *very* cheap generator (I'm cash-strapped!)
    > >
    > >I'm worried about the output stability of the generator. Does anyone
    > >know whether buying a normal surge protector like you would use on the
    > >mains supply provide enough protection for my electronics?

    >
     
    Unknown, Jul 15, 2004
    #12
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