Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time to buy a Generator

Having now put the power provision requirements in order inside the car, there are occasions when more power is required and a generator is needed. I started looking at what was available at around the 1kW level. In the USA I had a Honda EX1000 1kW for 15 years which worked well and provided ample power, but looking at the UK prices a cheaper solution was needed! I noticed while researching that nowdays there were "generators" and "inverter generators" which were new to me so I sought the advice of the local "portable operation with a generator" owner, Roger G4BVY. After much discussion I decided that the main advantage of the inverter generator is that the volts and frequency are not so controlled by the motor speed and are therefore better for "delicate electronic equipment" and they are lighter.

With this in mind I started looking online at the "normal" Clarke G1200 generator and an Inverter Clarke IG1000. The most noticeable difference was the weight, The G1200 was 25kg the IG1000 was 15kg. It was time to physically look at them. Roger had recently received a postcard with VAT free Clarke purchases at the local machinemart in Worcester; time for us to visit.  There was indeed a noticeable difference in weight; the IG1000 could be easily moved with one hand, the G1200 took effort. The IG1000 was well enclosed; ideal for wet Welsh mountains. The decision was made to buy the IG1000, even though it was slightly dearer,  during the voucher validity window the following Sunday. I was at this point cautioned by others about the amount of RF noise the Inverter can produce, but I went ahead.  The shop was visited on Sunday afternoon and the boxed generator easily fitted in the back of the Jazz with the back seats up.


The following day a visit was made to the Rogers to christen the generator. Following the instructions, (most noticeably waiting 5 minutes for the new oil and petrol to get everywhere it should),  the generator started. With no load it produced 230V. At this point the calibrated dummy load was found  (a 600/1200W switchable fan heater). Applying the load caused the motor to "think" briefly but the voltage only dropped 1V. We  decided it was time to look at the waveform so an oscilloscope was extracted from the shack. There was NO difference in waveform between 0W and 600W. It wasn't a pure sine wave but it was very stable

Next test was RF noise The Elecraft KX3 was moved all around the generator (which had been given an antenna...the mains extension lead) but no noise could be found through 6m.
The following day, while setting up for the 2m UKAC I ran my 2m setup from the generator. Elecraft K3 + 500W I0JXX LDMOS module based PA ran off a 48V switcher power supply, It produced 350W without tripping the generator. The AC voltage still only dropped 1V.
I am most impressed with its performance.

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