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Old 06-04-2017, 12:04 AM   #1
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Question $369 Costco propane / gas generator. At 5,000 feet.

Hi all

A pal of mine lives at 5,800 feet elevation in a cabin

(5,800 is the correct altitude)

He has a big propane tank there.
Plus electricity.

Sometimes there are blackouts, due to storms.

He would like to have a generator as a backup

Gasoline goes off after 6 months I believe.

Having a generator that can run off propane would be an advantage.

Propane does not go off.

I just saw this $369 (delivered) Costco USA sold dual fuel generator.

Pulsar 5250

Does anyone have any info about this unit?

Anyone guess how well it might (or might not) work at 5,000 feet?

I know a propane generator works less well at altitudes.

The $369 price is attractive as he would rarely use it.

Thanks.

https://m.costco.com/Pulsar-5250-Pea...100350153.html

The manual does not mention anything about altitude.

http://pulsar-products.com/wp-conten...50B-manual.pdf

John.
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:21 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
Hi all

A pal of mine lives at 5,000 feet elevation in a cabin

He has a big propane tank there.
Plus electricity.

Sometimes there are blackouts, due to storms.

He would like to have a generator as a backup

Gasoline goes off after 6 months I believe.

Having a generator that can run off propane would be an advantage.

Propane does not go off.

I just saw this $369 (delivered) Costco USA sold dual fuel generator.

Pulsar 5250

Does anyone have any info about this unit?

Anyone guess how well it might (or might not) work at 5,000 feet?

I know a propane generator works less well at altitudes.

The $369 price is attractive as he would rarely use it.

Thanks.

https://m.costco.com/Pulsar-5250-Pea...100350153.html

John.
Big question here is "Does he really need 5000+ watt output? I power my cabin with a 2800 watt ( ~23 amp) Champion from Costco (gas). Its enough output for me and has been for a long time. This generator is pushing $600 but the price difference will very quickly be made up by not wasting the unneeded wattage in the larger generator - i.e. lower fuel consumption. Its also an inverter generator .... meaning it adjusts its output to what is needed. Just turn off his clothes dryer when the power goes off.

Gas breaking down after 6 months .... mmmm I have no problem in my stored gas when I have been gone that long. He could use a gas stabilizer. Just don't store a 1000 gallons in case he might need it.

I have found the Champion brand to be very reliable but heavy. I have three of them.

Tom
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:55 AM   #3
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Looks like a huge bargain for contractor use or perhaps at a cabin, but I certainly wouldn't want to try and heft it to a campsite.

One other thing - 78 db is quite loud. Just for comparison, 80 db is the sound of a freight train going by at 15 meters. The little Honda 2000 Watt generators you see at campsites are around 49 to 55 db - which is about the noise level of normal speech.
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:24 PM   #4
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Although gasoline doesn't "keep" as well as propane, because it is a much more complex mix of components and so is not as stable, I'm not so concerned about how fresh it is. According to all the descriptions of "best practices", I should drain my gasoline-fueled equipment (lawn mower, lawn tractor, chainsaw) at the end of each season of use, and use some sort of stabilizer additive; not doing that apparently risks gas turning to some unusable goop and the engines never running again. In fact, I don't do any of that and don't have problems with fuel.

Still, if there's always propane available that would be good to use. Propane in low temperatures is a pain in the neck, but if he has a large tank (to manage evaporative chilling and so maintain better pressure) and a good regulator setup (not a typical RV unit) then it should be fine.

I don't see any fundamental problem with propane related to elevation. Any normally aspirated (non-turbocharged) engine will lose power with the less dense air at higher altitudes (perhaps 17% less power up there than at sea level), and carburetted engines typically need adjustments to run properly, but these have nothing to do with the type of fuel... as long as the mixture of the propane carb can be adjusted (it might not be adjustable). Also, 5800 feet is high for a residence but not so high for engines - there are a highways in B.C. through mountain passes about that high.
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:28 PM   #5
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A fixed-speed generator is a loud and inefficient thing to use for long periods, but if use is occasional enough and brief enough it may be an acceptable compromise, versus the greater cost of a modern unit which varies in speed to match load and incorporates an inverter to produce power at the required fixed frequency. I think most generators permanently mounted in motorhomes are still fixed-speed non-inverter designs, although with a decent sound-deadening housing; mine is that type. This Pulsar is cheap because it is a fixed-speed open-frame design, with a relatively no-name engine ("DHLG225" by CHONGQING DAJIANG POWER EQUIPMENT CO., LTD) ; on the other hand, it is already set up for propane, and has a convenient set of output connectors.

For anyone who wants a propane-fuelled generator intended to be wired to a house for backup power generation, Costco has those, too:
Honeywell 17 kW Automatic Standby Generator
Of course it's about ten times as expensive for three times the power.

Connecting stuff to the generator is an issue: an RV is easy because it has a plug-in power cord, but how do you plug in a cabin? A transfer switch for a whole building, connected to utility power, is a routine configuration but is neither cheap nor trivial to install. The Honeywell generator set above comes with a suitable transfer switch.
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Old 06-04-2017, 05:29 PM   #6
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One other thing - 78 db is quite loud. Just for comparison, 80 db is the sound of a freight train going by at 15 meters. The little Honda 2000 Watt generators you see at campsites are around 49 to 55 db - which is about the noise level of normal speech.
Yes, the generator linked will be VERY loud. That may be ok given the cabin application, but be forewarned. At that price I would question the quality of components and long term durability. Also want to consider the quality of the power. If running any computers or fancy electronics might want a pure sine wave inverter type.

I was at a fair today with many vendors. The constant speed open generator "construction" designs could be easily heard from hundreds of feet away and are obnoxiously loud. One courteous vendor had a pair of Honda EU2000's paired together and I had to get almost on top of them to know they were even running. Granted the ambient noise level was raised from other generators and a band but still impressive. As most of us know it is all about the surroundings and the particular application as even the "quiet" inverter generators can still be considered loud in a campground setting.
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Old 06-05-2017, 09:35 AM   #7
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For what it is worth I happened to catch this same Pulsar brand on my way out of ShopRite last night. I usually trust Costco for vetting their product offerings, but something doesn't sit right when this same brand unit is in the seasonal section of a grocery store. This may be just a carryover from the rush on generators we experienced in our area following Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Before I unfairly condemn Pulsar, does anyone have real-world experience with this brand? I would be much more inclined to go with Generac, Honda or Champion for non-inverter type. For the inverter type there are of course the Honda and Yamaha, but also some new players on the scene including Champion, Generac, Powerhorse, WEN and Briggs and Stratton. For any of these one should seriously consider where they might get it serviced if they have problems.
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
For what it is worth I happened to catch this same Pulsar brand on my way out of ShopRite last night. I usually trust Costco for vetting their product offerings, but something doesn't sit right when this same brand unit is in the seasonal section of a grocery store. This may be just a carryover from the rush on generators we experienced in our area following Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Before I unfairly condemn Pulsar, does anyone have real-world experience with this brand? I would be much more inclined to go with Generac, Honda or Champion for non-inverter type. For the inverter type there are of course the Honda and Yamaha, but also some new players on the scene including Champion, Generac, Powerhorse, WEN and Briggs and Stratton. For any of these one should seriously consider where they might get it serviced if they have problems.
Hi: rubicon327... Never put it past a food chain to make a buck or few on non food items. I didn't see a db sound level on the box. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:47 AM   #9
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Hi: rubicon327... Never put it past a food chain to make a buck or few on non food items. I didn't see a db sound level on the box. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
Interesting that Amazon has this same generator for just over $1,000, but ShopRite can sell it for $599?? Buyer beware.

No sound rating on the Pulsar website but the owner's manual says this which should tell us a great deal: "Prolonged exposure to noise levels above 68 DBA is hazardous to hearing. Always wear ANSI approved ear protection when operating or working around the generator when it is running."
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Old 06-06-2017, 04:13 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for The good info.

John
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