Sams Club Generators

reeldoc(7 NC)July 8, 2006

I found what looks like a good deal on an 8125 with a Honda 13 horse. Anyone used one and have an opinion? I need to replace an old Generac 5500.

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Where do you send it for warranty work?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 4:31AM
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googled it...seems to be a Coleman Powermate product so service is probably available for it. seems to be U.S. made. I'm curious what Sam's price is...I tried to check but the item is not available in my area. another site I found wants $1349.99.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 7:49AM
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It really depends on what you plan on using it for. We purchased a generator after hurricane Ivan to run an airconditioning unit, the refrigerator, a few lights and a tv for information and news. The total running load we draw is 2,350 watts or 47% of it's rated output. The AC unit and fridge draw more when the compressors cycle but they never exceed the maximum surge rating. We used about 5-gallons of fuel per day as it ran 9 hours overnight and then 3 additional hours during the day for the fridge and to recover the hot water heater. To date the only thing we have replaced is the air filter, spark plug and oil. We do have a replacement set of brushes but with almost 400 hours on it we have yet to replace them as the originals are still okay. Would I purchase the same generator if I was doing contractor work and running it day in and day out.. in a word, no. But for what we use it for, it is more than capable and would replace it with the same or similar model when it finally gives up the ghost.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 4:53PM
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vandtbear1(S. Illinois)

azinoh, this sells for $899 at the closest Sams Club to me. That seems to be a really good price.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 12:34PM
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Indeed, fpda31 is right. It all depends on what you intend to power with that unit. Remember, none of these portable generators are made to operate at full power. When you put a real heavy load on portable generator, it uses a lot of fuel.

As fpda31 mentioned, its best to run your generator at about half load. You'll get the best fuel economy and leave plenty of room for surge loads which are created when compressors cycle on. So, for the generator you mentioned, you'd want to put about a 3,250 watt load on it for the best results.

That generator is sold at my local Sam's Club. When I was shopping for a generator, that unit was on my short list. However, I sat down and figured out my power needs. My plan is to use the generator for emergency power after a hurricane. I plan to run 2 window A/C units (8,000 BTU), a 25 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer, a ceiling fan, a floor fan and a few lights. My total draw is not going to be over 2,500 watts, therefore I bought a 5,000 watt generator.

Now, I've heard a lot of people say that you won't regret getting a bigger unit than you need. I don't agree with that premise. I bought my portable generator for one reason, emergency power after a hurricane. I have 80 gallons of gasoline in storage. I may have to use that generator for two weeks or more after a storm. Based upon my previous experience, gasoline will be in short supply. I want to conserve as much as possible.

That 13 HP Honda engine on that Black Max generator is nice, but it burns a lot more gas than a 10 HP Briggs & Stratton OHV Intek. If you need to power a continuous 3,250 watt load, then go for it. If not, find something smaller.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 6:15PM
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Starhust - I hope you have no need for that generator other than the luxury of having remote power for some electric power tool beyond extension cord reach.
We used our generator 3 times now for AC/lighting and while it is superior to nothing by a huge margin, it is not something I want to do for obvious reasons. Best of luck to you and yours this hurricane season.
Keeping the fingers crossed, so far... but Aug/Sept are the months to worry about (statistically). Like I said, may you never need it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 2:35AM
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The "Black Max" generators are quite "serviceable". If you are using it as an occasional/emergency power source AND do not expect it to power your whole house (i.e., you have "select" applications), it's fine.

I have seen three or four people returning 5000-watt Coleman generators to Sam's because (it won't run my air-conditioning!"

Alas, that is the ONE thing Sam's does not provide for most of its products: advice/expertise.

As an example, they have some great prices on 7000-watt & 12000-watt Briggs & Stratton generators. But...the "typical" Sam's shopper has no idea what is involved in getting those bad boys home, getting a slab laid, transfer switches (which Sam's doesn't sell) or the overall installation. They MAY have an electrician they "refer". And my guess is that the best electricians out there want nothing to do with referrals from Sam's Club. They get enough from the best contractors and sub-contractors.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 10:10AM
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If someone returns a 5kw generator because it won't run their air-conditioner then I submit they likely have not properly evaluated all the issues they may face during long term widespread power outages. You can run a pretty good sized air conditioner with a 5k generator.
There is absolutely no way I can run my central air on one though we have (2) 5-ton units I would need to power. We rough it with 3 air conditioned rooms when on generator power. As Starhust said, there are many factors in the decision of how big to go. Since the generator I use is exclusively intended to be emergency power after a hurricane we have fuel issues to contend with. 5kw is a good trade-off point between available power and fuel consumption given *our* requirements.
We have an 18,500btu air conditioner upstairs in the barn. However it would cost me 7-8 gallons of fuel to run that bad boy for 12 hours. 8-gallons x 20 days is 160-gallons of fuel. Instead we opted for a smaller unit and only cool a select area of the house. This results in 5-gallon use or a difference of 60-gallons of fuel. Or, about $172.00 less for the same time period. The money is not the true issue, rather stored fuel capacity on-hand. To include the vehicles, the 3 tractors ect, we have 125-gallons of fuel on-hand when the storm hits. If we use the larger unit I am short 35-gallons and when a hurricane visits you it takes power down for hundreds of miles, not exactly a simple matter of driving to the nearby gas station for gas.

If you have the ability to store more fuel, or are not going to be relying on stored fuel exclusively to run the generator (e.g you are not dealing with a widespread power grid outage) then by all means, 15,20,25kw may suit you much better. Our logistical issues with fuel after the event make a larger unit that consumes more fuel actually create problems rather than solve them. A 15kw genset does you no good if you cannot get fuel to operate it on. We based the 20-day figure on past hurricane power outage duration then added a few more days as a buffer. If you are not planning on a long term widespread power outage like we were, then obviously your requirements will differ, and a larger unit may be exactly what you want. Hey, if we had a few hundred gallons underground at our disposal that 18,500w unit would be certainly running and we would air-condition day and night.

Everyone's needs are different, evaluate them carefully to include fuel useage, and replacement spare parts availability. Having a generator that is overloaded will cause it to fail prematurely, and if you are depending on it for power that is not a good thing, conversely one sized too large will result in you having no fuel left to operate it... either way you are going to be without power and that was the whole point of the generator, to have power.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 11:59AM
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I'm referring to those folks who buy a 5000-watt portable unit and expect to be able to "plug" their central A/C into it.

You're right on fuel consumption & storage issues. That is really the primary factor for Floridians during hurricane season. You MUST be able to differentiate between "necessity" and "luxury". You also have to make the commitment to being "truly" prepared. Expecting generators and other "miracle" tools to do everything is not at all realistic.

The "large/monster" PORTABLE gensets are a mystery to me, in some respects. The gas consumption is akin to that of a 1970s-vintage Ford "Country Squire" station wagon, and unless you are running a commando operation, you simply can't "utilize" all that power. It may be one thing for those in rural environments, but again, fuel storage (not just consumption) comes into play.

When "upgrading" our generator situation for our office, the first thing I looked at was power/plug set-up. the second was fuel consumption. Given our power needs and the "reasonable" estimate of outage duration for a hurricane going through the Orlando area, I found 6500-8000 watts being sufficient AND not too greedy with gas.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 7:53AM
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In order to determine the size generator than you need, find out what your going to run with it. If fuel economy is a major factor, then consider a generator with a smaller engine, but your not going to be able to run as many items as you want at the same time. Fuel economy is important, but for me, that was a minor issue regarding my decision. I had three main requirements when I bought my generator. First, I wanted a gen set with a 50amp outlet and second I did not want to spend over $2500 not including the transfer switch, and third I wanted a voltage req to run electronics. I work from home sometimes and I need to be able to use my computer. I found a 10,000 watt Briggs generator from Electronic Generators direct shipped to my house for less than $2200. I basically wired my whole house except for my centeral air, stove, and washer dryer. I live out it the woods and I'm the last one to get power, so I want to be able to use some luxury items like the tv or microwave because it could be days before we get power back after a bad storm. I have a well for water and two air handlers for my forced hot air that run separate from my furnace. I wanted to make sure I had enought power to run both of my fridges as well plus some lights in different rooms. My generator is a little bigger than I need, but it was the cheapest one that met all my requirements. Also as stated above I'm not overworking it either which should extend its service life.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 9:30AM
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I had no idea the Country Squires got such bad fuel mileage. I think the neighbors one had a 350 in it, I can say though that the 396 I had in an ElCamino got such terrible mileage that you HAD to shut the engine off at the gas station when fueling so the pump could gain on it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 12:45AM
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"As fpda31 mentioned, its best to run your generator at about half load. You'll get the best fuel economy and leave plenty of room for surge loads which are created when compressors cycle on. So, for the generator you mentioned, you'd want to "

Just curious, How do you now this for sure regarding fuel?
As far as I know Gen-sets are most efficient at full load, not 50%. Did you read this? Can you please post you source.
Are you saying a 12hp set at 50% uses less gas than a 6hp at 100%?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 7:00PM
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Small portable electric generators (such as those made by Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Coleman, Yamaha, Porter Cable, etc.) give fuel consumption ratings based upon the generator being run at half load. As an example, my 5,000 watt generator with a 10 HP Briggs & Stratton Intek OHV engine is rated to run 11 hours on 5 gallons of gas. In practical experience, it only gets about 9.5 hours of use from 5 gallons of gas pulling a 2,500 watt load.

Run time vs. electric load is always a balance. Thats why itÂs important to know the electrical load you intend to put on the generator. ItÂs best to shoot for a 50% load not only for most economical fuel use, but also to protect the engine and the generator itself.

While most (not all) portable electric generators are designed to run at their full rated load, itÂs always best to leave some extra capacity available. Just because your car can run at 100 MPH, itÂs not a good idea to run it that fast for extended periods. YouÂll just waste gas and ruin the engine more quickly.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 9:37PM
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Danman1 - most things you power with a generator have 2 power requirements. 1 is running load, the other is starting load.
I run a fridge, an air-conditioner, some lights, and a few fans. Occasionally we run a TV or radio and a computer for news and information pertinent after a major disaster (hurricane).

Depending on what you choose to run, in practice you will realize it is likely not possible to draw 100% power all the time.

The air-conditioner draws 1,500 watts running, but draws 2,400 when the compressor cycles ON.
The fridge draws 850 running and 2,475 when starting.

So here I am running the AC and the load is 1,500 watts
I have a few lights on using 200 watts, and the TV is on drawing 150 watts. I have on 4 fans circulating the air in the rooms I am cooling keeping the temperature even using an additional 400 total watts. This is 2,250watts and easily handled by the generator. Suddenly the fridge turns on. This draws an additonal 2,475 watts during starting. I am now drawing 4,725 watts and that is below the 5,000 rated and 6,250 surge rating so I am good. I could turn on a few more lights, maybe turn on the radio too. But the point is the maximum I can really run has to be the start-up surges + what is running and this must not exceed the nameplate max surge.
Since there is a very real possibility of the AC and the Fridge cycling together occasionally I need to make sure I am subtracting the total surge that would produce from the surge rating of the generator. That leaves me with 1,375 watts to power "non surge loads" such as lights and the radio etc.
So If I max out the non surge loads and the AC and Fridge are running at their running loads I am using 3,725 watts. I also have the overhead surge for when and if the AC and the fridge cycle together.
If you run exclusively non-surge loads (like all incandescant light bulbs) then I could run (50) 100-watt lights, or 50 miles of electric fencing. But it is impossible to run my generator at FULL LOAD continually given what I choose to run. The only exception to that is when we turn off the fridge and the AC, and run the water heater 4,500 watts along with the bath and shower lights, and the humidity fan. It draws a total of 4,750 watts but the water heater only heats for 20-30 minutes then it cycles off when the water reaches temp again. (Yes it is very noticable listening to the generator when the 4,500 watt load ceases and I am only drawing 250 now for a fan and a few lights.)
If I had the water heater on drawing 4,500 watts, and I left the fridge breaker on, that would be 5,350 watts and not good for the generator, but what would be worse is the fridge being off, but the breaker on, and the hot water heater drawing 4,500 watts... suddenly the fridge tries to start. I say tries, because that would need 6,975 watts
The max surge rating is 6,250. I do not want to try this and find out, but I think there may be a bright flash from the generator, and then everything plugged in would shut off.
Everyones needs differ. I use my genset for emergency power during likely a widespread long term power outage.
Fuel use is a factor so I do not load my generator up to the max running load less the surge requirements because it DOES require more fuel to operate at 3,500 running watts than it does at 2,475 running watts. How can we know this is true? Well, simply it requires more energy input to get more energy output. As to my using say a 5hp generator instead of a 10hp unit.. the 5hp unit may handle all the running loads, but it does not handle the surge requirement of the fridge and AC cycling, so it was ruled out. Hey, I would love a 5hp generator that could handle the surge loads AND run for 24 hours on 5-gallons. Nobody offers one though. If you find one, please post it here.
Until then I am stuck with the larger engine running at part power normally, with the balance there for the starting loads that happen on and off.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 10:53PM
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It boils down to three factors when looking at generators for emergency/casual use (assuming you know what you want to power from it):

--Rated wattage
--Surge wattage
--Fuel consumption

My first office generator throws 6600 watts, a relatively small addtion to 7200 watts for "surge", and a 6-gallon tank provides about 9 hours of run time. (Briggs & Stratton)

The second (bought on a whim) is 5000 watts, 6250 "surge" and only 6 hours on a 5-gallon tank (Coleman w/ Tecumseh). Needless to say, this is now the back-up to the back-up!

I got lucky and "discovered" the Generac 7550EXL at Home Depot...along with a card of "no interest for a year". 7550 watts, 13500 "surge", and maybe most important for our application, a healthy mix of conveniences, i.e., two 30-amp plugs (one 3-prong, one 4-prong), electric start and some great accessories (extra oil, cover, "Extend-A Panel" cord, fuel stabilizer). Alas, Briggs bought Generac and "basic-ed" up the model (now the 8000EXL). And I get 10 hours on a 7-gallon tank. Not the MOST efficient, but not bad for its size.

Last March I found a sale at Home Depot and picked up a Briggs "Power Boss" with 5500 watts, 7300 surge, Extend-A-Panel cord, stabilizer and 13 hours on 7 gallons! This has become, along with the Generac, part of the mainstay for office emergency power.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 4:18PM
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Thanks for the in-depth explanation. My loaded question for Starhust, was efficiancy only. Gallons gas burned vs watts produced. I was actually baiting I guess, Sorry. Surge load vs running load as you describe is indeed important to all readers, and should influence buying. It does not however, change the physics of the efficiency. As I suggested above, most(almost all), gen-sets are most efficent at full load. This statistic is not dependent on load fluctuation.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 9:18PM
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Danman1 - well I kind of figured that was the game but I save the ammunition for forums regarding politics and such.
Here I just try to let people know what (if anything) I know so they can make better informed decisions.
_Had_ I decide to engage you however the question would be engine efficiency (fuel consuption/hr at a given load) and what a great debate that would be. Alas, I had already taken 2 excedrin migrane and had just exerted enough mental HP for one evening brain dumping the workings of a hydrostatic transmission in the tractor forum.
Anyhow, I am calling no-joy and disengaging. I am not up to it at the moment, so I declare you winner.

Until next time..
Oh but thanks for the exchange anyhow, I am sure SOMEBODY learned SOMETHING useful.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 11:47PM
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I purchased a BlackMax generator from Sam's club. I got this generator because it had a Honda engine which was supposed to be one of the best. It isn't very quiet, is not good on gas consumption, had blow by from the get go, and now blows smoke when you start it until it warms up. I thought because it had a Honda engine/warranty, I was dealing with a reputable company. I called the number listed with the product info. (BlackMax)and was directed to a service center. The folks there never could get it to smoke except the first time they started it. They thought that was from transporting it. Never did notice the blow by. I paid $30.00 for diagnosis for them to start it over a period of a couple of days. They did say to bring it back if it smoke again. Smoked again. Called BlackMax and the rep was rude and said I called the wrong number the first time, gave me Honda's number and was directed to Honda's website for a dealer. The place I took it to is a Honda dealer. Called to speak with the service center and explained my concern that I spent $30.00 and they couldn't find the problem. The employee (owner's wife) said they would refund $30.00 if they could find the problem and bill Honda. I learned my lesson. Don't buy anything from Sam's Club, Don't buy BlackMax, and I'll defintely rethink any Honda euipment purchases in the future. I am probably going to regret taking it back to the same service center, but I can't afford to keep paying diagnostic fees hoping there is a Honda dealer mechanic who can figure it out.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 3:40PM
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