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Thread: A cold weather survival tip for those of you with portable standby generators...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    A cold weather survival tip for those of you with portable standby generators...

    A couple months ago I upgraded my standby generator to an electric start because my old pull start was getting too difficult for me to start. A few days ago before it got bitterly cold, I pushed the button and it fired right up. But the night before last when it got down to well below zero, I tried to fire it up again. It started, but it took some doing! I know the battery was charged, but it was so cold that it labored to crank and it took me a few attempts to get it running. Here's what I did.

    Yesterday afternoon I went down to Harbor Freight and they have 72x80 quilted "moving blankets" on sale for $6.99. I picked up three of them because that's a great price and they could be useful for other things. Besides, my neighbor has an electric start generator too and I know that he will want to try this too. I came home and put a drop light down on the floor right next to the engine block of the generator. I then covered the whole generator with the blanket. It was the perfect size and covered the whole thing and just touched the ground all the way around and it made a nice tent for it. This was at about 6:00 last night. I just went out there about a half hour ago and uncovered it. I put my hand on the engine and it was pretty warm. I closed the choke and hit the button and the generator was running in about a second and a half! This was a very cheap and easy way to fight off the effects of the bitter cold.

    Even if you don't have an electric start generator, this will probably help greatly if you have a pull start. It keeps the oil much warmer and makes it easier to start. I'm not sure, but it probably doesn't cost much more than fifty cents to run that 75W bulb for a whole day. This is something that you'll only need to do when it's bitter cold, but it's easy to do and can save you a lot of headaches if your power does go out during a winter storm.

    I hope this helps!
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  2. #2
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    Ya but, how do you plug in the light and get it working if the power is out and you need to start your generator??
    Not only is that a great tip, it will save a ton of wear and tear on all moving part until that oil warmed up enough to be lubing. The people with pull starts should really appreciate this tip!!
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Shively View Post
    Ya but, how do you plug in the light and get it working if the power is out and you need to start your generator??
    Well, You take a smaller generator into the house to let it warm up first, then use that one to run a trouble lite to warm up the big one!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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  4. #4
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    Trouble light works on cold cars too.
    Thoughts entering one's mind need not exit one's mouth!
    As I age my memory fades .... and that's a load off my mind!

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  5. #5
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    I couldn't get my truck started yesterday. It cranked fine, but wouldn't fire. After a couple hours one the charger and still a no start with the 100 Amp engine start mode, I knew it was probably a frozen fuel line. I set up my 1000W halogen work light on the fan shroud and pointed it at the throttle body. Then lowered the hood onto a length of 1x4 instead of the prop rod. I put a couple of those thick moving blankets and covered the hood and the open area and used some clamps to keep them from blowing away. Left it that way for about three hours and finally got it started.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  6. #6
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    Nice tip John.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  7. #7
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    Has anyone ever done a conversion of a pull generator to a electric start. I realise i made a big mistake buying a pull one when i fired up my electric start snow blower and compared what i had to go through in the power outage we had before Xmas. Now i want to convert my generator or going to sell and buy another.

    Great tip John I guess even bringing the generator in doors for a while would make it warmer than having it outside. What i did in our power outage was to run the generator during the day and connected up our furnace (nat gas) and got house heated. Then at night brought the generator indoors so next morning it was not cold to start. I did this for two reasons. One temp drops at night even more than day and second did not want to have it stolen or keeping others awake with the noise. Not all neighbors that had generators thought like me though and we could hear quiet a few going at night.
    cheers

  8. #8
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    Do they make a conversion kit for yours Rob? If not, I'd probably just trade up.

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    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
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    Rob, I looked into that very thing for mine. It is an issue of the engine. Mine was not configured for a conversion to electric start and could not be, though the seller said it could be. I had two small engine shops look at it, one that failed to impressed me with their knowledge, though they proved to be right. Mine has a Honda engine and both shops were Honda certified.

    You might check that out, but likely you will need to upgrade.

    Fortunately, I don't see those kinds of temperatures and I refuse to live where that is a possibility!
    ++++++

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  10. #10
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    Nov 2006
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    Rob,
    I had a 5KW Coleman Powermate that served me very well for twelve thirteen years. It still started and ran flawlessly, but my condition has progressed far enough that it was just too difficult for me to start. I would struggle with it (especially when cold). When that happened, I have a neighbor that would come over and it would fire right up for him. Knowing this going into this winter, I upgraded to a Generac 7.5KW electric start. It's a very nice generator. I bought it through Sears for $999 and got free shipping. So it was only a little over a grand with tax. I sold my old generator and transfer switch to a buddy for $500. I bought a new 10 circuit transfer switch when I upgraded the generator. The old switch was only 6 circuits.

    I noticed that Harbor Freight sells a 7KW electric start and it's on sale for $569! Not a bad price for an electric start genny. But I'm a believer in the adage that you get what you pay for. So I got the Generac. Here's a link to the HG unit...

    http://www.harborfreight.com/8750-pe...tor-68530.html
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

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