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Old 06-05-2015, 18:15   #1
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1000 watt generic generator

There's probably more internet discussion about cheap Chinese generators versus Yamaha/Honda than any other generator topic, and I don't intend to add to it.

But this is my story with the SF 1000 watt Chinese inverter generator, badged and sold under various brands .

I bought this on Ebay Australia in 2009 mainly to run a few small tools while restoring my boat. The ad boasted that it was based on Yamaha technology, and indeed looked like it at least.
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At 14 kg it's light to heave on and off the boat, and produces 1000 watt peak, 900w rated output.

It was rather louder than I expected, more than the Ebay advert led me to believe. The seller agreed to take it back. But then I changed my mind. At least it produced a pure sinewave and was not as smelly as the exhaust from the two-stroke 850 watt modified sinewave job it was replacing.

Weeks later, the litany of problems began. Despite plenty of petrol in the 2.7 litre tank, it always cut out at the 1/3 remaining mark. Strange.

The first of dozens of tear-aparts began. Knowing nothing about these machines, I deduced which gadget under its pretty blue plastic side covers was the fuel pump. Luckily it was the repairable kind with bolts---not a one-piece plastic type.

After opening it up, noticed gobs of resin-like material clogging the various pulse pump ports. What were they? And why were they there? Poor Chinese quality control, that's what and why. I cleaned out the gunk, and that solved the problem. Genny would now run happily up to 6 hours on the 2.7 litre tank.

And that is one of its sole redeeming features. Economy.

Sometime later, the bout of happiness ended. It hunted badly and then shut down. After much working in the darkness of my ignorance of inverter-generators, I noticed the stepper motor which automatically matches engine speed to load, was bouncing about on its mount atop the carburetor. Quality control again. The factory assembler hadn't tightened its two small securing bolts.

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Sometime later, after running pretty well for weeks, I pulled the recoil starter rope, and it broke. One end disappeared inside the nether regions faster than a startled rabbit down a burrow.

Off came the side two-piece cases. But when I went to remove the three bolts by which the starter housing was attached to the plastic engine shroud (to assist the fan cooler)...they just turned and turned. The nuts turned with the bolts. And they were inaccessible inside the plastic cover. That cover had to come off, so more dismantling.

I held on to the nuts while unbolting. Then, having freed the recoil starter, I put adhesive on to the nuts to stop them free-turning in future.


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Back to the recoiler. The centre bolt holding the bobbin with spring and rope would not unscrew, under any amount of force with my Phillips head screwdriver. So I had to take it to a lawn mower place. They installed a new rope, and away we went again for a few months.

When it started with a few pulls, happiness. Economical, ran the tools to fix the boat, and on the boat it ran the TV, 16 amp battery charger when the solar panels couldn't cope with overcast skies, even a 2-bar halogen heater of 800 watts.

But often--and I mean often---you could tug on that starter rope until your arms dropped before it sprang to life.

Finally, on another trip, nothing. No starting. Checked the plug---no spark. A new plug. No spark.

Sent away to China for a new coil and spark plug lead. This fixed the problem, but only for a while.

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Because, not long after, again, after hours of arm-wrenching pulls, it gave up again. No spark.

This time, the dismantle involved not just removal of side covers, but the engine itself, and the inverter. Draining the oil out and checking the low-oil shutoff switch. It worked. The spark trigger. Seemed OK. Traced every wire for continuity. OK. Stripped the carburettor, cleaned it thoroughly.

After days of diagnosing I guessed it was the spark control module, so sent away to China for a new one. The module was probably the guilty party in the first place. The new coil only temporarily appeared to fix the problem while the module's intermittent ill temperament behaved itself.
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Instant fix.

Sometime later, another thorn in the bed of roses. The rope snapped again--from all that pulling. I became quite adept at dismantling and assembly. And worked out a neat way of winding the recoil spring inside its holder with ease. While on the subject, the bent inner end of the spring, what latches onto a stationary post while it recoils...broke. Several times. You can't just take some pliers and bend spring steel into a hook, because it snaps.

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So I heated the spring end red hot over the boat LPG burner, and bent it into a hook. That worked, for a few months, before it would break again. And again. And again. So far, 3 ropes have also broken and been replaced.

Sometime later....the little blue genny started hunting badly. It didn't sound like a fuel starvation problem. I looked intuitively at the stepper motor. It was bopping around like a cork in a sea. One of its two little ears through which tiny bolts hold it down, had snapped off. They are so flimsy.

So, I got some tinfoil and fashioned an upside down U-shaped bracket to hold it down. It's still doing its job.

That's about the end of the physical problems. And probably the generator, too. You see, it works, runs well....But after measuring its output with a kill-a-watt type device recently, it read 228V AC. Reasonably good compared to the household supply which read 254 V AC.

More worrying was the cycles though. No reading. Occasionally from 0 hz, 50hz flashed up for under a second, then back to 0. Yet tools run well. Everything I plug into it runs well, except an electric clock. One minute ticked by in about 3 seconds.

I tried a multimeter, and it's showing something like 150hz. Not good.

This is probably a fault of the inverter. But inverters in all these generators are encased in a hard epoxy resin-like substance and there is no tinkering possible. I have not been able to source a new one, and for the likes of Hondas, Yamahas, Kipors, they are around the $400 mark. More than the $300 the entire genny cost.

You have probably come across blurbs saying that inverter generators are more economical and quieter than the non-inverter type whose output is dependent on engine speed.

Quieter maybe, more economical maybe too, but not because the inverters idle down when the load is light or none at all.

The fact is, these small inverter generators spin around the 4300 rpm mark at idle or under light loads, and higher flat out, 5000+ rpm. Non-inverters producing 50hz spin at 3000 rpm, and if 60 hz, at 3600 rpm.

So now I am afraid to use it in case the cycles blow things up. I've bought a Kipor 2000 watt inverter generator, but have yet to try it out.
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:06   #2
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

Quote:
... I've bought a Kipor 2000 watt inverter generator, but have yet to try it out.
Why another "bargain" Chinese knock-off genny?
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:12   #3
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

Why indeed...
I had a Kipor 1000.... essentially a chinese Honda.... certaintly ended up with a lot of Honda bits.... junked it 4 years ago...
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:21   #4
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

The other day we were chatting about small gennys with a cruiser friend and I said I wouldn't buy anything else than the Honda EU2000i, to which he replied that he bough a cheapo Chinese genny a few years back and it served him well, and then sold it on making a profit, and I thought maybe I should consider.. After having read the above I think the Honda is the only way to go.
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Old 07-05-2015, 06:17   #5
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

The cut rate route of the cut rate route.... You realize they make 3500 watt diesel generators that are more safe, more economical, and very long lasting, right?
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Old 07-05-2015, 06:18   #6
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

Poor man pays twice. When I wanted a decent Honda generator without the Honda price tag I just searched the classifieds until a "like new" came up at around 2/3 rds new street price. Even then it's still twice the price of a cheapie, but the damned thing is reliable, rarely needs more than a single pull to start and is quieter than any other genset on the market. About the only other genset of this style I'd consider would be the Yamaha.
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Old 07-05-2015, 06:39   #7
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Why another "bargain" Chinese knock-off genny?
Good point. Because it is brand new but a quarter of the new price (the shop just wanted it out the door) twice (peak output) of the one in my post but less than the one in the post cost me 6 years ago. A bargain.

Yes, fill them up with petrol, pull the rope and go. That's what we want. But if you are mechanically adept, you can nurse things along. I know where to look for most of the problems it throws my way.

That naughty boy SF 1000 was still a quarter to a third the price of the Honda.......and has more or less lasted at least 6 years.
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Old 07-05-2015, 06:58   #8
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

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The cut rate route of the cut rate route.... You realize they make 3500 watt diesel generators that are more safe, more economical, and very long lasting, right?
I'm sure all are aware of the smaller diesel gensets.

However 3.5 KW diesel for $6-8,000 vs $900 for a genuine Honda eu2000. Big difference for most cruisers.
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Old 07-05-2015, 07:28   #9
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

Weight is very important. I have to lift the generator with one arm out of its boat locker, then out of the boat onto the jetty up to 2 ft higher than the deck. That leaves out all 3000 bennies, diesel or petrol.

Here in Australia we pay up to twice the USA prices for Honda generators. About $AU1200 for the 1000 water and $1800 to $2000 for the EU 2000. I paid $AU 260 for the 2000. watt kipor (peak, 1600 running)
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Old 07-05-2015, 07:31   #10
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

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Here in Australia we pay up to twice the USA prices for Honda generators. About $AU1200 for the 1000 water and $1800 to $2000 for the EU 2000. I paid $AU 260 for the 2000. watt kipor (peak, 1600 running)
And yet you are so much closer to Japan. Is that all duties, VAT and such or just huge markups by the local dealer?

What if you mail order one from more "civilized" countries?
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:27   #11
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

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And yet you are so much closer to Japan. Is that all duties, VAT and such or just huge markups by the local dealer?

What if you mail order one from more "civilized" countries?
Freight is the killer...coupled with the exchange rate. Also a small market so no US economy of scale. And a US one would I assume have a US power socket and 110V.

Think Oz is bad? Try NZ ....

I'm bringing over a Honda 1000 on my next trip back from Oz..... ex VAT about $1000 = $800 US. About the same as the Chile price.
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Old 07-05-2015, 14:03   #12
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

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Freight is the killer...coupled with the exchange rate. Also a small market so no US economy of scale. And a US one would I assume have a US power socket and 110V.
Oh I forgot. Not only do you guys drive on the wrong side of the road you also use the wrong kind of electricity.

So a good deal on a US model Honda won't do you much good.


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Think Oz is bad? Try NZ ....

I'm bringing over a Honda 1000 on my next trip back from Oz..... ex VAT about $1000 = $800 US. About the same as the Chile price.
$800 is what the 1000 sells for in the states so that's not a bad deal at all.
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Old 08-06-2015, 12:00   #13
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

I have an old kawasaki portable generator I have heard I should not plug any electronic device into it, anybody know if this is a fact? thanks
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Old 08-06-2015, 12:08   #14
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

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I'm sure all are aware of the smaller diesel gensets.

However 3.5 KW diesel for $6-8,000 vs $900 for a genuine Honda eu2000. Big difference for most cruisers.
They cost $4200 brand new.
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Old 27-05-2016, 18:48   #15
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Re: 1000 watt generic generator

We have not one but 2 Kipors. The 2000 and a 770.

Love the little 770watter --so light. Swing it about with one arm no worries.

Because of its small footprint and weight I've used it a few times. But it struggles a little when running the 16 amp charger, one 400-watt bar of the halogen heater, the fridge, tv and everything else.

A few weeks back I took up the 2000. What a difference. I can run both 400-watt bars of the halogen heater, fridge, charger etc and it barely raises a sweat.

So far so good.

The old Chinese 1000 watter which was the subject of this thread used to live on the boat. Seat air wasn't too kind to the metal bits. These Kipors go up and back home with us. They also get a warming run once every few weeks between use.
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