Why do you need a generator???

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Let me try again.

I saw this from TMAN on another thread:-

"I was in Costco the other day and they didn't have a single generator, this made me wonder if everyone else was out of generators. After checking with several vendors (Homedepot, Tool Crib, Harbor Freight Tools ) I found that because of the storms on the east coast and y2k many generators were in short supply. Yet you can still find a generator if you look in the right places."

My question is why would you want a generator? I know this sounds pretty stupid, but I'm quite serious. If things hit the fan there are a few things to consider.

1. they cost a lot of money.

1.a. maybe the money could be better spent.

2. they are noisy and will draw attention to you.

2.a. lights at night will draw attention to you.

3. they use precious fuel.

4. the fuel will need to be stockpiled.

4.a. fuel storage can be dangerous.

5. the fuel will eventually run out - then what?

Why not just do without? Get used to lanterns. Get used to going to sleep when it gets dark. Get up at dawn. If it's a relative bump in the road - 1 or 2 months without power will not kill you. If it's worse than that then you want to keep a very low profile until things stabilise (!), and as I said the fuel will eventually run out. If it's gonna be longterm, surely solar is the way to go, with wood burning stoves.

Any thoughts welcome. Andy the doombrooder :) "We're doomed I tell ye, doomed!" Private Frazer, Dad's Army, Walmington-On-Sea Home Guard, 1939 (Undertaker)

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), January 16, 1999


Can't be dogmatic here. My mother-in-law's dairy farm desperately needs its big-time 16KW diesel gen with 3K gallons of fuel. More reasons than I can go into here.

We are ten miles own road and not using generator, but propane, oil lamps, wood cook stove, etc. Gravity-fed water makes a big, positive difference.

That said, my own feeling is it is best to get a generator only if you really need it. Your points are well-taken. It's not so much a matter of cost (believe me, we've spent bucks doing it this way) but some of the other things you mention and an important one you don't: installing, using and maintaining a generator is not rocket science, but it's more than a no-brainer. Respect is required.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 16, 1999.

Andy the generator concept comes with a great deal of thought. First I have the option to move to the 300 acres of land my father and I own in the middle of nowhere. Second the generator would be used to charge up batteries for a device called the y2k-5day. This is a solar system that runs the average house for 5 days and then needs a generator to do about a 2-3 hour recharge and then you are good for another 5 days. Also there is a generator called the tri-fuel is uses gasoline, propane, or natural gas. Right now we have a 1000-gallon propane tank so the generator might work out. As for any one that wants to come and visit we have a welcoming committee...Probably not a good idea I'd say. As far as the money your point is well taken. You just need to decide if the cost out ways the benefit. Thanks for the post you do have a good point. Tman.

-- Tman (Tman@goodpoint.com), January 16, 1999.

My reasons for wanting to have a generator are; To use power tools to finish any projects that Iknow won't get done before hand. To charge batteries. For late night emergencies. To slowly make the transition. To see if anything is on TV. Treat some kids to a movie? To barter? I am hoping I'll be able to store about a years supply by adding stabil to 20? indiviual 5 gal jugs and bury each at a distance. Also fill all autos. Run a chain saw. The gen. I bought cost $285 new. I've been told that changing the oil every 20 hrs makes em last. Got extra sparkplugs. But of course this plan is only good under ideal conditions (relatively)

-- Type r (Sortapreparin@polly.anna), January 16, 1999.

Tman: how bout some specifics? I figured on using the gen to charge batteries also, but the rating of the 10 Amp (1200W) marine charger I have says 10 hours for a full charge. So I figure 5 hours for a half charge (the drainage limit for a deep cycle). But for the six 110A-hr (1350W-hr) batteries in my bank, that's 30 hours....Or what? Am I missing something? What is the A-hr rating of your battery bank?

-- a (a@a.a), January 16, 1999.

Hahaha. This is hilarious! Why NOT buy a generator? You can use your credit card. Pay the minimum for 9 or 10 months and you're home free. Unless, of course, NOTHING HAPPENS! Unlikely, I know. But the expiration year on my card is 2001 and damned if I didn't recieve a bill in the mail this month! hahaha

I reckon there'll be a huge spike in bankrupcy filings in Montana around the middle of next year....

-- Skeptic (foo@bar.com), January 16, 1999.

I believe that this is an excellent question. Many people don't have a place to store fuel. Has anyone considered that fuel may be unavailable? There is a chance that getting oil or gas may be harder than getting electricity since electricity is generated locally and oil is shipped from other places. If you must generate power, you might consider propane since most of it is manufactured in North America (if you are a continental North American)

-- Reporter (foo@foo.bar), January 16, 1999.


There seem to me to be a range of possible scenarios in several of which a generator would be useful, particularly those in which electrical power becomes intermittently available and then unavailable for hours and/or days at a time. At the same time, bulk transportation , i.e. trains and/or pipelines may incur intermittent problems. Also, one might anticipate oil refinery problems that may reduce supplies of gasoline, diesel fuel, and other refined products, but perhaps not totally. There is quite a range of possible scenarios between bump in the road and TEOTWAWKI.

Someone with an oil burner for heat has a tank of fuel that works fine in a diesel generator. The generator can power the well pump, the washing machine and the electric clothes drier, as well as the invertor to recharge the batteries. If the invertor has the capacity, the batteries can be recharged in parallel, charging several batteries in the same time as charging one. While the generator is running, heavy duty extension cords could supply some juice to nextdoor neighbors, who just might find a use, or two, for it. Being able to supply the neighbors with water could be very helpful to them, as could other fringe benefits. On the other hand, having the lights on in the house at night would seem to be at least a bit tacky, not to mention rubbing it in.

I know of at least one local home heating oil retailer who has already acquired a generator for the business, and who plans to fill their tanks in the 1999 off season, and not depend on just in time delivery for the 1999-2000 winter. I intend to encourage a few others to consider similar preparations. (Hint, hint, to others who use oil for home heating.)

And, of course, another possible reason for buying a generator is to plan to sell it to somebody else who waits until they are backordered through 2001, and who belatedly decides that they can't get along without one. Perhaps your local home heating oil retailer or local gas station. :-)

The possibilities are many and varied.


-- Jerry B (skeptic76@erols.com), January 16, 1999.

Has anyone bought a generator from Discount Air Compressor and Generator Co. (aka GoHonda)? We are planning to purchase one, and would appreciate any feedback (good or bad) about this vendor. Thanks.

-- Shadow (a@a.a), January 17, 1999.

To Skeptic:

Have heard from a number of people who intend to get in on cheap land prices between the middle of 2000 through the end of 2001. Heard a rumour (can't confirm) that some group is getting up capitol and getting ready to buy mortgages and so forth at a discount and foreclose fast on anyone that leaves property they bought for Y2K purposes.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), January 17, 1999.

to Paul and Skeptic: If you guys are convinced y2k is gonna be such a non-event, why in the hell are you wasting time on this forum?

-- a (a@a.a), January 17, 1999.

I will try to get more info on the y2k 5day. If I am not mistaken you can get it from RealGoods. It was my understanding that the solar panels do a large part of the charging for the system and the generator picked up the slack. I will try to get more info and make a post for those who would like to know! On a personal note our time is growing short and I have a personal guess that things are not as they should be. My food storage is almost complete and that does give me the feeling that I have done what I should have. If you think about it when can you not use food? Peace of mind is a good thing... Tman

-- Tman (Tman@answers.com), January 19, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ