Can I Run My Computer on a Generator : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I've gotten different answers, some say yes, some say it could screw up the computer with surges from the generator. Thanks in advance

-- gretta grable (, November 17, 1999


The reason you have gotten conflicting answers is because some generators will work with computers and some won't. Check with the manufacturer to find out for sure.

-- Damon Devine (, November 17, 1999.

Try it and see...

-- Patrick (, November 17, 1999.

Why bother with a noisy generator. Get yourself an extra 12 volt car battery and a power inverter, total maybe $100. Lasts a long time and is a safe current for your computer. When the 12 volt gets weak, use your car or the generator to recharge it.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), November 17, 1999.

Good answer, Hawk...

.....Would a person be better off using "deep-cell" batteries? I understand they are far better for the long haul, as a car battery is designed to give a big push, then receive a steady charge, whereas a deep-cell can run a lot longer without the recharge.

-- Patrick (, November 17, 1999.

I'm no electrical answer man, but as I understand it, there are generators that have brushes and some models that don't. Those with the brushes will give you "cleaner" power that would be better for sensitive electronics. Generators without the brushes are better for longer running on construction sites powering stuff like saws and drills, which don't need really clean power to do their thing. They can handle voltage surges better.

Generators with brushes, however, don't seem to be able to run hours on end, or so I sense the recommendations, whereas those without the brushes can run continuously longer.

Anyway, the one I got has the brushes, so I guess we will be able to hook up OK to the net......if those 200,000 viruses set to hit on 1/1/2000 don't throw a monkey wrench into things...

-- PillsBury DoughBoy (, November 17, 1999.

I have a isolatable (word?) generator that power's among other things my computer. The power supply runs through a battery backup UPS (note not a power strip). I perform twice monthly tests of my generator with primary loads. I have been able to run my computer to date with no problems supplied by the generator. The UPS cycles more as it picks up the load when the voltage cycles with heavy load starts and stops (read sump pump). Also the better quality and load capability the generator the "cleaner" the supplied power.

Also a battery backup UPS would help to protect your computer if the grid supplied power has rolling brownouts which is done when they have trouble meeting the load demand. Don't scrimp on the quality of this if you have any money in your box.

-- squid (, November 17, 1999.

Yes, you're probably right about that Patrick. I haven't looked into it yet, and have not yet purchased the extra 12 volt that I plan to, so I'm glad you mentioned that, I'll keep it in mind.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), November 17, 1999.

If you have a good UPS (one that supplies conditioned power) between the gen and the 'puter you should be OK. The battery in the UPS filters out the "noise" of the generator. <:)=

-- Sysman (, November 17, 1999.


.....I was looking for the thread from yesterday about the 200,000 "viruses" and couldn't find it anywhere, but thanks for your comments. The same goes with the one about the "big bad russkies are coming" where you were in agreement. I haven't seen a lot of the Nyquist crowd lately, mayhap they moved on to more fertile ground.

.....As far as the deep-cell battery goes, where I work they have a bunch of tow-motors that run on some huge ones. I'd look into them, but I don't think I could bring myself to lay out that kind of $$ for them.

-- Patrick (, November 17, 1999.

Hawk: I was told by a battery "expert" that the inverter is the problem. If is the wrong type for computers , it puts out a square wave vice a sinusoidal. Anyway, mine must be the sine type because the computer runs fine off it and the generator.

-- Neil G.Lewis (, November 17, 1999.

Here's the straight skinny, gleaned from my personal research (I also sport an Electronic Engineering degree, but what the hey...)

Computer-safe generator: 4-pole BRUSHLESS, 1800 rpm genset.

The 2-pole gennys run @ 3600 rpm, and do not produce as clean a waveform. The ones that use brushes produce VERY "noisy" power, that you wouldn't want to run your sensitive electronics.

If in doubt, go to The Juice Page and ask them. They'll confirm these points.

-- Dennis (, November 17, 1999.

Yes, you can run your computer by gerneartor, I have done it with this one without any problems..

-- casandra (, November 17, 1999.

Society may collapse, or at least "tremble", and you want to make sure your PeeCee still works. Oooo Kaaaaaaaaa...

Anyway, the best thing you can do for a PC is to use a "line conditioner". A line conditioner, as opposed to a surge supressor, is a physically large transformer which allows only AC current (no DC spikes) to pass. You should be able to find one for about $200 from a good PeeCee store, or by searching the 'net. Look for keywords "line" and "conditioner" (possibly hyphenated).

Might be better to pick up a used laptop, though.

-- Anonymous999 (, November 18, 1999.

The American Power site has some items on operating a computer or UPS on a generator ... Go to Support, Knowledge Base and then search on the word generator.


Essentially, the generator must have a capacity at least several times the load of the computer and monitor. They also have some suggestions for changing the settings on their UPS's to work with a generator.

FWIW, my inexpensive Coleman Powermate 5000/6250 generator varies from 138 volts no-load to 115 volts full-load, so I am considering adding an APC Line-R unit to automatically step down the voltage under light-load to a more nominal value for TV, electronic and computer equipment.

-- John (, November 18, 1999.

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