Generator questions

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Well-known member
Jul 5, 2006
Santa Clara, CA
I have a bunch of questions relating to the generator. Hope they're not silly... Here goes...

Basically I'm really not using it. At all. I've heard that I need to run it even if I don't need it. That seems a waste.
It's been run once or twice as a demo but that's it.

Do I need to run it even if I don't need it?
How long do I need to run it for?
How often?
It runs on propane. How much propane would I be using running it for the minimum time?

I don't need air conditioning at this time of year. If I needed to run anything while it's operating, it would have to be the microwave oven. Those are the only two things I can use when the generator would be going unless I plug something into one of the outlets just for the fun of it. And I really don't have much to plug in.
Nor do I cook. I guess I can bake something if I had to run the microwave...

If I'm really not using it, is there any way I can get it disconnected so I don't have to run it? Then when and/or if I need it, I can just "plug it back in"?

Well, Generators like to be exercised from time to time.  About a half hour under load (use an electric space heater or the microwave) should be enough, once a month

How much LP will it use?  Good question, if it is an onan you can go to the logical web site ( ) and look up the manual on your generator, it will give fuel usage rates.

Other makes.. Same trick may work, If that does not work try Googling the make
Ok, so it looks like I've got to schedule a 1/2 hr baking session every month.
Anyone for cookies? cakes? muffins?
Will need some victims... er samplers... or just some hungry volunteers...

So, I guess this is simpler and easier than looking to disconnect it until I really need it?

Now, does the microwave need to be running that whole 1/2 hour or just some of it?
The load can be anything that loads the generator, the microwave is just one example.  You could use an electric heater as well, run a heat pump, if you have one.  The important thing is to load it up long enough for it to get fully warmed up.

There is no way to disconnect it for storage.
Well, I tried it out last night. The good news is that it started just fine. Nothing blew up and no one got hurt.
I made me some supper in the microwave and baked some cookies using the convection part. Worked great.
Overall I had it on for about an hour doing all that. So it was under load for practically that whole time.
Now, there seemed to be a slight delay from when the generator started to when things started "powering up". I didn't count, but maybe about 30 seconds or so?
Is that typical?
There is a delay when starting the generator before it outputs power.  This is normal and is to allow the generator speed to stabilize.  30 sec. is typical.  It appears everything is working correctly.
blsmith25 said:
If I'm really not using it, is there any way I can get it disconnected so I don't have to run it? Then when and/or if I need it, I can just "plug it back in"?

If you disconnected it, you would then not be able to run it once a month to keep it in good shape -- so over time that would not be good. Think of the Genset as an emergency piece of equipment -- just as in a hospital, restaurant, or whatever. There will be times on the road when you just don't have power -- or the power that you thought you had dies.  Park power is, for the most part, pretty shaky -- especially when the weather is hot or cold. If everyone plugs in electric heaters, a park breaker may go out. If everyone has on all air conditioners, the same thing may happen. If your house batteries run down and you don't have a power hook up, the Genset will get you going again. So the generator is an important backup safety item to have.

BTW, if you are bakiing cookies just to exercise the generator, and have no need otherwise for the cookies -- i can give you an address to send them to each month. ;)
So, is 1/2 an hour the minimum the generator needs to run?
If I was to use it more often, say for making some supper when I choose to eat, I would just need the microwave for a few minutes.
If I fire up the generator for just 10 minutes or so to do that, will it be bad for it?
Or every time I have it on I have to run it for 1/2 hour, most if not all that time under load?
A load is good for the generator, it lets it "live out" it's intended purpose.  ;)  Generators are just little motors, and just like a car.. you don't want it to sit unused for long periods of time.  You want to warm up the engine every so often and make sure it's operating properly, keep the juices flowing and the internal moving parts lubricated.  Fuel will breakdown chemically and gum up internal parts, and repair/maintenance for those problems will cost MUCH more than the 1/2 gallon or so of fuel (probably even less for propane) that it burns while running for 30 minutes a month.  ;)
I have a portable I have not run in a couple of months... Just now it won't run (I can not start it)  I want to make it put-put before I hit road (i'm going to try pre-heating a bit if I get time, heat lamps at 10 feet anyone

It is important to run them,  And to use stabil if it is a protable sitting all winter with only exercise periods (I got to get some of that today too, Soon as I get to Pep Boys on my way home from passing that test I'm enroute to as I type this)
Yesterday I started my generator (mh is in the back yard) and I watch a movie while I baked Pillsbury peel & stick cookies in the toaster oven.  I had a timer so I was even able to take a nap while one batch baked.  ;D


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