Building cabin with no power

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ozarkguy, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. Ozarkguy

    Ozarkguy Well-Known Member

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    Hi folks. Building a cabin in the woods with no power.

    Any suggestions on what kind and size of a generator I want to get?

    I plan to just run a couple of power tools and a couple of lights while I'm building, and then will only need it for back-up if the power ever goes out.

    Thanks,

    Ozarkguy
     
  2. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .........Honda makes the best engines and the best generators in my opinion. They are also more expensive but that is a given. The best "medium" duty genset that Honda makes is a 6.5 kw, water cooled , 2 cylinder, 12hp unit that will run about $2,700 to 2,900. Water cooled translates into a stable temperature operating environent which means long engine life with regular oil changes.
    .........A 6.5 kw gen set will operate.....(2) 8,000 btu window airconditioners running continuously, a med. fridge , 2 ceiling fans , several lights, a 1 hp. water well motor for intermittant recharge cycles( you can't water your yard or fillup your pool!!) , and a computer and TV. In other words it will make life habitable until the power comes bac ON.....fordy... :eek: :)
     

  3. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    Alot depends what your trying to do with electricity. If it is just room lighting them get a couple solar panels and some car batteries. They make a lightbulb that uses 12volts and looks just like a household lightbulb. You can use a inverter to run the tools - any hardware store (or on the internet) will have theses - they work off a car battery and gives you 120volt AC power - be careful what you run on this, they are modified sinewave inverters and are not always compatable with some electronics - but anything with a motor will probable be ok.

    This way there is no noise of a generator running to ruin the quiet of the woods.
     
  4. Mike_and_Tina

    Mike_and_Tina Member

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    Go to your local Lowes or Home Depot. You'll find a small generator that
    will easily meet your requirements for under $500.00.

    No need to spend more than that for what you need. The generator
    mentioned in the reply above is far better, but it's much too expensive and
    powerful for your requirements.

    Follow this link and look for something similar :

    http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=45424-348-1924

    Good luck.

    Mike
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Remember you are unlikely to be using more than one tool at a time, so something powerful enough to power the heaviest usage tool should be OK. Same with lights if you don't plan to use them and any power tools at the same time. Also, likely the handiest tool will be a good chainsaw and you don't need an electric one.
     
  6. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

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    For what you are looking at doing a small generator should do the trick. Figure out how many watts the strongest tool you use draws at startup. get something just a little bigger. As far as back-up power goes as stated this will be a cabin in the woods with no power. depending on your point of view the power will always be out or never go out so adjust the size of the generator accordingly.
    Kirk
     
  7. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    :confused: Why a Generator???? We built ours with Chainsaw and Lantern Light.

    big rockpile
     
  8. Ozarkguy

    Ozarkguy Well-Known Member

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    O.K. ol rockpile- a chainsaw and a lantern. I understand what you're saying, but that's probably just what I'll START with.

    Then I guess I'll check on the power inverters, and those are some good tips on the generators folks. Thanks.

    After thinking on this and listening to your replies, I figure a smaller generator will do if I use a gas chainsaw to do the heavy work.

    So I have an idea on where to start, but I have to revise the shopping list some:

    NOW what kind of a chainsaw would you suggest. McCullah is good, and some like the Echo brand. But I'm not quite sure how big to go with this.

    I will need it to clear land, as well as start the building, and there's always a need for more firewood. SOooooo I'm wondering about the Stihl 029 and if this would be what I need?

    Thanks again, I appreciate your help, :worship:

    Ozarkguy
     
  9. EricG

    EricG Well-Known Member

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    Spent much of last summer building a weekend cabin on 40 acres here in Alaska.

    Generator: Very handy for using table saws, circle saws, drills etc. We were looking at 5,500 watt coleman at Costco for about $500. Then the local bulletin board had a guy selling his older but seldom used 5,000watt backup generator for $300. Thats the way we went. Noisy. Sucks fuel. Won't last forever. Got the cabin built and is good for emergency backup electric at the house but we don't use it for daily electricity at the cabin. Thats what kerosene lights and a woodstove and coleman stove are for.

    Chainsaw: I have a stihl 029 several years old, I think it was about $300 new at the local saw shop. I've seen them for $200 at local pawn shops. We used that for much of the "chainsaw carpentry" work. You can do a lot with a chainsaw and you'll need it for firewood anyway. Stihl isn't the saw it was 10 or 15 years ago but they are still good saws, unfortuneately the good saws all seem to be european, stihl, husky, jonsereds etc.. Use high quality 2 cycle oil and keep your chain sharp, 16" bar (or shorter)is handier for carpentry but 20" is handy for cutting trees etc..You can always have a spare and chain of the longer/shorter length. If you get a good deal on a small saw like one of the small poulin etc.. you may want that just for being handy for building work. Just don't plan on cutting a lot of firewood with it. Be aware you will eventually hit a nail using a chainsaw for carpentry work and that tears heck out of the saw teeth have a spare chain and several files.

    Battery drill. Makita, fairly heavy duty. Very handy to have along with a spare battery. Saves running the generator for small drilling/driving jobs. Recharge the battery when you're running the generator for other tools etc..

    Eric
     
  10. Grizz

    Grizz Well-Known Member

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    generator 4000 to 500 what should b all u need!! check lowes or home depot for returned ones!! bought several for 200 bucks each that way
    chainsaw i got stihs o29 o54 but use my cheap old McCulloh the most referbished from big lots 70 bucks 9 years old still goin strong
    Inverter check at truckstops!! I got mine there much cheaper then anywhere else!!
     
  11. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    patience, patience, eager young buck - keep your eyes open for one of the post-y2k units sitting in someones basement or garage that has never even been started up - they're around
     
  12. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    Grizz;

    Thanks for the tips. I will do just that.

    I also agree with you on the chain saws. My Sunday saw stays in the barn until some heavy work comes up. For brush-cutting and trash cuts the pawn-shop model is great.
    Ox
     
  13. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    Can someone recommend an Electrician To English guide for explaining all the terms on what you need in a generator? (I'm confused about watts/volts/whatnot.)

    Cait
     
  14. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ......................amps X volts = watts
    1 amp x 100 volts = 100 watts (100 watt light bulb)
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    for 240 volt operation
    ----------------------
    1 amp x 240 volts = 240 watts
    10 amps x 240 volts = 2,400 watts
    5 amps x 240 volts = 1,200 watts
    10 amps x 120 volts = 1,200 watts
    --------------------------------------------------------
    ........for 120 volt operation----you have one hot wire carrying 120 volts and a 2nd. wire for a neutral or ground wire..........
    ........for 240 volt operation(normally stoves, dryers, & your refrigerated air) you will have (2) hot wires , with Each wire carrying 120 volts and a 3rd. wire for the return path which is a Neutral or ground wire....hence (3) wires.......fordy... ;) :eek: :dance: :dance:
     
  15. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    I built using a Coleman Powermate 5500 watt generator. If you want frustration, buy a cheap piece of crap like the Coleman. When it was a month old, the stator went out....and Coleman tried to weasel out of honoring the warranty. They finally did fix it.... took them 5 weeks.

    The piece of crud 10 Horsepower Tecumseh motor that came with it refused to start in temperatures under 40 degrees. I had to "pre heat" the engine block with a catlyitic heater for about 10 minutes just to have any chance of all that the engine would start after 3 or 4 hard pulls.

    The Coleman is hard starting, ungodly noisy, and sucks gas like a Ferrari racing in Monte Carlo. But it did produce electricity.

    I wouldn't recommend the lowly Coleman to anyone for any purpose. They're that bad.
     
  16. Ozarkguy

    Ozarkguy Well-Known Member

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    Wow! So much info my head is spinning!

    I especially liked the
    part. hehe I won't tell her the truth! ;) But yes, I will slow down a tad and check the papers and such ahead of time. I'm trying to "get ready" so I know what to look for.

    And now I have info on watts and volts and chainsaws and generators and, and, and... :eek: Thanks so much folks! Now to finish all my "how to" books as spring is right around the corner!

    So when you go past that forest and all you hear is a generator and chainsaws and drilling and power tools, and a big clowd of sawdust is coming out from the trees, that'll be me!

    Thanks again folks. You've been very kind, and as always, very helpful.

    gotta love those hills.....

    Ozarkguy
     
  17. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    Well Hoop, my friend....you just said it way better than I ever could. People that buy cheap generators should have arms that look like POPEYE because they'll be Pullin on that son of a hound dog for ever and a Day. Personally, I bought a Northern Tool genset which had a 13 hp Honda engine. It is 3 years old and has about 8 hours total run time. It is also a "pull start"......BUT, it Always starts on the First Pull.........I turn the gas and the ignition off and just let it burn ALL the remaining gas in the carb ....so It doesn't lacquer up on me. But some folks are Penny Wise and Generator Stupid........fordy.... :eek: :D
     
  18. greg273

    greg273 Well-Known Member

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    i just spent the last 4 months building a cabin, far from the nearest powerlines, and used a craftsman generator. (7.5hp briggs/stratton engine, puts out about 3500-6500 watts, i believe. Cost $500 new) Has always started on the first or second pull. Its noisy, but it'll run all your power tools plus some lights.
    $500 is a sizeable investment, but i dont think i could have built my place without it. I'l look to upgrade to a diesel in a few years. For now, the generator runs the power tools, while the day to day electricity is provided by a 12volt marine/deep cycle battery and a 600watt inverter. That setup will run a few small lights and a radio for 3 or 4 days. (then, back to civilization for a 'recharge'.... solar panels are the next upgrade!...)

    greg
     
  19. Anataq

    Anataq Well-Known Member

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    I run a Yamaha 4600DE and have never had a problem running multiple power tools. I love this little generator. Yamaha makes some very fine motors now days.

    -Ryan
     
  20. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

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    The new Generic 5500 at Tractor Supply
    with pull start about $500
    with electric start is about $1200
    electric start is nice ;)