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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!...)

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