Using a portable generator for certain tools - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-15-2019, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Using a portable generator for certain tools

Hey guys, my shop is a 2.5 car detached garaged, and running a couple 220/240v outlets would cost a fortune. We live in michigan, and winter power outages are almost a certainty once or twice a winter. I was thinking I could run double duty and get a portable generator to run a couple 220v(ish) tools from time to time.

Specifically looking at this exact tool. 6" jointer just aint cutting it long term here. I'd also like to bring in a metal lathe from my grandpas shop that runs on 220v.

https://www.grizzly.com/products/Gri...terhead/G0656X

I cant really think of any downsides here, if yall have any ideas on the matter or have any horror stories for me, Im all ears. Thanks!
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-15-2019, 05:35 PM
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Honestly, seems to me that by the time you factor in price of the generator, cost of installation, running costs, wear and tear firing it up every time you need to use it, and general maintenance, it'd come out cheaper to just run the 220v lines

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post #3 of 17 Old 11-15-2019, 05:57 PM
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It is very doable, but would be a PITA at times

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post #4 of 17 Old 11-15-2019, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Honestly, seems to me that by the time you factor in price of the generator, cost of installation, running costs, wear and tear firing it up every time you need to use it, and general maintenance, it'd come out cheaper to just run the 220v lines
Nah, I got a quote on the 220 to the garage. I'd have to fully replace the main panel to get it up to code (4 figures), then it'd have to run a sub panel, route conduit, and run cement (4-5 figures).

As far as the "cost of installation", im not really following. You just plug it in lol. Im not sure we're on the same page here with what im talking about.


https://www.amazon.com/Green-Power-A...63946562&psc=1

As far as "running costs", I mean yeah maybe a gallon of gas every month lol. And as I said, losing power is all but guaranteed up here during the winter months lol.
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-15-2019, 11:12 PM
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I know lots of contractor use generators....

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Nah, I got a quote on the 220 to the garage. I'd have to fully replace the main panel to get it up to code (4 figures), then it'd have to run a sub panel, route conduit, and run cement (4-5 figures).

As far as the "cost of installation", im not really following. You just plug it in lol. Im not sure we're on the same page here with what im talking about.


https://www.amazon.com/Green-Power-A...63946562&psc=1

As far as "running costs", I mean yeah maybe a gallon of gas every month lol. And as I said, losing power is all but guaranteed up here during the winter months lol.

They use them to power circ saws and small compressors. I don't know if there are any concerns for running larger induction motors off a generator running on 220 volts. It would be more of a electrical cycle frequency or voltage issue, but I don't know. You may risk burning out the motor?


I know about power outages here in the Lower but they don't last long anymore, maybe a few hours.


I have a 15K standby generator that runs on propane, but I won't use it on auto. I'll just run it enough to run the well, the frig and the septic pump in the summer, but in the winter the furnaces need power for the ignition and the blowers..... to save the propane for heating. We are now so addicted to the grid with TVs and computers, life would be tough without power!



My first generator is a 10 K single cylinder beast that's really noisy. I haven't used it in years because of the stand by unit. I should really fire it up again and see if it works? You end up running out of gasilene or propane either way.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-16-2019, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah you east side guys get it easy hahaha. Our power outages over here by the lake can get real nasty lol. Last year we got lucky and only were out for a day ..... lol. A couple years ago, we lost power for 3 days, and it was just awful, we had to get a hotel.
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-16-2019, 05:13 PM
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Talking

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Yeah you east side guys get it easy hahaha. Our power outages over here by the lake can get real nasty lol. Last year we got lucky and only were out for a day ..... lol. A couple years ago, we lost power for 3 days, and it was just awful, we had to get a hotel.
March, 1993, we had a blizzard in east Tennessee. Many rural areas were out of power for 10 days. We lost power for about 18 hours.
Having to do all that just for one line is ridiculous. I should have been an electrician.


Electrician- Doctor, here is my bill for replacing the circuit breaker.
Doctor- Wow! You charge almost as us doctors.
Electrician- That's what I thought when I was a doctor.
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-16-2019, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineknot_86 View Post
March, 1993, we had a blizzard in east Tennessee. Many rural areas were out of power for 10 days. We lost power for about 18 hours.
Having to do all that just for one line is ridiculous. I should have been an electrician.


Electrician- Doctor, here is my bill for replacing the circuit breaker.
Doctor- Wow! You charge almost as us doctors.
Electrician- That's what I thought when I was a doctor.
Hahaha, yeah, 10 days is a bit much. Earlier this year with that polar vortex, I want to say we hit -35 with windchill? It was insanely cold lol.

For the electrical work... yeah. Most of it is the electrical system is grandfathered in, and no one will touch it without totally redoing everything. Unfortunate, but it is what it is.
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-16-2019, 11:08 PM
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Let me toss out an off the wall thought here.

What if you asked the power company to install service at the garage. Tell them that you are thinking of running a woodworking business out of the garage. You're planning jointer, planer, table saw, band saw, lathe, etc. And you want to keep the bills separate from the house for tax purposes.

Then all you have to do install a 200 Amp circuit breaker box with a meter. Add a couple of initial lighting circuits so that the need for service looks legit. Should be able to pass inspection for code easily. Then add what ever you want as needed.

Once you've seen the inside of a circuit breaker box and understand the basics (Book from Home Depot) installing circuits is simple to do up to code.
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post #10 of 17 Old 11-16-2019, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
Let me toss out an off the wall thought here.

What if you asked the power company to install service at the garage. Tell them that you are thinking of running a woodworking business out of the garage. You're planning jointer, planer, table saw, band saw, lathe, etc. And you want to keep the bills separate from the house for tax purposes.

Then all you have to do install a 200 Amp circuit breaker box with a meter. Add a couple of initial lighting circuits so that the need for service looks legit. Should be able to pass inspection for code easily. Then add what ever you want as needed.

Once you've seen the inside of a circuit breaker box and understand the basics (Book from Home Depot) installing circuits is simple to do up to code.
Hmm, I havent tried that, I'll see what can be done! Im pretty versed on installations, Im just not wild about moving a full live panel myself; as Im not a contractor and am not super familiar with coding restrictions. That said, somehow the previous owner got the main panel installed in my office bathroom (????? HOW?!), so thats severely not up to code and every electrician ive spoken with says they wont touch it without moving it lol.

An entirely new meter might be the way to go though, Ill definitely check that out!
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob493 View Post
Hmm, I havent tried that, I'll see what can be done! Im pretty versed on installations, Im just not wild about moving a full live panel myself; as Im not a contractor and am not super familiar with coding restrictions. That said, somehow the previous owner got the main panel installed in my office bathroom (????? HOW?!), so thats severely not up to code and every electrician ive spoken with says they wont touch it without moving it lol.

An entirely new meter might be the way to go though, Ill definitely check that out!

That is a good idea, if you are on REC it might help you, some regular utilities charge quite a bit to run the line, we have 45 acres and the shops are pretty well spread out so we have 5 meters the only thing that kind of sucks is there is a $15 monthly meter charge. I have two meter in this shop, I had a hy def plasma table and it was 3 phase so I had it on a separate meter to power a digital phase converter. The guy from REC told me I should just put in a 400 amp service that way I wouldn't have to pay another meter fee, so I checked on it a 400 amp meter box was $1800, just the materials were over $5000 with me doing all the work.


It's like everything there is a size for residential that is pretty reasonable then it goes insane on the pricing

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post #12 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 08:50 PM
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It's like everything there is a size for residential that is pretty reasonable then it goes insane on the pricing
Where I last worked one of the printing presses had automotive style universal joints on the drive shafts between units, a rebuild kit was over $150.00 from the manufacturer, we found a GM part for less than $15.00. A bit of a saving considering there were 20 of them.
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catpower View Post
That is a good idea, if you are on REC it might help you, some regular utilities charge quite a bit to run the line, we have 45 acres and the shops are pretty well spread out so we have 5 meters the only thing that kind of sucks is there is a $15 monthly meter charge. I have two meter in this shop, I had a hy def plasma table and it was 3 phase so I had it on a separate meter to power a digital phase converter. The guy from REC told me I should just put in a 400 amp service that way I wouldn't have to pay another meter fee, so I checked on it a 400 amp meter box was $1800, just the materials were over $5000 with me doing all the work.


It's like everything there is a size for residential that is pretty reasonable then it goes insane on the pricing
Right, sounds like you encountered the exact same thing.
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-17-2019, 09:57 PM
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I had rented a Self Storage unit for a shop just to play in.
I ran it on I think a 5K Gen. All my tools worked fine. I had a table saw, lathe, band saw, planer and joiner plus the everyday plug in power tools.
My lights were fluorescent and they worked fine.
As far as my tool go, everything was good.
Then Hurricane Ike hit. I had been out of town at the town. The water in the marina reached a height about 16' above normal. When I got back, i could not even get to the marina for a few more days. My boat was fine, the marina was flooded and lost power. I went to my shop and brought back my generator. Lights, TV AC all worked fine except for anything I had running through my inverter (Converts 12V DC) from car/boat batteries. Apparently, modern electronics just does not like the output from generators. my old generator was i think a modified sine wave. Probably, if you spent $1000 on a generator with full sine wave, you might not have the same problems i had with my $400 generator.
But back to my original statement, The $400 cheap gen. ran all my tools with no problem.

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post #15 of 17 Old 11-18-2019, 05:08 PM
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We have run all of our electronic stuff through an el cheapo genset and it worked fine



Trivia question, How long is the 60 CPS sine wave?

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post #16 of 17 Old 11-19-2019, 07:37 AM
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It is very doable, but would be a PITA at times
Hi Bob, keeping in mind the installation costs then I believe going with the 220 V at your garage is the cheapest option that you can consider. Especially during the winter period losing power in form of heat is one thing that is inevitable. The 220 V is ideal to power Circ saws and small compressors. This is much better that running larger induction motors of a generator.
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post #17 of 17 Old 11-21-2019, 08:23 PM
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As far as a dependable portable generator, with 9000+ watts of power (12,500 peak watts) i chose the Westinghouse WGen9500, it has electric start, runs around 15-16 hours on a 6 gal. tank of gas, has 120/240v outlets - and is as dependable as the day is long - if you want to look at it here is the link below:
https://amzn.to/2rdC5oc

Good luck with your search!
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