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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
UPDATE: The generator was fine. The problem was an internally shorted space heater



I have a new (10 hrs run time) Pulsar PG2000IS.
It's rated for 2000Watts Peak, 1600Watts running - 13 Amps

Inverter Generator (Comparable to the Honda Eu2000is)




Found out today (using a Kill-A-Watt tool) that it stops generating power at 800watts or 7Amps. (I notice these values are half the rated value)

The voltage is fine at 123v

The Overload light never comes on at all. It just stops putting out any power at all until I unplug the device that's plugged into one of the outlets, and plug it back in.
it is not necessary to press any reset buttons or circuit breakers. Just unplugging the load and plugging it back in restores power.

I find this odd.
Anyone run into this problem before?
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That sure doesn't sound right, but I don't have any idea of what you could do about it. If you're within a return period, I'd take it back to the store, or contact the manufacturer if it's under warranty. I get the impression that inverter units (boards) themselves are typically just replaced if something goes wrong, and that trying to repair them may be difficult.

A long shot, but: if your load had a really bad/low Power Factor (0.5), you could be putting out 800W, but the actual load on the generator would be 1600VA. And they are really rated in VA, not Watts.

On the Kill-A-Watt, run your load again, and change to the VA display, see what that's showing before it cuts out. That's what the generator cares about, not Watts. For an electric heater, hair dryer, etc, Power Factor=1.0, so VA=Watts. But other loads will have a PF<1, so VA>Watts.
 

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I have a new (10 hrs run time) Pulsar PG2000IS.
It's rated for 2000Watts Peak, 1600Watts running - 13 Amps

Inverter Generator (Comparable to the Honda Eu2000is)




Found out today (using a Kill-A-Watt tool) that it stops generating power at 800watts or 7Amps. (I notice these values are half the rated value)

The voltage is fine at 123v

The Overload light never comes on at all. It just stops putting out any power at all until I unplug the device that's plugged into one of the outlets, and plug it back in.
it is not necessary to press any reset buttons or circuit breakers. Just unplugging the load and plugging it back in restores power.

I find this odd.
Anyone run into this problem before?
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.
.
If the voltage is in fact going away under load then returns right after the load is removed you have a connection that is opening up via heat, an may re-power as soon as it cools down. Common electrical issue, nothing more. It can be tracked down in many different ways depending your skill level, an metering or lack thereof, on hand.
 

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Could you try to test for that by leaving the load connected, and seeing if it starts to come back as the connection cools? Or maybe also have something like an incandescent light connected? Something that might respond to a partial restoration of power (glowing dimly, vs a device that simply won't turn on until it gets 100V). You could also leave the Kill-A-Watt connected, to monitor what's going on as it happens.
 

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Could you try to test for that by leaving the load connected, and seeing if it starts to come back as the connection cools? Or maybe also have something like an incandescent light connected? Something that might respond to a partial restoration of power (glowing dimly, vs a device that simply won't turn on until it gets 100V). You could also leave the Kill-A-Watt connected, to monitor what's going on as it happens.
You could but depending on bleed voltage it may be awhile. Bleed voltage is voltage that is present but much lower than rated. Once a connection gets hot it takes very little amperage (Voltage X resistance)to keep it hot an open.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
That sure doesn't sound right, but I don't have any idea of what you could do about it. If you're within a return period, I'd take it back to the store, or contact the manufacturer if it's under warranty. I get the impression that inverter units (boards) themselves are typically just replaced if something goes wrong, and that trying to repair them may be difficult.

A long shot, but: if your load had a really bad/low Power Factor (0.5), you could be putting out 800W, but the actual load on the generator would be 1600VA. And they are really rated in VA, not Watts.

On the Kill-A-Watt, run your load again, and change to the VA display, see what that's showing before it cuts out. That's what the generator cares about, not Watts. For an electric heater, hair dryer, etc, Power Factor=1.0, so VA=Watts. But other loads will have a PF<1, so VA>Watts.

Thanks for the suggestion.
I did the tests checking the VA as suggested with various appliances connected. Most times the Watts was essentially equal to VA.

That said, it may have been one appliance (A small, 1500Watt portable heater) that was causing the problem after all. Without that particular appliance connected the generator was able to run a 1550Watt / VA load.


With one caveat ......I'll mention below.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If the voltage is in fact going away under load then returns right after the load is removed you have a connection that is opening up via heat, an may re-power as soon as it cools down. Common electrical issue, nothing more. It can be tracked down in many different ways depending your skill level, an metering or lack thereof, on hand.

Thank you for the suggestions.
It turns out it may have been a particular appliance that may have had a power factor of less than one as suggested by RedOctobyr


I'll be testing that same small portable heater today with standard AC from a home wall socket to see what the VA and watts are that the portable generator could not handle.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
A final question.......

Has anyone ever heard of a situation such as the following?

Suppose you have a small device plugged into the DC outlet on the generator......
Is there any known circuitry inside a portable Inverter Generator that might sense that something is connected to the 12vDC port and then limit the output to the AC outlets?

I did initially have a small 12vDC device plugged in when I was having the issue in the OP. But I have no idea if that could cause the generator to reduce it's available output to the AC outlets.

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Discussion Starter #9
One final Note on Pulsar Generators.

I have a number of generators ranging from 6250Watt Briggs and Stratton powered units to HarborFreight units and Honda Units.

This Pulsar Generator is one of my favorites. It is feature packed, has a USB outlet and all the bells and whistles of the units costing over twice as much.
It is quiet, start on first or second pull every time and runs smooth.
It is also VERY well built inside.

Provided the problem I was having was just because of one rogue appliance, it cranks out power exactly as advertised.
In addition, their Customer Service is responsive and very helpful. They were prepared to replace the generator for me with return shipping paid by them


I can highly recommend Pulsar Generators.
 

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A final question.......

Has anyone ever heard of a situation such as the following?

Suppose you have a small device plugged into the DC outlet on the generator......
Is there any known circuitry inside a portable Inverter Generator that might sense that something is connected to the 12vDC port and then limit the output to the AC outlets?

I did initially have a small 12vDC device plugged in when I was having the issue in the OP. But I have no idea if that could cause the generator to reduce it's available output to the AC outlets.

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I've never dug into that, but I've also never needed to use the 12V output from my generators, either. Don't know whether it would limit anything based on DC usage. But even if it did, the DC wouldn't use much of your capacity. Even 10A of DC (the most my cigarette lighter outlet can supply) would still only be 120W.

From units I've had, that DC output is typically unregulated voltage, and is really intended just for charging batteries, not so much for running cigarette-lighter style loads.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've never dug into that, but I've also never needed to use the 12V output from my generators, either. Don't know whether it would limit anything based on DC usage. But even if it did, the DC wouldn't use much of your capacity. Even 10A of DC (the most my cigarette lighter outlet can supply) would still only be 120W.

From units I've had, that DC output is typically unregulated voltage, and is really intended just for charging batteries, not so much for running cigarette-lighter style loads.

Agreed.


This particular generator actually has a Cigarette lighter socket as it's 12v DC receptacle.
I would prefer it had a Honda style plug because I find that when the unit is running, the vibration tends to shake the connection loose repeatedly.
This may be the only poor design choice of this unit.
If Pulsar changed it to a plug and actually provided a small DC battery charging cable with the unit it would be a very big plus.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've never dug into that, but I've also never needed to use the 12V output from my generators, either. Don't know whether it would limit anything based on DC usage. But even if it did, the DC wouldn't use much of your capacity. Even 10A of DC (the most my cigarette lighter outlet can supply) would still only be 120W.

From units I've had, that DC output is typically unregulated voltage, and is really intended just for charging batteries, not so much for running cigarette-lighter style loads.

I doubt now that the DC connection had anything to do with it. It was the faulty small portable heater.
 

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I went on an email spree and emailed pretty much all the Chinese manufacturers asking who makes their generator engines. Pulsar responded by saying it was Ducar. I don't know who Ducar is, so perhaps they are one of the better ones?? No idea.

I'm really interested in finding a review of the new WEN 56380i. I have my eye on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I went on an email spree and emailed pretty much all the Chinese manufacturers asking who makes their generator engines. Pulsar responded by saying it was Ducar. I don't know who Ducar is, so perhaps they are one of the better ones?? No idea.
I'm really interested in finding a review of the new WEN 56380i. I have my eye on that.
Don't know anything about the WEN generator but it seems very close in specs to the HarborFreight Predator 3500. Both have the 212cc motor.
Also, you "Can" push the Predator to a few hundred more watts, so maybe WEN is simply not expressing any margin for overload?

It's probably as good as most inexpensive Chinese made Inverter Generators I would imagine.

I would summarize to say, however, that the days of expensive, good quality Inverter generators are over (for now)
I paid $965.00 US for my Honda eu2000i generator about 10 years ago.

The Pulsar Inverter generator pictured in this thread was $320 BRAND NEW DELIVERED !
That was during an online sale. I think now they're about $100 more.
But still....

The Chinese have built millions of small engines not only for the scooter industry, but also for Honda, Yamaha and pretty much every one else so they have gained the expertise to build very reliable and yet very inexpensive motors. (something to consider from a military perspective)

Keep in mind when you buy a generator that it's not only power power output that matters, but for how long. In a disaster, you could lose not only power, but also the availability to replenish your fuel supply. So stretching your fuel supply is an important strategy.

That's why from my perspective, having several small (2000watt) generators which sip fuel very conservatively and can be paralleled is possibly favorable over one 4000watt generator.
Also, you have redundancy...two generators instead of one in case of failure. Of course, having several small generators AND a larger one is also great if the budget can manage it.

Of course, ymmv
 
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