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Author Topic: Generator - Good for powering active systems?  (Read 1825 times)

Sam Costa

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Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« on: May 10, 2019, 03:14:15 pm »

Hi everyone,
I recently purchased a Firman 3650 generator that I will be using for camping here in the coming month. However, there are instances where I would prefer to use my "own power" as opposed to using the city power in places where I provide sound such as parks and outdoor areas where only one 15amp GFCI receptacle is available. (I've fought with the city to provide sufficient power but their either too lazy or dont seem to care)

Would it be ok to run say 2 Turbosound i18 subs and 1 set of turbosound TFX or EV zlx12p mains off of this generator? I was told that running "digital components" of any sort my damage them..

Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
-Sam
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 03:41:38 pm »

Never heard of Firman so....

In general almost every electrical load has some amount of sensitivity to high/low voltage, step vs true sine wave, line frequency, and voltage stability.

Since almost everything is digital (or partly so) these days I find specious any counsel that says generators can't power digital devices.

That all said, I have the client arrange for a suitable generator, and IMNSHO, "suitable" means two strong guys can't lift it into the back of a pickup truck; i.e. it requires towing.  If the client is unable or unwilling to rent what we specify, we will do it and up charge the client 30%.

Ray owns a "suitable generator" and makes money renting it to clients.  Providing power should be a line item on your invoice as it's not your fault/problem that the municipal government is not motivated to install permanent service.
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2019, 05:23:12 pm »

Inverter generators, from Honda or Yamaha, seem to be the small generators of choice for lounge level folks. Inverter generators of other "not well known" brands are often less satisfactry. Do a search in the "AC power and grounding" sub-forum for lots of discussion on topic.
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Rob Spence

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2019, 05:44:58 pm »

The generator in question will likely power a pa that has in the past run on a single circuit.
It is not an inverter so being a conventional generator (alternator) provides sine wave power.

The big questions for me would be
1) how accurate and stable is the power? You should fire it up and measure the voltage (and frequency) while under some variation in load. A $20 Killawatt will display both.
2) how loud is it? Most open frame generators of this sort a pretty loud. The manufacturer does not mention loudness in the specifications. If it is loud you then have to find a place for it that not only is far enough away, but still supervised (kids will play with it if they can). Then, you have to run a long cord to your rig.



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Craig Leerman

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2019, 06:58:27 pm »

For small gigs I use A-I brand inverter generators from Costco, that use a Yamaha engine. At 65dB they are quiet and only cost about $550 regular price and way less when on sale a few times a year. They have a gas gauge so itís easy to keep track of fuel. One show I ran one that was powering up 4 powered 15+horn cabinets for background music and paging at a corporate event in a park and I still had plenty of fuel left after 12 hours of use.

So far they have been rock solid.

I always take out at least 2 units so I have a backup and on some larger shows I have used 3 or 4, using 1 per L and R stack, 1 for FOH and monitors and 1 for backline amps. When using multiple generators I plan ahead and figure out how I can plug everything in if one genny fails.

https://www.costco.com/A-IPower-1600W-Running--2000W-Peak-Yamaha-Powered-Gas-Inverter-Generator.product.100343958.html




« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 07:03:54 pm by Craig Leerman »
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Mike Monte

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2019, 07:14:02 am »

Hi everyone,
I recently purchased a Firman 3650 generator that I will be using for camping here in the coming month. However, there are instances where I would prefer to use my "own power" as opposed to using the city power in places where I provide sound such as parks and outdoor areas where only one 15amp GFCI receptacle is available. (I've fought with the city to provide sufficient power but their either too lazy or dont seem to care)

Would it be ok to run say 2 Turbosound i18 subs and 1 set of turbosound TFX or EV zlx12p mains off of this generator? I was told that running "digital components" of any sort my damage them..

Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
-Sam

FWIW: I run a few outdoor gigs per year that use local generator power. 
On one of those gig (which took place two weekends ago) I use my Honda eu3000is inverter generator.  No problem running a 3-way rig's rack (Crown: xs4300, XTI4000, IT6000) and band power.
Mind you, this is not a rock concert, but the generator handles my rig (with A&H QU digital mixer) at a moderate volume for 500+ attendees with no burps, etc.

On another particular annual outdoor gig I am supplied a Harbor Freight Predator 4000 generator to use.
My (above-listed) rack works well on the 4000 however I bring an analog mixer to that gig - I don't trust a digi board on a non-inverter generator.

An interesting observation when using the (Predator) generator: The output voltage wavers a bit with no load.  Once a load is applied the voltage stabilizes (evens out)..... 



 
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Tim Hite

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2019, 01:14:09 pm »

Ahh, I was wondering about those. Had one in my hands at a store last week. Are they as good as the Yamaha branded ones? They look to be identical except for stickers.

Hard to beat Costco service, too.

For small gigs I use A-I brand inverter generators from Costco, that use a Yamaha engine. At 65dB they are quiet and only cost about $550 regular price and way less when on sale a few times a year. They have a gas gauge so itís easy to keep track of fuel. One show I ran one that was powering up 4 powered 15+horn cabinets for background music and paging at a corporate event in a park and I still had plenty of fuel left after 12 hours of use.

So far they have been rock solid.

I always take out at least 2 units so I have a backup and on some larger shows I have used 3 or 4, using 1 per L and R stack, 1 for FOH and monitors and 1 for backline amps. When using multiple generators I plan ahead and figure out how I can plug everything in if one genny fails.

https://www.costco.com/A-IPower-1600W-Running--2000W-Peak-Yamaha-Powered-Gas-Inverter-Generator.product.100343958.html
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2019, 01:23:50 pm »

Never heard of Firman so....

You're not alone but that puts us in the minority. Here is an article I found with a little background info on the company.
https://www.chainsawjournal.com/firman-generators-reviews/
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 01:27:40 pm by Paul G. OBrien »
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Craig Leerman

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2019, 01:02:59 am »

Ahh, I was wondering about those. Had one in my hands at a store last week. Are they as good as the Yamaha branded ones? They look to be identical except for stickers.

Hard to beat Costco service, too.

I have not seen the Yamaha units but I think these are as nice as Honda units for almost Half the price.

My buddy has a pair of Harbor Freight Predator inverter gennys that he uses to power his Prowler trailer a few times a year when he goes camping. They seem to be good units.

Iím going to replace a few other brand inverter generators with some more Costco units this year and just stock the one brand.

Craig



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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2019, 04:13:58 pm »


On another particular annual outdoor gig I am supplied a Harbor Freight Predator 4000 generator to use.
My (above-listed) rack works well on the 4000 however I bring an analog mixer to that gig - I don't trust a digi board on a non-inverter generator.


Why?  An inverter genny takes electricity produced the same way as a non-inverter genny, rectifies it, then sythesizes 60 hz/120 or 240 AC power.  From the QU manual:

The Qu mixer has an internal universal voltage power supply
unit. This means you can use your mixer in most parts of the
world without the need to modify the unit as long the local
mains supply is within the range:
Mains Voltage = 100 to 240 V.AC
Mains Frequency = 47 to 63Hz


My guess is the Predator is going to easily produce electricity within those limits.

I'm not saying you shouldn't, but at the end of the day both the analog and digital mixer first take the power they receive and convert to DC for their internal circuitry.  Often, on the power side, I think the reasoning I hear on here is equivalent to some of the audio phools claims that using certain receptacles, etc. can make their systems sound more pure.
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Steve Swaffer

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Re: Generator - Good for powering active systems?
¬ę Reply #9 on: May 12, 2019, 04:13:58 pm ¬Ľ


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