Packs, Chargers, Power Supplies and more – Generators

After realizing that my budget generator would not run my new power supplies, I did some checking and found that this was a common issue with generators that did not include an inverter.  Without this feature, the generator does not create a proper sine wave AC output and some devices will not tolerate the “dirty” power thus created.  Of course Inverter generators are MUCH more expensive but also typically come with some very advantageous features as well… At least most do.

The things I thought were most important to consider aside from the clean power output included weight, noise limiting, some additional power (wattage), quality and of course price!  I quickly decided I wanted something in the 1500+ watt range, under 50 pounds if possible, and as good quality as I could get at the best price.

This quickly got me to a short list including Honda, Yamaha, Champion and a few others including a unit by Westinghouse.  The Honda and Yamaha seemed to be the real leaders among those who use these a lot but they are pricey as well.  If the extra money was the only way to get there, I’m willing but I won’t go there without good reason so I did some further comparison.  It also helped that one of the local club members has a Honda that I was able to borrow and use for a couple weeks.  In the end I took a chance on the Westinghouse for the following reasons.

While the Honda worked wonderfully, was quiet and is reportedly very reliable… I didn’t see enough positive difference to negate the $430 price delta between this and my eventual choice.  Similarly, the Yamaha was eliminated for the same reason.  The Champion, when I saw it at a local store, was a bit larger and heavier than I wanted and there were some reports, including some videos available on the web that claimed it was a significantly noisier than the Honda or Yamaha.  I’ve been around enough generators that I can attest to the fact that the power available from your generator can make you very popular at the field… but the noise level it creates can even more quickly make you a social pariah… relegated to the far reaches of the field.  I added a last minute addition to the possibilities when I saw that the local Harbor Freight offered a unit half the price of the Honda but quickly eliminated it when I saw it was listed as 20lbs heavier as well.  I can’t fly my airplanes from my bed with a thrown-out back and I don’t want to waste a bunch more space on a cart or other method to make it easier to move about.

In the end I chose the Westinghouse.  At 60% of the price but almost exactly the same weight and with reportedly similar sound levels it checked all the boxes.  1800W continuous/ 2200W peak power output, ~40lb, economy mode, low oil protection, etc…  I also appreciate the fact that while I realize that the Westinghouse name on the front is not indicative of the company that I recall from my youth… the engineering team behind this unit is located in Wisconsin and there are few opportunities in this hobby to support “locally” designed if not built products.  So here’s my experience with the Westinghouse WH2000iXLT.

First and foremost it does exactly what I purchased it to do.  My power supplies run with no issue behind the Westinghouse.  Further, it has started within 2 pulls or less every time so far.  In a side by side test, the difference in sound between the Westinghouse and my friend’s Honda is not discernible.  Some claimed the Westinghouse was louder and others said they could not tell a difference.  With the econo mode off on both units so that they ran at full RPM, I thought the Westinghouse was louder as well, though it was slight.  The only drawbacks I’ve seen so far are that both the oil and gas fill seems to be a bit more difficult than they need to be.  The oil fill is hidden under a hatch and pretty much requires a small extension spigot that comes with the generator.  The gas cap is smallish and the opening underneath even smaller so that it seemed difficult on first fill to get gas into the unit without slopping it all over the case but with the long run time between gas fills, I don’t expect to do it frequently.  Still it would be nice if it were easier.  Both these “complaints” are a bit nit picky as they aren’t going to be every day issues for me but I wanted to mention them for those who might consider this unit.

Overall I am very happy with the Westinghouse so far.  I’ve used it on 4 or 5 trips to the field so far and it is performing better than I expected and pretty much as advertised.  It’s light enough for me to move around easily, quiet and easily cranks out the power I need with quite a bit to spare… or share!  Barring problems, I am very please with the Westinghouse unit and even happier to have the extra $400 still in my wallet that I would have otherwise spent on the more expensive units.  I’m not normally very price conscious when it comes to my hobby gear as I enjoy a really good quality product and would rather pay extra for high quality than risk being disappointed but I have to say, so far, this is one bargain that seems to have come with no real drawbacks.  A win-win if ever I’ve seen one.

Here is a link to the Westinghouse on Amazon.  Check it out for yourself.

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