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Generators:  Automatic Backup

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Automatic Backup

Key Features:
  • 6,500 watts 120/240
  • 4.5 gallon gas tank with run time of 4 to 14 hours, depending on load
  • Built-in inverter makes it safe for computers and other electronics
  • Battery backup included
  • About $4,000 (2009).
  • Pricing as of 2009.
Ask For:
  • HP(2)S Portable Power System, Model shown and described EU6500iSA
Learn more about Honda Power Equipment:
by Deborah Holmes, Ebricks.com
A portable generator can make the difference between frozen pipes or losing a freezer's worth food if you live in an area prone to ice storms or hurricanes -- and the power outages that often follow. But some homeowners find the prospect of setting up a portable generator a little daunting.

Honda's HP(2)S Portable Power System was designed with these folks in mind.

This generator features a universal transfer switch and battery backup. When power goes out, the transfer switch turns on the battery backup. You get temporary light, as well as a working garage door opener until you get the generator running.

If you've prepared for an emergency by filling the generator's 4-1/2 gallon gas tank, a working refrigerator is just a few steps away. You need to move the generator outside, start it and plug the provided 25 foot cord into the transfer switch box.

A couple of notes: The generator weighs more than 250 pounds, but is mounted on an easy-to-move wheeled frame. Starting a generator is as simple as pushing a button. Some models even have a remote control.

Once the generator is running, the transfer switch automatically switches pre-programmed circuits to generator power. No need to manually flip switches or hunt for heavy duty extension cords for individual appliances. When power comes back on, the switch automatically transfers to the home's electrical power. The transfer switch can also be used to turn lights on and off while you're on vacation.

You'll need a licensed electrician to install the transfer switch, connecting it to your home's main circuit box. Once the switch is installed, you can select the appliances or electrical systems to be powered by the generator and battery back-up.

The transfer switch makes the generator run smart. It monitors electricity use, cutting back power to some systems and delivering power to others.

While not quite as carefree as a permanently installed generator, the portable system has a couple of advantages. At about $4,500, it's cheaper than a fixed generator. Because it's portable, the generator can be used in a second home, for camping, or go along with you if you move.

All gasoline generators are somewhat obnoxious in both noise levels and emissions. But the Honda portables are relatively quiet, with most models emitting 60 decibels of noise. By comparison, ear protection is required on job sites noisier than 80 decibels, and many youngsters crank up the volume on the headphones to even greater levels.


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