NorthStar Portable Generator

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Urbish
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NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Urbish » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:00 am

I've been needing to buy a decent portable generator that I can feed the whole house with for some time. I finally bit the bullet yesterday and bought a NorthStar unit from Northern Tool. These never go on sale, but Northern Tool is running a gift card promotion that includes a $200 card for a purchase over $1000. It is 6600W running and 8000W surge.

The base generator comes without wheels or a battery. I'll apply the $200 card toward a wheel kit from Northern Tool but I'll source a battery locally as the one from NT is way overpriced. I plan to backfeed the house from a 30A 240V outdoor receptacle on my shop which will keep the generator near the fuel and away from the house (fumes/noise).

It's more expensive than comparable units from Generac, Champion, and others. But I liked that it had a Honda engine and idle control which I am hoping was worth the investment. I'll be reporting back on this thread with a review once it arrives.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Eugene » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:48 am

Picked up a Generac XT 8000-Running-Watt Portable Generator with Generac Engine in early spring 2017, purchased from Lowes. Couple months later a major storm took out the commercial power for around 18 hours. Powered the house during electrical outage.

Lowes offers a 10% discount for military. My final price was about the same as the gen set purchased by Urbish.

Have used a generator set on 3 occasions during power outages. One time for 10 days, another time 5 days. Also use a gen set on job sites a distance from commercial power.

Get one. Get it set up for your next power outage. Gonna happen sooner or later.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Urbish » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:56 am

Eugene wrote: My final price was about the same as the gen set purchased by Urbish.


The NorthStar was $2k + $100 shipping. I almost went for the Generac you bought from Lowe's, but they don't publish any harmonic distortion data. The NorthStar advertises 5% or less harmonic distortion which means it hopefully won't fry my refrigerator.
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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Eugene » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:16 am

Have 2 Generac sets. One for over 10 years and used frequently on job sites and to power son's house for 10 days. Had no problems with either one.

The 8 Kw gen set I mentioned above, shortly after unpacking, I tested the various set's outlets. The 220V circuit didn't work. Exchanged. I test the voltage output shortly after initial engine start up. Adjust engine rpms if needed, usually not needed.

Spent 7 years living in Germany, 50 hz, 240 V. electricity. US made 60 hz, 120 V. appliances, most worked using a transformer, still on 50 hz.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Peter Person » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:01 am

Backfeeding is a somewhat dangerous method of running a generator. At the very least if you choose to do this make sure your main breaker is off. Don't need to fry a lineman out doing his/her job.
Best setup is a transfer switch. Not difficult to install and not terribly expensive but most important - SAFE.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:36 am

Peter is correct, plus it is a violation of electrical codes. That being said, it is a common practice to power a home that way, however do not be surprised if a lineman comes by and asks you to turn it off while working on the lines in your area.

That being said your 30 amp receptacle is borderline. Your generator produces 30 amps at 6600 watts, and 37 amps at the maximum 8000 watts. You may have a problem with the breaker tripping at maximum load. As a minimum make sure the wiring connectors on the receptacle and breaker or tight.

edited due to my typing. :oops:
Last edited by John *.?-!.* cub owner on Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Indy4570 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:27 pm

I am generator poor, only 7 or 8 of them around here. I even have a transfer someplace. I just haven't gotten around to hooking anything up. Living in the ice zone, its a good thing to have. I have everything from home built with a harborfreight 10kw head to an onan 4cylinder 15kw. Even a Titan diesel 5500w. Seems like something is wrong with most of them. I use the Honda EU 3000w more than anything. Grats on the purchase. Beware, for me generators are like old tractors, can never have enough of them :P
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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Eugene » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:48 pm

We operated son's house for both of the time frames I listed in my previous post with a 4 KW generator set. Before starting or restarting the gen set we went around and made sure all appliances and lights were turned off. Started the gen set with only the refrigerator and furnace still plugged in. Turned on only enough lights to get around. Replugged in the deep freezers one at a time. Idea was to reduce the amperage surge from the appliances.

The 4 KW provided enough power to operate the fridg, freezers, furnace, few lights, and TV. Everything operating, wasn't enough available amperage to use the electric kitchen range and perhaps the microwave. Cooking was done on the back up wood fired furnace in the basement, which was inconvient.

Reason I purchased the Generac 8000 KW was to permit son or wife and I to use the electric kitchen ranges during power outages.

Guys are correct on the transfer switch. Probably will never install. Had two power outages lasting longer than a couple minutes in the almost 20 years wife/I, have owned this house. Our second longest power outage was about 4 hours.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby ajhbike » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:52 pm

We used our 4kw during Sandy and Irene and some no name Nor'easter for 5 days each time and was voted father of the year several times. Fridge, hot water heater, some lights and wireless...and of course the Xbox for NHL! (Never too old for that). If happens in the winter, we can plug in our pellet stoves...range is gas so we can use it. We run 2 big wire leads in through a hole in the wall and branch out. Always wanted to do more, but never get around to it before the next time hits.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Urbish » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:48 pm

John *.?-!.* cub owner wrote:That being said your 30 amp receptacle is borderline. Your generator produces 30 amps at 6600 watts, and 37 amps at the maximum 8000 watts. You may have a problem with the breaker tripping at maximum load. As a minimum make sure the wiring connectors on the receptacle and breaker or tight.


The L14-30R 240V receptacle on the generator has a 30 amp breaker. That's why I will be installing a 30A L14-30R receptacle on the outside wall of my shop and building a 20' long connection cable with L-14-30P plugs on both ends. My shop is wired for 40A. The breaker on the generator is the weakest link. I realize that I won't be using all of the generator's capacity. That's a limitation of how the generator is constructed.
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Urbish
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Cub-54A Leveling and Grader Blade
Cub Loboy L-54 Leveling and Grader Blade
Unknown 5' Single Gang Disc Harrow
Circle of Safety: Y
Location: Manchester, MI

Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Urbish » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:56 pm

Peter Person wrote:Backfeeding is a somewhat dangerous method of running a generator. At the very least if you choose to do this make sure your main breaker is off. Don't need to fry a lineman out doing his/her job.
Best setup is a transfer switch. Not difficult to install and not terribly expensive but most important - SAFE.


Understood. I looked at transfer switches as well as generator interlocks. The problem is that the service enters the house then runs out to my shop. I'd prefer to have my generator at the shop for the reasons stated in my first post.

My plan in the event of a power outage (which will be posted on a laminated sheet hanging near the house box) is to turn off the main coming into the house, then turn off every single breaker in the house, then every breaker in the shop (including its main), get the generator plugged in, ground attached to generator, start generator and let it warm up, then turn on the main in the shop, then the branch breaker between the shop box and the generator, then back into the house to turn on branch to shop, then only the breakers for the well, furnace, fridge, and a couple of lights.
Jim

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Eugene » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:49 pm

I installed 50 amp receptacles in the house, son's garage, and several in the acreage shop building. Have around 200 - 250 feet of heavy duty flexible cable, perhaps 100 amp capacity, cut into several lengths to make "drop cords". Short lengths have a 50 amp male plug on one end and a twist lock to match the generator set.

Acreage shop and son's garage has cables about 50 - 60 feet long. Plugs into the wall mounted 220 V. 50 amp receptacle. Opposite end has a 50 amp receptacle and 120 outlets mounted on a board. These drop cords are handy for welding or working out side the building.

Don't know where the flexible cable came from, perhaps an auction. Several times, have picked up electrical wire at auctions for next to nothing. Picked up UF, underground wire, at auction for $12-, enough to run a line from son's house to garage.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Shane N. » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:35 pm

I back feed our house with our Miller Bobcat welder/generator when our power goes out. It’s 220V, 8,500 Watts max with a 20 HP Kohler engine. I do it like Jim described above. Turn off main so power man don’t get jolted etc. I run everything we have with it. Shop is about 100’ away and I ran 220 wire underground out there several years ago so I could do mig welding without adding another meter. Never had any problems and our power goes out about 2-3 Times a year. With the twin Kohler I can only run it 10 hours before refueling. It has a pretty big built in tank.

Years ago when I lived at home with my parents before I got married and moved on down the road our power went out in a snow storm. My brother came and stayed as well. The next morning he said “I didn’t sleep at all last night, all I could hear was that generator”. I said, you were warm though weren’t you? That’s one of the reasons I back feed it from the shop.
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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Peter Person » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:58 pm

The "Suicide Cord", even if it is a twist lock.
Just keep the kids away from it...easier said than done.
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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby cub 3 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:42 pm

Just had a 16kw generac whole house gen. Installed works GREAT, it wakes up every other Saturday runs for 5 min.an back to sleep. When the power goes out got tired hunting for gas,always kept four 5 gal. Cans on hand


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