Letter Re: Generators And Their Proper Implementation During TEOTWAWKI/Disasters


I’ve passed this along many times to JWR when the subject of generators and transfer switches come up. It is a more versatile solution than a transfer switch. It is a product named Generlink. It installs at your pole and allows you to choose which circuits to power via your breaker box, instead of having to wire specific circuits with a transfer switch and is a less expensive solution than a transfer switch. Generlink has been approved by my electric co-op and many others. Check it out at generlink.com, I have no financial interest in it. Regards, Keith

o o o

Hi Hugh,

I figured it was time for me to bring this up regarding generators. As to my background, I’ve used my preferred generator series for more than 20 years. My ranch is completely off grid; there is nothing coming in or going out of the property– no electric, water, or phone. I use a Trace inverter which automatically starts and stops the generator as needed. Now, as the OP did, most people will go get a generator, then gas and fire it up. What people don’t realize is the difference between generators and generators. The Troy-bilt referenced in the original post is a 3600RPM generator and, amongst other things, they are LOUD! No matter how you try to jerry rig it, no muffler, exhaust pipe, baffles, whatever clever idea you come up with, will make it quiet. Those cast iron pistons cannot be made quiet. In other words, there is NO OPSEC!

Allow me to clarify while keeping it simple. The Troy-bilt is a good generator, but it’s engine runs at 3600 RPM, and it’s designed for “Temporary Duty”. It’s good for emergencies and construction sites. The max recommended is 8 hours usage out of 24 for design life.

The best for OPSEC, and our readers intended use, is an Onan or Kohler RV generator, available in 120 or 120/240 VAC, 4KW, 6.5KW, 7.5KW, or bigger. Get the single phase only. They have a bigger engine because they run at 1800 RPM and produce more stable power. They are also designed as a “Continuous Duty” generator, although not in the “Commercial Sense” of continuous duty.


  • Heavier, not designed to be portable, no battery charging built in.


  • Electric start,
  • Running 20 hours a day for days on end won’t hurt it (if you can afford the fuel),
  • Easily convertible to tri-fuel (Natural Gas, Propane, Gasoline),
  • Less likely to get stolen,
  • BTW, some folks have put them on wheeled dollies and move them easily, and
  • They’re QUIET! They meet the National Park Service quietness standards. Mine can be running and you can have a nice conversation standing right beside it.

As a wrapup, the newer Honda and other brand inverter generators are great for small power requirement applications, but they’re not very EMP proof. Anyway, this is food for thought since you can get one on Craigslist for under $1000. They’re built very well, lots of spare parts around, too.

Best regards, to all,

The Army Aviator