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SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

GenTent portable generator cover

I posted this in another thread, but it's buried pretty deep and I thought this deserved it's own thread.

Thankfully, I never lost power during Hurricane Sandy, but this storm raised an interesting problem: how to run my portable generator during rain or snow that lingers on after the bulk of a storm has passed (or during the storm itself).

Stanley makes an all-weather generator, and standby units by definition are sealed for all-weather use, but portables by and large aren't supposed to be used in inclement weather.

GenTent makes a product that is like a canopy for generators, allowing for all-weather use: »www.gentent.com/GenTent_2nd_Gen_···b-tb.htm

They claim it can be used in sideways rain, and demo that concept here:

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvTOqNStbrY


Not sure what to make of this product. If it can be used in all-weather situations, it seems to fit the bill of keeping the generator portable while solving the rain/snow issues. Any thoughts?


shdesigns
Powered By Infinite Improbabilty Drive
Premium
join:2000-12-01
Stone Mountain, GA
Reviews:
·EarthLink
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I'd build a lean-to on the side of the house. Use latticework on the sides with black ground felt or screen for ventilation. Then some simple barn doors.

Probably cost you about the same.

On my portable, I just laid a sheet of plywood on top of it that hung out about 12" on each side.
--
Scott Henion

Embedded Systems Consultant,
SHDesigns home - DIY Welder


bemis

join:2008-07-18
Reading, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to SwedishRider

I have a 3' long by 2' wide piece of 3/4" pressure treated plywood that I lean against the generator to form a lean-to roof, I put a couple of cinder blocks on the ground side, and on the raised side I did drill a couple of holes so that I could bungie-cord it to the generator, but the particular location I use it is shielded from wind, so it has not been an issue.

That setup keeps 90% of the rain off of it, though if it were just solid downpouring I bet none of these solutions would really do much for the a portable.

I use dielectric grease on all my electrical connectors outside, my cord plugs still look new, and I know from years past experience that they use to get ugly and corroded pretty quick after use outside... so I assume the grease is working, and it effectively plugs up the outlet holes to prevent water from getting in.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to SwedishRider

I have an old piece of plywood and some concrete blocks.



cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to SwedishRider

For 1/10 the price, you can get some rip stop nylon, some wire coat hangers, and some Velcro. Add in a hour or two of sewing and you'd have the same thing. Plus $171 extra.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

I have an old piece of plywood and some concrete blocks.

What's your expert opinion on their claim of acceptable use in sideways rain? I would have to think plywood with cinder blocks on it has the same problem. Is it okay to run it that way if the rain is coming in at an angle but NOT getting into the outlets.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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join:2006-01-11
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reply to SwedishRider

Click for full size
 
 
Even the Stanley all-weather portable is open on its sides quite a bit... so it would seem that sideways rain is not enough to prohibit use.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to SwedishRider

said by SwedishRider:

I would have to think plywood with cinder blocks on it has the same problem. Is it okay to run it that way if the rain is coming in at an angle but NOT getting into the outlets.

A sheet of plywood is like an umbrella.
That little generator hood is like a hat.

One is good for the rain, the other is just to keep your hair dry.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
reply to SwedishRider

Inside the detached garage works just fine for me. No chance of it getting wet.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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join:2006-01-11
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reply to alkizmo

said by alkizmo:

A sheet of plywood is like an umbrella.
That little generator hood is like a hat.

One is good for the rain, the other is just to keep your hair dry.

With due respect, then explain the design of Stanley's all-weather generator vs the "little hat".


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

2 edits

said by SwedishRider:

With due respect, then explain the design of Stanley's all-weather generator vs the "little hat".

Only the engine part is exposed. Like snow blowers, lawn mowers, etc, that part is already sealed by its own casing.

however, notice how the electrical side is covered in plastic, and the outlet panel has a rain guard, while the extension outlets are gfci.

edit: may i add that on the stanley, some other parts are also weather proofed like the muffler.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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join:2006-01-11
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kudos:1

said by alkizmo:

however, notice how the electrical side is covered in plastic, and the outlet panel has a rain guard, while the extension outlets are gfci.

I guess what I'm looking at is that the outlets are covered in both instances (plastic for stanley, canvas cover for GenTent) but the rest of both the Stanley and GenTent setups are open to the elements. I agree that Stanley MAY have some things that are more rugged (I've never personally seen one, so they may not), but it appears that at their essence, they have similar designs with what they do and do not cover.

As far as GFCI, my generator does not have a N/G bond and so has no GFCI protection. But it's only really used when plugged into the house GenTran inlet box, which provides the singular N/G bond in the house panel.

Hmmm... time to ponder...


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

1 recommendation

I didnt have time to write any further because I was holding my 3 month old daughter.

Notice how on the stanley, there are no bolts on the frame. The whole thing is molded and soldered together, no bolts, no holes, everything is made so water doesn't enter a crack/hole and get stuck inside to rust the metal.

Your generator has bolts on the frame. Water can get inside the holes in the pipe frame, and linger forever, rusting your generator.

Also, think of maintenance simplicity. Even the weather proof generator isn't made to be left outside FOREVER. It's just a functional way to use a generator in the rain, whereever you go.
You still need to clean it and dry it after you used it in a rain storm.

If you use a proper shelter that keeps the whole generator dry, you won't have to worry about cleaning it or rust.



Frink
Professor
Premium
join:2000-07-13
Scotch Plains, NJ

1 recommendation

reply to SwedishRider

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I built a little gene 'dog house' and it has come in handy here in NJ...


SwedishRider
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join:2006-01-11
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reply to alkizmo

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said by alkizmo:

Notice how on the stanley, there are no bolts on the frame. The whole thing is molded and soldered together, no bolts, no holes, everything is made so water doesn't enter a crack/hole and get stuck inside to rust the metal.

Your generator has bolts on the frame. Water can get inside the holes in the pipe frame, and linger forever, rusting your generator

I just checked my generator, and I posted some pics of it that I've posted here before. I don't see any holes in the generator tube frame on my generator. There are bolts that are exposed, but I don't think any penetrate into the tube frame.

I realize the GenTent isn't for keeping the generator out all the time. It's for generator use in inclement weather, and then putting the generator away when done with it. I store it in my garage, so it's out of the weather unless in use. The problem is use during rain or snow. If it works, it's a pretty ideal solution for me... I'd rather that than build a separate shed or covering.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

ok but my other point was that if rain on the sides is okay, then why even spend 200$ on a hat?

make a cover just for the outlets out of a square of tarp



SwedishRider
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said by alkizmo:

ok but my other point was that if rain on the sides is okay, then why even spend 200$ on a hat?

make a cover just for the outlets out of a square of tarp

I guess that's true... having a "hat" would seem to still keep out quite a bit of water, though with open sides you'd have to question how much vs no hat at all.

I'm going to ponder for a while on this... I'm not really sure how I'm going to proceed yet.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by SwedishRider:

I guess that's true... having a "hat" would seem to still keep out quite a bit of water, though with open sides you'd have to question how much vs no hat at all.

I'm going to ponder for a while on this... I'm not really sure how I'm going to proceed yet.

If that hat was 50$, I'd say go for it, why not, better than nothing.
But it's 200$.
A piece of plywood and a block of concrete does a better job (protects the sides too!)

If you want something nice and professional, look into building a real shelter for it, it's worth the time (And still probably would come at less than 200$).


disconnected

@snet.net
reply to shdesigns

I built a concrete blockhouse/bunker for my genset. I always base my construction on the assumption that anything fueled by flammable liquids WILL catch on fire at some point in the future. Hence, the concrete structure. Also effective for sound abatement. Good for when you have power and the FSA do not.



AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to SwedishRider

We used to have a genset mounted on the back of a pickup. It would transported all over NYC and would run with no problems. (It got stolen one day, but that's another thread.



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to disconnected

said by disconnected :

I built a concrete blockhouse/bunker for my genset.

Pics? I might want to build something like that.


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

use legos



fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to shdesigns

said by shdesigns:

I'd build a lean-to on the side of the house. Use latticework on the sides with black ground felt or screen for ventilation. Then some simple barn doors.

Probably cost you about the same.

On my portable, I just laid a sheet of plywood on top of it that hung out about 12" on each side.

I am afraid of keeping it right up against the house. I had it next to the house and my basement CO detector went off. So I placed it 20 feet away and used my ghetto garbage bag cover and it worked.

Genny was dry as a bone when power came back on and I rolled it back in.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
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kudos:1

2 recommendations

reply to SwedishRider

Click for full size
Click for full size
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Click for full size
Well, after a lengthy wait on backorder, my GenTent finally arrived and took all of 10 minutes to assemble. It's pretty sweet, and fits over my #8 SOOW generator cord with no problems. It has a really good fit and finish, and has a quality feel with the materials used and assembled canopy. But as usual.. since I'm prepared, I've again guaranteed that I won't lose power.

I attached some pics. I've yet to use it obviously, but for all I've seen both on YouTube and up close, it seems to do what it claims to do. Check it out: »www.gentent.com/


jjoshua
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Scotch Plains, NJ
kudos:3
reply to SwedishRider

This.

»www.walmart.com/ip/Rubbermaid-13···/8143892



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

I thought about going the Rubbermaid bin route, but it comes with some drawbacks (doesn't everything!). Hurricane Sandy put forth the possibility of a longer duration event with wet weather that would make using a portable generator in the rain and wind dangerous (and making the generator useless until the weather clears). Prior to Sandy, I wouldn't have thought about needing power when the weather was still wet, but there I was with the event over and the rainy weather hanging on for quite some time.

The Rubbermaid-style bin would be great for outdoor storage, but would still need to be opened to run the generator safely (without additional mods to the bin), and that would not allow for wet, windy weather usage with the bin open. And it also defeats the portability of the solution, which is partly why some choose portables for both home and road setups.

The GenTent keeps the portability of the generator, and keeps rain off the unit to allow safe operation. It's rated for use up to 60 mph winds (and has been used in winds up to 90 mph during Sandy). Who knows when I'll get to use it, but the videos show it's capabilities pretty well:

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8EFMtpAwug


»www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK4ztlMKNMM


»www.youtube.com/watch?v=snVoNGrjGow


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to SwedishRider

A simple solution to keep your generator's head dry.

But you know my previous stance on spending that sort of money



Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to SwedishRider

My wife came up an idea just before Sandy missed us. I was trying to come up with something and she asked me why I didn't just use the two saw horses in the back yard that have 3- 2x12s spread between them. I got thinking about it and it was a near perfect solution with a piece of plywood added. The saw horses are steel and substantial. Simply put a piece of plywood between the sawhorses with a slight slope, lay the 2x12s on top of it and call it a day. The saw horses are probably 1 foot higher then the generator tank. A really heavy gust might topple the whole thing, but the weight of the 2x12s would most likely keep it very stable. I have a few solidified 80 pound bags of cement I could use to hold it down too. Thankfully this was one storm we happened to escape.



SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

said by Kramer:

My wife came up an idea just before Sandy missed us. I was trying to come up with something and she asked me why I didn't just use the two saw horses in the back yard that have 3- 2x12s spread between them. I got thinking about it and it was a near perfect solution with a piece of plywood added. The saw horses are steel and substantial. Simply put a piece of plywood between the sawhorses with a slight slope, lay the 2x12s on top of it and call it a day. The saw horses are probably 1 foot higher then the generator tank. A really heavy gust might topple the whole thing, but the weight of the 2x12s would most likely keep it very stable. I have a few solidified 80 pound bags of cement I could use to hold it down too. Thankfully this was one storm we happened to escape.

I rigged up something similar before Sandy. I used a number of 2x4x10 boards to span a part of my deck and then attached 2 sheets of plywood over that, and then bungee'd a tarp over the plywood to keep everything dry.. and it was worthless. The rain was a light mist that was blowing sideways... it was just not safe to run the generator in that kind of weather. That's why I bought the GenTent.


Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

I see so many openings with the Gen Tent, I am not sure how it is doing much better.

I have a huge shed with two big barn doors that can act as shields. I was considering nailing a piece of plywood between the doors on top of them. That's when the wife suggested the saw horses. Only one side would be exposed and it faces dead east. I can put the generator all the way in the shed and only need to protect the front of it from driving rain. I'm glad I missed Sandy. She lasted a lot longer then the typical hurricanes we see around here. I've been through a number of them and by the time I am willing to drag out the generator, run the extension cords and worry about food going bad, the worst part is usually more than over.