The first generator I ever bought was a Honda EX350. It was a tiny generator that ran on 2-stroke fuel and provided a modest output of around 300 watts. I liked it because it was very small, lightweight, quiet and very reliable. I used it to run battery chargers for my mobile phone and laptop computer, which it did quite well despite having a modified sine wave output. I also used the 12v output to recharge batteries in the 4WDs and camper. As our power need grew, the Honda really couldn’t cut the mustard so we set out to find a replacement.
What we bought was a Black Ridge BRG-800 Inverter Generator from SuperCheap Auto. It normally retails for $630 but we got it on a special for around $400. With a nominal output of 800 watts (peak is 930 watts) it will not run an airconditioner but it can cope with small power tools, as it’s a pure sinewave inverter, a myriad of other equipment including battery chargers. The 2.1 litre fuel tank, regular unleaded thankfully, is good for around 4 hours use at 600 watts. There is an auto throttle feature that adjusts according to the load which can reduce fuel use.
Sound output is quoted as 86db at 7 metres. That might appear high but I have found in practice that it appears much quieter than this. My testing at very close range was not as high as the specifications quoted. Certainly its on par with supposedly higher quality units like a Honda EU20i. Best feature of all is the light weight of the Black Ridge. At 15kg nett weight, it is very easy to carry around especially over rough ground.
One of the appealing aspects of this generator is that it is quite inexpensive, yet it is purchased through a large Australian retailer with nationwide warranty. Much better than what you get with a cheap Chinese generator from eBay.
We took this generator with us for our Northern Australia trip that included the Gibb River Road and it performed admirably. We mainly ran a 15 amp cTek battery charger from it so it was not really challenged, but the environmental conditions gave it a good run for its money. It never failed to start or operate regardless of the conditions. After that trip, I put it away and it didn’t get used for another 5 years.
Recently I started to question the wisdom of carrying a larger generator just for the off chance we may need to run the air conditioner when away from mains power. Apart from the weight factor on the van, there is also the practicalities of storing, removing, transporting and lifting a large generator and, in this respect, I found the larger ones wanting. I pulled out the Black Ridge after its hibernation and to my delight, it started working immediately without any issue at all.
The Black Ridge is just so easy to use and handle, you’ll wonder why you ever went to the trouble with a larger, heavier unit. Its inexpensive and the nation-wide warranty gives you piece of mind. If noise is a concern of yours, you need not worry as it is as inoffensive as any top quality generator.
We definitely reccommend the Black Ridge BRG-800 as an alternative to the big brands and larger generators. For 99% of what you’ll need it for, its perfect.