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Old December 30th, 2006, 04:59 PM   #1
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Honda Generators with HMI's

Has anyone used the Honda Inverter Genertors, such as the EU2000I or EU3000IS or even the EM7000ISAB to power HMI lights.

We are looking to purchase one or two small generators to power HMI lights. Some of our HMI lights have magnetic ballasts, others are electronic.

The EU2000I is 2000 watts max, 1600 watts rated. We would like to know if this will succesfully power a 1.2k HMI, magnetic ballast.

The EU3000IS puts out 3000 watts max, 2800 watts rated.

Are the inverters on these generators true sine wave with low enough distortion, and frequency stable to power HMI's without problems? Some have said that these are sine wave inverters, but Honda's website's specifications are not detailed enough.

The EU2000I and EU3000IS have parallel operation capability, so we can connect two like units to power a larger load when necessary, if we purchase a special connection cord.

Any suggestions and advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 06:03 PM   #2
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HMI's have a power surge when they're struck, so I don't think the 2K would be suitable for a 1.2K, I'd tend towards the 3k generator. I'd also use a flicker free ballast rather than the magnetic ballast.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 06:07 PM   #3
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Dear Brian,

Thank you for your information. I agree that the EU3000i should probably be a minimum size for the 1.2k HMI's.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 06:41 PM   #4
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrarg...ium-arc_iodide
and
http://www.cinematography.net/Pages%...0WattGenny.htm
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Old December 30th, 2006, 07:11 PM   #5
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Dear Giroud,

Thank you for the references.

From the first it appears that an electronic ballast is best to use with a generator in order to avoid flicker, however, the electronic ballasts draw more current.

What isn't clear is if the Honda Inverter Generator's output is frequency stable at exactly 60 Hertz, which would allow the use of either type.

From the second reference, it appears that generator condition and state of tune up is most important if you are living on the edge, such as using a 4k with 6500 watt Honda generator.

One thing is not really clear, as the posters referred to the Honda generators by actual wattage output. However a Honda ES6500 does not actually put out 6500 watts continously, only 6000 watts rated.

However the point is well taken. If you want provide reliable service over the useful life of the generator, it should be oversized for the actual application.

Thanks again for the references. Both were a wealth of information.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 07:16 PM   #6
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If you are really stuck in a corner with only one "just enough" generator, which bogs down when you intially strike the light, you might get away with baseloading the generator first with a 500w or even 1000w load to get the motor operating at nearer to the power loading, strike the big light as you dump the smaller light.

Not good for either appliance though.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 08:16 PM   #7
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The Honda eu2000i generator does not operate like most generators. It uses an inverter to create it's output signal instead of running the engine at 3600rpm to create the correct wave with an alternator like the more common generators. Honda claims that the power output for their inverter generators is more stable than even standard line power and is ideal for computers and other sensitive electronics. I have not powered an HMI light from any type of generator, but you might want to take a second look at the Honda specifications as the eu2000i an it's family are very different from most generators. I have worked with the eu1000i that was running field monitors. They worked perfectly and that little generator is very quiet. Theoretically, they should be better if the inverter is as good as they claim.

I swear I have read a post from someone around here that powered a 1.2k HMI from the eu2000i.

I don't think the pre-loading trick will work with an inverter-type generator.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 08:37 PM   #8
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In my description I shall define the electrical power as "load" and "power" as the variable work available from the motor.

The preloading trick only deals with the lag time of mechanical or electromechanical governors on single cylinder motors and does not store electrical power as such.

The switching in of a sudden big load is enough to drop the engine rpm out of its designed power band, it does not recover but bogs on the edge of the building load.

I imagine that an inverting system would not be the sort of thing you would want to impose those sort of transients upon. A much larger single source is best, something onto which incremental large loads can be added.

Out of curiosity, do you know if the Honda inverting generator uses a capacitor or DC battery to deal with initial demand or powers entirely from a battery store which is maintained by a constant speed motor?

It seems to me like it could be a clever evolution out of hybrid power systems for motor vehicles.

If that is the method, it should be a winner of a system to use.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #9
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Dear Bob,

I know that some models have batteries, and others don't.

It is my understanding that when using "Eco Throttle", the engine rpm is determined by the load on the inverter. I do not know how they handle sudden increases in the load. But, it is my understanding that they provide, clean, stable power.

Since the "Eco Throttle" is a switch selectable option, it may be necessary, in some cases, to turn this off to start large loads, such as HMI's. I have been attempting to find a manual on these generators to learn more.

Most of the users of these generators have been very pleased. However, I have not yet found any direct reports of individuals that have used them to power HMI's.

A similar Yamaha model has a feature that uses the battery for 10 to 12 seconds to provide an extra 500 watts. This feature is not mentioned on the Honda models.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 07:35 PM   #10
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Advice

Hi all:

I own two of the EU2000i, I use them to power my RV when camping. I have done shoots with them, mainly using tungsten instruments up to 1ks with no problem.

Of course, I know that 1200 watt HMIs require a larger power capacity for striking than tungsten instruments. I used to own a Joker 12000 watt PAR but this was before I owned the Hondas. I can tell you that I made a parallel box and I can successfully strike my 15000 BTU AC on my RV with just one generator. I am not sure of the amp requirement though but I can tell you that striking an air conditioner takes some serious amps.

The EU2000i are a very unique and high quality generator and they put out very clean, continuous power, very suitable for video production for monitors and lights. I would test it. If it won't strike the HMI, it's not going to hurt anything, the HMI will just not strike. I would lean toward using two EU2000i OR the 3K for a 1200 watt HMI. The big advantage of the EU2000i route is that they only weight about 45lbs ea. whereas the EU3000 weighs somewhere around 135 to 150lbs. If you don't have strong grips or a grip truck with a hydraulic liftgate, the EU2000i is much easier to work with out of car trunk.

Best,

Dan
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 06:19 PM   #11
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Well, I have successfully used the Honda EU2000i to power 1.2K HMI units from both Arri and DeSisti. The Arri was an electronic ballast and the DeSisti was magnetic. We shot an entire feature using 3 of these generators. You will want to run with the eco-throttle feature turned OFF, and a single 1.2K unit is all you can power with one of these generators. You will be limited to 100-150' of stingerage (and use no less than 12ga cable) from the generator to the ballast, so be prepared to build sound traps for the generator. Never a problem with striking, and the generators have good built-in overload protection which we tested a few times.

Overall, I've been pretty impressed with these generators, and I love them instead of the horribly noisy put-put generators for utility work on set. They are not really a great substitute for a real generator (they are significantly noisier, and there are the load issues to struggle with), but for what they are, they are grand.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 10:25 AM   #12
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Dear Dan and Ralph,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I appreciate your advice.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 04:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Keyser
They are not really a great substitute for a real generator (they are significantly noisier, and there are the load issues to struggle with), but for what they are, they are grand.
The rental house I rent from told me the 2K Honda was quieter than the 60kW MovieQuiet because the engine is so much smaller. Even with the larger blimp around the MovieQuiet, it is still louder. I guess large diesel generators just make a lot of noise and are difficult to silence. I thought it was an interesting point, but have never been able to verify it myself. Just thought I'd share.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #14
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Honda Generators with HMI's

I run a rental house in Boston by the name of ScreenLight and Grip and we rent and sell Honda Generators for film production. We also modify the Honda EU6500is and have developed a Gen Set System for it that offers 7500W of power in a Single 120V circuit. Which is enough power to run not only 2.5kw HMIs, but also 4kw, or even 6kw HMIs. It can run a Mole 6kw Six Light (6x 1kw Par 64 Globes), the new powerful Mole 5k Quartz Par, or a complete HD Lighting Pkg. we have developed to maximize the production capability of our new Gen Set System that we are calling the HD Plug & Play Pkg. (HD P&P Pkg.). I can definitively answer a lot of the questions being kicked back and forth in this forum.

“Are the inverters on these generators true sine wave with low enough distortion, and frequency stable to power HMI's without problems?” – Dan Keaton

Honda's sine-wave inverter technology provides smoother, higher quality power than conventional (non-inverter) generators. With an unparalleled waveform distortion factor of less than 2.5%, the power generated by Honda’s EU series of generators is quite often better than what you get out of the wall outlet. Honda's inverter technology accomplishes this by taking the raw power produced by the generator and passes it through a microprocessor controlled multi-step process to condition it. First, the generator's combination flywheel/alternator produces high voltage multiphase AC power. The AC power is then converted to DC. Finally the DC power is converted back to AC by an inverter. The inverter cleans and stabilizes the power to make it equal to or better than household power. The power these machines generate is rock solid with a frequency variance of only hundredths of a cycle which eliminates the need for costly crystal governors. The Honda EU series generates true sine wave power with low enough distortion, and frequency stability to power HMI's without problems?

“… an electronic ballast is best to use with a generator in order to avoid flicker, however, the electronic ballasts draw more current.” – Dan Keaton

There is a popular misconception that you should only use electronic ballasts with portable generators. Where that is true with conventional generators without crystal governors, it is not true of inverter generators for the reasons above. In fact, besides the extra bulk and weight of magnetic ballasts, the smaller magnetic ballasts (575-2500W) offer the distinct advantage of being less expensive and drawing less power (once they have come up to speed) than the commonly available electronic equivalents. Operating at 120V, a 1.2kw HMI with non-power factor corrected electronic ballast will draw 18-19 amps verses the 13.5 amps of a magnetic ballast.

The downside to magnetic ballasts is when you have little head room - i.e. striking a 1200Watt HMI on a EU2000is with other things plugged into the generator as well. A magnetic ballasts draws more current during the striking phase and then they “settle down” and require less power to maintain the HMI Arc. By contrast, an electronic ballasts “ramps up”. That is, its’ current draw gradually builds until it “tops off” - but it “tops off” with a considerably greater draw than a magnetic ballast “settles down” to. A Honda EU2000is will power either. A magnetic ballast offers the slight advantage that you can power another tungsten or fluorescent lights light on the generator, but only after you have already struck your HMI.

While older HMIs with magnetic ballasts are less expensive to purchase or rent, there have been some very recent advances in HMI electronic ballast technology that make the newest ballasts worth the extra money when it comes to lighting with portable generators. For example the HMI ballast manufacturer Power to Light has introduced Power Factor Correction (PFC) into 1200 & 800 Watt ballasts. We are pairing these new ballasts with the Joker 800 and Mole 1200 pars.

The Power to Light PFC 1200W electronic ballast draws only 11 Amps verses the 18 Amps required by standard electronic ballasts and the 13.5 Amps required by magnetic ballasts after they have struck. And, like conventional electronic ballasts the Power to Light PFC 1200W electronic ballast “ramps up”, but it “tops off” with a considerably less draw than a magnetic ballast. Where a Kino Flo Parabeam 400 draws only 2 amps, that 8 Amp difference between using the new Power to Light PFC 1200W electronic ballast and a standard 1200W electronic ballasts, can mean the difference of running four Parabeam 400s on a portable generator – I think you would have to agree that being able to run four Parabeam 400s on top of a 1200W HMI is a major boost in production capability.

Taking advantage of recent advances in lighting technology like Power to Light’s introduction of Power Factor Correction into 1200 & 800 Watt ballasts, we have developed a special HD lighting package we call the HD Plug and Play Pkg.(HD P&P Pkg.) When combined with the tremendous production capability of the Honda EU series generators, our HD P&P Pkg. offers pretty impressive production capability for HD Digital Cinema production.

For example, our modified Honda EU6500is Inverter Generator with our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro is capable of powering a 2.5kw Par along with the 1200, 800 Pars of our HD Plug and Play Pkg., plus a couple of Parabeam 400s, a couple of Parabeam 200s, and a Kino Flo Flat Head 80. Given the light sensitivity of HD Camcorders, this constitutes a complete location lighting package for HD Digital Cinema productions. Use this links for more details about our new system: http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/ht...-play_pkg.html

“I imagine that an inverting system would not be the sort of thing you would want to impose those sort of transients upon.” – Bob Hart.

Lighting loads come on not so “instantaneously” as to pose a problem for the Honda Inverter generators. Remember that tungsten lights are a resistive load – that is a tungsten coil is heated until it glows bright – and so, even though it comes up quickly, it comes up gradually. Electronic HMIs ramp up to their full load during the striking phase. An advantage to powering lights through a transformer like our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro is that it automatically splits the load of whatever you plug into it evenly over the two legs of the 240V circuit of the generator and so reduces the impact of switching on a large light on the generator. Part of the reason, that our modified Honda EU6500i is capable of handling a 7500W load is because it is a perfectly balanced load. Likewise, any generator will be capable of handling a greater load when it is perfectly balanced by a transformer.

Plugging lights in through a transformer also enables you to more fully utilize the continuous rated power capacity of a generator by enabling you to load it more fully. Without our 60A Transformer/Distro you can never fully utilize the available power of a Honda EU6500is generator because the load of a light has to go on one circuit/leg of the generator or the other. For example, when plugging lights into the power outlet panel of the Honda EU6500i Generator, you reach a point where you can't power an additional 1kw light because there is not 8.4 amps available on either one of the factory installed 20A outlets/leg of the generator. With our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro you can still add that 1kw light because our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro splits the load evenly over the two legs (4.2A/leg) of the generator.

Our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro will also greatly simplify your set electrics regardless what generator it is used with. As long as you plug in through our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro you don’t have to carefully balance the load over the generator's two 120V circuit/legs. Now that you are able to fully load the generator in a perfectly balanced fashion with the help of our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro, you are able to power larger lights, or more smaller lights, than you could without it.

I have run out of space on this post, but have more to say. I will pick up the thread in my next post.

- Guy Holt, New England Gaffer and Lighting & Grip Rental House Owner.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 11:27 AM   #15
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Honda Generators with HMI's

“Since the "Eco Throttle" is a switch selectable option, it may be necessary, in some cases, to turn this off to start large loads, such as HMI's. “ – Dan Keaton

Honda’s "Eco Throttle" has no problems handling sudden large tungsten loads when applied through a transformer as described above. We have switched on and off 5ks without a problem. Honda’s "Eco Throttle" also has no problem handling 6k HMIs with electronic ballasts because as discussed above the ballast “ramps up” gradually over the 3-5 second striking phase. I would not suggest attempting to strike a 6k magnetic ballast on an EU6500is because it’s load during the striking phase far exceeds the capacity of the generator and would come on very quickly when you hit start.

You always want to use the "Eco Throttle" feature of the EU series generators because it is what makes the generators so much quieter than conventional portable generators. The “Eco-Throttle” automatically adjusts the generator's engine speed to produce only the power needed for the application in use. Traditional generators have to run at a constant 3600 RPM to produce stable 60 hertz (cycle) electricity. Whereas, the Inverter Technology of the Honda Inverter Generators enables them to run at much slower RPMs while maintaining frequency and power for the requested load. Because the engine does not have to run at full speed constantly, the “Eco-Throttle” reduces fuel consumption by up to 40%. But, of greater importance for film applications, not running at full speed constantly, the engine is much quieter. Honda's inverter generators are substantially quieter than traditional models.

“They are not really a great substitute for a real generator (they are significantly noisier, and there are the load issues to struggle with), but for what they are, they are grand.” – Ralph Keyser

By utilizing a new separate triple chamber construction, a new centralized intake/exhaust system and the new Eco-Throttle design, the EU6500is achieves a noise reduction of ten decibels and is half as loud as the comparable EM7000is and ES6500 generators typically found at lighting rental houses. Honda's EU Series generators operate at 34 to 44 dBA at 50 ft. - well below what is required for trouble free location recording and quieter than our Crawford 1400 Amp “Movie Blimped” Generator.

Another advantage to using our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro with our modified Honda EU 6500is is that it enables you to place the generator further away while your plug-in points remain conveniently close to set. To record sync sound without picking up any generator noise, all you need to do is add 100' of heavy duty 250V twist-lock cable between the generator and the transformer/distro which is usually enough cable to place the generator around the corner of a building. Our heavy duty 250V twist-lock cable eliminates multiple cable runs to the generator and the subsequent drop in voltage from line-loss from using standard electrical cords.

Our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro is equipped with the industry standard 60A/120V GPC (Bates) receptacle. The 60A GPC outlet can be used to power a 5kw Quartz, 2.5kw HMI Par, or even a Power Factor Corrected 4kw HMI Par. With additional 60A GPC extension cables, 60-to-60 Splitters, and fused 60A GPC-to-Edison Breakouts (snack boxes) the 60A GPC Outlet on our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro enables you to run power around your set - breaking out to 20A Edison outlets at convenient points. The best part is that no matter where in the distribution system you plug in, our Full Power Transformer/Distro automatically balances the additional load, so that you don't have to. If you are using the Honda EU6500is generator, you simply plug in lights until the load wattage displayed on the iMonitor of the generator control panel reaches 7500 Watts. An overload alarm on the iMonitor display will tell you if you inadvertently overload the 60A Transformer/Distro (use this link for more information about using transformers with portable gas generators: http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/ht...mstrip4lg.html.)

If it sounds like I’m hyping the Honda EU6500is generator, it is not because we rent and sell them. As a Gaffer of a lot of tight budgeted historical documentaries for PBS’ American Experience and the History Channel, it is my professional opinion that these machines are a major advance in portable power. But don’t take my word for it. Of the EU6500is Generator, Honda states; "This new EU series generator is our most powerful, versatile and technologically advanced generator yet."

To eliminate the struggle with “load issues” associated with portable gas generators that Dan Keaton alludes to above, we have modified the EU6500is and further enhanced its’ already impressive production capabilities with our 60A Full Power/Transformer. For example, our modified Honda EU6500i Inverter Generator with our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro is capable of powering a 2.5kw Par along with the 1200, 800 Pars of our HD Plug and Play Pkg., plus a couple of Parabeam 400s and Parabeam 200s, and a Kino Flo Flat Head 80. Given the light sensitivity of HD Camcorders, this constitutes a complete location lighting package for HD Digital Cinema productions.

For those who would like to see samples of what can be accomplished with this basic package I have attched these links to production stills of some of the PBS and History Channel historical documentaries shot with this lighting package.

The History Channelâ??s â??Unsolved Historyâ?? episode â??Presidential Assassinsâ?? :
www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/unhisintro.html

American Experience's Typhoid Mary Biography "The Most Dangerous Women in America": www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/tmintro.html

WGBHâ??s Ben Franklin Biography â??Franklinâ??:
http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/ht...klinintro.html

Or, use this link for more details about using step-down transformers on set: http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/ht...mstrip4lg.html

This is probably more information than you need, but I hope you found some of it helpful.

- Guy Holt, New England Gaffer and Lighting & Grip Rental House Owner.
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