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Power to the people – Draper’s generators provide

Draper Generator 95197

It’s not only in war-torn or otherwise ravaged countries that generators are a requirement for ordinary households. My relatives in South Africa and the USA all routinely use their generators for backup as needed when the power is down whatever the cause – Usually bad weather, bad management and excess demand.

We have been spoilt here because our National Grid is pretty good, but there are still circumstances when a portable generator is a great idea. On remote building sites, camping, festivals… give it some thought and the list becomes quite long.

Draper Tools has a range of at least a dozen generators at different levels of capacity for different applications, and I was provided with the Petrol inverter Generator 95197 which is a 2300 W/Amp machine most suited to small building sites and camping sorts of applications.

It is powered by a 125cc four-stroke petrol engine that will run for five hours at full load with a full tank of 7.5 litres.

When running, it is not whispering quite like many of the ‘briefcase style’ generators, but it does have the power to run two corded tools at once. There is a connection between power, noise levels and capacity that consumers need to balance with their needs.

Weatherproofing is rated at IP23M so the generators should be more than capable of surviving a rainstorm and keep on running and its all-up weight of 36kgs means that lifting and carrying should be done with two people; not a difficult task because the two big handles at each end make it comfortable.

Preps for starting

It is recommended that users read the instructions closely before tackling the generator for the first time. There is a sequence that needs to be followed for safe and prompt starting that needs to be learnt

Fuelling up is no problem as the petrol cap is located on top of the machine where it is easy to reach with a standard plastic jerry can and nozzle. The removable filter keeps unwanted bits out of the tank which is a necessary feature of the sort of dirty dusty environments where it could be working.

To reach the sump plug, the plastic side of the machine needs to be removed by unscrewing two captive screws with the screwdriver provided. So far, so easy. But filling the sump with oil needs a bit more care. I had to use a kitchen measuring jug that spilt a bit of oil because the nozzle wasn’t long enough, but a long nozzled plastic jug with capacity markings would ensure that the right amount of oil goes into the right place – without the mess.

There is a small plastic bulb that shows through the plastic side that needs to be repeatedly pushed to ensure the petrol reached the carburettor. Also required is to follow the instructions pull the starting cord at least 20 times before starting the genny for the first time. This ensures that petrol and oil are distributed to the right places before the engine is actually running

Once i had done that, it took me only four strong pulls on the starting cord (with choke engaged) to start the motor and it ran smoothly, if a little smoke-ily until I was able to flick the choke off.

Although rated at 94DdB(A), and bearing in mind that 85Ddb is supposed to be a standard ‘comfortable’ level of noise for sustained exposure, I did not find the noise level too much to handle. Because the generator is supposed to be used outdoors anyway, the noise soon dissipates. Hearing protection is often compulsory when using some power tools anyway, so many workers won’t the affected at all by noise from the machine.

We have been spoilt here because our National Grid is pretty good, but there are still circumstances when a portable generator is a great idea. On a remote building site, camping, festivals

The Draper generator 95197 control panel

Keeping control

All the necessary controls are grouped neatly on a side panel and are really self-explanatory. The two AC standard plugs fitted my corded power tools and using them simply meant plugging and unplugging them.

There is also a DC power outlet (cords etc, supplied) that can be used to recharge wet batteries and to ensure safe use, there is a DC overload protector switch to protect users, batteries and generators. A set of three indicator lights help to keep users informed of the state of things. The oil alert lights up red when the oil is low, similarly when the machine is overloaded. The green output light is lit all the time to show that things are going as normal and safe. The engine on/off switch is self-explanatory, but the ‘economy’ switch can be selected when full power is not needed. This will save on noise, fuel and revs.

Getting about safely

Although it takes two people to lift the generator safely, moving it about on a smooth-ish surface is quite easy, as one person can pull it along with one of the built-in handles. I tried moving it over longer distances by looping some nylon rope through the handle and towing the genny along. This works quite well because the heels are not castored so they follow in a straight line, and less bending down to reach the handles certainly saves my back.

Although the wheels are around 50 or 60mm in diameter, they are hard and run smoothly. One of them is braked and does keep the machine in its place even when it’s running.

The secret to a long generator life is to follow the maintenance schedules and not bash it about too much. The instructions that come with the generator make what is required very clear, so even beginners can learn what to do for safe and extended operation.

A quick interest search found a typical price of around £450 or so, which is a fair reflection of the capabilities and features of this Draper generator. It has enough power for a small job site and around the home

For more information visit www.drapertools.com

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