Generators are convenient machines that can save us from any unexpected electricity blackouts. During any critical power loss in our locality, a generator can keep our appliances juiced up.
Many of us already own a generator in our houses and offices. Thus, we all know the importance of this machine.
Well, the uses are limitless, and it’s not possible to mention them all. Today through this article, we will discuss everything that you need to know about generators, including its essential functions, typical uses, price, maintenance methods, etc.
Some common uses of generators
- Electricity backup: Mostly generators are used to power the essential appliances in our homes during a load shedding. Thus, even during any power loss for days, we can juice up those appliances.
- Emergency power supply: Any natural calamity can easily damage the power distribution system. And it takes more than weeks to repair those complicated systems. Therefore, generators can provide backup electricity to several households so that they can spend their lives as usual.
- Outdoor activities: Many activities take place in deserts and forests. These activities include sporting events, movie shooting, reality shows, camping, etc. Thus, to provide power to there as well, generators are used massively.
- Massive power demands: Generators can handle an immense power load. Therefore, if any power distribution system isn’t strong enough, a generator can be brought to supply hundreds of kilowatts of electricity.
Types of generators
Generators are primarily categorized into two sections; Standby Generators & Portable Generators. So, let’s find out how they are different from each other in terms of power, portability, and performance.
- They aren’t for household uses; instead, they are for higher power demands like for an entire skyscraper or corporate building.
- These generators are expensive, but they are worth the price tags.
- These can start themselves automatically whenever the system detects any power loss. They can also turn themselves off when the power comes again.
- They deliver power from 5 to 50 kilowatts and can automatically adjust the acceleration of the engine depending on the power demand on the terminals.
- These usually cost between 5000 to 10000 dollars, and you may have to pay additional charges for the installation. The company itself will send their trusted electricians to install them in verified locations.
- They are used in households, and they cost comparatively less than Standby Generators. You can take these anywhere due to its portability.
- These can run both on gasoline and propane, thus these are very flexible in terms of operation. And both fuels have excellent efficiency.
- Its output range is low compared to a Standby Generator, between 2000 Watts to 10000 Watts. On a single refueling, some models can run for more than 12 hours, and you still have the option of refueling the fuel tank.
- These also have automated starters that can trigger the engine whenever it detects any power loss.
- These are cheap, and even the best models are available between 400 to 800 dollars.
Features you should look for before buying any generator.
Before buying a brand new model, you should consider some technical criteria. Here are the five most important features that you must look for in your preferred model.
- Rated output: It indicates the amount of Watts your machine can deliver under stable loads. For a portable generator, this range is from 2000 to 10000 Watts. You can sum up the ratings of all appliances in your home and check whether a model can deliver that output or not.
- Fuel capacity: More fuel capacity means more backup. But, merely increasing the size isn’t recommend. A portable generator must be light enough to carry anywhere. Average fuel capacity is between six to eight gallons.
- Runtime: A generator isn’t good enough unless it can run for hours. Some modern ones can continuously run for more than 12 hours under stable loads. Thus, you must check the ones that can last for more than eight hours.
- Starting mechanism: Old models have manual starters where you had to pull a chain to start the engine. But modern ones have self-starting systems that trigger the engine whenever it detects any power loss.
- Generator technology: Three-phase generators are more efficient than single-phase ones and can generate stable electricity without any fluctuations. I have explained the working of three-phase generators in the next paragraph.
Working of a three-phase generator
The working of a three-phase generator is quite complex. An AC three-phase generator is nothing but a combination of three single-phase generators. They have three separate coils inside their armature, positioned at 120° from each other.
In this system, three different waves are generated that cancels each other’s fluctuations. This provides a more stable flow of electricity and also puts less stress on the inverter.
If used inside a standby or portable generator, this can streamline the flow of current that won’t harm the appliances.
Tips for maintaining a functional lifespan of your generator
- Always keep the machine in well-ventilated areas, and the exhaust pipe must be raised high above the ground. Never keep the generator in hot and humid regions.
- Use proper fuel that is recommended for the engine. For gasoline, the fuel blend is essential, and you can find this info on the product packaging itself. Add fuel stabilizers to increase the longevity of the fuel.
- The use of proper engine lubricants will increase the lifespan of the engine cylinders and the gearbox. These reduce the friction between the metallic parts, thus increasing fuel efficiency.
- Routine servicing must be performed once a year by the brand technicians themselves. They can troubleshoot any error beforehand.
- A sustained load must be maintained on the generator terminals and never run the machine on zero loads because this affects the armature inside the machine
Well, this is it. These are everything that you must know before operating a generator. Keep every criterion in mind because great power comes with significant responsibilities. You now have good knowledge about generators, therefore, take good care of your machine if you own one.
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