Why You Need A Generator
Generator is vital to every home, Why?
I guess nobody wants to stay in the dark if the electricity is gone and tons of foods on the fridge will get rotten, right? An immediate power source is a must and always available whenever disaster hits the town, it’s better to be ready than sorry.
Having a good quality generator could be a life saver during disaster. Not only that, a portable generator is great in any outdoor activities and if you’re working on projects for a living, having one is definitely a must.
However, most genset are also used for outdoor activities such as camping, RVing, sports events, and job sites if you’re working on projects in remote areas.
Choosing the right generator for your needs could be confusing if you don’t have any idea about it. Here are some important terms you need to know first in order to wisely decide which one is the best suitable for you.
What Is A Genset Generator?
A genset is a short name for generator set. Physically, a genset is consists of engine mounted on a steel frame together with its other components such as battery (for electric start), outlets, fuel tank, muffler and wirings.
A generator is a piece of equipment whose purpose is to produce electrical power. It provides outlets on the panel that connects different types of your electrical appliances for various applications.
What Is The Basic Principle Of A Generator?
The basic principle of an electric generator is to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy as an output. This energy is useful to supply your home appliances and devices.
The mechanical part of the generator is run by an external source. There are different types of sources that can be use such as Gasoline (which is common), propane (LPG), Natural Gas and Diesel.
To further understand this, the generator does not actually create the electrical energy. Instead, it uses its mechanical energy to force the movement of electrical charges which is present in the wire through its windings.
The flow of electrical charges is distributed to its outlet panel where you can plug your home appliances and other electric devices.
This is comparable to a water pump that causes the flow of water but it doesn’t create the water that flows through it.
To further understand the basic operation of the generator you need to know first its basic parts below.
Electric Generator Basic Parts
Magnetic Poles – Magnets with North and South poles that allows to travel the magnetic fields from north to south direction to attract each other.
Conductor Wire –is a loop of wires that spins between the magnetic poles.
Slip Rings – this is where the two end of the conductor is attached that creates an electrical connection through the rotating assembly. In short, it is an electric transmission device that transmits the energy from the conductor.
Carbon Brush – is a device that carries out the current between stationary wires and moving parts.
How The Electric Generator Works? Explained in simple terms
Electric generator works through the process which is commonly known as “electromagnetic induction”. To start the process, there should be a source that moves the conductor.
The source could be wind, coal, oil, nuclear, hydro and the most commonly used which is gas (gasoline, propane, natural gas and diesel).
The movement of the conductor in a circular direction between the two magnetic fields induces the flow of electric charges.
As the conductor wire moves, it creates a voltage difference between the two ends of wire that causes the movements of electric charges to flow the generated current.
As the conductor revolves between the magnetic fields it doesn’t produce a steady current instead, an Alternating Current (AC).
Why is it?
Because, the conductor keeps on changing its position as it revolves.
At the time of the starting position of the conductor it produces zero voltage (0v) and rises up to its positive peak voltage at quarter time. This happens when the conductor reaches 90-degrees of its position. (refer to the picture below)…
After passing through the 90-degree position it drops back the voltage approaching to zero. And it results in zero volt (0v) when it reaches the 180-degree position.
At passed 180-degree position the voltage continues to rise on the negative voltage until it reaches its negative peak voltage at 270-degree. Then it goes back to zero again when it completed the 360-dgree full turn.
This is what we called “one complete cycle” of an Alternating Current (AC) which is also equivalent to a one full rotation of the conductor wire.
Thus, the rising and falling of the voltage alternately is directly proportional to the position of the conductor wire on its magnetic poles.
Moreover, if you put a galvanometer (an instrument that detects electrical current) at the output it will shows a back and forth movement of the needle. It points on the negative peak voltage up to the positive peak voltage that shows an alternating current is present at the generator’s output.
Watch the video to further understand how the generator works…
Types Of Generator
The types of generator you’ll need to know are the standby and portable. These two can be run by gasoline, diesel, natural gas and propane to produce 120v outputs and other includes a 220v AC outlet to power up your home appliances.
Propane powered generators is perfectly suited if gasoline is inadequate, this is ideal at home with the availability of gas tank in almost any kitchen household.
Standby generators are permanently installed in your home or in any commercial place that gives you continuous power source whenever the electricity cuts-off.
Most often it is located outside the residence area for safety purposes due to the smoke it produces that may cause harm to your family. Another thing is that the noise it creates is annoying at some instances.
The generator is wired directly to your electrical system that provides an alternate power source to your important appliances such as lights, cooker, microwave oven and refrigerator.
Portable generators have the advantage for being versatile. They are light weight for easy carry along and for heavy generators that demands higher power level have wheels. These generators are perfect for camping, any job-site, recreational activities and for your home use as well.
Types Of Portable Generator
There are two types of portable generator that are commonly use, the Conventional Alternator and Inverter Alternator. Each of these has its own advantage over the other, it’s important to know it to help you identify the best suited for your needs. The following definition may help to give you some idea about it.
Conventional Alternator Generators uses the traditional type of motor with bulky winding inside on it. The main advantage of it is a higher power it can deliver and cheaper. On the negative side, it is generally louder and heavier.
Inverter Alternator Generators are lighter, silent, compact and fuel efficient than conventional generators. Having greater advantages, this is the reason why it is commonly chosen by most people for various applications.
What Is A Diesel Generator?
A diesel generator is consists of a diesel engine and an electric generator (commonly known as alternator) whose main purpose is to generate electrical energy.
This why a diesel generator is called an “engine generator”. Why is that?
Because, it uses diesel engine to produce mechanical energy to drive the alternator that generates electrical power.
A diesel engine uses a process called “compression-ignition” to deliver mechanical energy. Diesel engine is run by diesel fuel.
Diesel fuel is named after the diesel engine and diesel fuel is derived from a crude oil.
What is a Diesel Generator Set or Diesel Genset
A diesel generator set or simply “diesel genset” is a complete set of a diesel generator parts. It consists of diesel engine, alternator, diesel fuel, housing frame, panel, voltage regulator, cooling system, exhaust and outlets.
Advantages Of Diesel Generator
Diesel generator provides you with more advantage compare to any traditional genset counterpart.
– Diesel fuel is safer to store due to its less combustion properties as opposed to gasoline, natural gas and propane which are all considered as highly flammable. In addition to that, diesel fuel is so difficult to ignite intentionally at normal atmospheric pressure and almost impossible to ignite accidentally.
– Diesel engine is 30 to 50% more fuel efficient compare to any gasoline engine. As a result, it provides you with more power and longer run time.
– Diesel engine is more durable than gasoline engine. A typical 1,800 rpm diesel engine operates on average of 12,000 to 30,000 hours before it needs a major maintenance. While gasoline engine requires major maintenance at only 6,000 to 8,000 hours of run time. This is two to three times longer lifespan compare to any types gasoline generators.
– Diesel fuel is less likely to freeze that gives you great advantage during winter season.
What is the best diesel generator to buy?
The Generac XD5000E Diesel Portable Generator is the best diesel generator you can get in case you’re looking for one.
What is in it?
The Generac XD5000E features a True Power Technology that provides clean power with less than 5% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). It means that you can connect in it all your sensitive electronics and appliances without worrying from possible damage.
It is designed for pros with Yanmar LW series 435cc direct injection industrial-grade engine which is capable to withstand tough work at any given situation. It delivers 5,500 watt of surge power and 5,000 watt effective power that can handle most of your appliances and multiple tools to finish your projects.
Reinforced with 1.25-inch fully welded steel frame for added protection in most demanding applications. It has a lifting eye for easy transport, hour meter for your scheduled maintenance, single touch electric start and simple to operate panel design.
It also features an Idle Control to reduce its fuel consumption and keep the noise level in minimal. The Generac XD5000E delivers outstanding fuel efficiency that no other generator can beat. In fact, a single full tank of 12-gallon fuel can lasts up to 32.4 hours of continuous usage provided with half load capacity.
For tough job, long work days and optimum reliability look no further than Generac XD5000E.
How Many Watts Does A Generator Need To Power A House?
If finding the ideal power for your needs could be confusing, this will surely solves your problems…
Your total power consumption can be calculated by simply adding all the wattage from appliances you’re using at the same time.
Power rating of each appliance can be seen mostly at the back label of it.
Power is rated in watts, some generators are rated in KW (Kilo Watts) which is equivalent to 1,000W (1KW = 1,000W).
For example, a single fluorescent lamp consumes 20w and if you’re using three of them simply multiply it by 3 and you got a total power of 60w.
If you’re using a microwave and rice cooker just simply add the power rating of it.
If you’re running a device with motor such as refrigerator, Air condition or washing machine you’ll need an additional generator power of at least 30%.
This phenomenon is commonly known as the “surge watts”. The power that requires to start running the device in safe condition.
The end results should be at least 70% lower than the generator capacity for safety and maximum power transfer. Although, some prefer half load for longer period of usage.
Adding up the power of all the appliances you need to run on your home during power shortage.
If the total power consumption you need to run your entire household is 7,000w the ideal generator for you is at least 10,000w.
However, most generators have “surge power” rating or “starting watts” in which various appliances are needed to start safely. Appliances like fridge, electric fan, power tools and air-conditions requires additional power to start with.
What is the best generator to buy for your home use?
In case you’re looking for the best portable generator to buy that is capable to power up your entire household, the DuroMax XP12000EH is definitely a good choice.
It provides a surge power of 12,000 watt and 9,500 watt effective power hence it is called the “Beast”. With that kind of power it can run almost all your appliances at home. It’s a dual fuel, meaning you can run it using gas or propane.
What is the best generator to buy for camping?
If you love camping, the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 could be your perfect companion. It delivers 2,000 watt of starting power and 1,600 watt of effective power. It can accommodate most of your camping equipment.
This inverter generator has so much to offer for you camping activities. It is super quiet with only 51 dBA noise level. It doesn’t distract anyone at campground while having a normal conversation nearby the generator.
The EF2000iSv2 gives you an outstanding fuel efficiency to maximize your run time with small amount of gas usage. Enabling its smart throttle feature with quarter load provides you with 10.5 hours of non-stop running.
It comes in lightweight with only 45-pounds and 2.2 cu ft compact that makes it super easy to carry and transport. It is also a CARB compliant that keeps your family healthy and can be used in Californian state.
What is the best RV generator to buy?
If RVing is your favourite thing, I suggest the Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready hybrid generator is the best RV generator you can buy.
Because, this genset comes in hybrid design which is a lot cheaper while providing you with more power. The Champion 4000 Watt is basically an inverter that puts in a metal casing. This is similar to any traditional open framed generator and not in a plastic enclosed like modern inverter generators do.
It offers 50% quieter and 20% lighter compare to its equivalent power rating framed generator counterpart. With this kind of feature makes it ideal for your RVing and camping activities. It is also safe for your sensitive gadgets and electronics due to its clean power output.
What is the best solar generator to buy?
If you’re camping trip will last for many days the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium solar power generator is perfect for you. It’s a solar rechargeable power station that can be charge many times while you’re out of town.
It delivers 428 Wh or 300-Watt effective power and 1,200 Watt surge power. This type of solar powered generator is super light weight and compact so that it can be easily carried anywhere by a single person.
You can power up to 7 devices at the same time such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras, drones, lights, CPAP machine and many more.
What is the best small generator to buy?
If you’re looking for small size generator, the WEN 56125i is the best bang for your bucks. It provides 1,200 watt of surge power and 1,000 watt effective which is ideal for your basic and small power needs.
If you hate the noise, it’s extremely quiet operation doesn’t disturb anyone at camp site. According to US Department of Health and Human Services its noise is comparable to a normal persons’ conversation.
This EPA III and CARB compliant inverter generator weighs only 31.6 pounds with physical dimensions of 17 x 9 x 12.5 inch. This is great for your camping, tailgating or simply home backup. It delivers clean power anytime to keep your gadgets and sensitive appliances safe all the time.
What is the best standby generator to buy?
If a high powered standby generator is what you need for your home or office backup I highly suggest the Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator. Generac guarantee a huge 22kilowatt (KW) of power which is capable to supply everything on your home.
This generator is engineered and built in USA and not with the Chinese counterpart. If you’re looking for total reliability they stand with its generous 5-year warranty for your total peace of mind.
Made tough with its rock solid aluminium enclosure that lasts for many years to come. For easy access and installation it features three removable sides opening so that servicing and maintenance of it is fast.
You don’t need to worry about your sensitive gadgets and appliances due to its clean power output with less than 5% Total harmonic Distortion (THD). It also includes a 200 Amp NEMA 3 whole house transfer switch for you to start using it in no time.
6 Tips On Buying The Best Portable Generator
- Power Handling
It’s good to know your ideal power requirement when choosing the right generator. Use the computation I stated earlier for your total power requirement.
An average power handling for a certain home to run most of appliances is from 5,000w to 8,000w. If you have a bigger household you certainly need higher than that.
If you plan to use it in one location only choose a standby generator, if you need to bring it anywhere you should consider a portable generator having wheels and handle. If you want a super portable generator that can be carried everywhere, an inverter is perfect for you due to its lightness.
The value can be determined if the price, performance and features satisfyingly brings the generator itself. For example, a low cost generator doesn’t mean got the highest value if it’s unusable after few days.
Choose only those who are reliable makers of generators such as Yamaha, Honda, Powermate, CAT, Champion, Generac, Briggs & Stratton, WEN and DuroMax. These companies have proven track records and trusted by many consumers around the world.
The generator’s efficiency can be identified if it brings longer hours of continuous power with lesser fuel usage. I guess no one wants to spend too much gas on a generator with only few hours of usage.
Always consider the warranty when purchasing a generator; you’ll never know when it will fail. Most often they give one year warranty but, some are generously giving two year. Generally, those company who’s giving greater warranty has more reliable generator products.
-Never go beyond the rated output provided by any generator, this will damage any of your appliance connected in line or the generator itself.
-Gasoline powered generator emits a harmful carbon monoxide gas same as ordinary vehicle therefore, avoid installing it inside your house, either on the garage or nearby windows including your neighbor’s house.
-Use a heavy-duty extension cord appropriate for outdoor wiring and plug it directly to the generator’s provided outlet.
-Don’t ever try to connect the generator directly to your home electric wiring, this will create an explosion when the power restored. You may want to provide a transfer switch if desired.
-Follow the recommended proper grounding as seen on the manufacturer’s manual for additional safety.