When is a home generator useful?
Electric generators are most often used in emergency situations. When the electricity supply to the site is interrupted, it is enough to pull this unit out of the garage and start it in order to restore the power supply for a while.
Many people consider such a device an unnecessary luxury. However, in settlements where power is often interrupted or during an emergency, a generator can help out.
This option is preferable if the site is expected to carry out welding and construction work or operation will be carried out in the open air. The advantages of an asynchronous generator include:
• Much lower price than synchronous power plants.
• Resistant to overheating.
• Full protection against moisture, dirt, small debris and dust.
• Modest dimensions and weight.
• Resistance to short circuits, which is especially important when using a welding machine.
Not without its drawbacks, the negative qualities include:
• Unstable voltage and poor current quality.
• Sensitivity to peak loads, generator operation is disturbed when devices with heating elements or electric motors are connected.
Principle of operation
A generator is a device for generating electricity. It can be used to power electrical devices.
- A power generator can power devices in a private home during a power outage.
- However, it can also be successfully used where it will be an independent source of electricity.
- Such places would be, for example, a garage, a workshop, a garden or a construction site.
Generating sets available on the market are most often equipped with an internal combustion engine. Some models can also run on LPG or natural gas.
A gasoline engine, like in a car, may have slightly better performance, but with heavy use of the unit, it is theoretically less durable.
When choosing a generator, you should also pay attention to the capacity of the fuel tank. It is related to working hours. It’s also worth checking to see if the generator has a fuel level sensor and a catalytic converter to reduce exhaust emissions.
The most commonly used generators are driven by gasoline or diesel internal combustion engines.
The power of the unit depends on the size of the engine. It is better to choose a place for them where the engine noise will not bother. It is desirable that it has a roof.
Single and three phase units
Single-phase generators require a voltage of 1~230V. These are low power devices. First of all, they are suitable for household appliances. In turn, three-phase generators 3~400V are suitable for high power equipment. These are mainly electric heating, hydrophore installations, water heaters and so on.
- Before choosing a generator, it is also good to check what type of electricity the power comes from.
- There is also a more versatile device — a three-phase generator, which also allows you to connect single-phase devices (it has 2 sets of sockets).
- However, such a unit should be used according to certain rules. The power of the current consumed from single-phase sockets cannot exceed 60% of the power of the entire generator.
- It should also be ensured that when single-phase and three-phase loads are supplied at the same time, the phases are loaded more or less evenly.
The more powerful the generator, the more appliances you can power from it at the same time, but also the more money and space you have to spend on it. Some models are very large. This is especially noticeable in the photo of the generator for the home.
This type of generator shows high efficiency in a summer cottage, where the main consumers are devices that are sensitive to voltage drops, including a computer, TV, refrigerator. The main advantages of a synchronous generator include:
• Voltage without drops and surges, and the current is of high quality.
• Resistant to three times short-term overloads at startup.
Among the shortcomings can be identified:
• The contact of the brushes with the rotor causes a significant increase in temperature and, consequently, overheating.
• Air-type cooling causes dust and fine debris to be drawn in.
• During operation, the brushes wear out.
• Models from the low price segment do not have modern protection systems.
• Is a source of radio interference.
A synchronous generator for giving with active use requires systematic maintenance, which leads to additional financial costs.
A home generator produces power in a single-phase system, but three-phase generators can also be found.
Another criterion is the type of fuel used and the power generated by the device. The cheapest are units with a two-stroke engine running on a mixture of gasoline and oil in certain proportions. Unfortunately, they are not very economical and quite loud.
The most optimal choice is a generator with a four-stroke internal combustion engine.
The least common devices on the market are natural gas powered generators.
- Their main advantage is that they can be powered by gas cylinders, which is why they are often used as an emergency source of power in the field.
- Unfortunately, the gas itself is ineffective and burns strongly during the operation of the device.
- However, if you need a very efficient generator that will be used frequently, consider a diesel generator.
Among the additional functions and capabilities of the generator, protection of the device and methods of starting should be highlighted.
A high-quality device should be equipped with an overheating protection system. When the engine reaches a critical temperature, such a generator will be turned off, which will ensure the safety of the engine. In the absence of such a system, it is possible to accidentally disable the generator.
Ways to start the generator
Launch methods include:
- manual starter;
- electric starter;
When using manual start, pull the starter cable. This can cause complications when using a diesel generator in cold conditions and also requires physical effort. However, modern models start with a half turn.
With electric starting, the process is greatly simplified, since the generator will start with the help of a current discharge. Such a model will cost more.
Autorun models are the most expensive. They are used where it is necessary to automatically turn on the backup power supply in the event of a failure in the fixed network. This ensures continuous operation of the equipment. Such functionality will be very useful in retail, office space and in production.
Number of connected devices
In order for the energy generator to fulfill its task, its power must be greater than the total power of the devices that will be connected to it.
Rated (not maximum) power is important, especially when it is necessary to power devices with asynchronous motors that require a lot of current, such as pumps or hydrophores.
- When determining the power of an electric generator for a house, add the power of all appliances that you plan to power.
- It should be 70–80% of the generator power. However, this figure may vary depending on the generator itself and the connected devices.
- Before buying, you should study this topic in more detail.
- Typically, 1.2 kW is added to the power consumption of each device. The power reserve should be 20–30%.
- Otherwise, the power consumption may be too high, so you will have to turn off several devices.
It is better not to connect single-phase and three-phase devices to a three-phase generator at the same time.
Also, if necessary, you can buy a generator for the house with auto start.
To determine the required power of the generator, it is necessary to know what starting current corresponds to each device. This concept refers to the current that occurs for a fraction of a second when starting equipment with an electric motor. It can be several times higher than the rated power of the unit itself. Usually, the value of the starting current is indicated in the instrument’s passport.
This table shows the approximate power values and inrush current factors of individual household and professional appliances:
|device||Power, W)||Starting current|
|A vacuum cleaner||700‑1790||1.1|
|TV or laptop||100–350||1.1|
|Electric concrete mixer||500–850||3.0|
The quieter the better
Which generator is best for home? There is no definite answer to this question. But another important parameter when choosing a device is the level of noise it creates, which is indicated in the specification.
If the generator is placed outside the building, then you can still put up with the volume.
- The situation is different, for example, in the garage. Unfortunately, most generators available on the market make a lot of noise, reaching levels of 90–98 dB during operation.
- For comparison, a passing motorcycle gives 95 dB.
- However, there are models of built-in units (unfortunately, correspondingly more expensive), in which the noise level is reduced to 65–75 dB (vacuum cleaner — 70 dB).
Four stroke station
For a suburban area where the generator will be used for a long time period (from 5 hours or more), it is recommended to buy a four-stroke power plant. Such an internal combustion engine is mounted in equipment with a total power of more than 1 kW. The positive qualities of the installation include:
• Increased resistance to stress.
• Low noise level.
• Large power rating.
• System reliability.
• Fuel consumption is 25% less than two-stroke.
Also, the advantages include the presence of a separate container for the lubricant. This reduces start-up and maintenance time as there is no need to prepare an oil-fuel mixture. Among the shortcomings can be identified:
• Complexity of service.
• The design has additional nodes and details.
• In the winter season, starting is complicated due to the negative ambient temperature.
Photo generator for home
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