If you are planning a field trip, but need to power some equipment and appliances such as your computer, mini-fridge, sound system, among others, you will need a generator to supply the necessary energy to run efficiently. That is why we have put together a list of things to know before buying an electric generator , so you can make an informed decision and choose the model that best suits your needs.
One of the first aspects you should consider when choosing your next generator is the type of operation and energy it is powered with, as well as the amount of current and voltage it generates, so you should choose the equipment that meets your energy requirements optimally and efficiently. It is important to distinguish between the advantages and disadvantages of each model before making your choice.
Firstly, you will find the single-phase and three-phase electric generators, differing only in that the former generates a voltage of 220V and the latter 380V. On the other hand, you can find the conventional generators, Inverter or AVR. And finally, there are the most common and used generators in the market: the current generators powered by gasoline or diesel. Among the most common advantages of gasoline-electric generators are the more economical price, as well as their low noise level, cheaper maintenance, and lower weight compared to diesel models. However, the latter has a longer life span.
Just as you can find a wide variety of models and types of generators, there is also a wide variety of power available, so it is important to look carefully at this aspect according to your needs and the use you are going to make of it. Remember that the type and quantity of electrical equipment you are going to use with your new generator may vary depending on the power it generates, therefore, in any comparison of electrical generators the aspect of power plays a very important role in your choice.
This means that it is necessary to choose a model according to your needs. Bear in mind that, in order to calculate the power required to supply a group of devices or equipment, you must first add up their powers. Take into account the generator's starting peak, which in some cases can be up to 5 times the nominal power, which could have some unfavourable consequences for your equipment.
Then, divide the resulting number of the previous sum by the power factor, which tends to be 0.8 in three-phase generators, always having a safety margin of 10% or 20%. The result will be the power needed to power your equipment, so you should choose a generator that produces that amount.
Another of the most relevant factors when choosing a new electric generator is the noise level that the device produces when it is in operation, since, depending on the engine and chassis, the equipment will emit a noise that, if it is very high, can be very uncomfortable for people in the vicinity.
In addition to asking you how much the generator costs and taking into account your power requirements, acoustic comfort plays a very important role in your choice. The market offers a wide variety of generators, some of which have a soundproofing system that allows them to work with a noise level that ranges from 50 to 60 decibels, and they are even considered very silent.
In addition to the above, when you are about to buy an electric generator, it is advisable to take into account a number of other important features that will allow you to choose the model that best suits your needs.
Among these factors is the type of startup, which could be either manual or automatic, in addition to the fact that some models give you the possibility of starting the generator remotely thanks to a special starting system.
Autonomy is a very important factor, especially if you are planning a trip and or walk to the countryside and need to power one or more devices for a certain time.
We recommend you look at the duration or autonomy that the generator will have, which can give you some insight into how long you will be able to keep your equipment connected. This aspect is very marked by the type of fuel with which the generator is fed, as well as by the dimensions of the fuel tank.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: How to use an electric generator?
Using an electric generator is a simple task, however, it is important to take into account some recommendations to give a correct and safe use to this device. Keep in mind that the generators have engines that emit carbon monoxide because in its operation takes a certain amount of fuel to convert it into electricity, so before turning it on, place the equipment in an open or ventilated to avoid any accidents due to this gas.
Q2: How to make an electric generator?
The first thing you have to do is to fix the electrical connections that the small engine has with the cables by helping yourself with a tin soldering iron. Pass the cable through a straw leaving the ends completely free and the opposite end to the one fixed to the engine we connect them to some LED's that will help you check the operation of the generator.
Proceed to create a pulley by joining a small cardboard wheel with an old CD on each side of the cardboard, making sure to align the holes of the two CDs with the cardboard wheel and a spool of thread to facilitate the rotation. Fix a wooden rod perpendicularly to the base with a nail and using a drill, open a hole in the rod through which you must pass a screw that will act as a rotation axis for the pulley. Finally, use an elastic to connect the pulley you made with the pulley of a small motor. The moment you turn the large pulley the LED light should come on.
Q3: How do you calculate the power of an electric generator?
To easily calculate the power of an electric generator on your own, you will need to follow a small and simple mathematical formula. Therefore, to calculate the power quickly and to know if the generator will be able to start a certain piece of equipment, you should multiply the power of that device by three. This will determine the minimum power that a certain engine needs to work properly with your generator.
Q4: How do I wind an electric generator?
Normally, to wind an electric generator correctly, you must follow a series of steps such as individualising the coils, writing down the electrical diagram to rewind them again and renewing the groove insulators, as well as the coils, to finally reconnect them. Although there is not a particular scheme to wind a generator, due to the great variety of models available in the market, in the net you can find many pages that can indicate different block diagrams that will guide you in this task.
Q5: What oil does an electric generator use?
The electric generator oil lubricates and keeps your generator's engine at a constant temperature, which will allow it to work for as long as necessary, as well as allowing for proper and optimal operation. Before buying the oil, it is important that you take into account several factors such as the time your generator's engine has and the viscosity of the oil, so that you are sure it will be compatible with your generator.
Q6: How to repair a gasoline electric generator?
Before you get nervous, it is advisable to look at a few things to rule out an actual fault in your generator. Start by checking and making sure that your generator has enough fuel, without it being above or below the mark. Also, make sure that the fuel tap is in the on position, as well as the starter lever. On the other hand, check the oil level, because if it is not at the right level, the generator will not be able to start. Finally, keep in mind that you must bleed the gasoline system in case some air has entered the fuel flow.
Q7: How to convert an electric motor into a generator?
Every electric induction motor is, from an energy point of view, a reversible machine, however, it will still consume reactive energy. It is important to note that any asynchronous motor can be very easily converted into an asynchronous electric generator, because if you force it to work at a higher speed, it will manage to generate electric energy.
Q8: What maintenance does an electric generator require?
To perform preventive maintenance it is usual to use a checklist that allows you to check all parts and components in an organised way. First of all, it is advisable to check the oil level, making a change if necessary. You should also inspect the air filter, as well as the belts, the cooling system and the fuel filter, changing the component that needs to be replaced.