What is a portable generator?

by | Feb 14, 2014 | Electronics and Electrical

In many areas the electrical power is not stable and in these cases many people rely on having a portable standby generator to provide temporary power. These generators use gasoline or diesel as their fuel source. The powered engine turns a turbine which creates electricity to a specific wattage based on the potential of the generator. Generator power cords are used to wire the set directly into the panel of the home plus tools and other appliances can be plugged directly into the generator.

Portable generators have a host of uses; they can be employed on construction sites that have yet been connected to the main electricity or at any remote site. A common use is for residential homes; they are used in the event of a power failure and keep vital appliances running during this period. Many different wattage units are available and they are often sized to maintain power to refrigerators, freezers, a few lights and perhaps the TV.

The engine that is used to turn the turbine must be regulated. The speed must be 3600 RPM; this is what is needed to generate 60 Hz power which is the US standard. To maintain the speed accurately, the engine is controlled by a governor which keeps it from over revving. A voltage regulator is also part of the control apparatus, it is used to maintain the generator output at 120 volts, also a US standard.

The generator must be installed outdoors and with the use of generator power cords, wired to a sub-panel of the home. The generator must be outside as it uses fossil fuel for the motor and carbon monoxide can easily build up. It does not matter how good the ventilation system is in the home, the generator must be installed outdoors. The generator should be covered to protect it from rain and snow and also to keep the ground or the slab the generator sits on, dry.

A portable generator is designed only for temporary power; the time it is functioning is measured in hours, not days. When it comes to the device capacity, physical size means nothing; the key measurement is the wattage of the generator. To size the generator you need total the watts of the appliances you will drive, the generator you purchase should be in excess of the demand as a safety factor.

Generator power cords with a host of different pin configurations are available from Cables.com. NEMA and IEC connectors are all available from stock.

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