I won’t bore you by telling the numerous benefits of using a generator. We all know how they have become a necessity nowadays. Instead, in this article, we are going to detail the different variations of the generator.
Now, there are different types of generators that have different characteristics and advantages that make them useful in certain scenarios and unusable in others. It’s important to learn about these types and their characteristics in order to get a good idea of which generator to buy for your tasks.
So, shall we begin?
In general, there are mainly three different types of generators, with some having different variations or subtypes under them. The three main types are:
1. Portable Generators
As the name suggests, these generators are portable, often packed with wheels that allow easy transportation. They are usually used during times of storms when there are high chances of the power going out for uncertainly long periods of time.
However, due to their portability, these ones can also be taken to remote areas for powering electronics and other portable devices. Moreover, portable generators can also extend the range within which you can use your electrically powered power tools if you’re a construction worker. In addition, you can also wire them to a facility’s subpanel.
Portable generators are powered by either gas or diesel fuel. They don’t last forever, and one should check how long they last before needing to be recharged.
Moreover, they have a combustion engine that provides power around 5000 watts, which should be enough to keep the basic machines such as refrigerators, heaters, air conditioners, and household lights.
These generators also produce a lot of noise, and as such, placement is quite important in the case of powering household items, in case you don’t want to walk everywhere with ear protections on.
Portable generators also have a system called the governor, which can control the speed of the generator, adjust the power output.
There are some subtypes of portable generators which are as follows:
Portable Recreational Generators
The main advantage these generators have is that they produce less sound. It makes them very useful for when you need to take them somewhere to power up recreational services. They produce a bit less power than your typical portable generators but often enough to power the required tools. Usually, you will need petrol to run them.
Portable Residential Generators
These generators are the more common ones you will see as they are used in domestic households. They are robust and powerful enough to supply power in case of power outages.
Although the noise pollution is quite palpable, you can rely on these generators. I like the fact that they can run on either gas, petrol or LP.
Portable Industrial Generators
Known as heavy-duty generators, these are mainly used to ensure there are no downtimes in construction work. You’ll find them much stronger and have greater output power compared to the previous generator subtypes. They can supply power tools with enough power as well as act as a substitute if the electrical lines are faulty.
2. Inverter Generators
Unlike others, these ones do not use fossil fuels like portable generators. They instead convert mechanical or movement energy into electricity. If you are familiar with physics, you will know that this is due to the phenomenon is known as electromagnetic induction.
The output voltage is supplied by the movement of a conductor inside a magnetic casing. This will produce AC electrical energy. You’ll see a built-in rectifier in these generators which converts this produced AC power into DC power, which can power electronics.
Inverter generators are much smaller in size and much more lightweight than normal generators, making them easy to carry. You’ll like them as they produce less noise pollution, and some have built-in modes to ensure even almost no noise during its working period.
Furthermore, inverter generators are more fuel-efficient, and the engine speed can be adjusted to meet the requirements of the load. Unlike portable generators, they work at respectable efficiencies at variable loads. But portable ones work at good efficiencies only on their rated loads.
You’ll save more fuel using inverter generators. Most inverters have built-in sensors and microprocessors to help them adjust the speed of the engine according to the load attached, thus maximizing efficiency and minimizing fuel consumption.
Inverter generators produce three-phase power, which means that the power delivery is constant, and the output is usually higher. Due to their low noise pollution, they are used for car batteries and laptops.
Now, inverter generators for all their advantages work in a very small range. Inverter vs conventional generator which one is best? While conventional generators work with many loads and can output power from anywhere between the likes of 500 to 50000 watts, inverter generators due to their small size can reach 4000 watts at the max.
Although 2 or more of them can be connected together to produce a higher power output. This is often more expensive and takes more space. Inverter generators, in general, cost more than your average generator.
3. Standby Generators
These ones are backup electrical systems that are made to automatically supply power when a power outage occurs. They have an automatic transfer switch, which, through when the power goes out, is turned on and causes the generator to start supplying power to the load.
It also senses when the power is back on and accordingly turns the standby generator off. Standby generators are often installed into buildings and provide power to elevators in apartments or machinery in hospitals.
Since they work automatically, they are essential for safety systems. These generators are most often run on diesel, natural gas, or liquid propane gas.
Standby generators are also known as whole-house generators as they can produce a large power output, often high enough to power the electrical circuits of your house in the face of a blackout.
Out of all the three, standby generators have the highest power output and longer life than the other two. Some rated generators can power your houses for two days straight.
These generators come in various sizes adjusted for both the house sizes and other buildings that might need them, such as hospitals. They are also harder to install than the other two generators as an automatic transfer switch must also be installed alongside it for it to work.
As expected of generators that size and power, produce large amounts of noise. Due to that, there are often building codes that dictate the installation and placement of these generators, and as a result, one cannot easily install it. They also have the highest cost out of the three, usually.
There are three subtypes of standby generators that are differentiated by the type of fuel they use. They are:
Gas Standby Generators
These ones draw fuel from a gas line. Natural gas is difficult to store, and so they are used less.
Diesel Standby Generators
They operate independently using diesel. These are generally used and are sturdy and reliable. They require constant maintenance and refills.
Bi-Fuel Standby Generators
These generators can work and draw power from both natural gases and diesel sources, making them more reliable and safer.
These are most of the generators you will end up seeing. In case you are planning on making a purchase, this article should help you decide what to go for.
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