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Generators: specifications, types
The type of fuel that the generator's engine runs on.
— Gasoline. One of the main types of fuel for internal combustion engines. Gasoline generators are usually cheaper than diesel generators, all other things being equal, but they are more expensive to run due to the higher price of gasoline; in addition, they usually have a shorter resource than diesel ones. Therefore, it is believed that gasoline generators are well suited primarily as a backup power source in case of a power outage.
— Diesel. Diesel generators are usually more expensive than their gasoline counterparts; on the other hand, diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline, so the increased cost may well pay off with regular use. In addition, diesel generators have a longer resource and a larger power range than gasoline ones. This allows them to be used as both backup and main power sources, including at rather "energy-intensive" objects.
— Gas. The advantages of gas-fired generators are relatively low noise levels and low emissions. On the other hand, the use of gas as a fuel is associated with certain difficulties: it is necessary to connect to a gas pipeline or regularly replace special cylinders, the fuel system is especially sensitive to leaks, etc. Therefore, there are relatively few such models produced, and most of them are stationary high power generators, in which the mentioned disa...dvantages are covered by the advantages.
- Gasoline / gas. Models capable of using both types of fuel indicated. This gives the user the opportunity to choose the option that best suits a particular situation, and also reduces the likelihood of being left without fuel at the most inopportune moment; on the other hand, such models are more expensive than single-fuel ones. The technical features of gasoline and gas are described in detail above.
Rated voltage at the output of the generator.
- 230 V(1 phase). Standard voltage of a common household outlet. It is widely used in everyday life, and among specialized equipment there are many devices for 230 V; the only exception is powerful equipment (mainly from 4 - 5 kW), for which this voltage is no longer enough. It is 230-volt generators that are worth paying attention to, in particular, for those who are looking for a device for emergency power supply to a residential area or a small office.
- 400 V(3 phases). Generators capable of delivering 400V three-phase power. This power is extremely rare in domestic applications, but may be required for heavy equipment and other similar loads. Generators with a voltage of 400 V are generally more powerful, heavier, more expensive and "gluttonous" than 230-volt ones. Most of them are equipped with not only three-phase, but also single-phase sockets; however, it is worth looking specifically for such a unit only if the presence of a three-phase power supply is fundamental.
The rated power of the generator is the maximum power that the unit is capable of producing without problems for an unlimited time. In the most "weak" models, this figure is less than 1 kW, in the most powerful — 50 – 100 kW and even more ; and generators with welding capabilities (see below) typically have power ratings between 1–2 kW and 8–10 kW.
The main selection rule in this case is as follows: the rated power must not be lower than the total power consumption of the entire connected load. Otherwise, the generator simply will not be able to produce enough energy, or it will work with overloads. However, to determine the minimum required generator power, it is not enough to simply add up the number of watts indicated in the characteristics of each connected device — the calculation method is somewhat more complicated. Firstly, it must be taken into account that only the active power of various equipment is usually indicated in watts; in addition, many AC electrical appliances consume reactive power (“waste” power consumed by coils and capacitors when operating with such a current). And the actual load on the generator depends precisely on the total power (active plus reactive), indicated in volt-amperes. There are special coefficients and formulas for its calculation.
The second nuance is...related to the power supply of devices in which the starting current (and, accordingly, the power consumption at the time of switching on) is much higher than the nominal one — these are mainly devices with electric motors like vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, air conditioners, power tools, etc. You can determine the starting power, multiplying the standard power by the so-called starting factor. For equipment of the same type, it is more or less the same — for example, 1.2 – 1.3 for most power tools, 2 for a microwave, 3.5 for an air conditioner, etc .; more detailed information is available in special sources. The starting characteristics of the load are necessary, first of all, to assess the required maximum power of the generator (see below) — however, this power is not always given in the characteristics, often the manufacturer indicates only the rated power of the unit. In such cases, when calculating for equipment with a starting factor of more than 1, it is worth using the starting, and not the rated power.
Also note that if there are several outlets, the specific division of the total power across them may be different. This point should be clarified separately — in particular, for specific types of sockets (for more details, see "Sockets 230 V", "Sockets 400 V").
The maximum power that the generator can provide.
This power is slightly higher than the nominal power (see above), however, the maximum performance mode can only be maintained for a very short time — otherwise an overload occurs. Therefore, the practical meaning of this characteristic is mainly to describe the efficiency of the generator when operating with increased starting currents.
Recall that some types of electrical appliances at the time of start-up consume many times more current (and, accordingly, power) than in normal mode; this is typical mainly for devices with electric motors, such as power tools, refrigerators, etc. However, increased power for such equipment is needed only for a short time, normal operation is restored in just a few seconds. And you can evaluate the starting characteristics by multiplying the rated power by the so-called starting factor. For equipment of the same type, it is more or less the same (1.2 – 1.3 for most power tools, 2 for a microwave, 3.5 for an air conditioner, etc.); more detailed information is available in special sources.
Ideally, the maximum power of the generator should not be lower than the total peak power of the connected load — that is, the starting power of equipment with a starting factor greater than 1 plus the rated power of all other equipment. This will minimize the likelihood of overloads.
The type of alternator provided in the unit.
The alternator is the part of the generator that is directly responsible for generating electricity. Such a system works on the principle of the movement of wires (coils) in a magnetic field, due to which an electric current arises. However, the features of the work of the alternator can be different, on the basis of which they are divided into types: asynchronous , synchronous, inverter and duplexes. Here are the main features of each option:
— Asynchronous. The simplest version of the alternator. The rotor (rotating part) in such models during rotation is somewhat ahead of the movement of the magnetic field created by the stator (fixed part) — hence the name. The practical advantages of asynchronous alternators are simplicity, low cost, good protection from external influences and insensitivity to short circuits and prolonged overloads. The latter makes them the best choice for powering welding machines. In general, asynchronous generators are designed mainly for active loads: lighting devices, computers, electric heaters, etc. For reactive loads (with coils and capacitors), it is better to use synchronous units (see below). It is also worth noting that in an asynchronous alternator, the voltage and frequency of the output current directly depend on the rotation speed; t...herefore, such devices are particularly demanding on the stability of the drive motor.
— Synchronous. In this type of alternators, the rotation of the rotor and the magnetic field of the stator coincide (unlike asynchronous models). Synchronous generators are somewhat more complex in design and more expensive, they are more sensitive to short circuits and prolonged overloads. On the other hand, such a unit does an excellent job with both resistive and reactive loads: for a short time, it is able to deliver a current many times higher than the rated current, thus providing the necessary starting current for the reactive load. In addition, the design of synchronous generators includes an automatic control unit that outputs a stable voltage and is able to compensate to a certain extent for fluctuations in the speed of the drive motor. However, in terms of voltage stability, synchronous models are still inferior to inverter ones (see below).
— Inverter. Synchronous generator (see above), equipped with an additional electronic unit — an inverter. This block provides double current conversion: from AC to DC and then back to AC. Such devices are not cheap, but they have a number of advantages. Firstly, the output is a very stable current, practically without any jumps and fluctuations. Secondly, the generator is able to regulate the operation of the engine depending on the load: for example, if the load is half of the output power, then the current engine power is halved; this results in significant fuel savings. Thirdly, inverter models are lighter and more compact than traditional generators, and they are less noisy. It is such a generator that is considered the best choice for a load that is sensitive to the quality of the current, such as audio equipment or a TV. At the same time, units of this type have a relatively low power and are not designed for long-term operation or high starting loads, and therefore they are used only as backup power sources for relatively low-power power supply systems. In addition, when choosing an inverter generator, it is worth clarifying the shape of the output signal: not all models give an perfect sine wave — there are also units with a trapezoidal pulse that are not suitable for delicate equipment.
— duplex. Type of alternators developed by Endress and used mainly in generators of this brand (although devices from other manufacturers are also found). According to the creators, such an alternator combines the advantages of synchronous and asynchronous models. So, on the one hand, it is able to withstand high inrush currents without compromising the supply of other consumers, and the design usually has an auto-voltage regulator at the output; on the other hand, most of these generators can also be used to power welding machines, and the number of high-frequency harmonics at the output is very low. The disadvantages of "duplexes", in addition to the high cost, include the need to configure for a specific set of connected devices.
— Copper. Copper winding is typical for advanced class generators. The copper alternator is characterized by high conductivity and low resistance. The conductivity of copper is 1.7 times higher than the conductivity of aluminium, such a winding heats up less, and compounds made of this metal endure temperature drops and vibration loads. Among the disadvantages of the copper winding, one can only note the high cost of the alternator. Otherwise, generators with copper winding have high reliability and durability. — Aluminium. The aluminium winding of the alternator is typical for low-cost-class generators. The main advantages of aluminium are light weight and low price; otherwise, such a winding is usually inferior to copper counterparts. An oxide film is created on the surface of aluminium, it appears everywhere, even in the places of contact soldering. The oxide film undermines the contacts and does not allow the outer protective braid to securely hold the aluminium conductors.
Type of welding current
The type of current supplied by the welding generator to the electrodes during welding.
— Variable (AC). Current with constantly changing polarity — as in ordinary household sockets; however, when welding, higher frequencies are usually used — not 50 – 60 Hz, but on the order of several tens of kilohertz. The key advantage of alternating current is that it does not have a fixed polarity — in other words, it is basically impossible to confuse plus and minus when connecting electrodes. On the other hand, constantly reversing the current direction increases the amount of spatter and reduces the quality of the seam compared to using direct current. As a result, this option is relatively rare and is intended for relatively rough work.
— Permanent (DC). Current having a fixed polarity and constantly flowing in one direction, without changing it. This allows you to achieve a more accurate seam with less spatter than with alternating current; as a consequence, it is direct current that most modern welding generators use. At the same time, when working with such a device, you need to carefully control the polarity of the connection — and, depending on the features of the work, both “direct” (“minus” to the electrode) and “reverse” (“minus” to the material) polarity may be required. In addition, additional circuits are required for direct current, which slightly increases the cost of generators.
Max. welding current
The maximum current that the welding generator (see above) is capable of delivering to the electrodes during welding.
For different materials, different thicknesses of the parts to be welded and different types of welding itself, the optimal welding current will also be different; there are special tables that allow you to determine this value. The general rule is this: the maximum generator current must not be lower than the required welding current, otherwise the unit will either work with an overload or not be able to provide the necessary welding efficiency.
Maximum electrode diameter
The maximum diameter of the welding electrodes that the welding generator can work with (see above).
The thicker the material being processed and the wider the seam, the thicker the electrodes should be used for welding; and a thicker electrode generally implies higher currents. There are special tables that allow you to determine the optimal electrode diameter depending on the type and thickness of the material, type of welding, etc. However, anyway, the thickness of the electrode used should not be higher than the maximum allowable — this is fraught with overloads and breakdowns, and at best the generator is simply will not be able to provide the desired efficiency.
The type of internal combustion engine installed in the generator. Note that diesel engines (see "Fuel") in modern generators are made only 4-stroke, so that different types of internal combustion engines are found only among gasoline models. Let's take a look at this difference:
- 2-stroke. The main advantages of such engines are simplicity, low cost and higher power per unit volume than in four-stroke ones. On the other hand, they make more noise, consume more fuel, and a two-stroke engine needs to be filled with a mixture of gasoline and oil in a strictly defined proportion, which complicates the refueling procedure.
– 4-stroke. Such engines are less noisy and more economical than two-stroke ones; in addition, oil is poured into them separately from gasoline, and there is no risk of not calculating the proportions for refueling. Their main disadvantages are higher cost and lower power for the same volume.
Model name of the engine installed in the generator. Knowing this name, you can, if necessary, find detailed data on the engine and clarify how it meets your requirements. In addition, model data may be needed for some specific tasks, including maintenance and repair.
Note that modern generators are often equipped with branded engines from famous manufacturers: Honda, John Deere, Mitsubishi, Volvo, etc. Such engines are more expensive than similar units from little-known brands, but this is offset by higher quality and/or solid warranty conditions , and in many cases, the ease of finding spare parts and additional documentation (such as manuals for special maintenance and minor repairs).
The working volume of the engine in a gasoline or diesel generator (see "Fuel"). Theoretically, more volume usually means more power, but in fact, everything is not so clear. Firstly, the specific power strongly depends on the type of fuel, and in gasoline units, also on the type of internal combustion engine (see above). Secondly, similar engines of the same power can have different volumes, and there is a practical point here: with the same power, a larger engine consumes more fuel, but by itself it can cost less.
The operating power of the engine installed in the generator. Traditionally stated in horsepower; 1 HP approximately equal to 735 watts.
First of all, the rated power of the generator directly depends on this indicator (see above): in principle, it cannot be higher than the engine power, moreover, part of the engine power is spent on heat, friction and other losses. And the smaller the difference between these capacities, the higher the efficiency of the generator and the more economical it is. However high efficiency affects the cost, but this difference can pay off with regular use due to fuel savings.
How to start a generator engine. To start an internal combustion engine (gasoline or diesel, see "Fuel"), anyway, it is necessary to rotate the engine shaft; you can do this in two ways:
— Manual. With this method of starting, the initial impulse is communicated to the engine manually — usually, for this, the user needs to forcefully pull the cable that spins a special flywheel. The simplest in design and cheapest way to start, from the additional equipment requires only the actual cable with a flywheel. On the other hand, it may require the user to apply considerable muscular effort and is poorly suited for high-power units.
— Electric starter. With this type of start, the engine shaft is scrolled using a special electric motor, which is called a starter; The starter is powered by its own battery. This type of start is the easiest for the user to use and requires the least amount of effort: usually just pressing a button or turning a knob is enough. And the power of modern starters is enough even for heavy engines, where manual starting is difficult or impossible. Also note that an electric starter is, by definition, required to use the ATS autostart (see "Features"). On the other hand, additional equipment affects the weight and cost of the unit, sometimes quite noticeably. Therefore, such starting systems are mainly used where they are indispensable — in the mentioned heavy equipment, as...well as generators with ATS.
Fuel consumption of a gasoline or diesel generator, and for combined models — when using gasoline (see "Fuel").
A more powerful engine inevitably means more fuel consumption; however, models with the same engine power may differ in this indicator. In such cases, it is worth considering that a model with a lower flow rate usually costs more, but this difference can quickly pay off, especially with regular use. In addition, knowing the fuel consumption and tank volume, you can determine how long one refueling will last; at the same time, in inverter models at partial load, the actual operating time may be noticeably higher than the theoretical one, see "Alternator" for details.
Fuel consumption of a generator running on gas or a combined model using gas (see "Fuel").
A more powerful engine inevitably means more fuel consumption; however, models with the same engine power may differ in this indicator. In such cases, it is worth considering that a model with a lower flow rate usually costs more, but this difference can quickly pay off, especially with regular use.
Fuel tank volume
The volume of the fuel tank installed in the generator.
Knowing the fuel consumption (see above) and the capacity of the tank, you can calculate the operating time on one gas station (if it is not indicated in the specifications). However, a more capacious tank is also more bulky. Therefore, manufacturers choose tanks based on the general level and "voracity" of the generator — in order to provide an acceptable operating time without a significant increase in size and weight. So in general, this parameter is more of a reference than practically significant.
As for the numbers, in low-power models, tanks are installed for 5 – 10 liters, or even less ; in heavy professional equipment, this figure can exceed 50 liters.
— Missing. The generator does not have its own fuel tank.
This feature is found in two varieties of modern generators. The first, most characteristic option is all models that run on gas (see "Fuel"). It is much easier to supply such fuel directly from the gas line or from a separate cylinder than to provide its own reservoir for it in the generator itself.
The second, more specific case is a small number of petrol or diesel models. At the same time, there is also a division here. So, gasoline generators that are not equipped with a tank are units of a relatively small volume and power, where a similar design is provided for ease of transportation; an ordinary canister is quite suitable as a container with fuel for such a device. Diesel models, in turn, are very powerful industrial units, in which the consumption is measured in hundreds of liters per hour; they use external tanks for the reasons that the built-in tank of the required volume would be too bulky even taking into account the size of the generator itself.
Fuel level indicator
A pointer that allows you to monitor the remaining fuel in the generator tank. The simplest such indicators work only with a critical decrease in the level of fuel, warning of the need for refueling; more advanced ones constantly display the remainder. However, anyway, this feature makes it easier to keep track of the fuel supply and reduces the risk of a generator shutdown due to a forgotten refueling.
Continuous operation time
The time during which the generator is guaranteed to be able to work without interruption.
This parameter is indicated exclusively for liquid fuel models with a built-in tank, and according to the simplest formula: tank capacity divided by fuel consumption. At the same time, in some models, data may be given for a certain level of load (which is specified in the notes); at a higher or lower load, and the operating time will be shorter or longer, respectively. As for specific figures, in most modern generators the operating time is up to 10 hours — this is quite enough for backup power and occasional use. More solid models are able to work 10 – 15 hours, and an indicator of 16 hours and above is typical mainly for professional solutions.
Also note that theoretically, many generators can be refueled without shutting down, but in fact it is still better to take breaks and not exceed the claimed time of continuous operation — this will avoid overheating and increased wear.
The type of cooling provided in the generator engine.
— Air. Cooling, which provides for the direct transfer of heat from individual parts of the engine to the air surrounding them. To do this, the most "hot" parts can be supplemented with radiators — characteristic ribbed plates that improve heat transfer; and for their blowing, a fan driven by an engine is used. The advantages of air cooling are low cost, compactness, reliability, as well as ease of maintenance and repair. In terms of efficiency, such systems are noticeably inferior to liquid ones, but this becomes critical only for the most powerful and heavy units; most modern generators use this type of cooling.
— Liquid. Cooling using a heat transfer fluid (usually water or antifreeze). Such a coolant circulates through a special circuit, removing heat from the engine and transferring it to a radiator, which dissipates excess energy in the air. The main advantage of liquid systems is high efficiency, they are suitable even for powerful heavy engines. On the other hand, such cooling is noticeably more complicated and more expensive than air cooling, and damage to the circuit, even a small one, disables it. Therefore, liquid systems are mainly used where, in principle, one cannot do without them — on high-power generators, mainly stationary ones.
Number of sockets (230/400 V)
The total number of 230 and/or 400 V sockets provided in the design of the generator.
This number corresponds to the number of devices that can be simultaneously connected to the generator without the use of splitters, extension cords, etc. Moreover, if we are talking about a three-phase model (see “Output voltage”) with different types of sockets, the number of both will not hurt to clarify separately, since in different models the set may be different. For example, a unit for which 3 sockets are claimed can have 1 three-phase plug and 2 single-phase, or 2 three-phase and 1 single-phase. In general, the most modest modern generators have only 1 outlet, although 2 models are more common; and in the most powerful models this number can be 4 and higher.
We also recall that the possibilities for connecting various devices are limited not only by the number of sockets, but also by the rated power of the generator (for more details, see above).
Sockets 110 V
The number of 110 V sockets provided in the design of the generator, as well as the type of connectors used in such sockets.
This voltage is widely used in the countries of the North American continent, Central America, Saudi Arabia and Japan, sometimes it is also found in the UK. 110 V sockets in the design of the generator allow you to connect household appliances and power tools for the market of these countries without the need for a step-down transformer or other devices that convert the magnitude of the electrical voltage.
Sockets 230 V
The number of 230 V sockets provided in the design of the generator, as well as the type of connectors used in such sockets.
The type of connector in this case is indicated by the maximum current that is allowed for the outlet — for example, "2 pcs at 16 A". The most popular options for 220-volt outlets are 16 A, 32 A and 63 A. We emphasize that the amperes in this designation are not the actual current that the generator can produce, but the outlet's own limitation; the actual value of the current strength is usually noticeably lower. Simply put, if, for example, the generator has a 32 A socket, the output current on it will not reach 32 A; and the specific number of amperes will depend on the rated and maximum power of the unit (see above). So, if for our example we take a rated power of 5 kW and a maximum of 6 kW, then such a generator can deliver less than 5 kW / 230 V = 22.7 A nominally and 6 kW / 230 V = 27 to a 230 V socket, 3 And at the peak. And if the power has to be divided between several outlets, then it, accordingly, will be even less.
As for specific types of connectors, the higher the current allowed for the outlet, the higher the requirements for its reliability and quality of protection. Thus, usually, smaller power plugs can be connected to higher power sockets (directly or through an adapter), but not vice versa. And if there are several sockets, by their type it is pos...sible to estimate with a certain certainty the distribution of the entire power of the generator between them: between two identical sockets, this power is usually divided equally, and more power is allocated to the socket for a larger number of amperes. However, specific details on this matter should be clarified in each case separately; also consider 400 V sockets, if available (see below).
Sockets 400 V
The number of 400 V sockets provided in the design of the generator, as well as the type of connectors used in such sockets.
The type of connector in this case is indicated by the maximum power that is allowed for the socket - for example, "2 pcs for 16 A". The most popular options for 400V include 16A and 32A, although other socket types are also found. We emphasize that the amperes in this designation are not the actual power that the generator can produce, but the outlet's own limitation; the actual value of the power strength is usually noticeably lower. Simply put, if, for example, the generator has a 32 A socket, the output power on it will not reach 32 A; and the specific number of amperes will depend on the rated and maximum power of the unit (see above). So, if for our example we take a rated power of 7 kW and a maximum of 8 kW, then such a generator can give out no more than 7 kW / 400 V = 18.42 A nominally and 8 kW / 230 V = 21 to a 400 V socket, 05 And at the peak. In practice, these values will be even less, since three-phase devices are almost always supplemented with single-phase sockets, and the power will have to be divided between different types of sockets. The specifics of power distribution in each case should be clarified separately.
As for specific types of connectors, the higher the power allowed for the outlet, the higher the requirements for its reliability an...d quality of protection. In light of this, as a rule, smaller power plugs can be connected to higher power sockets (directly or through an adapter), but not vice versa.
USB charging port
The generator has a USB connector(one or more) for charging various devices. Most modern smartphones and tablets can be charged from USB, and this charging method is also found in many other equipment - from cameras and flashlights to electric screwdrivers and radio-controlled models. The standard supply voltage through this connector is 5 V, but the power may be different, it should be specified separately.
Output 12 V
Existence in the generator of an output with a direct current and voltage of 12 V. The main purpose of this output is to charge car batteries, as well as power devices originally intended for cars (recall, 12 V is the standard voltage of on-board networks in cars).
The following types of 12-volt outputs are found in generators:
- Terminals. Terminals are used to connect wires directly without using any plugs. This connection is the most reliable.
- Socket. Socket outlet for a plug with two flat pins, designed to connect 12-volt consumers. Holes in sockets come in different layouts, which you need to pay attention to.
- Cigarette lighter. The so-called "car socket", which in many cars is combined with a cigarette lighter socket (hence the name). Such connectors are used to power various automotive devices and accessories.
— DC output (DC 12 V). The presence in the generator of an output with direct current and a voltage of 12 V. The main purpose of this output is to charge car batteries, as well as power devices originally intended for cars (recall, 12 V is the standard voltage of on-board networks in cars).
— USB port for charging. The generator has a USB connector (one or more) for charging various devices. Most modern smartphones and tablets can be charged from USB, and this charging method is also found in many other equipment — from cameras and flashlights to electric screwdrivers and radio-controlled models. The standard supply voltage through this connector is 5 V, but the power may be different, it should be specified separately.
— Synchronization with a smartphone. Synchronization with a smartphone allows you to control the operation of the generator remotely. Thanks to this, the user does not need to approach the device in order to, for example, start or stop it. Additionally, synchronization with a smartphone allows you to monitor the parameters of the generated electric current remotely and in real time. On the other hand, this will require a permanent connection to the Internet and specialized software that must be installed on your smartphone.
— Autorun (ATS). A function that allows the generator to turn on automatically under certain conditions, withou...t user action. Autostart is mainly used when using the generator as a backup power source: while the main power is on, the unit is turned off, and if the mains voltage fails, ATS starts the engine and the load starts to be powered from the generator. Note that the presence of autostart is indicated only if the generator was originally equipped with an ATS electronic unit; models with the ability to connect such a unit are placed in a separate category (see below).
— Connector for the ATS block. A connector that allows you to connect an external autorun unit (ATS) to the generator; The block itself is not included. See above for more details on autorun; here we note that for some users this function is not initially needed, but may be needed in the future — for example, if the generator is initially used in the construction of a house, and then it is planned to be installed in the same house as a backup power source. In such situations, this configuration option will be optimal: when buying the generator itself, you will not have to overpay for the ATS unit, and later, if necessary, you can buy and connect such a unit separately.
— Automatic voltage regulator (AVR). Automatic regulator that allows you to maintain a constant voltage level at the generator output. Such a regulator smoothes out the differences that occur due to changes in engine speed; this is especially important when connecting devices that are sensitive to power stability. It is worth noting that the presence of AVR is practically mandatory for synchronous generators (see "Alternator"), but this function is not found in other varieties: in asynchronous and duplex units, it is not applicable in principle, and in inverter units, the role of the regulator is played by the inverter itself, and they do not require additional electronics.
— Display. Own display mounted on the generator body. Usually, this is the simplest LCD screen, capable of displaying only numbers and some special characters. However, even on such a screen, various useful information can be displayed: voltage, frequency, hour metre data, low fuel warning, error messages with error codes, etc. Thanks to this, control becomes more convenient and intuitive.
— Hour metre. A device that counts the total time that the engine of the electric generator has worked since it was first turned on. This helps to determine the general wear of the engine and the need for its repair / replacement, which can be useful both for long-term use of the device, and, for example, to assess the quality of the product when buying a used electric generator. Resetting the hour metre without serious intervention in the design of the device is usually impossible.
— Voltmeter. A device that displays the current voltage output by the generator. The voltmeter can be made as a separate pointer scale, or its readings can be displayed on the generator's own display (see above). Anyway, this function allows you to carefully control the operation of the unit and reduces the risk of unacceptable voltage being applied to the load.
— Parallel connection. The presence in the design of the generator of special connectors through which two or more units can be connected to a single electrical network (usually using an additional device). This type of connection is used when one unit is not able to pull the entire load and the connection power exceeds the capabilities of the device itself. Also, a similar scheme has found popularity if one of the units is planned to be used as a backup power source.
— Remote start. Presence in a set of delivery of the generator of the remote control. It is made in the form of a wireless key fob and allows you to turn on / off the device at a distance without approaching it.
Special protective covercovering the generator from the outside. As the name implies, the main purpose of this shell is to reduce the noise level, but its role is not limited to this. Among other things, the casing additionally protects the generator itself from water, dust, shock and other adverse effects; and in the event of a serious breakdown, it can delay the flying fragments of the unit, protecting the people around. Thus, this feature has a positive effect on overall reliability and safety; on the other hand, the presence of an additional shell affects the cost and weight.
The electric generator has wheels for moving from place to place. Most often, the design provides for a pair of wheels and a pair of parking supports: during working hours, the supports play the role of brakes, and when moving, they need to be raised above the ground and the generator rolled on two wheels; however, there are models on 4 wheels. Anyway, this feature greatly simplifies transportation: it is much easier to roll the unit than to carry it on weight. This is especially true in light of the fact that the weight of a modern generator can exceed 100 kg: several people will be needed to carry such a weight, while wheels often make it possible to manage by one person.
The level of protection provided by the generator housing — namely, the degree of protection of the “hardware” from dust, moisture and foreign objects. It is designated by the IP standard with two numbers, one of which corresponds to protection against solid objects and dust, the second — from moisture, for example, IP24.
According to the level of dust protection (first digit) in modern generators, the following values \u200b\u200bare found:
2 — protection against objects with a diameter of more than 12.5 mm (fingers, etc.);
3 — from objects larger than 2.5 mm (most instruments);
4 — from objects more than 1 mm (almost all tools, most wires);
5 — dustproof (full protection against contact; dust can penetrate inside, but does not affect the operation of the device).
Moisture protection levels can be as follows:
1 — protection against vertically falling drops of water;
2 — from water drops with a deviation of up to 15 ° from the vertical axis of the device (rain);
3 — from water drops with a deviation of up to 60 ° from the vertical axis of the device (rain with wind);
4 — against splashes from any direction (rain with strong wind);
In general, for indoor use, this indicator does not play a key role, but on the street and in similar conditions (for example, at a construction site), you should make sure that the selected generator is sufficiently protected — or else take additional protection measures.
Noise level produced by the generator during normal operation. The less the unit makes noise, the more comfortable its use, the closer to people it can be located, but the higher its price, other things being equal.
It is also worth considering that ICE generators, in principle, are quite noisy equipment. So, even the most "quiet" units give out 50 – 60 dB — this is the volume of a conversation in tones from medium to high. Most modern generators are noisy at the level of 61 – 70 dB(loud conversation level), and even 71 – 80 dB(scream volume). And in the noisiest models, this figure can exceed 80 dB, sometimes reaching values of 120 dB (demolition hammer noise). At the same time, we note that the noise level is not directly related to power: for example, among units of 80 dB or more, there are both heavy and relatively low-power models.
Sound level (7 m)
Sound pressure level in decibels at a distance of 7 m between the noise source and the ear of the equipment operator. Since people do not work in the immediate vicinity of the generator, the parameter will be useful for estimating the noise level at a distance. For example, current European Union regulations require that the sound power of generating sets with a power of more than 2 kW does not exceed 97 dB — at a distance of 7 m, the noise from the generator engine will correspond to a sound pressure of about 72 dB.
The total weight of the unit — usually, excluding fuel; the weight on a full gas station can be easily determined by knowing the capacity of the tank.
In general, more powerful generators inevitably turn out to be heavier, but models that are similar in characteristics can differ markedly in weight. Assessing these differences and generally choosing an option by weight, it is worth considering the specifics of the generator application. So, if the device will often be moved from place to place — for example, when used "on the road" — it may be worth paying attention to lighter units that are more convenient to transport. However, it is worth considering that the downside of a lightweight design is often an increased cost or a reduced degree of protection. But for stationary use, you can not pay much attention to this parameter — or even vice versa: choose a heavier (and, usually, more advanced and functional) option.
Regarding specific figures, it is worth noting that modern generators as a whole are quite massive. So, a small weight for such equipment is considered not only up to 20 kg, but even 20 – 30 kg ; many units weigh 150 – 200 kg, or even more, and the weight of stationary industrial models is already measured in tons.
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