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Electric generators


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Un Electric generator it is designed to produce electricity. It is mainly composed of two parts: a gasoline or diesel engine (usually 2 or 4 strokes) that is connected to an alternator which transforms mechanical energy into electrical energy. The usual use of these generators are usually places without access to the electrical network such as camping sites or power outages. But how to choose a good electric generator? Let's go by parts…

What is an electric generator?

An electric generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy thanks to the magnetic field it passes through. This transformation is achieved with the action of the magnetic field on the electrical conductors arranged on a stator. This has several parts:

The stator, a metal armor with copper filaments inside forming circuits; and the rotor, internal part of the stator that rotates thanks to a turbine. Formed by an axis and circuits that become electromagnets when a small amount of current is applied. When the rotor rotates at high speed thanks to mechanical energy, small electrical currents are produced on the copper filaments inside the stator, which in turn provides the generator with electromotive force capable of generating electricity for any device connected to the generator.

What generator will I need?

To ensure the proper functioning of the generators as well as their safety, you should consider the following:

Before choosing an electric generator, you should take into account what type of electronic devices you want to connect. If you want to connect any type of device working with electronic boards (DVD player, a TV or a personal computer, etc.) you should know that these devices require a certain stability in the voltage output, something that traditional electric generators cannot guarantee. For this reason, to be able to plug these devices in, it will be necessary to use a generator with a voltage regulation system, called AVR or Inverter. However, if what you want is to connect resistance devices (light bulbs, radiators, etc ...) or coil or induction electric motors (drill, washing machine, etc ...) it will not be necessary to purchase a generator with a voltage regulator since with a generator conventional is sufficient.

What is the difference between an AVR generator and an inverter?

The main differences between the two types of generators are the following:

AVR generators: They are electric generators with voltage regulator ideal for plugging in electronic devices. The process of regulating the voltage is carried out through capacitors, obtaining sufficient current stability to connect most electronic devices. 

Inverter generators: They are electric generators with a voltage modulator that achieve sufficient stability (variations less than 1%) to connect small devices such as light bulbs, camping fridge, etc…, thanks to an electric plate. The operation of the engine adapts to the requested demand, thereby reducing its consumption to a minimum. They are much lighter machines than AVR generators, which makes them the best option as generators for camping or for power outages.

How do I calculate how much power I need?

The function of an electric generator is to provide electricity to a limited number of devices. This limitation is due to the power that the devices consume and therefore to calculate the necessary power, the sum of all the devices that depend on the generator must be made. Below we show you a table with the consumption values ​​of the most used devices for generators.

Electronic product Resistance in Watts (Wats)
LED lamp 5 50-W
Fluorescent lamp 40 100-W
Radio 200 W
TV 250 W
Printer 350 W
Personal computer 400 W
Hairdryer 1000 W
Bimini 1200 W
Cement cutter 1320 W
Arc Welder 3500 W
Fridge 350 W
Freezer 700 W
1HP pressure washer 800 W
Photocopier 1600 W
2HP air compressor 1500 W
1HP washer 750 W
Air Conditioning 1750 W
Hand held jigsaw 1300 W
Grinder 1300 W
13 mm drill Between 500 and 750 W
Orbital Sander 450 W

In order to perform the necessary power calculation, you must follow the following steps:

  1. Make a list of all the electronic devices you want to connect to the generator and indicate how much is your consumption in Watts
  2. Calculate, looking at the table above the minimum power required by each of the devices you want to connect. For example, the machines with induction motor have higher consumption peaks than those shown on the consumption plate, even 3 being times greater if it is single-phase voltage or 2 times greater if it is three-phase.
  3. Add the result of the necessary powers for all the devices you want to connect to the generator and you will get the power in Watts that your generator has to have.

What other factors do I have to take into account when choosing a generator?

Among all the types of generators that exist, it is distinguished mainly by the type of voltage, if it is single-phase or three-phase:

Monophase: These are the most suitable for domestic use since they generate a current of 230 V which all appliances in the home use.

Three Phase: They manage to generate a three-phase current of 400 V that is used in specific equipment.

Engine: Among the generators there are two kinds of engine, gasoline engines or diesel engines. Within the gasoline engines we have the engines of 2 times or those of 4 times:

  • 2 engine times: It works based on a mixture of gasoline and oil. They are suitable for lighting since they are the most economical. However, its useful life is considerably shorter and its operation generates a noise level higher than those of 4 times.
  • 4 engine times: They manage to deliver more power than 2 engines with less noise. These generators are divided depending on the fuel used, whether diesel or gasoline.

Diesel generators: The operation has the advantage of a useful life of the generator much greater than those of gasoline as well as a lower consumption of fuel. The disadvantage is that they are much louder and heavier generators. These generators can be 1500 or even 3000 rpm (revolutions per minute) of which, 1500 rpm generators are better for continuous or even uninterrupted use.

4 Gasoline Time Generators: These generators generate much less noise, being lighter and cheaper compared to diesel, however they do not support uninterrupted use.

Advantages and disadvantages of diesel powered electric generators

Advantages Drawbacks
Longer engine life High noise level
Lower fuel consumption Higher maintenance cost
Comfortable refueling
Greater autonomy
Recommended for uninterrupted use

Advantages and disadvantages of electric generators with gasoline engines

Advantages Drawbacks
Two types of motor (2 or 4 times) being the first the most suitable for lighting and the second to withstand a greater electrical load Recommended only for a short period use
Optimum performance for a particular use Increased fuel consumption
Low noise level
Lower generator weight compared to diesel
Lower cost in repairs

Noise level:

The noise that an electric generator manages to make when it is in operation is measured in dB (decibels) and depends mainly on the structure of the generator chassis, the type of engine (diesel for example are louder) and the degree of soundproofing of the generator . You have to take into account when, how long and where the generator will be used to choose between a quieter or a louder one. Keep in mind that at a distance of less than 7 meters talking about small electric generators, these can reach the 65 dB of noise. Some types of generators have soundproofing that reduces the noise level to 55 dB. These generators are called soundproof generators, something that we must take into account for the use of generators at a particular level.

Noise scale in decibels with examples:

  • 30 dB: reading room
  • 50 dB: office
  • 70 dB: traffic
  • 90 dB: milling machine
  • 110 dB: Hydraulic hammer
  • 130 dB: Airplane takeoff

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