Criteria & Definition
Terminology and Technology you need understand.
STAND-BY OR PRIME?
Will you require stand-by or prime power supply? Simply stated, prime power is required when you have no other source of power.
A stand-by generator set is a backup to utility power
Why differentiate? The rating of a generator for backup power assumes the generator will be in occasional use for periods of several hours or days. Prime power generators are expected to run 7/24 for 365 days per year. Generators are rated are higher for backup use than for prime power.
USED as an Option
There are good deals to be found within the used market. We come across generators which have been installed for many years as backup with incredibly low hours on the equipment. However, if your application is critical or you require the unit for prime power you must understand that parts, although available, may not be readily available or on hand at your local engine dealer for older engines.
GENERATOR TYPES & FEATURES
Generator sets produce either single or three phase power. Choose a single phase generator if you do not have any motors above five horsepower. Three-phase power is better for motor starting and running. Homeowners usually require single phase whereas industrial or commercial applications frequently require three phase power.
Three phase generators are set up to produce 120/208 or 277/480 or 347/600 volts. Single-phase sets are 120 or 120/240. Large heaters, stoves and dryers frequently use 240V volt power. 120V is the voltage available at your normal household electric outlets.
Generators are rated in either kVA (Kilovolt amperes) of kW (kilowatts), Kilo meaning 1000. kVA is always higher than the kW. All of our three phase water-cooled generators are rated with a power factor of 0.8 and single phase generators have a power factor of one.
GAS OR DIESEL?
Diesel generators while initially more expensive are frequently the best alternative due to their longevity and lower operating costs. Modern diesels are quiet and normally require much less maintenance than comparably sized gas (natural gas or propane) units. Fuel costs per kW produced with diesels is normally thirty to fifty percent less than gas units.
Electric equipment in North America is designed to use power with a fixed frequency: 60 Hertz (Hz); and 50 Hertz in Europe, Africa and Australia. The frequency output of a generator depends on a fixed engine speed.
Frequency (Hz) is measured in Hertz (cycles per second) and basically it is the number of times that an AC supply oscillates in one second. The standard frequency in Canada and the US is 60Hz. Frequency is held constant by the mechanical and or electronic governor mounted on the generator. An excellent level of frequency control is 1% while a 2-5% level of control is usually adequate.
To produce 60 Hz electricity, most engines operate at 1800 or 3600 RPM. Each has its advantages and drawbacks:
In simple terms it’s like operating your car at 90 mph, versus 45mph – at 45mph your car will last longer, is quieter, less maintenance and longer life. Most 3600 rpm units are twin or single cylinder gasoline powered air cooled lawnmower engines, while the water cooled 1800 rpm units are comparable to those found in forklift and tractor engines…the 1800 rpm water cooled units will last longer, offer less maintenance problems and be more fuel efficient.
FEATURES & BENEFITS TO LOOK FOR
Engine block: Select four cycle, liquid cooled, industrial duty diesel engines for long life and quiet operation.
Air or liquid cooling: Air-cooled engines require a tremendous amount of air and may require ducting. They're noisier too. Liquid cooling offers quieter operation and more even temperature control but these units weigh and cost more.
AC generator should have at least a 4-pole revolving field. Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) provides “clean” power. Normal utility power is +/- 5% voltage regulation; our 1800-rpm models are even better +/- 2%! All of our models offer AVR – Automatic Voltage Regulation
ENGINE ACCESSORIES AND CONTROLS
After determining the generator size you will need, make a list of optional and installation equipment you require. For noise abatement, we recommend purchasing a sound attenuated generator. A good primary fuel filter/water separator is a must to protect your engine's fuel system.
AC SWITCHGEAR AND CONTROLS
Switchgear can be as simple or complex as you want or can afford. As complexity increases, so does cost. Balance and a good electrical advisor are the keys here.
All generator systems require a circuit breaker and a distribution panel.
Auto-start, auto-transfer systems are available but are costly. Your contractor can help you determine what you will need.
Contact Us: For Service, Parts and Help sizing your generator needs
Telephone: toll free at 1-888-810-4709
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