A generator converts mechanical energy into an electrical energy source. This is accomplished through several different designs. Some generators use spinning electromagnets found inside the coil wires of the generator's core to transform the mechanical energy of a rotating shaft into electrical current. A piston engine, commonly referred to as an engine generator, uses a fuel tank, engine speed regulator, and voltage regulator to output electrical current.


Generator Overview

Modern generator units are often outfitted with a battery and electric starter. In the event of a power outage, standby generators can usually be set to start automatically, utilizing a transfer switch to change the electrical source from the utility line to the generator. Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resource Board (CARB) have standards that generator manufacturers must meet.

Generator Functions

Generators can be used to perform a wide range of tasks where electricity is required. They are commonly used to power-up recreational activities like camping and boating, or as a back-up power source for homes and industry. Generators also provide a solution for powering construction sites and are available on a rental basis.

Selecting a Generator

Choosing a generator is dependent upon the intended usage. It is a good idea for the power source to be reliable and convenient. Other factors involved in choosing the right generator depend on:

  • How quiet you want the machine to be
  • How much electrical power you need
  • How portable you want the generator to be
  • How easy you need the machine to be in starting.

Types of Generators

1. Portable camping generators

Portable camping generators are available with noise reduction features; range from 1,000 to 5,500 watts of power.

2. Commercial level and industrial generators

These generators are typically used as back-up power sources for homes and businesses. These units are permanently installed and provide constant back-up presence to safeguard against any interruption in power supply. These standby units are often used by homes, hospitals, communications, and utility providers.

3. Standby generators

Standby generators range from 3,000 to 10,500 watts of power; offer options including fuel meters, simultaneous AC/DC power output, and the capability to interchange between 120 and 240V.

Industrial level and automatic home standby generators offer the advantage of greater frame protection and larger fuel tanks. To decide how much wattage will be necessary, determine how many devices will be required to be on at the same time and then find the starting wattage requirement for each device.