Frequently Asked Questions
What is a generator?
A generator is a device used to produce localised electricity on demand. Generators are commonly used throughout the UK by both domestic and commercial customers as a back up to mains electric. Generators are capable of automatically starting and providing electricity for however long you need power for. The main component of a generator is the ignition engine that spins using an alternator which contains a rotor. When the rotor spins the magnetic field produces electricity which then powers the generator. There are a number of processes and controls required to produce and maintain a stable electrical current.
What power output do I need?
NEVER OVERLOAD YOUR GENERATOR if you do you will almost certainly blow something in the generator or in the worst case melt the insulation in the windings and risk electric shock. A good rule of thumb would be to add together the wattage of all the devices and get a generator that is at least one and a half times that amount.
To calculate the wattage of a device amps x volts = watts
Try this handy calculator http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and- advice/electrical-items/amps-to-watts-calculator/
What are surges?
Every appliance draws more power than its normal running load when it is first turned on. This is why you need a generator that is bigger than the expected wattage you need, to cover the surges. Another tip is to turn appliances on at different times to stagger the surge demand.
What is the difference between Inverter/AVR/Capacitor generators?
The output from a generator can be very ‘spiky’ this can damage delicate electronics.
The cleanest output is from an Inverter Generator so it is safe to use for things such as computers
An AVR is not quite as good as an inverter but should be fine for most things including LCD TV’s, fridges etc.
A Capacitor generator is best used only for items with no delicate electronics such as power tools.
Which generators are Chinese made?
These days all brands have most if not all parts made in China. The major brand names are made to a high standard with good quality control, however some of the cheaper generators have a not so good reputation. The old adage ‘YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR’ definitely applies to generators. We have high end brands and stand by the products we sell. Our range has been carefully chosen to provide good results.
Can I run single phase devices on a three phase generator?
The answer is it might be possible but it is not necessarily straight forward. The best thing is to just use a generator with a dedicated single phase 230volt output. Only use a three phase generator when 415volt is required.
Will I get the output that is stated?
This might seam like a silly question but some of the cheaper Chinese generators have been found to be badged wrongly and only give less than half the power expected. Because the worst thing you can do is overload your generator this can cause a lot of the cheaper generators blowing after only a short period of time. Quite often to repair the cheaper generators costs more than the price of the generator itself. So buying a cheaper generator can be a complete waste of money.
What would be the best fuel type?
The smallest and cheapest generators tend to be 2 stroke petrol. Four stroke petrol can be quieter and more reliable but the oil level and quality must be regularly checked, because often problems occur when people don’t check the oil. Petrol will deteriorate over time in the fuel tank. Often people get the generator out after storing it for many months and it won’t start because the petrol has gone bad. Diesel generators tend to be larger. They can be more reliable and don’t suffer if they are not used for a period of time. LPG is getting more popular because of its reliability and it is a fuel that is considered more environmentally friendly.
How quiet will it be?
Often generators have a ‘silent’ description. This does not mean they will make no noise because all internal combustion engines make noise. The more expensive generators will have better sound insulation and some of the bigger generators come with a sound proof case. All covers must be adequately ventilated to allow heat and fumes to escape. The amount of noise is usually measured from a standard 7 metres so they can be compared. The more load they are under the louder they will be because they are working harder.
Do I need to run the generator outside?
This may seam obvious but absolutely all engines must be in a safe, ventilated area. Consideration must be give to fire risk and the safe storage of fuels. Never run the generator in an enclosed space or garage. This exhaust contains Carbon Monoxide and this is odourless. If the fumes enter your house or other enclosed space where people are it can quickly kill. (check out this page for full info http://www.esfi.org/resource/electrical-safety-think-outside- the-home-412)
Does Generator PRO provide servicing and repairs?
As a company, we specialise in generator sales, although their are several other specialist companies out there that provide generator servicing and repairs.
Do I need a generator that has a long running tank?
The generators we offer are available in either standard run or long run versions. A standard tank typically lasts between 2 to 4 hours when used constantly, whereas most long run generators will run throughout the night with ease. If you’re in need of a generator as a backup option then a long running tank is the best option to choose.
Should I buy an electric or diesel generator?
The type of generator you choose is entirely down to you and the reason you need a generator. Both diesel and electric generators have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re unsure of the generator you need, be sure to get in touch with Generator Pro and one of our team will be happy to help you.
Which appliances can I power my generator with?
This will depend on the wattage of the device and of the appliances you’re using. It’s important that the total wattage of the appliances doesn’t outweigh that of the generator. If this does happen then the circuit breaker of the generator will automatically stop. Ensuing the appliances stay below the wattage of the generator will help to keep it running smoothly.
Where should I store a generator?
All types of generators should be stores in a place that is both cool and dry, this will help to prevent problems occurring with it. Generators must also be kept away from combustible materials as a safety precaution. If generators are kept stored correctly it will ensure they work correctly when you need them and it will help to improve their lifespan.
What is the difference between kW and kVA?
Generators are typically sized in both kW and kVA. The kW is the real actual power that is available from the generator and the kVA is the maximum apparent power that the generator is capable of producing and handling. The maximum output of a generator can be calculated by looking at the kW output of the engine and then multiplying it by the efficiency of the alternator; this will give you kWe.
How noisy are generators?
Unsilenced generators are usually quite noisy and noise reduction equipment is usually needed when people are working around them. When used inside a building the building structure must be able to absorb the noise whilst keeping it ventilated. Some generators are designed to be used outside so the noise is less of a problem. There are a number of silent generators that run at a reasonably reduced noise level.