Offering a source of electrical current on demand, the generator is particularly useful for benefiting from electricity in the event of a cut.
What is a generator? How does it work ?
A generator is a device capable of providing an emergency source of electricity for the various activities requiring electricity, in the absence of a conventional mains supply. It is widely used in areas subject to systematic outages or areas not connected to an electrical network.
This device must absolutely produce electricity independently without the need for a source of electrical energy. The fuel will be the alternative energy. The electricity comes from a generator or an alternator. The motor will cause a rotary movement of the drive shaft which will enable the device to be engaged.
The generating set can be auxiliary, that is to say mobile and movable. In industrial environments, fixed models are more common. They come to the rescue in the event of a breakdown in military stations, hospitals, computer centers or even airports.
The power supplied by the device can be single-phase or three-phase. The generators from the latest generations are made up of a state-of-the-art safety device as well as electronic regulation systems which make it possible to preserve the stability of the current supplied.
The different types of generators
Generating sets do not all offer identical possibilities and technologies. On the market, there are essentially three types of models, namely the gasoline, diesel and soundproof generator.
The gasoline generator is appreciated for its versatility. It is suitable for domestic use in the context of DIY work for example. It comes with an electric or manual starting device. The power depends essentially on the size of the machine and can range from 1.5 kW to 6 kW. As it is compact, this model generally equipped with a single-phase power supply emits very little noise.
On construction sites or for more intensive use, it is preferable to opt for diesel generators. Their advantage: they offer a variety of power, ranging from a few kW to several thousand. Equipped with an electric starter, these models provide a single-phase, three-phase or mixed power supply.
Last model and not the least: the soundproof generator which is part of the must in terms of sound comfort. No nuisance is to be feared thanks to the insulated box which prevents noise from escaping. If in general, the noise pollution emitted by the groups goes up to 150 dB or even more, those of the soundproof model do not go beyond 90 dB. Fast and light, the soundproof group offers a small footprint, making it perfect for home use. Its power being limited, it will not be suitable for intensive use. Its engine generally runs on gasoline.
What use and what use of the generator?
The use of a generating set requires many precautions to prevent the device from becoming a source of danger. At the installation level, it is important that the equipment and the group are connected via a protective conductor. The installation of a differential circuit breaker for the group is obligatory to avoid electrocutions. If the unit is not equipped with one, it is essential to install one on the circuit. In addition, it is essential to install the device in an open area with sufficient ventilation and away from any source of flame.
Before operating the generating set, a few checks are in order, particularly with regard to the level of oil, fuel, air filter and coolant. Make sure the circuit breaker is open and fuel is flowing. Start the engine. Double check that all connections have been made correctly and that the circuit breaker is working.
Please note that the generator being a source of noise pollution, its use is only authorized during certain hours of the day. Generally, on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. then from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to noon only.
How to choose a generator? What price?
To choose it well, define your needs precisely. If the generator will be used as a backup generator for your home, opt for the generator with an inverter regulation system offering near perfect voltage. It can be used to power delicate and sensitive devices such as TVs, computers etc. For intensive use, it will be necessary to move towards diesel models, which are much more efficient.
The sound level will of course be an important criterion. The so-called silent models emit between 60 to 90 dB, very practical so as not to disturb the neighborhood.
Consumption is another factor that should not be overlooked to avoid refueling every time. These devices can remain autonomous between 4 to 12 hours. It will therefore be necessary to match the autonomy of the machine with your needs.
Finally, on the price side, it all depends on the model chosen. A homemade or soundproof generator can cost from 4000 to 8000 euros. Mobile or construction site models range from 400 to 4000 euros. Finally, three-phase models or other groups for construction sites are priced between 4,000 to 20,000 euros.
(Photo par EPO (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons)