When the century was about to roll over from the 1900’s to the year 2000, the sales of portable generators became brisk. The surge in sales was the result of fear that power companies would experience system failure due to potential computer problems from the year “00” following the year “99.” Portable electric generators seemed like a modest expenditure to keep furnaces running if the electricity failed. Many people learned about portable generator operation very quickly.
Portable electric generators are not hard to use.
They are basically a four cycle small engine hooked to a 120 volt generator. The motor spins the generator coils in the same way that a lawnmower engine spins the cutting blade. The set up of these generators is to provide a continuous flow of alternating current for the user.
You need to know watts, amps, and volts are related.
It is easy to add too much draw onto a small generator. The relationship between these 3 electrical components is that watts equal amps times volts. To apply this, a 2,400 watt generator can supply 20 amps of power to a 120 volt circuit. You need to also know that the engine driving the generator can only provide starting power to an electric motor about 1/5 or its power. A 5 horsepower gasoline generator motor can only start a one horsepower electric motor. When purchasing a new portable generator, you should try to determine what types of devices that it will power in order to buy the right size unit.
Portable electric generators have power leads and electric outlets.
These generators can be hooked up via the leads to a circuit box to provide partial power to a house. The main breakers should be in the “off” position before attempting to make this connection. Turn these off even if the power is currently out of service. This will prevent a surge of electricity from the utility company from damaging your generator if the power comes back on. You can have a special switch installed to take care of this problem, but it can be expensive. Turning off the main breakers is the simplest and cheapest solution. Most portable generators are only capable of powering one of the 120 volt strips in a 200 amp service circuit box. You may need to shift circuits from one strip to the other to get the power to the rooms and devices that you need.
The outlets can be used to power most 120 volt appliances.
Once the generator is running, these outlets can be used in the same way as a wall outlet in your house. Just plug in a lamp, power tool, or other device. Make sure the device does not exceed the capacity of the generator.
Most portable electric generators are gasoline powered.
If you can operate a lawnmower, you should not have problems operating a portable generator. They will either have pull cord or electric starter. Most have a pull cord and easy to start and run. The life of many generators is about 2,000 hours of use.