A generator is a device that converts motive power into electrical power for use in an external circuit.
Are you planning on buying a new generating set? Do you want to know the factors to consider when buying a new generator? or are you wondering the brand to buy?. If you answer is an affirmative yes, you are just in the right place.
The focus of this guide is on portable generators which can be used for home and small businesses.
Electric power generator supplies voltages in cases of power failure.The first step in buying a generator is to understand the characteristics of power generators.
These characteristics are often refer to as it’s rating.
Below are some of the important rating/ characteristic of power generators
Output Voltage:This is the voltage output, which should be around 201 volts – 250 volts for generators in Nigeria, but some countries use 110 volts or 120 volts.
The Output Frequency:This is the rated output] frequency in Nigeria it is meant to to 50Hz but in some other countries 60Hz is the norm.When buying generator sets ensure that the output frequency is the same with the public generating frequency.
The Rated Power: This is the load a generator can carry under normal operations. The raring of a generator come sin KVA or VA.
A 1KVA simply means a 1000VA, hence a 2.2KVA generator is a 2200VA generator.
Ensure you buy generators whose rated power are above your needs.
Max Power: This is the maximum load or power the generator can carry over a very short period (less than 30 minutes). This power must not be exceeded under any circumstances.
Note that although generators can carry load up to its maximum power, we recommend you operate generators within rated power. Some dealers quote maximum power as rated power just to give you the impression you are buying a larger generator. Always ask to see rated power and maximum power on the generators panel
Fuel Type: This can be either Petrol or Diesel.
Automatic Voltage Regulator:Most big generator come with an AVR except for smaller generators.
With good knowledge on generators characteristic and rating you are more informed to make more logical decisions.
How To Buy A Generator In Nigeria
The first thing to put into consideration is the total and average load consumption to be supplied buy the generator.The total load is the summation of all the electrical load in your home or office, while the average power is the more realistic estimate of your power supply.
A simple calculation for the average power is to list out the items usually used with the generator get the rating of each items (usually at the panel or manual).
For instance we have:
|Television||1||90 W * 1||90 W|
|Home Theater||1||50 W * 1||50 W|
|Energy saver Bulbs||6||40 W *6||240 W|
|Electric Fans||2||80W * 2||160 W|
|Personal Computers and peripherals||–||460W(approx)||460 W|
|Mobile phone||5||3 W *5||15 W|
With the total wattage of 1015 watts, this means a 1.2kva or 2.5kva generator would comfortably power these appliances.
Note: the power rating of a device may vary. Therefore, the ratings shown here are non-standard. Ratings of appliances are normally written on the back panel or/and in the user manual. Consult them for power rating that applies to your gadgets.
Generating sets should not be overloaded they should be operated below it’s Maximum power ratings as this would add to the lifespan of the generator and thus reduce unnecessary maintenance costs this called De-rating.
Since the above calculation was done with rated power not starting power which is usually higher than the rated power it’s wise to turn off your appliances before starting the generator.
The brand of generators does not really matter. The most important thing is to ensure that the generators meet your requirement.
However, some good brands of low power generators in Nigeria include Sumec Firman, Elemax, Honda, Tec, Hyundai and Tiger. For high and medium applications Cummins and Perkins engine generators.
The process of buying a good generator that meets your needs might look cumbersome but if you follow this little guide diligently you would buy a product that stands the test of time.
If you still find getting a generator which meets your needs do a little bit difficult you can tell someone who you know is knowledgeable about generators to help you out.