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Which generator?

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RATTER15 | 09:33 Mon 27th Feb 2012 | Home & Garden
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I will shortly be in the market to buy a generator, I know nothing about electricity so please dont confuse me with stuff like KVA and watts and amps etc.

I will need it to supply maybe a dozen normal lights with maybe a couple of halogen lights, it will need to be able to handle a few tools like a a bandsaw, lathe, circular saw and a 240 volt MIG welder. the generator will often need to run for 10 hours a day plus. It will not need to be running all these tools together as it will only be using them. The MIG will obviously draw most current and it is important that it runs the MIG without blowing fuses and trip switches all the time. also I imagine a diesel generator would be most suitable due to the cost of red diesel.

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Do you want a portable generator or fixed? Have you decided which welder you will be getting?
There is a vast difference between the size of the load for a few lights and lot of equipment. The problem is that a generator big enough to run the welder is going to be severely underload when you just have a few lights. This is not good for the engine and very poor efficiency.

You will find this system is gong to cost a small fortune to run ten hours per day. You would be better off with two generators. One for the lights and small loads and one you only turn on when you need the big tools. This will pay off relatively quickly in running costs.

All generators are faced with the issue that they must sustain a fixed frequency so the engine must run at a constant speed regardless of the load and so run inefficiently with a short engine life. You need a more sophisticated technology on the little generator.

Inverter generators are designed to be run at a speed that varies with the load. They have an electronic box that converts the varying generator output into a stable fixed frequency and voltage. The automatic engine controller only runs the engine as fast as is needed for the load. The fuel and mainenance savings are spectacular, not to mention the noise factor.
Question Author
I think most welders are 30 amp, I do not need anything bigger.


I will look into inverter generators and also worth looking at two generators, just have a second larger one for backup and running a welder and maybe an electric oven/cooker.

Thanks for your help guys.
running at 10 hours a day it needs to be a professional spec unit, definitely a case of as much as you can afford.
I would use a 10kva diesel to cover everything.(not all on at once) and a 3kva for the lights and the small stuff.
We have heaps of power cuts so rely on a generator quite frequently. We have a 5kva which runs all the lights refrigerators , tvs one hot plate or the oven or a kettle. However a lot of these generators are just back up generators and should not run for more than 5 hours at a time. I also have a 165kva cummins engine genny which runs everything in the motel To run something for 10 hours it would need to be. A professional machine. It is expensive to run a generator.
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Ok thanks guys, I think we will also be looking at solar panels and turbines etc just to help out.
ratter , are you building a space ship ? :)
I have this vision of a self sufficiency pod for a post apocalyptic earth..
oh, interesting rowan, with a stockpile of canned goods ?
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Ann lol, no not a spaceship but quite an adventure looming :) just researching setting up an Alpaca farm in North Wales.
Where I live solar is well worht he investment. The beauty of solar is that it tapers off late in the day which is ideal for bringing the batteries to float.

I have a 1.5 KW system and we rarely run the generator. I am thinking of putting on another 600 Watts and that will virtually eliminate the need for the generator.

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