Portable generators are incredibly useful pieces of equipment. How, exactly, do you decide what type and size is right for you? Depending on your uses, there are four different styles to choose from. All generators convert an alternative type of fuel such as propane, natural gas, gasoline and diesel fuel into electricity. This allows the use of appliances, recharging batteries, or any other activity that requires electricity when there is a power outage or when in a place where electricity is not available. Having a generator is a bit like having your very own mini power plant.Four types of generators that are available include Portable, Standby, Power Take off (PTO) and Recreational Vehicle (RV). Each vary in size and output, so pick the one that will meet your overall needs the most.
Portable PTO shaft generators are available in three different styles including Recreational, Emergency and Professional. Recreational Generators are great for campsites and occasional usage, run on gasoline and a wattage of 1, 000 – 3, 000. Emergency Generators are great for home, sporadic usage, run on gas, LP or natural gas and have a wattage of 3, 000 – 17, 500. Professional Generators are ideal for job sites, daily usage, run on gas or diesel and have a wattage of 3, 000 – 15, 000.
Standby generators are much larger in size and are permanently installed outside the home or residence it will be used in. It is connected to the building’s natural gas or propane line, which will run the engine within the generator. Three styles are available in this type of generator. Home Standby is available for residential only, has 7 – 20 kW, air-cooled engine, runs on natural gas or LP, and comes with the switch bundled. The whole House generator is residential, with the possibility of commercial, 22 – 48 kW, liquid-cooled, runs on natural gas or LP, the switch sells separately. Commercial generators are for commercial use only, 22 – 150 kW, liquid-cooled, runs on natural gas, LP or diesel. The switch is sold separately.
PTO generators are basically fancy alternators and often used on tractors. They are perfect for use on farms and ranches. When choosing this type of generator, take the following steps: select engine size (HP). Match the PTO generator to the horsepower of the tractor. Keep in mind that you need 2 HP to produce 1 kW of electricity (a 50-HP engine is required to produce 25 kW of power). Next, select engine speed (RPM). 540 or 1000 rotations per second are the typical speeds run by PTO shafts. Newer tractors usually run at both speeds, however older tractors may only run at one. Finally, select electrical phase. Two types of electricity is produced by PTO generators, single or three phase. Single phase is the amount of electricity that comes from a wall socket, while a three phase is needed for 208 or 480-volts. Follow the above steps and you will find the perfect generator for your needs.
An RV generator is housed inside a compartment outside the vehicle and may run off of existing gas or propane tanks. Available in small, compact or medium, these generators can do such simple things as run small appliances or as complex as cool entire motor homes. Wattage varies from 2kW – 10+ kW, depending on the source of fuel used.