ABOUT OFF-GRID GENERATORS
Most off-grid systems especially solar and wind need a back up source of power to have a consistent supply of electricity when the weather is not co-operating.
A generator is an intricate component of off-grid systems it can even be efficient and cost effective as a primary power source.
The key is to make it part of a system instead of a sole source of power. Managing and storing electricity are essential to success.
Managing your generator loads mean that you operate the generator only when lots of power is required for example:-
days of the week you do your
and/or other heavy use
While the generator is running, it can also operate an industrial-strength battery charger. The charger will charge the batteries that run the lighter loads of the house when the generator is not running.
For a permanent electrical system, the #1 rule of generator shopping is do not even consider a Petrol-powered unit that runs at 3000 rpm . . . for several good reasons:
-They are built for intermittent use only
-They tend to self-destruct when used for prolonged periods at even modest loads
-Almost all are optimistically over-rated
-Neither the voltage or frequency is stabilised very well
For example, we borrowed a popular-brand new Chinese generator to use while our good old industrial machine was down for its first repair after years of service.
Our old, industrial generator was rated at 3500 watts and would easily start any power tool in the shed even when the air-compressor was running. The borrowed unit, resplendent in chrome razz-dazzle and complete with automotive-style operating panel - was rated at 5500 watts, but it would not even start the compressor. It just huffed and puffed, lugged down, and popped its circuit-breaker.
So Why Pay The Extra For A Diesel?
An industrial-quality diesel generator will dependably and quietly putt-putt along for many years, producing its full-rated power.
It will produce clean, stable power, the kind that won’t destroy your computer, audio components, VCR, or other frequency-sensitive equipment. It is suitable for a home, office or workshop.
It will produce that power on about half the amount of fuel that would be required for a same-size petrol generator. And since you won’t be paying road tax on the fuel, diesel will cost you less than petrol.
In the long haul, a diesel wins every time
When you figure in the fuel savings and replacement costs for the several petrol engines that it would take to equal the life of a diesel, the higher price of the diesel generator becomes insignificant.
Remember, this is your home. Dependability is what it is all about
Maintenance for a diesel is pretty much limited to regular oil changes. If the engine is cleaned of the inevitable oily film on a regular basis (like at every other oil change), any leaks or other irregularities are easily spotted. Diesels operate at a much higher combustion pressure than do petrol engines, and regular motor oil won’t stand up to the job. Look for one that is diesel rated.
There are some considerations that are particularly important when operating diesel generators
It is important with any engine, but especially so with a diesel, to avoid starting the generator just to run a tool for a few minutes and then shut it down.
Ideally, the engine should never be started unless it will be allowed to operate long enough to bring it to its full, normal operating temperature.
Similarly, it should never be shut down right after producing a large amount of power. Let the engine run at a low (or no) load for at least a few minutes before shutting it down.
Rapid and/or frequent temperature swings dramatically shorten the life of any internal-combustion engine, particularly a diesel.
Never operate your generator without a properly installed and serviced air cleaner. It doesn’t take much abrasive dust to dramatically shorten the life of an engine.
Install your generator in a clean, well-ventilated shed, out of the weather and out of the paths of dust and moisture.The shed needs to be able to contain the engines noise, and placed in such a way that your neighbours (and you), can’t hear.
Be sure that your generator has come up to full speed before applying any load. Starting a generator with an electrical load on it is hard, for the generator and the equipment plugged into it.
Remember to allow it to run at no load for a few minutes before shutting it down, especially after it has been working hard.
With intelligent and conservative use, a well-chosen and properly-maintained generator can become the heart of a dependable and cost-effective alternative energy system
A generator used as either a sole source of power or as a backup for other sources does not need to be an environmental problem
Surplus power should be diverted into storage batteries for use when the generator is not on-line.
A system like this can supply a home with dependable, uninterrupted 230-volt power 24 hours a day even if the generator is not started for several days at a time.
Most diesel generators can be run on bio-diesel.
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