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Understanding Generator Jargon

by chris@pkwydigital.com 18. September 2017 03:48

It is important for generator owners to have a basic understanding of the common terms related to the subject. Understanding the jargon will enable them to fully understand how their generators function. It will also guide them in the operation of the generator and allow them to better observe safety precautions.

(Pixabay / manneyd)

The following are some of the frequently asked questions about generators and kW ratings:

  1. What are kW and kWh? – A kilowatt (kW) is one thousand watts, which is one joule of energy per second. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the use of one thousand watts in an hour, which is equivalent to 3,600,000 joules.
  2. What is the difference between kW and kVA? – The power factors make the difference between a kilowatt and a kilovolt-ampere (KVA). A kilowatt is the unit of real power while kVA is the unit of the real power plus the reactive power, known as the apparent power. The power factor is an approximate value while the kVA value is always higher than the kW value.
  3. What is a power factor? – The power factor (pf) is the ratio between the kW and kVA that came from an electrical load. The connected load of the generator determines the power factor. High power generators can efficiently transfer more energy to the connected load. Low power generators have lower power factor, making energy production inefficient and more costly.
  4. What is an Automatic Transfer Switch? – An Automatic Transfer Switch in an electric generator transfers electricity from a standard source, like a utility grid, to an emergency power source, such as an electric generator. When the ATS senses the interruption in the regular power source, it will give a signal to the electric generator for its engine to start. The resumption of power in the regular source will automatically shut off the electric generator and reconnect to the regular source of electricity.
  5. How do I determine the right type of generator for my situation? – There are many popular generators, and whittling them down can be a challenge.  Popular generators include the John Deere or Mitsubishi diesel powered generators.  As you consider the best generator to suit your needs, be sure to take into account the amount of power you will require in the event of an outage. 

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