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What is a Portable Electric Generator?

What is a Portable Electric Generator?

Portable generators are handy appliances that provide electricity during power outages in urban areas and also in remote areas. Read on to know more about them.
Anju Shandilya
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Electricity generation is basically the process of converting any particular form of energy into electricity. It is the first process in the delivery of electricity to end users. The second and third processes are electric power transmission and electricity distribution, which are normally carried out by the electrical power industries. There are many methods and technologies that are used to generate electricity. An electrical generator follows a mechanism that converts kinetic energy to electrical energy, using electromagnetic induction.

We have experienced how power outages can leave a home without power for lighting, cooking, refrigeration, or pumping water. In situations like these, portable power generators can be bought to provide substitute power. However, the generator must be properly sized to start the appliances and equipment one wants to run.

Blackouts and storm-related power outages can really disrupt one's daily routine. Installing a portable electrical power generator may seem like a great idea, but it is not that easy. It needs to be connected with great caution and utmost care to the electrical system.

A portable generator has an inverter and is one of the smallest, quietest, and most fuel-efficient generators. Their smaller versions have a standard alternating current alternator and run at high revolutions per minute to generate power. They can run at slower revolutions per minute to generate just the right and necessary amount of power, thus reducing the noise of the engine and making it more fuel-efficient. These are best suited to power sensitive electronic devices such as computers and lights. Their power output is more stable and is equal to or better than household electrical power. Regular generators that do not have automatic voltage regulation facility or which use low-cost non-sine or modified sine wave inverters can damage electronics such as computers and sound systems due to their varying voltage.

Utilities of portable generators can be broadly classified into recreational, emergency, and professional categories. Since recreational generators produce limited wattage, it is vital to know the exact wattage of your appliances. Portable electrical generators bring the conveniences of modern living into some of the remotest areas on Earth. Their capacity to power the job site in a remote location is an excellent utility. The models that work in such an environment have long-lasting commercial quality engines though they are a little expensive.

They are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, however they can be hazardous too. Every year, people die in incidents associated to portable generator use. Most of the accidents associated with them reported to CPSC involve carbon monoxide poisoning from generators that are used indoors or in partially enclosed spaces.

Safety Precautions

There are a few safety measures that should be adhered to while using a portable generator:
  • To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, one should never run generators indoors, including garages, basements, and sheds. Get some fresh air immediately if you start to feel dizzy or weak.
  • Generators pose a risk of shock and electrocution, if they are operated in wet conditions. It is advised that you operate it under an open, canopy-like structure on a dry surface where water cannot reach it or puddle or drain under it. One should always operate it with their dry hands.
  • For connecting appliances to the generator, use of heavy-duty extension cords that are specifically designed for outdoor use, is recommended. The wattage rating for each cord should exceed the total wattage of all appliances connected to it. Extension cords that are long enough to allow the generator to be placed outdoors and far away from windows, doors, and vents should be used. The entire length of each cord should be free of cuts or tears.
  • One should never store fuel for the generator inside the house. Flammable liquids should not be stored inside living areas, rather it should be kept in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers. One should also not store the fuels near a fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts can cause fire.
Electricity is something most of us take for granted; however when it is unavailable, our lives quickly come to a halt. When the power is out, we are engulfed in darkness. However a portable generator will get the job done...bringing light in our life and that too at a very reasonable price.