Generators are great tools when your power goes out. They are efficient and can power your entire house depending on the model you have. Unlike grids, generators have a lot of drawbacks, mainly due to their design.
To get the most out of a generator, you need to make sure your generator is producing clean, efficient voltage to your devices.
Here, we’ll be showing you how to keep your generator producing clean energy and how to reduce the amount of dirty power it produces.
Why do you need clean power?
Clean power means higher power efficiency. Your electrical bills will be reduced because your appliances and devices will have less interference, allowing them to run more efficiently.
Your generator will also be less prone to surges or short circuits because it doesn’t have to overwork to compensate for voltage loss or gain.
What Is Dirty Power?
When you’re running electronics in your house, they emit electromagnetic fields. These are generated by the wall outlets, appliances, and wiring of your home or office.
The reason it’s called “dirty” is that the electromagnetic fields add unwanted stress to your electronics and interfere with the electrical systems of anything nearby.
What causes dirty power?
1. Using contaminated fuel
Contaminated fuel can kill the engine of your generator. Fuel gets contaminated when water or some other kind of foreign substance enters the engine. Particles will build up and clog the fuel line, wasting fuel and making your generator produce dirty, inefficient power.
2. Dirty internal components
Dirty components will decrease the output of components. When one component goes bad, it usually brings other components down with it. If this happens, your generator will produce a lot of dirty power because its components are unusable or degraded.
3. Overused lubricant oil
Adding too much oil to your generator will not only produce dirty power, but also dirty air. Oil spillage can lead to engine overheating, bends in your crankshaft, and even blue smoke if oil enters the combustion chamber. All of these things will give you the worst power efficiency for your generator.
4. Harmonic distortion
Harmonic distortion is when the waves that your current is carried on are distorted, causing too much or too little voltage to be produced. All generators will produce some harmonic distortion, but it shouldn’t be a lot. If it is high, then your generator will have lots of voltage fluctuations and electromagnetic interference, which is dirty power.
How to Clean Up Generator Power for Electronics?
Method 1: Using a UPS
A UPS, or uninterruptible power supply, is a device that switches the power supply to a backup battery when power outages occur. It charges by taking power from the generator and then converts that power into clean energy in the battery.
A UPS is particularly useful for devices that are sensitive to dirty power, like computers and phones. UPS devices are also inexpensive and easy to find, making them an accessible way to clean dirty power.
Method 2: Using a pure sine wave inverter
In short, a pure sine wave inverter takes the electrical waves and evens them out, while converting DC power to AC. The function of this inverter is to regulate power usage and reduce the noise generated by other parts of the generator. This is a great tool to clean up dirty power.
It can also increase power capacity with the power it generates. Some other benefits of a pure sine wave inverter are improved protection from short circuits, overloads, and deep discharge. Most also come with an LED display so you can monitor power generation and battery levels.
Method 3: Using a power line conditioner
Power line conditioners are devices that stabilize voltage coming from a generator and reduces the electrical noise that devices receive. There are two kinds of power line conditioners: rotary power and solid-state power.
Rotary power line conditioners have a steel insulated coupling that isolates the power from the ground. Solid-state power line conditioners insulate the power by isolating the power paths built into it, assuring there is never any crossing. It also prevents DC power. These features reduce dirty power.
Power line conditioner ratings are measured in volt amps (VA). The higher the rating, the better protection it gives. Don’t just go with the one with the highest rating, however, because the VA should match or closely match the VA of your generator for the best functionality.
Method 4: Using a switching voltage regulator
Voltage regulators are integrated circuits that regulate voltage, even when the voltage of the generator changes. The “switching” is when the regulator changes the voltage from a mechanism that controls the signals and gives power readings to the regulator.
Interrupting the voltage will keep the generator running efficiently. Any dirty power that is causing dips or surges in voltage gets cleaned when the voltage regulator changes the voltage to better suit the generator.
Method 5: Using a linear voltage regulator
A linear voltage regulator is an older type of voltage regulator, but it does the same function as a switching voltage regulator, albeit less efficiently. Unfortunately, it also requires a lot of space due to heat generation. A heatsink is required for safety reasons. It does, however, produce less electromagnetic interference than a switching voltage regulator, which means a reduction in dirty power.
Method 6: Using an inverter generator for power cleaning
An inverter generator is more expensive than the standard generator for good reason. An inverter generator is built to adjust the generator’s RPM, which saves fuel and reduces the risk of surges.
An inverter generator also has a built-in device that detects and removes sonic distortion. These two functions of an inverter generator drastically reduce the amount of dirty power.
Method 7: Using an AC to DC power converter
Most home appliances and mobile devices run on DC power currents. When an AC current is being used by DC devices, the electrical components of your devices will be destroyed, often by an electrical fire or explosion.
To prevent these disasters, make sure your generator has an AC to DC power converter. It converts the AC power to DC so your devices can take the power smoothly. This converter is standard on most modern electronics, but if you have old appliances, you will need to add an AC to DC power converter to make sure your electronics are running smoothly.
Method 8: Using a battery backup
Batteries have built-in mechanisms to prevent dirty power and reduce electromagnetic interference. Charging a battery with your generator gives you a backup for your backup.
If you want to run your electronics on a battery, the power will definitely run clean. A battery doesn’t have the capacity of a generator, so don’t run more than one or two devices on a battery.
Q. Will generator power damage electronics?
Generally, generators don’t damage electronics. Extended use of a generator will definitely start to cause your electronics to run less efficiently. The reason is that generators will always have voltage fluctuations, which electronic devices have to compensate for.
Q. Do I need a surge protector for my generator?
Yes, absolutely. Surge protectors protect your electronics from surges or overloads, preventing irreparable damage to your devices.
Q. Are backup generators safe for electronics?
Yes, backup generators are perfectly safe for electronics. Always connect your devices with a surge protector for maximum protection and efficiency.