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How to Make a Generator Safe for Electronics | 12 Ways!

how to make a generator safe for electronics
Written by Jamie Masterson

A generator usually produces 120 volts AC at 60 Hz but this is not always true since power is generated by combustion engines whose speeds vary depending on a variety of factors.

Ultimately, the power supply isn’t always stable and clean. No matter what, you should avoid power fluctuations to keep your electronic devices safe and sound.

Here we will explain several ways to accomplish this.

Main Causes of Dirty Power

1. Dirty internal components

A clogged fuel filter can cause engine performance to be poor, resulting in power fluctuations. You can improve the performance of your generator by regularly cleaning or replacing dirty fuel filters.

2. Harmonic distortion

This happens when you switch loads frequently while running your generator. Construction is a prime example.

You should select the best portable generator for construction.

3. Overused lubricant oil

You should change the oil in your generator when you service it. Oil should not be reused for long periods of time.

4. Using contaminated fuel

Generators can be made to malfunction by contamination on their fuel. In addition, poor fuel storage can result in contamination from dirt.

Make sure you use clean fuel and store it properly to avoid this problem.

How to Make a Generator Safe for Electronics

1. Use an inverter generator

Use an inverter generator

Consider a generator with a power inverter if you have yet to purchase one. AC power is converted to DC, then converted back to AC by a power inverter. This produces more consistent, cleaner AC power for the electronics.

It is possible to install an inverter on an existing generator that does not have one so that it will produce stable power.

The best option is an inverter generator if you need to run sensitive electronics. These generators are more expensive, however.

2. Use a level surface to set in inverter on

Use a level surface to set in inverter on

Splash lubrication systems are commonly found on generators.

Components such as these collect oil from the crankshaft and transfer it to the engine’s moving parts. However, these systems should be installed on a level surface for the best results.

Putting it on a sloppy surface will result in dippers not accessing the oil, which won’t allow the engine and components to function properly.

a) Use a power supply that won’t be interrupted

The UPS supplies power to electronics when the electricity is out by storing power in a battery. For proper shutdown of these devices, the power is usually provided for just a few minutes.

b) Look for one that has a generator mode

It is recommended for powering devices from generators since it helps stabilize the power coming from generators and stores some in case the generator shuts down suddenly

c) Use UPSs with double conversions

An inverter is added to a generator with a battery as an additional benefit. They convert AC to DC and then back to AC the same way an inverter would. The result is cleaner power.

When the input fails, the power supply provides power to the electronics as well as stabilizes the power supply, making them safer for use.

d) Get a dedicated UPS for each device

Get a dedicated UPS for each device

Getting a UPS to cover the whole house is a smart move, but getting a separate device UPS is even better.

The reason is that some appliances use a lot of electricity but can withstand an unexpected blackout without getting damaged.

For instance, refrigerators and freezers use lots of electricity but won’t be affected by an abrupt blackout.

The power consumption of TVs and computers during shut-down is higher than that of other equipment.

3. Install a surge arrester

Install a surge arrester

It is a device that prevents large power surges from coming into the house from different sources. There can be surges caused by mains power, lightning, or generators.

Some surge arresters cannot absorb all surge energy but they can absorb up to 90%, which is sufficient to keep your electronics safe.

4. Invest in a surge protector

Invest in a surge protector

Surge protectors prevent electronics from being damaged by power surges that harmonic distortions generated by a generator may cause.

The surge protector detects excessive current flowing through the input circuit and directs it to the grounding conductor.

Many people forget to plug in the earthing cable during surge protector installation, resulting in no surge protection.

According to the manual, you should always ensure that the earth wire is properly connected.

5. Avoid back-feeding

Power is back-fed by people when it is flowing in the opposite direction of where it should flow. This may be the result of negligence or the result of intentional back feeding.  It is illegal to do so.

6. Consider a GFCI outlet for your generator

GFCIs are designed to trip and shut off the electricity to prevent electrocution, shock, burns, and explosions, so at least overvoltages won’t get through.

Having a generator-specific GFCI outlet may not be ideal but it is advisable.

7. Buy an inverter-charger with pure sine wave and batteries

inverter-charger with pure sine wave and batteries

Pure sine wave inverters best power laptops and other sensitive 240-volt devices. Pure Sine Wave inverters can even produce a more efficient waveform than household electricity!

In spite of a slight price difference with Modified Sine Wave technology, Pure Sine Wave inverters are more flexible, so you can use them wherever you are away from the mains electrical point.

8. Put in a surge protector for your whole house

An electrician takes about two hours to hard-wire a whole-house suppressor to a service panel. Systems installed throughout a house should have a minimum surge protection rating of 40,000 AMPs. There may be thermal fuses on the device and alarms and lights that sound when it has been damaged.

9. Automate voltage regulation (AVR)

A voltage regulator smoothes out the variations in load and RPM of a generator, allowing it to provide more stable power than an alternator.

However, this does not require converting the energized DC power to AC. These devices let some generators generate clean power, but they aren’t always inverter generators

10. Make sure it is always dry

The most common cause of short-circuiting is water. To prevent this from happening, you may want to find ways to make sure the machine and the area it sits on are dry.

Also, make sure you handle the generator with extra care during the rainy season, especially if it must be moved from house to house.

11. Invest wisely

a) Choose a reputable brand

Consider the features of the generator – If you want to make sure your devices are protected, you might choose an inverter generator with special features.

These include batteries, fail switches, fuses, boot-up speed, watt level, plus more.

b) Consumer reviews

You can find the perfect generator for your electronics by reading consumer reviews. In these reviews, users give their experience with the generator.

c) Product reviews

Many online platforms now provide insights into quality generators through product reviews. Consider visiting online sites to research top-notch generators for your electronics.

12. Properly manage electronic devices

a) Extension cords should be heavy-duty

You should use extension cords that will be able to deal with the power supply. Normally, such extensions come with special fuses that offer protection against such damage.

Check the generator’s wattage rating before using it.

b) Follow a two-tiered strategy

If you want to connect a lot of appliances to the generator, you may want to consider the two-tiered method. Having a surge protector strip would be a great help too.

c) Your home’s power should be disconnected

Disconnect your home’s power source – turn off your home’s power source before using the generator.

In the event you fail to do so, you may experience energy backfeed on your area’s utility lines.

d) Generators should not be plugged into outlets

Generators shouldn’t be plugged into wall outlets – make sure they are never connected to power outlets or the main panel. A licensed power company professional should handle this process.

Depending on the power capacity of your appliances and specific electrical codes, they will help you connect the generator.

e) Maintain a constant level of fuel

Make sure you leave your fuel levels at a stable level if you are using a generator. Having this feature ensures that your electronics won’t be damaged if the power supply suddenly goes out

Quick Tips to Run Your Generator Safely

  • Use grounding wires or rods to ground the machinery properly
  • Pour and store safely
  • Don’t have generators operating close to your home
  • Make sure the generator is cool before you refill
  • Always ensure fuel is fresh, not stale

FAQs

1. Will portable generators cause damage to appliances?

Ans. Yes. If the power comes from a unit without an automatic voltage regulator or inverter, harmonic distortion will occur, resulting in damage to sensitive electronics.

2. Can a generator run without a load?

Ans. Yes. It’s just like letting a car idle without moving since generators are engines like any other.

About the author

Jamie Masterson

With decade-long experience as a generator technician, Jamie has worked with USA’s top generator manufacturers and suppliers as an independent contractor.

The long years of service to the industry has taught Jamie the ins and outs of troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining all kinds of generators in home, industrial and outdoor settings.

Jamie thinks this platform is a great opportunity to share his tips and tricks with you so you can make the most of such power equipment for better living.

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