Generator Power Conditioner

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  #1  
Old 08-21-07, 05:38 AM
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Generator Power Conditioner

I have a Coleman Powermate 5000 generator that has never been used in a power outage (I run it from time to time, hooking up various items, tools, freezer, other things in the garage to put a small load on it).

I have heard portable generators can be harmful to solid state electronics due to poor (or no) voltage regulation. The no load output of this thing is slightly less than 260VAC (or about 130 per “phase”).

Should I be concerned about running solid state electronics, such as a TV or computer? I have heard recommendations for a “power conditioner”, yet have not been able to find anything with such a name (I have seen a UPS, which would serve the same purpose I believe, but is that overkill?). My questions are, what is a power conditioner and where can I get one?
 
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  #2  
Old 08-21-07, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by DavePearson View Post
I have a Coleman Powermate 5000 generator that has never been used in a power outage (I run it from time to time, hooking up various items, tools, freezer, other things in the garage to put a small load on it).

I have heard portable generators can be harmful to solid state electronics due to poor (or no) voltage regulation. The no load output of this thing is slightly less than 260VAC (or about 130 per “phase”).

Should I be concerned about running solid state electronics, such as a TV or computer? I have heard recommendations for a “power conditioner”, yet have not been able to find anything with such a name (I have seen a UPS, which would serve the same purpose I believe, but is that overkill?). My questions are, what is a power conditioner and where can I get one?
Generators like that of different makes ar commonly used in cabins etc in Norway for battery charging, and frezers, they are often ran in the evening to get the freezer cold enough for next 20-24 hrs, and getting tv and charging at same time. Nominal voltage here is 230, an real will be between 200 and 250 V. To low voltage seems to kill the frezer motors.

dsk
 
  #3  
Old 08-21-07, 08:59 AM
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> Should I be concerned about running solid state electronics, such as a TV
> or computer?

Yes. A small generator will only have voltage and frequency regulation within about 15% of nominal, which is pretty poor. The frequency control is actually worse than the voltage control since the only setting for frequency is a thumbscrew on the engine throttle -- not very precise.

> I have seen a UPS, which would serve the same purpose I believe

A UPS with "automatic voltage regulation" is the best for protecting electronics whether powered by line or a generator. Stand-alone voltage regulators do exist, but they're as expensive as a UPS and don't provide the added features of a UPS like surge protection and safe shutdown for PCs.
 
  #4  
Old 08-21-07, 08:55 PM
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Ipbrooks is correct on the frequety regulation they are nortius for poor regualtion that is true with small portable gas generator and also when you run light load they intend to " hunt " aka surge and they dont really make a very clean power soruce for PC or other senstive electronic loads but i think there is at least 2 generator manufacter did slove it some degrees to make it clean power soruce but unforetally you allready got a generator now.

i have few portable generators on hand with me but my is diesel driven [ they have much tighter control on HZ ] but the power is fairly " clean " to run the PC

the other thing with unloaded generators they have very poor voltage regualtion they intend to be on somehow what on high side useally 5 -10 volts over on 120 volts side.

i hope that will answer your some of the question

Merci , Marc

most generator like Coleman type most have capaitor voltage regualtion in there that why it is hard to get the voltage controled in right spot
 
  #5  
Old 08-22-07, 05:18 AM
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I have noticed the generator “hunts” when unloaded. I wish I had an o-scope (or a frequency meter on my DVM) so I could see how much it was hunting. Anyhow, the hunting is not noticeable by sound when I hook up a load as small as a fan in slow speed (I guess that means I start the non-frequency critical loads first).

Thanks a bunch and have a wonderful day.
 
  #6  
Old 08-22-07, 10:22 AM
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hi voltage

When I install my standby generator I plan to rig up a variable load to ascertain that the voltage does not exceed 124V before applying into the system. That level is what the power company supplies me 24/7/52. However crude it may be and short of a (fairly expensive) conditioner, etc., it beats running the risk of overvoltage into delicate equipment. I don't believe any slight variation in frequency will be of any consequence judging from my past experience using auxiliary generators. I rely on a vibrating reed freq. meter which seems to accurate, checked against the power company juice.
 

Last edited by volts; 08-22-07 at 10:30 AM. Reason: typo
  #7  
Old 09-30-09, 06:41 PM
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Might need less power...

Originally Posted by DavePearson View Post
I have a Coleman Powermate 5000 generator that has never been used in a power outage (I run it from time to time, hooking up various items, tools, freezer, other things in the garage to put a small load on it).

I have heard portable generators can be harmful to solid state electronics due to poor (or no) voltage regulation. The no load output of this thing is slightly less than 260VAC (or about 130 per “phase”).

Should I be concerned about running solid state electronics, such as a TV or computer? I have heard recommendations for a “power conditioner”, yet have not been able to find anything with such a name (I have seen a UPS, which would serve the same purpose I believe, but is that overkill?). My questions are, what is a power conditioner and where can I get one?
Ok, so we run several workstations and servers. Had a bad issue with power going out. 10+ times a year. Bought generators but they never could overtake the ups's. We asked several electricians and anyone we could. Searched for conditioners and voltage regulators. Finally, I realized the ups's were just being safe. I throttled the generator DOWN and voila! Generator is a Champion, 7000W Peak, 6000W Running. I throttled down to 248 V from 256V. Doing what I never thought possible. It's amazing when you need LESS power!
6 Workstations and 5 servers.
 
  #8  
Old 09-30-09, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by VikingVa View Post
Ok, so we run several workstations and servers. Had a bad issue with power going out. 10+ times a year. Bought generators but they never could overtake the ups's. We asked several electricians and anyone we could. Searched for conditioners and voltage regulators. Finally, I realized the ups's were just being safe. I throttled the generator DOWN and voila! Generator is a Champion, 7000W Peak, 6000W Running. I throttled down to 248 V from 256V. Doing what I never thought possible. It's amazing when you need LESS power!
6 Workstations and 5 servers.

I know this thread is over two years back but the key issue with some generators is the speed that is most critical item with very senstive electronic stuff they like to run at perfect 60 HZ and I know you throttle down due the HZ is too high that why they are set on high side during unloaded but once you get it loaded it will drop down to right spot.

This is my SOP to set up

Check the HZ first { this is very important part here }
Check the voltage next
Check the phases { if three phase verison }
Check the phase rotation { only on three phase verison }


Those item is basic to check it out and you will understand that you do not mess with voltage first without setting the HZ first if you do the otherway around you will never get it run right.

most generators I deal in USA side they set about 61 to 63 HZ unloaded and once you get it loaded it should slam on 60 HZ for European side it will be 50 HZ

Unless you got one of the " fuel saver " switch on the generator will run about half speed until you get the load on it will rev up to normal speed { this part you will need to check with your generator manufacter to see what the minuim load to kick it up to running speed } otherwise with senstive electronic load just turn the fuel saver off that will keep the generator at full 60 HZ setting.

I know some of the generator will surge I know that is true with alot of small gaz powered units some owner slove it by change the spring { little more stronger spring to hold the flywheel weights } to keep the RPM steady during unloaded mode { diesel units don't affect this due very senstive fuel delvery system and good govenors weights }

Merci,Marc
 
  #9  
Old 10-01-09, 09:36 AM
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IMO, the frequency of the waveform is the most critical of the components that make up AC power. Electronics are tolerant of wide voltage swings, and they draw little current. But most electronics devices have very little tolerance for deviation from the 60 Hz frequency.

A tech guy at a school district called one day to say the district's clocks were running fast and all the computer screens were "wavering".

The first thing I did was check the clock sync: 63 Hz. Never saw that from the grid in my life. He forgot to mention that they had just brought a cogen plant online that had three deisel generators. They lowered the RPMs to 1800. The clocks synced and the monitors stabilized.
 
  #10  
Old 10-01-09, 10:08 AM
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Just a comment...
I always hated when the Electricians/Engineers would try to save a generator from dropping the load on ships when I was in the Navy. As the frequency started to drop, the lights would start flickering and fans would slow down and all the ETs and other tech types would run like crazy to throw the main breakers for our equipment. Sometimes the ATBs would click back and forth when we were losing both generators and going dead, black and quiet.

We'd plead and plead with them to just let 'em go or trip 'em off (whatever they needed to do) but it never seemed to help. It didn't seem to hurt the older stuff nearly as much as the newer all solid state equipment.
 
  #11  
Old 10-01-09, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick Johnston View Post
A tech guy at a school district called one day to say the district's clocks were running fast and all the computer screens were "wavering".

The first thing I did was check the clock sync: 63 Hz. Never saw that from the grid in my life. He forgot to mention that they had just brought a cogen plant online that had three deisel generators. They lowered the RPMs to 1800. The clocks synced and the monitors stabilized.
I don't accept that. Once the diesel generators were synchronized and paralleled with the utility they would have been in lockstep with the utility's frequency. Changing the governor settings would change the power output of the local generators but it would NOT be able to overpower the utility. The only way the cogen plant could overpower the frequency of the utility is if the cogen had more power available then all the utility's on-line generation combined. The ONLY other way that the cogen plant could have a higher than normal frequency would be if it was NOT paralleled to the utility but was operating in a stand-alone configuration.
 
  #12  
Old 10-01-09, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Luana View Post
I don't accept that. Once the diesel generators were synchronized and paralleled with the utility they would have been in lockstep with the utility's frequency. Changing the governor settings would change the power output of the local generators but it would NOT be able to overpower the utility. The only way the cogen plant could overpower the frequency of the utility is if the cogen had more power available then all the utility's on-line generation combined. The ONLY other way that the cogen plant could have a higher than normal frequency would be if it was NOT paralleled to the utility but was operating in a stand-alone configuration.
I agree with Luana and I do have my stand by diesel generators they are capabile to run in parallel mode without any issues and I done that couple time { I Do test quite few generators from my shop so I can either load bank it or run back thru the grid only I give the POCO a head up how much I can throw it back in the grid }

All the generators { it don't matter if burn on fuel oil or gaz } the key issue is sychronous with uility system that will need very complex controller for it.

The only time I did see that useally pretty large customer do have cogen power for both power and heat { I have couple of industrail customer on my list for cogen useage }

To readers :

Do not run the generator when the uility power is on unless you have approved transfer switch


Merci,Marc
 
  #13  
Old 10-02-09, 04:48 AM
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You can "not accept" it if you want but that's what happened. I never said they were on the grid. I said I had never seen 63 Hz from the grid so I asked about their building power. That's when he told me about the cogen plant. Their idea was to generate their own juice and heat and get off the grid to save money.
 
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