Using a line conditioner with a generator?

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Old 08-11-20, 09:48 AM
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Using a line conditioner with a generator?

When powering devices with a generator, I noticed that my APC UPS stayed on battery power and eventually shut down when the battery ran low. According to APC, this is normal because when the UPS detects 'dirty' power, it will not go online and will run off the battery. I keep my computer setup on the UPS. Would a line conditioner in front of the UPS clean up the juice so that the UPS would go back online so I could run my computer equipment longer than the battery alone will allow?

On a larger scale, is there a line conditioner that could be used on the generator's output so that everything that the generator powers gets clean electricity, so that appliances and such don't suffer premature wear due to dirty genny power?
 
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Old 08-11-20, 10:06 AM
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That depends on the problem with your generator's power and how good the line conditioner is. If the frequency is off that is something many line conditioners cannot correct but they can handle things like noise or random voltage spikes.

Before buying a line conditioner I think you need to look at the cause. If it's a cheap, construction grade generator then you might want to consider a higher quality generator that can produce clean power. I use a generator rather often and have never had a problem with dirty power so again, I would focus first on the source of the problem.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 10:33 AM
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This is the generator I have: https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-6-...500S/305311298

Says it has an "Automatic Voltage Regulator for Cleaner, More Reliable Power".

Do I need an oscilloscope to check how closely the power mimics poco power, or is there another way to check?
 
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Old 08-11-20, 12:47 PM
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An oscilloscope would be the best to see what's going on but it doesn't do anything to actually fix the problem so I wouldn't go buy one. A multi meter with Hz could tell you the average but most probably react too slowly to give you much detail.

Is there anything being powered by the generator that can be causing noise? Are you using any corded power tools (circular saw, jigsaw...) when running the generator?
 
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Old 08-11-20, 03:18 PM
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An alternative to buying that generator is to buy a generator inverter. They do give clean power. Like PD, I never had an issue with an ordinary generator, but it is a brand name vs a China knock-off (even though it's from China). For my cabin I use an inverter not only is it quite but I'm guaranteed clean power for the remote operation of the fan and other electronic equipment I might use.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 08:27 PM
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Is there anything being powered by the generator that can be causing noise? Are you using any corded power tools (circular saw, jigsaw...) when running the generator?
No tools connected at the time when the UPS was connected to generator power. I did have a fridge, freezer, router, maybe a fan connected at the time I tried the UPS.
 
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Old 08-13-20, 07:47 AM
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This is making a mountain out of mole hill. Generators put out clean AC sine wave. Their control has zero to due with electric noise.

My electric panel Arc-fault circuit breakers have similar issue issue. Some of mine trip when on generator or after utility power is restored.

The UPS backup apparently has hyper sensitive circuit. Simple answer is to bypass UPS when on generator.
 
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Old 08-13-20, 07:59 AM
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I'm not so sure about that.

quote "The main technical difference between inverter generators and conventional generators is what kind of electricity is produced. Conventional generators only produce AC electricity while an inverter generator produces electricity in 3 phases (high frequency AC to DC back to a stable AC current).The stable sine wave is what makes inverter generators so unique: it is considered a ‘clean electricity source’. This means that there is minimal harmonic distortion and so is a safer energy source for sensitive electronics like a mobile phone, tablet or laptop."

So if your electronics are having trouble, it could be because they are too sensitive.

However I will agree with Doug that generators produce clean enough power. Power from the utility will vary by as much as 10% depending on demand, so as a result most electrical equipment is designed to handle that 10%. But some electronics may not be so forgiving.
 
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Old 08-13-20, 05:47 PM
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Norn201 is linking different technologies: "The stable sine wave is what makes inverter generators so unique":
Their characteristics are different Actually many inverters put out a modified sine wave or quasi square wave that creates problems in for some loads.

AC generators with rotating armatures convert mechanical energy, outputted thru slip rings to sine wave electric energy. DC generators use brushes to output fixed polarity

Inverters typically convert direct to alternating.
Definition of a power inverter, or inverter, is a power electronic device or circuitry that changes direct current to alternating current. The input voltage, output voltage and frequency, and overall power handling depend on the design of the specific device or circuitry.
 

Last edited by doughess; 08-13-20 at 06:09 PM.
 

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