Generators

If you’ve ever moved paper clips around with a magnet or killed time arranging metal shavings into a beard on a “Wooly Willy” toy, then you’ve dabbled in the basic principles behind even the most complicated electric generators. The magnetic field responsible for lining up all those little bits of metal into a proper Mohawk haircut is due to the movement of electrons. Move a magnet toward a paper clip and you’ll force the electrons in the clip to move. Similarly, if you allow electrons to move through a metal wire, a magnetic field will form around the wire.

Thanks to Wooly Willy, we can see that there’s a definite link between the phenomena of electricity and magnetism. A generator is simply a device that moves a magnet near a wire to create a steady flow of electrons. The action that forces this movement varies greatly, ranging from hand cranks and steam engines to nuclear fission, but the principle remains the same.

One simple way to think about a generator is to imagine it acting like a pump pushing water through a pipe. Only instead of pushing water, a generator uses a magnet to push electrons along. This is a slight oversimplification, but it paints a helpful picture of the properties at work in a generator. A water pump moves a certain number of water molecules and applies a certain amount of pressure to them. In the same way, the magnet in a generator pushes a certain number of electrons along and applies a certain amount of “pressure” to the electrons.

In an electrical circuit, the number of electrons in motion is called the amperage or current, and it’s measured in amps. The “pressure” pushing the electrons along is called the voltage and is measured in volts. For instance, a generator spinning at 1,000 rotations per minute might produce 1 amp at 6 volts. The 1 amp is the number of electrons moving (1 amp physically means that 6.24 x 1018 electrons move through a wire every second), and the voltage is the amount of pressure behind those electrons.

Generators form the heart of a modern power station. In the next section, we’ll take a look at how one of these stations works.

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Everything You Need To Know About LED Lighting

A diode is an electrical device or component with two electrodes (an anode and a cathode) through which electricity flows – characteristically in only one direction (in through the anode and out through the cathode). Diodes are generally made from semiconductive materials such as silicon or selenium – substances that conduct electricity in some circumstances and not in others (e.g. at certain voltages, current levels, or light intensities).

  1. What is LED Lighting?

A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor device that emits visible light when an electrical current passes through it. It is essentially the opposite of a photovoltaic cell (a device that converts visible light into electrical current).

Did You Know? There is a similar device to an LED called an IRED (Infrared Emitting Diode). Instead of visible light, IRED devices emit IR energy when electrical current is run through them.

  1. How Do LED Lights Work?

It’s really simple actually, and very cheap to produce…which is why there was so much excitement when LED lights were first invented!

The Technical Details: LED lights are composed of two types of semiconducting material (a p-type and an n-type). Both the p-type and n-type materials, also called extringent materials, have been doped (dipped into a substance called a “doping agent”) so as to slightly alter their electrical properties from their pure, unaltered, or “intrinsic” form (i-type).

The p-type and n-type materials are created by introducing the original material to atoms of another element. These new atoms replace some of the previously existing atoms and in so doing, alter the physical and chemical structure. The p-type materials are created using elements (such as boron) that have less valence electrons than the intrinsic material (oftentimes silicon). The n-type materials are created using elements (such as phosphorus) that have more valence electrons that the intrinsic material (oftentimes silicon). The net effect is the creation of a p-n junction with interesting and useful properties for electronic applications. What those properties are exactly depends mostly on the external voltage applied to the circuit (if any) and the direction of current (i.e. which side, the p-type or the n-type, is connected to the positive terminal and which is connected to the negative terminal).

Application of the Technical Details to LED Lighting:

When an light-emitting diode (LED) has a voltage source connected with the positive side on the anode and the negative side on the cathode, current will flow (and light will be emitted, a condition known as forward bias). If the positive and negative ends of the voltage source were inversely connected (positive to the cathode and negative to the anode), current would not flow (a condition known as reverse bias). Forward bias allows current to flow through the LED and in so doing, emits light. Reverse bias prevents current from flowing through the LED (at least up until a certain point where it is unable to keep the current at bay – known as the peak inverse voltage – a point that if reached, will irreversibly damage the device).

While all of this might sound incredibly technical, the important takeaway for consumers is that LEDs have changed the lighting landscape for the better, and the practical applications of this technology are almost limitless.

 

http://www.stouchlighting.com/blog/all-about-led-lighting-what-does-led-stand-for

What does it mean to be a Green Company?

We perform full service solar installations. We find ways to lower your electrical consumption through the use of energy efficient lighting like LED bulbs, and energy efficient appliances. We measure that savings so we can reduce the size of your solar array. This can save you thousands of dollars, as well as increase the return on your investment.

Alternative Power & Electric is a private company established in 1982 and is locally owned and operated. We perform work in many market segments including residential service, multi-family, commercial, retail, medical, laboratory, industrial and educational facilities.

We are a team orientated, learning organization. We seek out and attract some of the most talented electricians and management personnel in the industry. A commitment to employee growth and training provides a high level of expertise and service for our clients.

Why Is Generator Maintenance Important?

Generator Maintenance

You may have heard that you should be performing maintenance tasks on your generator at least once a year. Maybe you have fallen behind and forgotten about your generator for a few years. You may be wondering why generator maintenance is so important. Keep reading to find out the benefits to performing generator maintenance tasks.

1. Keeps your generator running when you need it most

You most likely have a generator on your property to use in the event of an unexpected power outage. Of course, you want your generator to be working when you need it most. When the power goes out unexpectedly, that is the last time you would want to find out there is an issue with your generator. If you perform generator maintenance tasks you will ensure that your generator will run when you need it.

2. Prevents fuel problems

Without proper maintenance generators are more susceptible to fuel problems like algae build up on the fuel system, clogged fuel injectors, and dead batteries. These types of problems can even ruin your generator itself if they are let go for too long.

3. Saves you money in the long run

Although ignoring generator maintenance may save you a few bucks in the short-term, if you ignore maintenance for too long you will end up with costly repairs in the long run. You might even have to replace your whole generator unit.

4. Keeps your generator running for longer

A generator can be a large expense, and one you don’t want to make too often. By keeping your generator properly maintained you will be able to keep your generator running smoothly for longer than if you ignored maintenance tasks.

5. Increases efficiency

If you do have to run your generator, of course you would want it to run efficiently as possible. Generator maintenance tasks help your generator to reach its highest efficient potential.

Overall, generator maintenance will help to keep your generator in mint condition for years to come. This in turn, will save you time and money.

 

http://electricaltestingsolutions.com/index.php/articles/41-why-is-generator-maintenance-important

10 Quick Tips for Generator Maintenance

As with any piece of equipment that provides power to other tools, the only time one seems to notice a generator is when it’s not working. Generators get thrown around, beaten, and abused, yet they’re always expected to work with one pull. Even though they’re built for abuse, generators won’t last without some regular maintenance. Here are 10 basic tips to keep your generator energized for each job:

1. DON’T BE FOILED BY OIL
Check the oil before each use. If it’s a new generator, change the oil after the first 20 hours of use to remove assembly lube and metallic particles created during the break-in period. Otherwise, change the oil every 100 hours or sooner if operating in dirty conditions.

2. DON’T RIDE DIRTY
Dirty fuel is a result of improper storage or refilling tanks in dusty conditions. To prevent this problem, store fuel in an OSHA-approved receptacle and keep out of high-traffic areas. Also, don’t refill in windy conditions where dust is more prevalent.

3. CLEAR THE AIR
Check the condition of the air filter daily and clean when necessary. Regardless of how dirty it is, clean the filter every 100 hours and change it monthly.

4. KEEP IT CLEAN
Cleaning the engine removes potentially harmful dirt and gives the operator a chance to spot service concerns. Never use a pressure washer as it could cause more harm than good. Instead, use an air supply to blow off any dust and a clean rag with degreaser to wipe off excess dirt and grease.

5. ON THE LOOKOUT FOR LEAKS
Once the equipment is clean and dry, check for any or oil leakage. If a leak is spotted, tighten the parts causing the leak or replace them immediately.

6. HANG TIGHT
Cleaning the engine will also help reveal any obvious damage and loose parts. Take time to tighten loose parts that could vibrate and potentially harm nearby components.

7. DON’T LOSE THAT SPARK
Inspect the spark plugs every 100 hours for damage, oil residue, and excessive carbon buildup. If residue or carbon buildup is found, clean with a wire brush or spark plug cleaner. Immediately replace any plugs that have cracked porcelain.

8. AVOID STRAINER STRAIN
Clean and inspect the fuel strainer located in the fill port of the fuel tank every month. If there is sediment in the fuel strainer, clean and return, or replace if torn.

9. ANNUAL INSPECTION
On an annual basis, take the time to conduct a general inspection of the generator looking for any dirty, broken, or misaligned parts. Furthermore, check the fuel hose each year and replace if there are cracks present.

10. STORE IT PROPERLY
If the generator won’t be used for more than 30 days and the user does not plan to use it for an extended period of time, take special steps to protect the engine. First, conduct all suggested daily maintenance items. Then, remove the battery, clean the posts, and ensure it’s fully charged. Next, drain the fuel from the fuel tank and carburetor float chamber. To prevent corrosion in the cylinder bore, remove the spark plug and inject a few drops of oil through the plug hole. Gently pull the recoil starter knob two or three times before the spark plug is placed back in the plug hole. Additionally, pull the recoil starter knob until resistance is felt and leave in that position. End the process with a final cleaning, ensuring that all cooling air slots and openings are unobstructed. Place a protective cover around the generator and store it in a dry place.

Exercise the generator every 2 months if gas or oil is present in the engine. If the generator will be stored for longer periods, drain the oil and gas from the carburetor, put oil in the cylinder and pull until resistance is felt.

About The Author:
Dale Gabrielse is in sales and marketing at Subaru Industrial Power Products. For more information about generators, visit www.subarupower.com.

 

http://www.mcsmag.com/10-quick-tips-generator-maintenance/

5 Tips for Portable Generator Maintenance

By  | Portable Generator Product Expert

You’re probably already familiar with the handiness and versatility of a portable generator.

But are you making sure its versatility and power will be readily available when you need it?

Maintenance is a very important part of owning a portable generator. Not properly maintaining your portable generator could lead to hard starting and inefficiency.

So follow these 5 portable generator maintenance tips to ensure that your backup power source stays reliable.

1.) Fresh Oil Helps
As with any small-engine power equipment, changing the oil is a major factor in maintaining reliability.Change the Oil The majority of new generators need their first oil change to be done after just 30 hours of use.

After the first oil change is completed, future oil changes only need to be done every 100 hours of use, or every season at the very least.

To be prepared for unexpected extended power outages, stock up on oil, oil filters, and even gas.

2.) Plugs & Filters
Plugs and FiltersWithout a way to breathe and a way to ignite the gas in the cylinders of the engine, your generator would be useless.

Change your spark plug and air filter every 200 hours of use, or at least once at the start of each season.

Having a new spark plug paired with a clean air filter will assure proper fuel-air mixture, helping the engine to run more efficiently and extending the lifespan of your generator.

3.) Store It on an Empty Tank
Fuel StabilizerIf you’re planning on putting your generator away in storage for longer than a month, be sure to drain the fuel from the tank.

Start by adding quality gas stabilizer to the fuel in your tank, then run the unit for about 15 minutes.

Let the engine cool down, then start and run the engine until it runs out of gas and shuts down. If there’s a lot of gas left in the tank, you can use a siphon. Just be sure the siphon is non-conductive, to avoid generating static electricity in the tank.

4.) Charge the Battery
Battery ChargeNot all portable generators will have a battery, but those that feature electric start should be fully charged before storing.

If you can, plug the battery into a trickle charger to keep it fresh and ready when you need it.

5.) Train in the Off-Season
While these storage tips make a world of difference, it’s always best to start your generator every 30 days and allow it to run for a few minutes.

Doing so will help keep components lubricated by circulating the oil throughout the engine.

 

https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/1205-How-to-Maintain-a-Portable-Generator-in-5-Easy-Steps.html

Generator Maintenance Tips

Tip 1: Don’t get burned by wattage ratings

Generator Maintenance Tips

Watts are not all equal

Ignore the higher rating and select a generator based on its “rated,” “running” or “continuous” watts.

Every generator lists two capacity ratings. The first is “rated” or “continuous” watts. That’s the maximum power the generator will put out on an extended basis. And it’s the only rating you should rely on when buying a generator. The higher “maximum” or “starting” rating refers to how much extra power the generator can put out for a few seconds when an electric motor—like the one in your fridge or furnace—starts up. If you buy a generator based on the higher rating and think you can run it at that level, think again. It will work for a little while. But by the end of the day, your new generator will be a molten mass of yard art, and you’ll be out shopping for a replacement.

Tip 2: Stock up on oil and filters

Generator Maintenance Tips

Keep your generator humming

Pumping out watts is hard on engine oil, and oil-change intervals are short. Store up enough oil and filters to get you through a long power outage.

Most new generators need their first oil change after just 25 hours. Beyond that, you’ll have to dump the old stuff and refill every 50 or 60 hours. So you need to store up enough oil and factory filters to last a few days (at least!). Running around town searching for the right oil and filter is the last thing you want to be doing right after a big storm.

Tip 3: Chill out before you refill

Generator Maintenance Tips

A headlight helps for tank filling

After the engine cools, strap on an LED head lamp so you can actually see what you’re doing. Pour slowly and avoid filling the tank to the brim.

Generator fuel tanks are always on top of the engine so they can “gravity-feed” gas to the carburetor. But that setup can quickly turn into a disaster if you spill gas when refueling a hot generator. Think about it—spilled gas on a hot engine, and you’re standing there holding a gas can. Talk about an inferno! It’s no wonder generators (and owners) go up in flames every year from that mistake. You can survive without power for a measly 15 minutes, so let the engine cool before you pour. Spilling is especially likely if you refill at night without a flashlight.

Tip 4: Running out of gas can cost you

Some generators, especially low-cost models, can be damaged by running out of gas. They keep putting out power while coming to a stop, and the electrical load in your house drains the magnetic field from the generator coils. When you restart, the generator will run fine, but it won’t generate power. You’ll have to haul it into a repair shop, where you’ll pay about $40 to reenergize the generator coils. So keep the tank filled and always remove the electrical load before you shut down.

Tip 5: Old fuel is your worst enemy

Generator Maintenance Tips

Out with the old

Empty the tank with a hand pump before running the carburetor dry. Reload with fresh gas next time you run the generator.

Stale fuel is the No. 1 cause of generator starting problems. Manufacturers advise adding fuel stabilizer to the gas to minimize fuel breakdown, varnish and gum buildup. But it’s no guarantee against problems. Repair shops recommend emptying the fuel tank and the carburetor once you’re past storm season. If your carburetor has a drain, wait for the engine to cool before draining. If not, empty the tank and then run the generator until it’s out of gas. Always use fresh, stabilized gas in your generator.

Tip 6: Backfeeding kills

Generator Maintenance Tips

Don’t backfeed! It’s just plain dangerous

Forget about using a double-ended cord to run power backward into a receptacle. Instead, run separate extension cords or install a transfer switch.

The Internet is full of articles explaining how to “backfeed” power into your home’s wiring system with a “dual male-ended” extension cord. Some of our Field Editors have even admitted trying it (we’ll reprimand them). But backfeeding is illegal—and for good reason. It can (and does) kill family members, neighbors and power company linemen every year. In other words, it’s a terrible idea. If you really want to avoid running extension cords around your house, pony up for a transfer switch ($300). Then pay an electrician about $1,000 to install it. That’s the only safe alternative to multiple extension cords. Period.

Tip 7: Store gasoline safely

Generator Maintenance Tips

A better gas can means less spillage

The trigger valve on this gas can gives you total control over the fill. There’s a separate refill opening so you never have to remove the spout.

Most local residential fire codes limit how much gasoline you can store in your home or attached garage (usually 10 gallons or less). So you may be tempted to buy one large gas can to cut down on refill runs. Don’t. There’s no way you can pour 60 lbs. of gas without spilling. Plus, most generator tanks don’t hold that much, so you increase your chances of overfilling. Instead, buy two high-quality 5-gallon cans. While you’re at it, consider spending more for a high-quality steel gas can with a trigger control valve (Justrite No. 7250130; through our affiliation with amazon.com).

Tip 8: Lock it down

Generator Maintenance Tips

Stop crooks and prevent shocks

Protect yourself from accidental electrocution by connecting the generator to a grounding rod. Then secure the unit to the eyebolt with a hardened steel chain and heavy-duty padlock.

The only thing worse than the rumbling sound of an engine outside your bedroom window is the sound of silence after someone steals your expensive generator. Combine security and electrical safety by digging a hole and sinking a grounding rod and an eye bolt in concrete. Encase the whole thing in 4-in. ABS or PVC drainpipe, with a screw-on cleanout fitting. Spray-paint the lid green so it blends in with your lawn. If you don’t want to sink a permanent concrete pier, at least screw in ground anchors (four anchors; No. WI652775; from globalindustrial.com) to secure the chain.

Tip 9: Use a heavy-duty cord

Generator Maintenance Tips

Long cords let you get some sleep

Invest in some long extension cords to put some distance between you and the noisy generator. But don’t exceed 100 ft. between the generator and appliances.

Generators are loud, so most people park them as far away from the house as possible. (Be considerate of your neighbors, though.) That’s OK as long as you use heavy-duty 12-gauge cords and limit the run to 100 ft. Lighter cords or longer runs mean more voltage drop. And decreased voltage can cause premature appliance motor burnout.

More information available on our site:

  • Storms do more than cause power outages. Search for “disasters” and check out our prevention tips.
  • Small-engine frustration? Search for “start up tips” and get running.
  • Survive any weather in a reinforced room. Search for “storm shelter.”

Real World Advice From Our Field Editors

Exercise your generator
“I start my generator up every three months as recommended by the manufacturer and let it run for about 20 minutes to charge the battery for my electric starter.”
Larry Meacham

Build a generator garage
“For a portable generator, we poured a small concrete pad and basically built a doghouse over the unit that is hinged to the pad. It worked better than a blue tarp.”
Al Cecil

A door for cords
“Most people run extension cords into the house through an open window or door. But our fireplace has a small cleanout door on the outside, so I run extension cords through it.”
Charles Crocker

Unplug the freezer
“Freezers and fridges are power hogs. But you can disconnect them from your generator and free up power for other stuff. First, turn the temperature settings way down. When they reach the lower temperature, unplug them and don’t open their doors unless you have to. They’ll act like coolers and stay cold for a long time. Freezers usually will keep food frozen about 24 hours. During that time, the generator is free to power tools or your big-screen TV.”
Rick Granger

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Posthole digger
  • Sledgehammer

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • 4-in. plastic pipe with cleanout fitting and screw lid
  • 5-gallon gas cans, 2
  • Chain and lock
  • Concrete, 2 sacks
  • Fuel stabilizer
  • Ground wire connector
  • Grounding rod
  • Heavy-duty 12 gauge cords
  • Large eyebolt
  • Oil
  • Oil filters

 

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/generator-maintenance-tips/view-all/