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Diesel generators – how many KVA?

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Diesel generators specialist PowerCare cautions first-time buyers to assess their load usage correctly before investing in the equipment.

How much electricity does the home or business need in an emergency? This is the first question that the buyer needs to address correctly before selecting a suitable power generator to run various appliances.

Three basic criteria namely, continuous (running) watts, peak (startup) power and surge capabilities help determine the correct generator size.

Guidelines with selective information about the device’s name plates or specification that would indicate its wattage and could be added up across appliances to get maximum wattage consumption can be misleading, especially for first-time buyers as this method can result in excess or under capacity generators.

Diesel generator selection

  • Running load can be measured with a simple ‘amp meter’ or power oscilloscope
  • For calculating the rating of a power system for starting requirements, kW as well as current surge capabilities must be considered
  • Fridges, compressors and electric engines require a large amount of current to start up called Locked Rotor Amps (LRA)
  • Most new appliances will have LRA on their name plate, but if LRA is not available, seek help from a qualified electrician or use the typical appliances power flow chart from the PowerCare website

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