How to make a generator safe for electronics? Frequent interruptions and power outages force consumers to think about purchasing a portable gasoline or gas generator for a power supply of home electronics and computers. But, although it is a good idea, you can’t still use any generator.
This article considers how to make a generator safe for electronics and gives recommendations to use your generator to power electronic devices.
- 1 Can a generator damage electronics?
- 2 Safety precautions during operating the generator
- 3 Some tips to help you protect your electronics while using a generator:
- 3.1 Use Only Generators Designed For Electronics
- 3.2 Use A Buffer Device Between Your Computer And The Generator
- 3.3 Use A Surge Protector
- 3.4 Use A Surge Arrester
- 3.5 Turning Off Unnecessary Electrical Appliances
- 3.6 Be Careful With Liquids
- 3.7 Use A Power Inverter
- 3.8 Use Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR)
- 3.9 Use A Power Line Conditioner
- 3.10 Use an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Can a generator damage electronics?
In short, the answer is Yes. Some generators which supply uneven power can fry sensitive circuits due to voltage surges, especially when the generator runs out of gas. Many electronic appliances that we use today have some kind of microprocessors and microchip components that are devised only to handle specific voltages to perform a particular task.
The AC power of a portable generator can also present a problem known as harmonic distortion. This is a distortion of a smooth AC sine wave, usually resulting from a nonlinear (i.e., fluctuating) load. If there is too much harmonic distortion, it can disable sensitive electronics.
For these reasons, you should carefully connect an electronic device, such as a computer and other devices, to a conventional or inverter generator.
Generally speaking, inverter generators will not damage electronics, while conventional, non-inverter generators might.
Safety precautions during operating the generator
Take a few minutes to make sure your generator is ready to work. Check the oil and fuel level in your generator, and if a long-term power outage is expected, replenish fuel and consumables – filters, sparking plugs, and oil.
There are also several important safety rules that we recommend following while the generator is running.
To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows, and air vents.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
To Avoid The Danger Of Electric Shock:
Keep the generator dry. Connect the necessary electrical appliances directly to the generator, and use heavy-duty extension cords. Make sure that the cable section corresponds to the power of the generator used.
Make sure that the entire length of the extension cord is not cut or torn and that the plug has three poles, including the grounding contact.
Never connect the generator to an electrical outlet. This method of connection can lead to electric shock to electricians and other workers who repair power lines.
If it is necessary to connect the generator to the wiring of the house to the power supply of appliances, contact a qualified electrician and install the appropriate equipment, whether it is an AVR unit for automatically switching the load from the city to the generator and back, or it may just be a flip switch.
If the generator is portable, then before each start, to avoid electric shock, ground it.
To Avoid Fire:
Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts may ignite.
Always store fuel outside of residential premises in a special container.
Don’t fill with foreign objects the space around the inverter generator.
Some tips to help you protect your electronics while using a generator:
Use Only Generators Designed For Electronics
In the cheapest generators, most likely, there will not be adequate protection of sensitive electronics, and they should be used with devices that are not so sensitive to “dirty” power. A vacuum cleaner or power tool will probably be fine in such a case.
If you want to use a generator with a computer or other sensitive electronics, you should use only generators designed for electronics.
You will also need to pay attention to two things listed in the specification.
Firstly, the total THD or harmonic distortion should not exceed 5%. Anything above this is not suitable for the power supply of electronics and should be avoided.
Secondly, it must have built-in electronic protection functions. At the very least, it should have surge protectors to prevent excess voltage from entering your computer and leaving it in the form of clouds of blue smoke.
Use A Buffer Device Between Your Computer And The Generator
If you are using a desktop computer, it is recommended to install a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) between your PC and the generator. This gives you time to refuel the generator or safely turn off the computer if it stops supplying power for another reason.
You should also use an overvoltage protection device when powered from the mains because in rare cases, there may be power fluctuations that can damage electronic gadgets, especially during a power outage when the power supply is turned off or turned on again.
Using a UPS and an overvoltage protection device (usually a UPS has built-in surge protection) is a good practice, even if you don’t expect regular power outages.
Use A Surge Protector
A surge protector will keep your electronic devices safe by absorbing excess electricity and channeling it away from them. This can help you prevent the frustration of seeing your costly devices destroyed when unexpected power surges occur.
Power surges can damage your electronics and the generator, so it’s important to use surge protectors to help protect them.
But, what’s the best surge protector? We recommend the following one: POWSAF Surge Protector 50 amp. This surge protector from POWSAF offers 4100 joules of surge protection, which is more than enough to protect your most expensive electronics during a power surge.
The latest surge protectors notify users when their level of protection decreases. That’s why we advise homeowners to replace surge protectors from time to time.
Use A Surge Arrester
An electrical surge arrester is a device used to protect electrical equipment from damage caused by sudden or intense spikes in voltage.
A surge arrester (also called “whole house surge protector”) is installed by a professional electrician at the home’s service panel.
Turning Off Unnecessary Electrical Appliances
Unplug electronics when you’re not using them. This can help prevent damage from power surges and other problems.
Be Careful With Liquids
Spills can damage your electronics, so it’s important to be careful when you’re using them. Spilling liquid on an electrical appliance or generator can ruin it or even cause a short circuit.
Use A Power Inverter
If you haven’t bought a generator yet, consider one with a power inverter. A power inverter is a device that transforms AC power from the input to DC and then back to AC. The AC power produced is more consistent and therefore cleaner for your electronics.
Use Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR)
An automatic voltage regulator (AVR) is a device used in electrical power distribution systems to regulate the voltage of the system. It is a type of voltage regulator that is designed to automatically maintain a constant voltage level in the system.
Generators with inverters and Automatic Voltage Regulators are the safest for electronics.
Use A Power Line Conditioner
A generator power line conditioner is a device that is used to improve the quality of the power supplied by a generator. With it, you will get generator clean power. By conditioning the power, the generator power line conditioners can help to reduce or eliminate problems such as voltage sags, power surges, and line noise.
The generator power conditioner is an indispensable thing if you want to secure your electrical appliances.
Use an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
UPS devices store up electricity that can be used to protect your device when power is unexpectedly interrupted due to a power surge, power noise, power instability, or sudden power outage.
Look for a UPS with a Generator Mode. These UPS devices are designed to recognize and compensate for the power fluctuations when a generator is operating.
A UPS with a generator mode is typically used to protect hardware such as computers, data centers, and other electronic equipment from damage or data loss due to power outages, power surges, and power brownouts.
Following these tips can help you protect sensitive electronics and keep them working properly for longer.
In this article, we tried to cover the basic techniques that will help you make a generator safe for all electronic devices properly. We hope if you use all of the methods from following precautions, and simple disconnection of unnecessary electrical appliances to the use of power line conditioners you will get the generator safe for electronics.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Is it safe to run electronics off a generator?
In general, it is safe to run your electronics off a generator. It depends on the type of generator. Inverter generators are more electronics-safe than non-inverter generators.
What kind of generator is safe for electronics?
Inverter generators are electronics-safe, but they cost significantly more than garden-variety portable generators. Anyone who cares about protecting their electronic appliances should invest in at least one surge protector strip.
Will a generator damage my TV?
A generator will not damage your TV if you use a reliable inverter generator because inverter generators produce clean energy.
How do I protect my generator from the elements?
The Generator Grid recommends using specially fabricated tents or enclosures. The tent and canopy are cheap, light, and easy to build as a whole, and because they open around the base it allows air circulation.