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Analyzing You Load: Ensuring Generator Longevity For The Commercial Operator

When it comes to the selection of a generator set, a number of factors should be considered, and none more important than a thorough and accurate load analysis. In general, the continuous load should be at least 50% of the generator capacity.


The right generator is determined by the total wattage of all equipment that will be operated simultaneously. Selecting a generator that is too small for peak load can make it hard to start motors in high-draw equipment, such as air compressors, winch motors and even air conditioners.   Selecting too large of a generator causes the engine to operate in an under-loaded condition. This leads to carbon build up in the injector and valves, and the potential pumping of raw fuel into the exhaust (“wet stacking”.)


Equipment that uses an electric motor can require up to ten times the running wattage during start up. A good rule of thumb when computing motor loads is to take the running wattage of the largest motor and multiple it by ten. Then add the running wattage of the smaller motors, as well as the wattage of all the other loads, to determine the total load required for those appliances. Sequential starting is a good policy. Start the largest motor loads first, and it will help with starting the smaller consumers.


Balancing loads is of critical importance. All loads which will be used at the same time must be divided up equally among the output phases. For example, don’t put heating loads on one phase and air conditioning loads on the other phases. Improperly balanced loads may cause a loss in voltage on the loaded phase and excessive voltage on the unloaded phase, as well as low output.


Interested in learning more about the state of the art in marine power technology? Contact Northern Lights Gulf at (504) 360-2180 or visit our web site at www.northern-lights.com.

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