1. Expert Advice   |   2. Types of Generators    |   3. Key Features   |   4. Size/Capacity    |   5. Practicalities    |   6. Customer Edorsement   |   7. Things to do on the Shop floor
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1. Expert advice

The need for comfort and the preservation of perishable goods in the face of unstable power supply has created the need for a more efficient and stable backup power solution. Nigerian buyers are however, faced with a decision of choosing from an infinite number of power solution options, the right brand, type and size of Power Generating set. 

 

There are several factors you need to consider in choosing the right Power generating set. To begin with, you need to consider what you need backup power for: home, business, recreation or job site.

 

 

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 2. Types of Generators

There are 3 major types of Generating sets in the market. Below is a comparison of the benefits of each:

Portable Residential Generators: These generators which run mainly on Petrol, are the perfect choice for your domestic need in power essential items in your home  such as refrigerators, freezers, water pumps, sump pumps, lighting points, when the power goes out  and for use around your home (electrical tools, etc.)


 

 

Portable Construction and Industrial Generators: These generators are the perfect choice for construction sites and various industrial applications. Single phase petrol or diesel models as well as three phase diesel models are available in the market.

 

 

 

Portable RV/Recreational Generators: For your beach parties, outdoor camping and other recreational activities, the Inverter Generators are the perfect choice for you. These Generators which run on petrol are super quiet and also provide the cleanest power for sensitive electronics like computers making use of the inverter technology.

 

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3. Key Features to consider when buying a Generator

Features vary with the type of Generators but the most important convenience features that makes it more convenient starting and powering your home appliances include:


•  Starting Method: Starting options include - Key starter, Recoil starter, Remote starter however, a generator can have more than one starter. Key and Remote Control starters are much easier to use.


•  Automatic Transfer Switch: The advantage of using a generator with an automatic transfer switch is that it senses when power has been lost. It automatically starts and then switches to generator power without human interference and this process is repeated when power returns.


•  Automatic Voltage Regulation: If you may be powering a computer, home theatre components or other sensitive electronics, you should consider a unit with automatic voltage regulation. This feature stops voltage fluctuations that may harm electronics.


•  Automatic Safety Shutdown: Some generators automatically shut down in the event of low oil pressure, low oil level, high temperature and other unsafe operating conditions.


•  Circuit Breakers: Circuit breakers help prevent damage to connected equipment by shutting down the flow of power if there is too much current passing through.


•  Wheeled frames: Larger generator models can be very heavy so a generator set with a wheeled frame and handles is essential for moving the generator from point A to point B.


•  100% Copper Coil: When purchasing a generator, it is important to ensure that the alternator coil is made from 100% copper and not aluminium, as copper is a better conductor of electricity and also reduces loading losses in the generating set.
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4. How to Determine the capacity or size of the Generator I need?

Determining how much power you will require in order to conveniently run your home or office appliances is very essential, not only to the buyer, but to guarantee the long use of your generating set, as, overtaxing a generating set reduces its fuel efficiency, and in some cases can damage the generator and connected equipment. You can simply find out how much power you need to power major appliances by noting the following steps:


Step 1:
It is very important to calculate the power output you need and to give yourself some wattage cushioning for running few smaller items if need be.


Step 2:
If you have the owner's manuals for the appliances and equipment that you want to run, write in a piece of paper all the rated and the starting wattage, then follow the process below to estimate your power requirements:

 

Load Summation Method

•  Enter rated/running (kW) of your refrigerators, freezers, pumping machine and other motor devices (except the largest) expected to run on the Generator.
___________kW.

•  Enter rated/running (kW) for all non-motor loads e.g. Light bulbs, heater, TV and other electronic appliances expected to run on the Generator. For typical residential loads and rules of thumb.
___________kW.

•  Enter the starting (kW) of the largest load or motor e.g. Air Conditioning Units, Cabinet AC etc. or Multiply the Rated/running power (kW) of the largest Load by 3.
___________kW.

A.  Sum up all rated/running (kW) of your fridges, freezers, pumping machine and other motor devices  load total (Minus Largest Motor):      _________Kw
(Refer to table below)

B.  Sum up all rated/running (kW) for all non-motor loads e.g Light bulbs, heater, TV and other electronic appliances expected to run on the Generator load Total 
(Refer to table below): 
_________kW 

C.  Add the Starting load or 3 x Rated load of heaviest appliance:

_________kW

Total electrical loads= A + B + C

=________Kw

Select generator: 

Commercial (add 20% to 25% to total kW)
Residential (add 10 to 20% to total kW)

 

  Home Appliance   Wattage   Home Appliance   Wattage   Home Appliance   Wattage
  Small Sized Refrigerator / Freezer   150-200   Central Air Conditioning     2,000-4,000     Microwave   1,200
  Medium Sized Refrigerator / Freezer     200-300   Coffeemaker   400-800   Hot Plate   1,250
  Large Sized Refrigerator / Freezer   300-600   1 HP AC   950   Outdoor Lighting   500-1,000 
  Electric Range (one element)   2,500   1.5 HP AC   1250   Water Pump   1,000-2,000 
  Light bulbs   60-100   2 HP AC   2,500   Window Air Conditioner    600-1,500
  Television   100-350   Home Theatre   75   Personal Computer   500-2,000
  Electric Kettle   1,300   Electric Blender   1,250   Water Heater   3,000-4,500
  Toaster   1,100-1,700          

* This is approximate wattage only. Please refer to your appliance's owner's manual for exact wattage.

 

Wattage measures the “volume or capacity” of electricity a power generating set can deliver. The Wattage requirement is increased with each additional appliance you need to power. If the capacity of the generator set is small, the electric generator can become overworked. If the capacity is too large however, money can be wasted on maintenance.

How to Determine Wattage

You will also need to read the instruction manual of the generating set or check the name plates of generators to know which one meets your wattage requirements.
For example, if voltage is given in place of watts, just remember that: 
Watts = Volts x Amps
For example: 12.5 amps x 120 volts = 1,500 watts)

To determine kilowatts (kW), use the following formula:
1,000 Watts = 1 Kilowatt
(For example: 1,500 Watts/1,000 = 1.5 kW)

Starting Watts: Starting wattage is power required for appliances at start-up or when they are running at their highest levels of power consumption.

Continuous or Running Watts: Continuous power is the wattage for operation of appliances under normal running conditions.

Please Note: Electronic appliances with considerable moving parts such as pumps, fans, compressors on refrigerating units and air conditions can use up to three times as much electricity to start as they do run continuously. That means that a refrigerating unit rated 200W will require about 500 – 600 watts to start.
You will need to factor this in when you are determining how much wattage is needed to power your appliances.

A power generating set should not run at more than eighty percent (80%) load for prolonged periods – this is to prolong the lifespan of the generator and ensure it provides optimal performance.
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5. Practicalities

Care and Maintenance

• Check availability of oil before starting the engine; otherwise fill the oil to the appropriate level as indicated on the fuel gauge. (Recommended oil specification is 15W SAE 40).

• Ensure that the battery terminals are properly & firmly connected with respect to polarity (i.e. Red wire (+ve) & Black wire (-ve)).

• For servicing, first initial use is 1 month or the first 20 hours of the initial operation. Subsequently every 100 hours for the next 6 months.

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6. Customer Endorsement

 

Quote Originally Posted by Chukwude Okoko 

I have the Thermocool generator. And it carries all my electrical appliances.

 

Quote Originally Posted by OKENABGA Chukwuebuka 

Their product is very good. I sell Thermocool appliances and I have not received any complaints about the product since I started selling them.

 

Quote Originally Posted by Abel 

I have a Thermocool generator that uses a remote control. It is less stressful because I don’t need to go outside to turn it on I just stay in and control it with the remote to turn it on and if there is power supply I would turn it off from the remote control. I have been using it for about a year and it has not been faulty the only thing I do is to service it.

 

Quote Originally Posted by Shade Dokpemu

I bought Thermocool generator the big size for the past 5 years now and it has not given me any problem.

 

Quote Originally Posted by Oreoluwa Adams 

I have a Thermocool 3.5KVA generator for about 3 year now and it has been serving me very well and it consumes less fuel.

 

Quote Originally Posted by Raymond 

All my appliances are Thermocool and I have been using them for about 3 years now without any fault and so I advise everybody 2 get Thermocool products.
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7. First 3 Things to do on the shop floor!

Step 1 – Check the vital ratings/characteristics of the gererator set prior to purchase.

•  Output Voltage: This is the value of voltage supplied by the power generating set. This could be between 220 volts to 240 volts for generators in Nigeria.

•  Rated Output: This is the load that a generator can have under normal operations. Purchase generators with rated power of at least 20% above your electricity needs.

•  Maximum Output: This is the maximum load or power that the generator can carry, and it can only carry this maximum load over a very short amount of time (less than 30 minutes). So please note that although generators can carry load up to maximum capacity, you should ensure that you operate your generators within the rated power for optimal performance.

•  Rated Output Frequency: must be 50Hz in Nigeria.

Step 2 – Alternator Coil & Starting Process

Make enquiries about the nature of the alternator coil used in designing the Generating Set and determine the starting process and the fueling method which is best convenient for you and also most affordable.

Note: Ensure that the alternator coil is made from 100% copper and not aluminium, as copper is a better conductor of electricity and also reduces loading losses in the generating set.

Step 3 - Brand 

Make sure the Generating set is from a well-known and trusted brand which gives good terms of purchase e.g. Warranty on the Generating set and After-sales Services; Ensure that the Company has a fully functioning After-sales service department with a good network of outlet for your convenience.

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