What do you do if you need to generate more power than your single portable gas-powered generator? You could buy a bigger one, but that would be heavier, and maybe too big for the really light electric loads. Or you could parallel to similar sized portables. Generator paralleling is not a simple task. It can be delicate sometimes. Connecting generators in parallel involve connecting two or more generators and synchronizing their power outputs.
- What Is Paralleling Generators?
- Load Sharing, What Is It?
- Making a Parallel Connection in Generators.
- Why Run Parallel Generators?
- Is Paralleling Generators Beneficial?
- Why Not Just Purchase A Bigger Generator?
- Does Paralleling Cause Damage To Generators?
- Is It Possible To Parallel Two Different Brand Generators?
- Considerations For Connecting Generators In Parallel
What Is Paralleling Generators?
In simpler terms, paralleling generators means making a parallel connection with two generators. The goal of a parallel connection is to double the power output. It is easiest with two identical generator (same size, fuel and brand)
Load Sharing, What Is It?
Running generators in parallel make it possible to distribute the load of the appliance equally between the generators.
The load of the electrical appliance(s) running on power supplied by the generators is distributed equally between the generators. For example if you had a large fridge drawing about a 1000 watts, and an air conditioner drawing 1500 watts, you would buy two 2000 watt generators and when hooked together you would have enough power to run both the fridge and A/C at the same time.
Take note though, only inverter type generators can be reliably and safely run in parallel. If you just pick any old generator and hook it up with a cable to another random generator, you can seriously damage either or both generators and possibly the connected load (A/C, fridge, etc…) The purpose of load sharing is to avoid overloading one generator. Subjecting one generator to more stress may lead to instability, especially if there is an increase in the load demand.
Making a Parallel Connection in Generators.
First, check whether the portable generators have paralleling capabilities. Both generators need to be parallel capable. Paralleling generators will be even easier if they are of the same model.
To connect generators in parallel, you will need either a parallel cable or a parallel kit. Most technicians recommend using a parallel kit over a parallel cable. With a parallel kit, you do not need any prior knowledge to use it because they come with a manual.
Why Run Parallel Generators?
In the current world, electricity is a must-have. Humans depend on electricity for so many things. Life without electricity seems impossible. Typically, having one generator would suffice. In this era, people's energy needs have increased greatly. Plus, technological advancements demand even more power. With each passing day, innovators and creators are coming up with newer appliances and innovations that require a lot of energy, thus the demand for more power. You can get additional power at home by investing in another generator.
Is Paralleling Generators Beneficial?
Increased redundancy and reliability:
Paralleling generators help to improve the redundancy and reliability of loads. A parallel generator connection guarantees that power supplied to critical loads is never interrupted even when one generator fails.
Power generation is Economical:
The cost of running a generator increases with the size of the generator. Generators rated over 600kW cost more to run. Many manufacturers deal with small and medium-sized generators because smaller engines have more demand. Since there are many small-engine generator manufacturers in the market, the cost is low. Generating power from two small generators is cheaper than using one big generator.
More control and savings on generating costs:
One big generator supplies the same amount of power as many small or medium-sized generators. However, you will have more stability, balance, and control in a parallel connection. You can distribute the load over the various circuits. Then you will be able to decide on the output at any particular time based on the load capacity. Generators can be connected in such a way that they consume the minimum fuel. A parallel connection can save you a lot of money.
Flexibility and Compatibility:
Using two or more generators in a parallel connection is a cheap way of supplying power to various loads. It is also smarter than buying a big generator, which may never be used to maximum capacity. On top of that, more generators can be added to the parallel connection with an increase in demand.
Ease of Maintenance:
Having a parallel connection is convenient for doing maintenance. In a parallel connection, the maintenance of individual generators will prevent power generation from being interrupted.
Why Not Just Purchase A Bigger Generator?
In reality, buying a bigger generator will not solve your power demand issues. In fact, having a bigger generator could be a liability. You would have to size the generator for your largest load, or the peak load at a specific time of day (for example if everyone in your house wanted to run their hair dryer, waffle maker, electric heater and coffee pot in the morning before going to work. The smarter option is to buy another medium or small generator and connecting them in a parallel fashion. With this arrangement, the second generator helps out with the peak morning load but is not on all the time the rest of the day. With only the larger generator it would have to run all day to handle the smaller loads and it would not achieve the same level of fuel efficiency.
There is one significant advantage of having two generators instead of one big generator. If, at any point, the big generator fails, you will have no backup. You will also have no power. With two small or medium-sized generators, you will still get power supply from one generator if the other fails.
Another issue with a big generator is portability. Big generators are not as portable as the smaller ones. You can't always take your big generator everywhere, and even if you do, it will be exhausting and costly. For instance, if you want to participate in some outdoor activities like camping, then a small generator will come in handy.
Does Paralleling Cause Damage To Generators?
In the past, only a few generators came ready with paralleling capabilities. Nowadays, many generators are designed to run in parallel, which is a big step towards solving more power demand. Many people fear that generator paralleling can damage generators, which is far from the truth. Running your generators in parallel will not damage them unless you use the wrong size of cables. Besides, to prevent any damage to your generators, make sure you strictly adhere to the manufacturer's instructions. If you fail to follow the manufacturer's instructions, you risk damaging your generators.
Is It Possible To Parallel Two Different Brand Generators?
Whether the difference is in size or model type, paralleling two different generators is very much possible if both generators are parallel capable. However, make sure that both generators are inverter generators. To connect two parallel capable generators successfully, you will need a parallel kit. Power kits come with six terminals, four of which are power connectors. The other two are ground connectors. You should connect the ground cables to the generator's ground.
If one or both generators are not parallel capable, you can still make a parallel connection, although you will use a different approach.
Considerations For Connecting Generators In Parallel
People typically try to avoid compatibility issues by connecting the same brand generators and generators with the same power level. However, you can still connect generators of different brands or sizes.
Two generators can be connected in parallel only if the frequencies and voltages are similar at the connection point. This is a standard rule for connecting generators in parallel. When making a parallel connection between generators of a different size or brand, ensure that the alternators, engines, interfaces, and load sharing are compatible. Make these considerations when connecting two generators in parallel:
A generator's engine capacity is measured in kilowatts. There are two main reasons why you should run generators with similar ratings. The first one is to avoid overloading one generator. The second one is to be able to supply enough power to manage high loads. Suppose you connect generators with different ratings. For example, a 400 KW rated generator and a second 200 KW rated generator. In this situation, you will only be able to run a load of up to 200KW. From the example, you can see that the capacity of load to be supplied depends entirely on the smaller generator's power-generating ability.
For the alternators of connected generators to be considered compatible, their currents should flow in their own circuits. Protective relays are put in the alternators to prevent currents from flowing in each other's loops. These relays can affect how the generator operates.
Compatible Load Sharing System
When you set up a parallel system, make sure the generators' frequency and voltage are identical. Once a parallel connection is set up, you will be unable to balance the power output because monitoring the current or voltage will be impossible. Unbalanced power will cause an unequal distribution of reactive load between the two generators, possibly damaging the electronics of one of the units..
When generator paralleling was a new thing, people were required to manually operate and man the generators all day. Thanks to advancements in generator manufacturing, people no longer have to man or operate generators manually. Nowadays, generators are made in a way that they can automatically communicate during the entire paralleling process. All the generators in the parallel connection must be able to communicate logically among themselves.
Connecting two generators in parallel need not be a complicated or risky process. This guide will get you started. If you design a parallel connection correctly, you are guaranteed a power back up and a range of output. A parallel connection will satisfy your demand for more power when you need an alternative power source.