Fea­ture: Gen­er­a­tor tips

When it comes to gen­er­a­tors there are a lot of dif­fer­ent op­tions on the mar­ket. Be­cause every job is dif­fer­ent, it’s im­por­tant to know roughly how much power you are likely need on­site

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Contents -

Gen­er­a­tors vary hugely in size and per­for­mance. From huge trailer mounted beasts, right down to your lit­tle esky-sized, highly por­ta­ble unit.

It’s ob­vi­ously not eco­nom­i­cal to be run­ning some­thing with a much higher out­put than what’s re­quired, but con­versely it’s frus­trat­ing to be us­ing some­thing that is strug­gling to keep up. We’ve put to­gether some tips for any­one look­ing to rent or buy one.


To be­gin, it all starts with choos­ing the right gen­er­a­tor for your spe­cific power re­quire­ments. Write down all the items that you plan on us­ing with the gen­er­a­tor; ver­ify the num­ber of watts for each item, then add up your to­tal power re­quire­ments. Ask the renter or seller for a fore­cast on fuel con­sump­tion, if they don’t know then this in­for­ma­tion should be avail­able from the gen­er­a­tor man­u­fac­turer.

Fuel con­sump­tion can some­times be achieved by link­ing up sev­eral smaller gen­er­a­tors, rather than us­ing one high-pow­ered one, so that’s al­ways worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing as an op­tion if it’s prac­ti­cal. It can also pay to get a gen­er­a­tor that has a power man­age­ment sys­tem (PMS), which op­ti­mises the fuel con­sump­tion of gen­er­a­tors de­pend­ing on the cur­rent load de­mand.

Note: Al­ways add the nec­es­sary amount of oil, ac­cord­ing to the model you are work­ing with. Most will have an area that shows the oil level so you know how much to pour. Please note that the oil level should be checked be­fore every use and changed af­ter about 20 hours of con­tin­u­ous run­ning. Gen­er­a­tors are highly prone to in­ter­nal dam­age if they are not care­fully and reg­u­larly main­tained. Run­ning one while low on oil must be avoided.


While the make and model are not al­ways that crit­i­cal, the gen­er­a­tor man­u­fac­turer’s his­tory and rep­u­ta­tion should def­i­nitely play a role when your com­pany is choos­ing to rely on used machinery.

Since you are pur­chas­ing a prod­uct that you will most likely come to rely on for elec­tric power at some point (whether you are buy­ing a prime or emer­gency standby gen­er­a­tor), now is not re­ally the time to be cut­ting corners or tak­ing big chances on un­known brands.

It’s al­ways a good idea to go with a trusted man­u­fac­turer which has a rep­u­ta­tion for pro­duc­ing equip­ment that can stand the stress and test of time, so you can find parts and ser­vice that’s read­ily avail­able if nec­es­sary.


A gen­er­a­tor can un­dergo sig­nif­i­cant wear and tear dur­ing op­er­a­tion, so it’s im­por­tant to check all me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents for wear and tear and to see if any of the me­chan­i­cal parts have any cracks or cor­ro­sion built up. If any part is found to be ques­tion­able, it should be re­placed, ideally with com­po­nents rec­om­mended by the man­u­fac­turer. The unit could still be per­fectly re­li­able even if it has had an en­gine re­place­ment, but it pays to do a close vis­ual in­spec­tion and ask the seller/renter to give you a quick demon­stra­tion of the gen­er­a­tor in ac­tion if pos­si­ble.

Ideally the bear­ings and bush­ings should all be re­placed, if this hasn’t al­ready been done by the dealer. The bear­ings and bush­ings are sub­ject to stress dur­ing the gen­er­a­tor op­er­a­tion and it is very dif­fi­cult to test these parts for any stress they have been sub­jected to. Check or have some­one check the welds for in­tegrity; in­spect elec­tri­cal com­po­nents and wind­ings for in­tegrity and test wire in­su­la­tions for break­down if pos­si­ble.

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