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Generators - Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question that’s not answered here? Contact us – we’ll be happy to help!

When choosing a generator, you need to weigh up power output, fuel efficiency, weight, portability, durability and safety features…not to mention your budget. At My Generator, we’ve done the hard work for you. It doesn’t matter whether you want to power up your campsite, a major event, a construction site, or even your home when disaster strikes, we’ve made it easy to find generators designed specifically for your needs. Simply take a look at the Generators - Buyer Guide. All our generators are sourced from quality Australian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese companies.

The size of the generator determines the type and number of appliances you can power. You need to work out the amount of power you need to not only run your appliances, but to start them. For example, an electric drill might need 900W starting power but only 600W to keep it running. You can find this information in the appliance user manual. If you’re unsure, ask an electrician or speak to My Generator. Check the power requirements for each of the appliances you intend to run off the generator at any one time. Total the running power loads. Then look at the appliance with the highest starting power requirement and add this figure to the total. You need to choose a generator that produces more power than this figure. Remember – do not overload the generator, as this may blow a fuse on the generator or worse still, damage the connected equipment. For more information, check out our Generators - Buyer Guide.

  1. Ensure clean fresh fuel is being used.
  2. Ensure engine on/off switch is set to ON.
  3. Ensure the choke (if equipped) is set to ON only for the first few minutes of starting attempts.
  4. If the unit is equipped with a vent valve on the fuel cap, insure the valve is OPEN.
  5. If the unit is equipped with a rubber priming bulb/thimble on the rear, ensure it has been pressed enough times to pump fuel all the way through the system.
  6. In the case of an electric start model, I turn the ignition key and nothing happens. The engine will not turn over and will not start.
    The battery is flat or not connected. Check the connections. The battery must be charged. A 12V battery charger can be used for charging. Alternately the unit can be jump-started from a car battery. The engine will recharge the battery when the engine is running. It will take around an hour. The battery must be charged each month or left on trickle charge if the air compressor is not being used for long periods of time.
  7. Check that the engine has enough oil in it. Some engines have a sensor that prevents the engine starting when the engine oil gets low. With the engine sitting completely level, fill the engine oil until no more can be put in. It is very important that the engine is completely level when refilling engine oil - do not tilt the engine or you may end up with too much oil in the engine.

For most generators 10W-30 or 15W-40 or 20W-50 engine oil available from an automotive shop like Repco or Supercheap Auto. The specific recommend engine oil for a particular make/model will be located in the instruction manual.

We recommend unleaded fuel carrying a 95 or 96 RON rating

  1. Ensure the fuel tank breather valve on the fuel cap is in the open position.
  2. Make sure the choke is in run position.

The battery must be removed from unit before using an external charger to charge the battery.

To test if the unit is correctly charging the battery please follow these steps.

  1. Disconnect your battery.
  2. Start your machine with the pull start.
  3. Test the red and black cables that went to the battery. If they show a 12V supply, then your battery is being charged.

If the remote control switch is left in the on position it will drain your battery.

Earth straps are only used to run highly sensitive equipment and is not required for general purpose use of the item.

We recommend a surge protector against sensitive equipment that you may connect to the generator eg. Computers, television etc.

Please note that 3 phase generators only supply approx one-third of the total power to an individual 240 Volt outlet. We list this on the main advertising pages to help selection of the correct generator. Simply ensure you only connect appliances that draw no more than one-third of the generators total output to a single 240 Volt outlet. When connecting multiple appliances, ensure they are spread across all outlets.

A long range fuel tank allows you to run your generator for long periods of time without refilling. While a standard fuel tank might last between 2-4 hours, a long range fuel tank means you can enjoy anywhere up to 12 hours of operation. Some generators can be customised to include a long range fuel tank. This is ideal for sites that need constant power but are located far from an electric source, such as some construction or mining sites.

Yes, if you have the right generator. It all comes down to the type of voltage control. A generator with automatic voltage regulation (AVR) such as the Subaru AVR 2.4kVA is suitable for sensitive equipment as it is designed to consistently control voltage. The AVR keeps the output voltage more constant, regardless of the load. This means no spikes that might damage equipment. Alternatively, an Inverter generator such as the Yamaha 2000w Inverter produces the cleanest power of all generators. It is especially good for sensitive computing equipment as it maintains an extremely high accuracy level of voltage and frequency fluctuation with very low wave distortion. Running a computer or laptop from a standard generator is not advisable.

The simple answer is, you don’t need to. Generators are designed to be safe and reliable. However, if you’re concerned about safety, choose a model with special safety features such as an auto shut-off valve, fuseless circuit breakers, AC circuit breaker, and safety muffler.

If you do choose to use a power breaker, remember that a generator is configured differently to your mains supply. The generator has a ‘floating earth’, while the mains has an earthed neutral. Personal power breakers are designed to operate from the mains, so if you’re using one with a generator you need to modify the generator so it is configured in the same way as the mains. Speak to a qualified electrician before making any changes, as once the generator has been modified, it is necessary to always use a personal power breaker and an earth spike, which connects between the generator frame and the ground. We recommend not making any unnecessary changes.

Contact a qualified electrician. If you’re planning on using a generator as an alternative supply to the mains, there are some important precautions that must be observed. Do not attempt to connect the generator yourself.

kW (kilowatt) is the unit of real power and kVA (kilovolt-ampere) is the unit of apparent power. In other words, kVA is the total power that appears to be flowing, but it includes the net power that is flowing in one direction and the amount of power circulating back and forth between the source and the connected load. The net power that is flowing from the source to the load is the real power, the kW. The difference between kW and kVA is the power factor (pf). To determine the kW and kVA ratio, the below formula is used:

Power Factor x kVA = kW
e.g. 0.8 x 625 kVA = 500 kW

Generator sets are usually shown with both ratings.

The power factor (pf) is the ratio between kilowatts (kW) and kilovolt amps (kVA) that is drawn from an electrical load. It is determined by the generator’s connected load. Generators with a higher power factor will more efficiently transfer energy to the connected load, while lower power factors are not as efficient. Most three-phase generators have a power factor of 0.8, while most single-phase generators have a power factor of 1.

Yes, if you have the right generator. The output from a portable generator is not as stable as the supply from the mains, so it all comes down to the alternator. A generator with automatic voltage regulation (AVR) such as the Yamaha 5500w AVR is suitable for sensitive equipment as it is designed to consistently control voltage. The AVR keeps the output voltage more constant, regardless of the load. This means no spikes that might damage equipment. Alternatively, an Inverter generator such as the Subaru 1650W Inverter produces the cleanest power of all generators. “Clean power” is electrical current that is consistent and has a stable sine wave, or signal. The inverter technology takes the raw power produced by the generator and passes it through a special microprocessor to produce clean power. This can result in a sine wave equal to or better than the current from your household AC wall outlet. Definitely good enough for sensitive computing equipment! Check out our Inverter Generator range. Running sensitive equipment from a standard generator is not advisable. If you are unsure, speak to My Generator or ask the equipment supplier.

An Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) provides a more stable voltage output to compensate for the variation in voltage from load changes. It is ideal for when power is needed for more sensitive equipment or to start electric motors. For more information see our AVR Generator Range which features both petrol and diesel AVR generators.

It depends on the motor. The high current that some motors draw when starting causes a voltage dip in the generator. The starting current can be several times the rated full load current. This requires a larger generator. For example, induction type motors (capacitor start/capacitor run) require additional current to start. On the other hand, motors fitted to hand tools generally do not require any additional start-up current. We recommend you ask the equipment supplier whether the equipment requires an additional start-up current.

A welder is rated by its output current. Therefore, to estimate its input power, you need to divide the output rating by 30. For example, a 130-amp welder has an input requirement of approximately 4.3kW (130÷30). A 200-amp welder has an input requirement of approximately 6.7kW (200÷30). Because this is an estimate, we recommend you choose a generator with more power than is required. It is unlikely you will require the full capacity of your welder; a smaller generator would still operate the welder but would limit the welding current. We have a comprehensive range of both AC and DC welders; be they Petrol Welders or Diesel Welders.