understanding electricity for portable generators benjamin-franklinDo you recognize this man?  I’d ask you to look on a hundred dollar bill, but if you’re like me, you don’t have one lying around.  Well it’s Ben Franklin.  Remember him and his kite and his key in the lightning storm?  Well from lightning to the shock that you’d give your sister after rubbing your feet on the rug, we know it’s there but don’t know much about it.

But now you’ve purchased a portable generator or are thinking about it.  You want an understanding of electricity for portable generators to get the most use out of one, but also to operate it safely.  You know that a motor turns mechanical energy into electrical energy (read “How a Portable Generator Works” on this site).  You see receptacles on the power panel.  Some look simple enough – like the ones on your kitchen walls.  But some larger models have some funny looking power outlets. For a general review of some typical outlets and necessary power cords, check out the article on extension cords on this site.

You might be confused by the designations on the power panel like 120V/240V, 30A, 60Hz and the model number is based on its watts.  You want at least enough knowledge to know how to safely use a portable generator.  You will not be a certified electrician after reading this (nor am I), but you will gain a basic knowledge of electricity whether supplied by your power company or by your portable generator. Read the rest of this entry