The dangers of variation

Dennis Talbot explains how operating the wrong generator at home can have disastrous consequences - but is very easy to avoid.

Don’t know the difference between sine waves with a 23% variation and 1% variation?

It could be more important than you think.

Dennis Talbot from Strike Force generators  said using the wrong generator for a task, such as powering a household, could result in frying all your household appliances.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “But if you get it wrong, there are major consequences.”

This difficulty comes down to the specifc variation of the sine waves in the generators.

“Prior to 2005, generators featured ‘box-looking’ sine waves with a variation of 23%,” he said. “This meant a generator of 8 KVA could start an engine which required 23% more energy due to the variation.”

However, this kind fluctuation and variation makes the generator unsuitable for household appliances and other smaller devices.

“Around 2006, they brought out pure sine waves - which look kind of like corrugated iron on a roof rather than square – but these had a variation of 5% which was still too much,” said Mr Talbot.

“The new pure sine wave we use are less than 1% - as close to perfect as you will get.”

“Some appliances will not run on anything more than 1%,” he said. “Like solar panels, many of the new models won’t run on anything over 1%.”

He explained however, that as the new generators only have a variation of 1%, they can’t be used to start larger machinery the same way a 23% variation model can.

“Instead, for large machinery you have to buy a larger generator.”

Mr Talbot explained how a generator with a variation of 23% were useful in certain circumstances. For example, having an 8 KVA generator with 23% variation would allow to start up 10 KVA machinery.

“Variation can be a good thing if you have a very weak, or low-powered generator. A 23% variation can still start a bigger machine,” he said.

“However, if you were to use a generator with 23% variation to power household appliances it will blow your computer, your TV, your microwave – all your devices.”

Mr Talbot’s take home message is clear:  If you buy a 23% generator, don’t use it on your house or electrical appliances, it’ll fry them.

"It’s pretty simple, but if you do it wrong you’ll have some pretty serious problems!”