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So What Are The Differences Between a Generator and an Inverter Generator?

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Generators are machines that create electricity from mechanical energy. Electric generators can either produce DC or AC electricity for domestic applications and power-station energy production. Large-scale generators often use natural gas, coal or nuclear energy while portable generators commonly use diesel fuel or gasoline to produce electricity.

While generators produce electrical power, inverters are machines used to change direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and vice versa. Often, inverters are applied when there is need to obtain AC power from DC power for use with various appliances. Though these units have distinct functions, inverter generators perform both the functions of producing electricity and inter-converting power from AC to DC or vice versa for better energy efficiency.

inverter generator

Generator Vs Inverter Generator

Inverter generators have lower power wattage than regular full-size ones (usually generating 3000W and above). Subsequently, the standard generators are capable of powering several items at ago while inverter generators can only power a specific number of items depending on its total wattage. Since generators have huge power wattage, it is valuable to seek professional advice on how to use their total wattage without breaking it.

On the other hand, inverter units offer smoother and cleaner electric current that can be used to drive more sensitive electronics and computer systems. Full size units will, however, operate delicate equipment and computers safely ONLY when first plugged into surge protectors. 

Secondly, inverter generators have dual roles of electricity generation and conversion of AC power to DC power and back. Like a traditional generator, the inverter  will produce AC power, then convert the power into DC power which can be re-converted back to AC. The result is a steadier and smoother electric power than that generated by a full-size generator.

Inverter units are more fuel efficient than full-size units and operate more quietly than full-size standard ones. Conversely, standard generators only perform a single function of producing power and lack the capacity to convert the produced electricity into various forms (AC and DC). The standard ones are nonetheless invaluable in powering tasks that require lots of energy, such as heating and cooking.

Inverters have engines that run at variable speeds depending on the load. The engines are usually connected to efficient alternators whose power inputs are in turn converted into DC power by rectifiers and made smooth by capacitors. The resultant raw DC power gets inverted into steady and smooth AC power that runs at proper voltage and frequency which matches the output requirements (like 220-240VAC equivalent to 50-60HZ). Inverters  are highly regulated and will use very little fuel to handle small loads.

On the contrary, standard generators are simply engines connected to alternators. They run at higher speeds, which are bigger multiples of desired AC frequencies, regardless of the load powered. Since the alternator's output is connected straight to the load, slight increases in load sizes open the throttles further and keep the engine running at the same speed gap. Engine speed controls  vary greatly. Usually, however, any constant speed mechanical feedback governor can be used as a speed control. When pairing the 2, one can notice that the differences are both structural and functional.

More Resources About Generators

The Yamaha EF1000iS - Is it Right for You?

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Generator

Some Benefits of The Yamahaef1000is Generator

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Comments

Jul 30, 2014 5:31am
Gonco
Informative article.
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