Conventional Generators and Inverter Generator Questions

There are two significantly different technologies available in Generators.

The Conventional Generator has been around for a long time.  It is basically a motor attached to an alternator.  The motor is directly connected to the alternator and normally must run at 3600 rpm to produce 120 Volt 60 hertz  AC power.  If the RPM of the motor fluctuates so does the Hertz or cycles per second of the output.

The Inverter Generator is a relatively new invention.  The Inverter Generator uses a different type of alternator from the Conventional Generator. Usually the Inverter alternator produces 3 phase AC power.  This power is then converted to DC current.  The DC Current is then converted (inverted) into 120 volt AC power.  The resulting power is often much cleaner* than the power from a conventional generator. 

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60 cycles per Second

This is the speed of the AC in most electrical systems in the US.  With a conventional generator this is determined by the speed of the motor.  As the load increases on the motor this can vary a bit.  Most Electrical Motors and most electronic equipment are very sensitive to variations in the cycles per second of the electrical power.  Variations in the cycles per second makes very little difference if you are using the generator to charge batteries if the power varies.

With an inverter generator the cycles per second are very consistent because it is controlled by the digital inverter.  

What is the difference between an Inverter and an Inverter Generator?

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What are the Disadvantages of an Inverter Generator?

What are the Benefits of a Conventional Generator?

What are the Disadvantages of a Conventional Generator?

What Costs More an Inverter Generator or a Conventional Generator?

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Quiet Generators
The quietest portable generators are usually inverter generators. 

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Load variation
If the load you are running on your generator is pretty constant then a Conventional generator might work fine as long as your load is between 50 and 70 percent of the rating of the Generator.  If the load is quite variable then an Inverter Generator will adjust to the different loads better and will save you significantly by using less gas.

Recreational Vehicle RV Generators
For instance if you are going to run lights and a refrigerator and an air conditioner on your generator you will have very wide ranging power demands.  The starting load demands of an air conditioner and a refrigerator are quite high while the running loads are much lower.

Often RVers use a generator that is sitting 10 to 40 feet away from Recreational vehicle because this cuts down on the noise and the vibration the generator creates.

Generator limitations in Campgrounds
Inverter generators are becoming a lot more popular as RV generators because they are usually quieter.

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Corded Power Tools
I have converted all of my tools back to corded power.  My Drills, saws, my weed eater, almost every tool I use except my lawn mower are corded.  With one good generator I can power any of my tools.   Instead of having battery powered tools with outrageously priced batteries and gas powered weed eaters that never want to start.

There are a couple more reasons I have not replaced my battery powered tools.  The switch to Lithium batteries has improved the power of cordless equipment but in my experience the batteries will quit working relatively quickly.  If you buy good corded tools they will last and work a lot longer.  

I have one good generator that will start first or second pull and a couple of good heavy gauge 25 foot extension cords.  It is important, I feel to use your generator regularly so you know it will work when you need it.

Battery Power vs Generator Power
There are a lot of power usages where you can use batteries instead of generators.  I do not use a generator for lighting, charging cell phones, or charging laptops or running small electrical equipment when the Electrical Grid is down. 
Any electical use that does not take much power I try to power with rechargeable batteries.  If I do not use the item much at all and it doesn't draw much power then I use disposable aa or aaa batteroes.
What I use for Battery power
All of my emergency lighting is LED so I use either AA or AAA batteries for my lighting.  The fluorescent battery powered lights can work well but they usually use a lot of power to get them started.  You can get LED battery powered lights that use very little energy to start and use.

The Jump Box Battery
I have a couple of Jump Box Batteries from Costco that I use for heavier battery use.  The Jump Box is designed to be an emergency jumper for cars with dead batteries.  It also has a cigarette lighter style output that I use to both charge my jumpbox and to plug 120v inverters into.  It also comes with a built in plug in charger and a volt meter to show how much power I have used.  Also it has a small LED light and a
I plug a 120 volt inverter into my jump box to recharge my cell phone and laptop computers.
Rechargeable Batteries
There are three things that are very hard on most batteries. Over discharging your batteries, overcharging your batteries and overheating your batteries..
Rechargeable Batteries
There are three things that are very hard on most batteries. Over discharging your batteries, overcharging your batteries and overheating your batteries.
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