It is a common question that generator sales professionals receive from potential and actual generator clients. Can you parallel non-inverter generators? Yes, it is possible to parallel two non-inverter generators even when they are not of the same brand.
However, it is a complicated process that requires some adjustments to ensure the connection is successful.
Simply mistakes in the connection process can cause damages to your two sets of generators.
Even from the parallel connection, you are unlikely to get 100% power output from each unit, and you can achieve up to 80-85% power output from both.
As might be expected, connecting two parallel compatible generators is easy than when the two are non-inverter.
Even so, there are ways to settling the challenges. Read on to learn more on paralleling non-inverter generators.
What Does Paralleling Generators Mean?
Running generators in parallel or paralleling generators implies duo generators’ physical connection in parallel to achieve double the power output.
Normally, a parallel connection of two generators with similar power output or the same model is easy.
If you have an RV AC unit with a 50A connection plug, you will not power it from a generator with a maximum of 30A connector.
To successfully power such a large RV air conditioning unit, you will need more power. Parallel connecting two generators, each with a maximum of 30A connector, will be sufficient to power the large AC unit.
Additionally, powering an RV on a single small generator can push it to the limit wattage capacity.
The situation can worsen if you power other appliances such as a refrigerator, cookers, and lights alongside the AC unit; this will certainly put your generator on its limit.
The engine will start sputtering, and this can damage your delicate electric equipment.
However, doing a parallel connection of two generators will boost the wattage limit upwards, and you will not worry about power failures.
The key reasons for paralleling your generators are;
- It offers you reliability. In case one generator breaks down, you will still enjoy the power supply from the other one. It is a good backup plan for your power needs.
- It offers you greater flexibility to utilize your fuel against your power demands. Double the power output so that you can meet your power demands, such as sufficient power to run your RV air conditioning system. Alternatively, if your power demands are less, you can run a single generator: an energy-saving tip.
- Ease maintenance: With a parallel connection, you can service one generator and still maintain an active power backup system since the other unit will be active.
- It offers customizable power options and saves on carrying or storage space.
When connecting your generators parallel, you will need to have a tiebreaker, a voltmeter, and a set of good wires that can transmit the power from the two generators.
Besides these accessories, you will also need to phase-match as well as synchronize the two generators.
What Is Synchronization Of Generators?
To utilize the generated power from your generators’ parallel connection, you need to synchronize the two units. There is a risk of damaging your electrical equipment and the generators if synchronization is not done.
Synchronizing two generators matches the frequency, voltage, waveform, and speed of the units. It is critical to ensure that the parameters being synchronized are matching before you power the two generators.
For synchronization to be complete, here are the conditions to meet;
- The waveform of the two units must be a sine wave.
- Look at the phase sequence: You must ensure that the phase sequence of the dual generators is in the right order; that is, the starting voltage of the two units must be the same. This is mostly in the case of a three-phase system.
- Using a three-phase system, you should ensure that the phase angle variance between two sine waveforms is nil.
- There should be no voltage amplitude difference. The two generators you are linking must generate the same voltage level.
In most cases, generators’ synchronization is done when you intend to parallel run more than two generators.
What Are The Risks Of A Faulty Synchronization?
Wiring errors can lead to faulty synchronization. It may have negative consequences, which includes;
- Power fluctuations caused by voltage deviations
- It can reduce the lifetime of your generator’s internal components.
Factors To Consider When Connecting Non-Inverter Generators Parallel
In most cases, generator users link two generators that are of the same power output and frequency. Doing a parallel connection to such a set is easier.
However, this does not mean that they cannot connect generators of different brands and power outputs. Even so, there are several aspects you need to put into considerations before you connect them.
Here is what you need to consider:
Check on load sharing
The two generators should have a similar power output. You can achieve this by doing some adjustments.
Keep an eye on the bus voltage of the two units so that you can try to balance the production. Load sharing is paramount whenever you are paralleling generators; none of the two units should be under-loaded or overloaded.
Load sharing also guarantees the stability of the paralleling system.
As the load demand increases, the two-unit will concurrently burn more fuel to meet the power demand.
Check on the alternators’ compatibility
Any inconsistencies between in frequencies of the two sets of generators can lead to a motoring effect.
This effect can overburden the generators and the distribution system when you connect them.
You can find information about alternator compatibility on the generator’s user manual or the manufacturers’ website.
Compatible alternators mean generators you’re paralleling are compatible.
Compatibility of the engines
It is easy to parallel connect two generators of the same engine size and speed.
However, if the engines do not have the same capacity, you should at least have the skill to adjust the volume to an equal kW value.
Using the appropriate adapter cable
Whether you are parallel connecting two non-inverter generators of different brands or a similar brand, you will depend on adapter cables.
The adapter cables are your paralleling kit. It is common to find each manufacturer with their particular adapter cables.
However, there are those which may be compatible with different models.
For the paralleling activity to be complete, you should ensure that your paralleling cables are of the right quality.
How Many Ways Can I Parallel Connect My Generator?
You can either parallel link your generators through the droop or isochronous way.
Most generator users find it easy to use the droop to connect generators of different models and power output.
Nonetheless, isochronous is the ideal method because control systems in the generators ensure appropriate and harmless load sharing between the connected units.
Is It Possible Parallel Connect A Non-Parallel Generator With A Parallel-Ready Generator?
Yes, this is possible. Connect the output receptacle of the non-parallel generator to the one that is parallel capable.
It would help if you first started the non-parallel generator before starting the parallel capable one.
With such a setting, the parallel abled generator will automatically adjust itself subject to the load applied.
Even though this process will power your electronics, it is a risky process that you should avoid; otherwise, it can cause damages to your generator and appliances you’re powering should anything go wrong during the process.
Should You Buy A Large Generator Or Parallel Link Two Small Generators?
Many large inverter and non-inverter generators in the market can deliver large power outputs than parallel connecting two units.
However, there are various reasons that one may choose to have two smaller generators linked together than buying one large unit. Here are reasons why parallel connecting generators is ideal than buying a large one;
When one realizes that they temporarily need more power supply than what their generator can deliver, in this case, it will make more sense to buying another small unit and adding it into the current connection to supplement each other than completely abandoning the current set-up.
A single unit can run on its own if the power demand is low, and you can link two units when the power demands are high. Furthermore, the extra power needs may be temporary.
It is fuel-efficient. Large generators are mostly non-inverters that run at a constant throttle regardless of the load unless you manually adjust them.
Therefore, it will be inefficient to run a large generator to supply minimal power demands, while running a single small unit would meet the power demands.
You are sure of a backup plan should one unit fail while you are off the grid.
While a single unit may not deliver all your power demands, it can power your basic electrical equipment and keep you going as you work on repairing the other one.
It wouldn’t have been so if you had a single large unit.
Large generators are costly to acquire and maintain than adding small or midrange generators for parallel connection.
However, there are instances when a large generator is better than going through the troubles of doing a parallel generator connection.
If you are constantly powering a large RV, then going for a larger unit could be better for you than doing the parallel connections now and then.
What Happens When A Generator Is Abruptly Disconnected From A Running Parallel Connection?
There could be different outcomes;
If the circuit breaker is tripped when the generators are separated, then the remaining generators in the connection will share the load that was on the ramped-off unit. This means there is no negative effect.
However, this is only possible if the remaining generators on the connection are rated above the current load.
In normal circumstances, the remaining units on the connection will peak up the step-load, but there may be some slight interruption from the voltage and frequency drop, which is for few seconds.
However, if the step-load is more than what the remaining generators can supply, then the output circuit breakers will trip because of low frequency, or the generators can completely shut down.
Does Paralleling Harm Your Generators?
Whether you are paralleling non-inverter or inverter generators, you will not harm them in any way.
However, there is a condition: You have to be very keen on the manufacturer’s parallel connection instructions.
Any act of negligence while doing the parallel connection can be costly.
Should You Invest In Inverter Generator or A Non-Inverter Generator?
Both inverter and non-inverter generators will meet your power demands whenever you are off the grid. However, the two have some mechanical and operation differences.
The suitability of either of the two will depend on your situation. How do they differ mechanically?
An inverter generator is an ordinary generator but with an in-built inverter, while a non-inverter generator does not have an inverter.
Additionally, inverter generators are lighter, small, and quieter compared to the non-inverter ones. The lightness of inverter units makes them portable, which explains why campers love them.
Even so, there are non-inverter generators that come with wheel kits that aides in their movability.
Besides the mechanical differences, the two types of generators differ in inefficiency.
The conversion does away with the cases of power fluctuations which is common when running a non-inverter generator.
With the inverter technology, inverter generators can automatically regulate their engine speed relying on the existing load, and this reduces noise production and fuel consumption.
On the other hand, non-inverter generators run at a constant speed, which means their power output is reliable.
However, such units can generate a lot of noise, and their fuel consumption is high regardless of whether they are on full load or quarter load hence not fuel-efficient.
Inverter generators produce pure power, that is, power with a total harmonic distortion of less than 5%, which is safe for powering vulnerable electronics, thanks to the inverter technology.
Non-inverter generators do not produce a pure sine wave.
Non-inverter generators are big in physical size with big fuel tanks, which means they can run longer hours.
Furthermore, most non-inverter generators produce more output power than inverter units.
- Most inverter generators are parallel-ready. With a parallel kit in hand, you can easily connect pair two inverter generators to double their power output.
However, for the non-inverter generators, you can work technically par them, but many risks are involved.
- Non-inverter generators are an affordable option for more power, unlike expensive inverter generators.
Inverter generators are costly because of their numerous benefits and operate on new technology.
So if you are wondering whether to go for an inverter generator or non-inverter, your power demands and where you want the power supplied must be factored in.
If all you need is power and are working on a tight budget, a non-inverter generator is better.
Nonetheless, if you are looking for a portable generator, fuel-efficient produces clean power, and operates silently, go for an inverter generator.
Key Factors To Consider When Buying A Generator
Generators are by far the most powerful reliable sources regardless of wherever you are going.
Whether you are an RV traveler in the summer season or staying at home during the winter and off the grid, a generator will deliver your power needs.
Here are some insights to help in shopping for the ideal generator for your needs.
- How much power do you need? The size of the generator that you will buy will depend on your power requirements.
The number of electrical appliances you need to run when you are off the grid will determine your power requirements, dictating the size of the generator you need.
Its power output determines the size of the generator.
- Which type of generator are you looking for? There are standby generators, portable and electric generators.
When looking at the types, you should also factor in their fuel source: propane, gasoline, or diesel?
Some brands come with dual fuel capabilities, and such models give you the flexibility to choose your preferred source of fuel.
While looking at the types, you can also factor in whether an inverter generator is ideal or non-inverter.
Portable generators are ideal for RVs and outdoor activities, including camping remote working at construction sites.
At the same time, standby generators are those generators that automatically start when your electricity goes off.
- What are the physical features of the generator?
Look at the portability, physical size, noise level it produces, among other features. Your generator’s storage space may dictate the size of the generator you will buy.
Too much noise may be a bother to you and your neighbors both at home and even when camping; find one with reasonable noise ratings.
There are also inverter generators and one may as why are inverter generators so quiet?
- Look at the fuel efficiency of the generator.
Whether you are looking for a generator for your RV, home power backup plan, or outdoor job power demands, you need a fuel-efficient unit. Or else, you will end up spending a lot on refueling.
- Does the unit come with a warranty period and post-sale service?
The best generator model has a long warranty period, and the manufacturer also offers efficient post-sales services.
Buying the best generator for your needs will keep you powered whenever you run your electrical appliances.
Safety Precautions To Observe When Using Generators
Apart from being cautious when paralleling non-inverter generators, it would be best to learn how to be safe when the units are running.
The wrong usage of generators can lead to the destruction of properties or, worse, loss of lives.
According to research, generators’ poor usage is among the leading contributors of most home fires and loss of lives from the poisoning of carbon monoxide.
Here are safety tips to observe:
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions.
- To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, you should never run your generator indoors, in the crawl spaces, garage, or in an enclosed area. When generators are running, they burn fuel which produces carbon monoxide, which can be poisonous when inhaled in large quantities.
- You should also avoid using generators near your windows and doors, or else carbon monoxide will enter your house.
- Installing a carbon monoxide alarm system in your house is important. It will alert you when there are higher levels of carbon monoxide in your house.
- Avoid overloading your generators. Always check on the maximum wattage of the generator to ensure it is within the required load.
- Use quality cables: whether you are paralleling connecting your generators or not, quality cables are a must.
- Never fuel your generator when it is running or when it is yet to cool. Ensure it is off and it has cooled before fueling; this is to avert potential risks of starting a fire.
Yes, you can parallel connect non-inverter generators. However, you should be careful or else, and you may end up damaging both your electrical appliances and the generators.
While paralleling will double the generators’ output, paralleling non-inverter generators does not lead to 100% power output from each unit in the parallel connection; instead, you can get about 80-85% power output from the two.
Depending on your situation, paralleling two non-inverter generators is better than going for one large generator.
By paralleling your generators, you only need to double the power output when you have more power demands; when you don’t have a high power demand, you can run a single unit.
Furthermore, you can service one unit while the other one is running; this ensures that you don’t experience power blackout because of maintenance or repairing the other unit.
However, if you constantly need a high power supply, investing in a large generator is encouraged.
Paralleling your non-inverter generators does not harm them.
However, this is only guaranteed if you will be keen on it when doing the connection. In the market of generators, you can get both inverter and non-inverter generators.
The option is yours to make depending on your needs and specifications. Remember, both are good but for different scenarios.
When buying a generator, put your power needs first, ensure the size of unit you are settling for is capable of meeting your needs.
Safety precautions should be followed when using a generator. Otherwise, it may lead to the destruction of properties and loss of life.