Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Home Generator Set Buyers Guide

We are living through a time when we cannot expect the government and society to work their part and will make you happy.We have seen that cars queuing up and people quarelling for who's first at the petrol pumps when Public Sector Oil Company Officers and Truck Owners striked last week.The utility companies of the kerala state governments is in shreds, namely KSEB.

It is good that government owns KSEB as it is a strategic industry.Power Sector is a facilitator.If it does well, we can expect kerala to make progress. Now what is happening over there.No innovations and mismanagement is the keyword of KSEB.Missing production targets and increasing transmission and distribution losses.I know that the same engineers and administrators can work well and do excellence if they are recruited in some company in the Middle East(Gulf).So it is not about the brain.It is only about the will and the political and trade union culture we have in Kerala.

Why we need a loss making public sector firm?Me, the taxpayer need to pay for the inefficency 
of some clown in the f***ing  board.Meter Rent, Installation charge, education cess on tax, 
thermal subsidy.......this land belongs to devil whose raj is running.

I have embraced the idea of a home generator set dumping the so called "inverter" which KSEB also do not suggest for it's consumers during the usual half an hour power cut.These clowns will sure lead to four or five hours power cut during the day time.To keep up my blogging and maintenance of my websites.I bought a small genset from near by town.It was not a bargain.

Uninterruptable Power System (UPS)

This thing is what local people call "inverter".This device employes a rectifier, battery charger,  and a backup battery and an inverter.Battery is charged using the device's battery charger 
circuit.So ac power is converted to dc and is stored as Chemical Energy in the battery.Now when mains power is on, the load uses the mains.When mains goes off (when kseb gifts you darkness), the high speed switching circuit switches to the inverter circuit which converts dc from the battery to ac power that can be used for your appliances.

Advantage
  1. Computers can be used as switching happens in microseconds (or milliseconds).
  2. Automatic Switching happens so you do not have to bother about any thing.
  3. Easy to install if you know a certified Electrician.
  4. No sound or noise pollution.Can be said as a clean and green thing.
  5. If you are not using it, the power stays in the battery.While in the generator, if you are not using it, then also the fuel is going to burn away.
  6. You don't want to hunt for kerosene and petrol.
Disadvantages
  1. Bulky Device with big battery looking bad in your living room if you are planning to keep it there.
  2. Batteries are expensive now.
  3. Buy good ups (read inverter the world marketing people have taught the public), the local ones are going to get bad certainly.Only a skilled technician can repair the local ones.The branded ones have their own service centres.
  4. You know the habits of batteries.Won't be good after some use.They won't hold charge as they used to after each discharge.
Home Genset (Generator Set)

A home genset is a power generator that produces electricity by burning fossil fuels.There is a 
4 stroke engine similiar to your motorcycle's engine.This engine drives a generator and power is generated due to electromagnetic induction (i forgot all those basic things).Now Honda is the leader in generator sets in India.This thing certainly pollutes.Different models running on petrol, kerosene and LPG are available.Now portable series are small light weight generators for home users providing lesser power.They are noisy.The model i bought has 85dBA noiselevel.For generators providing more than 1KVA , government has made mandatory to make them silent.So the manufacturers cover the body with metal casing and so it becomes silent.

I initially planned to buy EXK 1200 which is recoil start and provides 1200 VA of electricity and is in silent series.This thing costs 33,500 and it is sure to use a lot of kerosene.If i am using 
300Watts from a generator capable of providing 1000W, even if i use 300W, the same amount of fuel that would produce 1000W will burn away in that period of time.So i settled for EBK 650.

Honda Portable EBK650

EBK650 weighs 22 kgs and has a red and black body.It used petrol to start and runs in petrol. This is because petrol has a lower boiling point than kerosene.Before each run, you need to drain the kerosene from the the generator which is an easy process.This is to ensure that the engine starts in petrol.You can run a EBk650 for 6.5 continous hours.It can store 3.4 litres of kerosene and 0.27 litres of petrol.The starting mode is recoil start means you need to pull a string to start similiar to kickstart in a bike.Self start costs 7000 rupees more and i feel pulling the string is better than gifting 7000 rupees to honda and the dealer.It provides rated power of 450 VA and a maximum output power of 550VA.

Installation

Call only electricians who know how to do it.You need to install an change over switch (automatic or manual).Manual change over switches are cheaper but then you need to manually change the switch to generator when power goes and similiarly back to mains when mains come back.Automatic change over Switches switches to generator power but you need to pull recoil and start it.When power comes, the  automatic changeover switch switches off the generator.That is why i say additional wiring goes in to the generator.An electrician with good knowlege can only install this.If you gave chance to some poor guy, he may mess up with it.
Advantage

  1. A person working online can work online even when power goes for a day.Remember a ups need to get charged if all charge goes.Here you need to refill the fuel only.
  2. Complaint with KSEB and saves power of the nation.Power gets wasted in the batteries.
Disadvantage
  1. Poisonous Carbon Monoxide and irritating noise.
  2. Kerosene is not readily available.LPGs cannot be used as they are subsidized for domestic use only.Never economical with commercial LPG cylinders.
  3. Starting Process is difficult for ladies and housewives who are going to use this.
  4. Petrol gets evaporated in the hot tanks.(Maneesh's wild guess and not scientifically proved)
  5. Shell out money for fuel.
  6. Maintenance like oil change etc needed once in a while.
How to Start?
  1. Drain kerosene from the carburator (easy process) and pour it back in the tank.
  2. Put engine switch to Start with choke on.
  3. Off the choke  and shift engine switch to run.
  4. Put Circuit Breaker to On.
How to Stop?
  1. Put Circuit Breaker to Off.
  2. Put Engine Switch to Off.
Visit Honda Siel Power India website for more details about their products.

Your use determines what you want, a UPS or a generator.By the way Generator EBK650 costed me 20700 Indian Rupees along with the automatic changeover switch.A labour charge of 600 Rupees to the electrician and 500 rupees worth other electrical wires and connectors.





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