Paralleling Generators – How Does it Work

Updated On: February 1, 2021
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Paralleling your generator is basically connecting two generators together to get double the power rating. It also gives off extra starting power and running power for the various appliances of your house. Paralleling your generator is a relatively new concept, and they mostly exist in inverter generators. Inverter generators are generally the better generators in terms of clean energy, noise, and safety of your electrical devices. Still, they are costly and have a comparatively lower power output than the typical portable generator. To get a better idea about the differences between a portable generator and an inverter generator and which one is right for you, check out this article we published recently. 

Running generators on a parallel system is a generally new approach that has been common in other forms of electronics before. Equations and power rates are very similar. Once you comprehend the numbers behind what your generator is putting out and what you are requesting from the generator, running two generators might be the appropriate answer to your problems. A sole power source (for this case, a portable generator) puts out force at a consistent rate.

It is the labeled number in the manual or in all likelihood in the model number itself. However, a typical portable generator struggles to keep a constant RPM that creates fluctuations and prevents it from providing clean power. It is where things like the power line conditioners come into play. For the inverter generator, you don’t need power line conditioners or other power stabilizers because they can provide clean energy, which unfortunately also elevates their pricing. In the event that you are running a 2000-watt portable generator, you are likely getting 2000 watts surge power (starting power) and around 1500 watts running power.

Paralleling Generators

This distinction between the two exists in the generators’ capabilities of providing a starting power requirement of different household appliances, for example, when engines kick-on in some accessories, they necessitate an underlying beat of electricity-requirement to start. Once they are up and running, they can run at a lower power rate. All electric devices have a minimum running watt requirement, and some of them may require additional starting watt.

Usually, tools that have a motor will need a surge of electricity for the engine to start, and this is where the requirement of starting watt kicks in. Generators usually have their running and starting power labeled, which is vital to note as some devices with high starting power requirements may cause serious harm to the generator or vice versa if the minimum starting watt requirement isn’t met. We wrote a comprehensive article on generator starting and running power that you can check to get a better insight.

When you include a subsequent power source and run parallel generators, you can expand that wattage and run bigger apparatuses. Wattage is the estimation of how much power streams from a spot to another. So, if your generator is running yet, you don’t have anything connected to it, you have a lot of potential power but are not drawing any power out. Plugging an appliance brings out the required wattage to make it operate. You can calculate it easily using a Power Calculator to get an idea of the total running watt requirement until it nears the border of your generator’s running-watt rating. Paralleling your generator will double that running watt rating that your generator can provide.

A few numbers won’t change past the minor variances present in portable generators. In the end, you are putting out a similar voltage. Yet, you have expanded the amperage ability and permitted higher power to course through the circuit in this manner, expanding the wattage rating. On the off chance that this appears to be excessively complicated for you, fortunately, numerous makers make it simple for you with necessary generator kits.

Why bother paralleling your generator? 

So, you may ask, for what reason would I have to run parallel generators? When is it advantageous for me? Well, the significant part of running a parallel generator framework comes in having the advantage of the expanded limit with regards to current draw and wattage output. Taking two generators, both running 120V AC, and associating them in a parallel connection, will expand the amperage on the consolidated power output. It is why you may see two generators, each having up to 30A connector be associated through a parallel generator unit by the manufacturer with a 50A connector on the board. On the off chance that you have a huge RV with a 50A plug, you wouldn’t have the option to run it off a single generator. However, you will be able to make that connection once you have them paralleled.

Your RV may likewise be pushing the boundary of your single generator’s wattage limit. In case you’re running the cooler, TV, lights, and so forth, and when the air conditioning system kicks on, the surge of power might be sufficient to overextend your generator’s limit. It can prove harmful both for your generator and the devices using the generator to operate at that time. If your generator is pushing its limit, you’ll hear the motor faltering, brownout the current electrical conceivably causing harm to a portion of your sensitive pricey hardware. Running parallel generators will help with the maximum limit of your generator, elevating it well past that critical point. You won’t have any disappointments in running power requirements or starting power requirements afterward.

Suppose say, that the advantages of expanded amperage and wattage while running a generator on a parallel setup are so acceptable then, why not directly buy a powerful generator staying away from the difficulty of keeping up two generators and experience the parallel generator connection arrangement? It involves convenience since you may not always be running a huge RV, and at that point, possibly a bigger generator is very much the better decision for you. Anyway, for the more significant part of the customer, a parallel generator setup actively offers the opportunity that a single, more powerful generator can’t.

Most importantly, the sheer size of the more powerful generators makes it hard to move. A smaller generator can be handled and moved around much more comfortably. Besides, the cost is a factor. Two medium output generators can even now be less expensive to buy than a portion of the higher output generators. It is especially prevalent for inverter generators since they are the ones with the parallel connectivity option in the first place. Those huge machines can accompany a premium price label. Third, you may not require that enormous output regarding your typical generator utilization, and running the large generator might even be a waste. It’s simpler to run the single when you need and break out the parallel generator when you need that additional output.

In conclusion, running two generators in parallel connectivity offers accommodation for the enormously excessive power drawing apparatuses that you may own in your RV. On occasion, when you have an issue, and a generator comes up short, you will, despite everything, have a backup inverter generator to run the necessary devices while you fix or refuel the other one.

For some people, even the most potent inverter generators are not enough, and they are forced to used another generator in parallel. 

What generators support parallel connectivity?

Officially, the inverter generators are the ones that have parallel connectivity features. They are pretty much exclusive to them and any other portable generator like the typical ones that are said to be compatible with parallel connectivity will require additional steps and paralleling kits, which can be bought separately according to your convenience. You can run parallel generators with any two similar generators; however, high precautions ought to be taken when you go off of the manufacturers’ suggestions and recommendations. Most generator brands will reveal to you that you can only run the same model of a generator in parallel. There are several good reasons behind that and is not merely a money-making scheme. They have your safety in mind and the upkeep of the generator, convenience, and usability. In the event that you don’t have the foggiest idea of what you are doing with power tools, it is astute to stay with the manufacturer’s suggestions.

Be that as it may, the electricity as we all know doesn’t generally care about which brand of generator it is originating from. It thinks about similarity. Suppose the two generators are both putting out the same 120V AC. In that case, they can be put in parallel. It will total their amperage and give you an expanded watt rating considering those power surges, allowing you to fire up devices with additional starting power requirements without upsetting the remainder of your electrical power draw. Any connections you make must be set up securely and safely, and the two parallel generators must be evaluated near each other’s particulars in wattage ability, however numerically, you could run any two generators in equal regardless of how fluctuated their wattage rating is. We just wouldn’t suggest it. Unless you are an authorized expert in the matter, but then you wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place.

What is the basic paralleling procedure?

To run your parallel generators effectively, ensure you have the correct connections set up. It should be possible through a direct parallel port connection, an external generator kit for paralleling, or a deliberately laid out home-made framework. A few generator manufacturers incorporate a specific plug that connects to a “parallel” slot on their generators’ control panel. These connectors are normally restrictive and are made in a way so that they will just be able to be inserted the correct way into the correct brands and models of machines. Attempting to utilize the paralleling links starting with one brand then onto the next is probably not going to work.

These sorts of generators that can be paralleled directly are found on the more current inverter generators. If you are hoping to buy two new generators for this kind of use, then the inverter generators should be your main choice. They are calmer, more minimal, productive, and the most effortless, least complex, and likely the most secure approach to support your power needs. Inverter generators are the upgraded versions of the typical portable generators. They can provide clean energy, make much less noise, and are more energy-efficient and run at a consistent voltage. 

Different generators are publicized as “parallel ready” yet require the acquisition of an external connection unit/kit that brings your two generators into a single power providing source. These are basic among the medium capacity open casing generators, and you are more averse to see this style on a more up-to-date inverter style generator. These parallel generator kits can be bought independently from the generator itself, so on the off chance that you don’t have to run yours in parallel, however, later discover a need, you can get these packs sometime later.

If you don’t have a manufacturer’s generator pack, or a couple of more current generators explicitly created with parallel ports worked in; still, everything isn’t lost. At present, you can run any two generators in a parallel connection as long as they have the same power rating, but it will take more significant effort on your part and a bucket load of creativity. It is the DIY method. Now it’s time that we toss in the dialect “don’t attempt this at home unless you are an expert” disclaimer.

Playing with electrical connections can be risky and if you aren’t entirely confident about how to accomplish this work, you should be buying parallel inverter generators that are intended to be used in parallel setups instead of trying DIY generator paralleling methods. Landing two electrical sources at a solitary point is a simple errand that any of us can do. However, information and insight in the electrical transfer are required to make sure that the connections are running in a state of harmony and not making any sort of back-flow issue that could harm the more vulnerable generator. Not only the weaker generator but people around the generator will be at risk.

Summary

To parallel your generators, you usually need two inverter generators of the same model. You can make two generators of the same power rating work in tandem with one another, but the generators’ makers do not recommend it for different safety reasons. Some essential generator safety tips that all generator owners should know, like back feeding, power surges, dirty power delivery, and others, were recently discussed in the Generator safety guide.” If you want to parallel two generators of the same rating but from different manufacturers, you can do so; however, you will require paralleling kits available in the market. Finally, if you are new to this sort of matter, seek professional help instead of putting yourself at potential risks.

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