Practical usability, total portability, and power backup are the three most common factors that prompt every welding professional to consider purchasing a power generator.
The erratic power supply has bugged amateurs and professionals alike at some point or the other. For those with work areas outside the state power supply limits, finding the right generator for welder becomes all the more critical.
We all acknowledge that for any project to be successful and to enable us to utilize our skills to the hilt, we require the right tools, gear, and an uninterrupted power supply. All three need careful consideration, in-depth research, and deliberations while choosing our pick.
While our work area determines the choice of the right tools, selection of the right gear is subject to our comfort and utility. However, zeroing on the perfect Genset is solely dependent on the welder we plan to power.
If you are reading this, you are most likely researching the purchase of a new generator for your welder or might be interested in acquiring some knowledge about welder gensets, whatever the case may be, keep on reading.
This article will cover everything that you need to know about picking the right sized generator for your welder.
Let’s dive deep into the stages of deciding the right generator and the factors to consider
Most welders; professionals and amateurs alike, lay more emphasis on identifying the correct wattage while choosing a generator for a welder while entirely overlooking the other factors that compliments the right sized generator.
The generator needs to function smoothly to ensure that the Welder performance is optimum.
Simply put, a generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. A portable generator uses fuel to produce and supply electricity. As the name suggests, it’s compact and is a temporary power source.
The difference in quality of current flow
Power supply from the Mains
The power supply from the AC mains is devoid of fluctuations. The voltage is constant without any rise or sudden peaks. It is safe for all kinds of power tools and welders. It enables any welder to perform smoothly and safeguards against circuit breaks and overloading.
Power supply from the generators
Power supply from the portable generators can fluctuate with surges and spikes. This, without a doubt, can be harmful to Welders. The sudden rise and fall in voltage can adversely affect the performance and functioning of the welder. It is increasing the chances of overloading and circuit breaks.
Additional features complimenting the right sized generator
Low THD value:
THD or Total Harmonic Distortion is the measurement of the deviation in power supply from the normal. Generators with or less than 6% THD are considered high-quality generators. The lower THD ensures power supply without significant fluctuations or spikes and surges. They are ideal for power tools and Welders.
As generators use fuel to produce electricity, low fuel levels can drastically lower the power supply. In case the fuel runs out entirely, it might end up damaging the welder and the generator. Thus constant monitoring of fuel levels is mandatory. A fuel meter or display is highly useful to safeguard against low or empty fuel tanks.
The performance of any generator depends on the quality of support. Thus, a generator that requires high maintenance levels will perform poorly if not attended regularly. A high-performance generator with low maintenance can be a wise option.
The right wattage of a generator does not entirely determine the smooth operation of the welder. In addition to the correct size, the quality of power supply is crucial for smooth functioning.
Input voltage and the out amp of your welder determines the size of your generator
Now, let’s enter into the most vital phase in choosing the right generator for your welder. The versatility of the welder determines the input voltage and the output amp.
In most cases, a welder that supports TIG, MIG, Stick welding, and grinding is bound to require more power input to produce the output needed to support all functions. On the other hand, a basic stick welder will require lesser input voltage to power the singular purpose.
The input voltage and the output amp together determine the required wattage to power any welding unit. For inverter welders, some additional factors come into play while deciding the right wattage.
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Common folly while deciding the size of the generator
Fixing the wattage of a generator first without identifying the amount of power required to operate a welding unit is far from being wise.
So the following take while deciding on the size of the generator is inconclusive:
Will a 3000-watt generator run a welder? Or Will a 5000-watt generator run a welder?
For the above questions miss the vital area of identifying the minimum power required to operate the welding unit(s) in question.
Any welding unit with wattage less than 3000 W can be operated using a 3000W or 5000 W generator. While welding units with wattage higher than 3000W but less than 5000W can be powered by 5000W generators but not by a 3000W generator.
For welders with wattage higher than 5000W, one will need a generator with wattage higher than 5000W.
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Generator for an inverter welder?
If the welder in question is an Inverter Welder, with wattage less than 3000W, the 3000W generator will not run it.
Without a doubt, this contradicts the principle of welders requiring equal or slightly higher wattage generators. As an inverter welder will require a generator that produces at least 1.5 times more power.
This is because of the fact that Inverter Welders utilizes the input power to charge and discharge current with the help of Capacitors continually. These electrical components use approximately 1.4 times more input voltage than a regular welder. Thus, if the input voltage is 120 V, an inverter welder will require 168 V.
Thus, an ideal generator for any inverter welder is the one with wattage 1.5 times higher than the required input voltage.
To find the right-sized generator for any welder
Calculate the wattage of the welding unit. The general rule of the thumb to determine the wattage is as follows:
Input voltage * output amp = wattage
So, a welder with an input voltage of 110V and output of 25 amps will have the wattage of:
110 V * 25 Amps =2750 W
Thus, in the above scenario, any generator with a power greater than 2750 W can run the welder.
In the case of an inverter welder, add 1.5 times to the wattage.
Most experienced welding professionals agree that an ideal generator for any welding unit must have a higher wattage than the minimum requirement, to safeguard the group against fluctuations, overloading, and tripping.
The bottom line is while deciding on the generator; make sure you determine the wattage of the welder first.