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HOW TO CALCULATE GENERATOR SIZE

20 FEBRUARY 2019

Whether you're working on an unpowered site or want the security of an emergency backup supply, generator hire can be essential for keeping equipment running and avoiding costly outages.

The most important decision when choosing a diesel generator for rent is getting the right size for your power requirements. An undersized generator won't deliver the power you need and could damage your equipment, while one that's too large will incur unnecessary extra cost.

How to calculate the generator size you need

Whether you're working on an unpowered site or want the security of an emergency backup supply, generator hire can be essential for keeping equipment running and avoiding costly outages.

The most important decision when choosing a diesel generator for rent is getting the right size for your power requirements. An undersized generator won't deliver the power you need and could damage your equipment, while one that's too large will incur unnecessary extra cost.

How much power do you need?

To calculate the size of generator you require, you'll need to provide your equipment hire supplier with the total electrical load (in Watts or kilowatts) of the equipment or appliances you'll be powering. If you're hiring equipment from the same company as your generator, they can calculate it for you.

Add up the individual power requirements for every system that will be powered by the generator at the same time to arrive at the total load. You should also provide the starting wattage of each system, which can sometimes be many times that of their running wattage if they draw more power on activation. This information is not always listed on the product, and you may need to speak to your equipment supplier to check.

What sizes of generators are available?

Generators are available in an extensive range of sizes, from small portable units for individual power tools up to heavy duty container-style generators with large fuel tanks for a busy mining or construction site.

Portable generators

If you have minimal power requirements, you may only need a small diesel generator. these are available in a range of sizes from 2kva to around 40kva and include:

  1. briefcase type (2kva) – lightweight and easy to transport, these generators are suitable for camping, handymen and workshops, capable of powering individual tools rated up to 1000w.
  2. inverter generators (4.3kva) – these quiet and efficient systems can power larger tools and home appliances up to a combined 3000w.
  3. rollframe type (3–9kva) – fitted with a heavy-duty rollframe with wheels and handles, these sturdy generators cover most domestic and tradie needs. they can also power most welding equipment up to 7000w.
  4. trailer mounted (11–36kva) – an efficient option for smaller construction projects, trailer-mounted generators can power a range of equipment up to 28,000w. right-image-content/power-generator-coates-hire

larger generators

for more intensive power requirements, you'll need a skid-mounted or container-style generator.

look for models with large fuel tanks so you won't have to refuel frequently, automatic voltage regulators to keep the power steady and silenced canopies to reduce noise pollution, especially if you're working in a residential area.

the options are:

  1. silenced skid mounted generators (10–550kva) – available in a wide variety of sizes tailored to different sizes of projects, from compact units under 20kva to mid-size 150–275kva and larger 300–550kva units.
  2. container style (650–1400kva) – when only the biggest will do, these supersize generators can provide over a megawatt (one million watts) of power and can be configured for multi-use operation.

when you've calculated the size of generator you need, get in touch with your local coates hire branch to discuss your ideal power solution. See our range of generators for hire.

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