is there a diference between generators ?

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 13:48
ThreadID: 104654 Views:3548 Replies:6 FollowUps:10
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I was looking at information on generators I see one is a "inverter generator" and one says" Kipor generator: so is there a difference between the two.

if so what is a inverter generator ?

Kulkyne 2.0kVA - Inverter Generator

Kipor Generator - GS1000
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Reply By: Road Warrior - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:09

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:09
I think the inverter bit means that it has an inverter built in to convert the output current from a modified sine wave to pure sine wave so sensitive electronics won't be damaged. I could be wrong but no doubt one of the more knowledgeable members will chip in and give you the right answer.
AnswerID: 519450

Reply By: Notso - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:19

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:19
Inverter style generators generate Direct Current (DC) electricity, the inverter changes that to Frequency and voltage controlled Sine Wave 240 volt Alternating Current (AC) power.

The Kipor is an inverter generator. I have one and it does everything I need for about 1/2 to 2/3rd price of a Honda. Don't know much about the Kulkyne. But I'd make sure whatever you buy will do the job you want it to do.
AnswerID: 519451

Reply By: Krooznalong - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:22

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:22
Have a look at post 104636 for a discussion on cheaper gennies.
AnswerID: 519452

Follow Up By: allein m - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:18

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:18
Yes that is why i decided to do some research my self
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Reply By: Herbal - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:47

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 14:47
Yes, there are a number of differences...

As mentioned, inverter simply changes DC to AC. Your household appliances are 240 volt AC. Inverters also allow for more control which allows the genny to make what is called a pure sine wave. You don't really need to understand exactly what that means other than it is better...

However, say you have a none inverter genny. It makes 240 volts, but that just means average. So at times it might make 200 volts and other times it might make 280 volts. Putting an inverter into the mix allows 240 volts steady.

Ignore the KVA figures...They are a little misleading. It means volt amps or kilo volt amps...What you should ask and look for is actual watts.

The last main difference is 2 stoke or four stroke... Again, you do not need to understand the working of the two...2 stoke is when you have to mix oil with the petrol and 4 stroke uses straight petrol.

2 stroke is slightly lighter in weight, but needs more maintenance and can be noisier than 4 stroke. 4 stroke is slightly heavier but runs quieter and needs less maintenance.
AnswerID: 519453

Follow Up By: allein m - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:26

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 15:26
thank you yes i understand 2 and 4 stroke

funny story

guy in wagga wagga unable to start engine of his lawn mower it was a 2 stroke so i removed the plug cleaned it and it was all fouled up

so started no problems

the guy then said to me as soon as you start it and it is going he will remove the spark plug so it does not foul up

I did explain it was not possible but he did not understand and went to remove the plug and got one hell of boot

now I did say not to do that

some people seem to learn the hard way.
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Follow Up By: John and Regina M - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 16:09

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 16:09
Yes an inverter changes DC to AC, but it does not necessarily mean it is pure sine wave AC. That information is usually contained in the fine print, so be careful as some appliances do not function correctly with the less satisfactory 'modified sine wave' option.

So you do need to understand the 2 options.

And a traditional 240V genny does produce the equivalent of the 'pure sine wave', and it is usually closely regulated to 240V, perhaps +/- 5%. This close regulation is dependant on the load. Load fluctuates engine speed which can alter voltage slightly, and in some instances, frequency.

It would appear manufacturers are heading the 12V DC to 240V AC option via inverters, although I'm not sure it's the right step but that is only my opinion based on 38 years of working with them. I prefer the 240V AC to a 12V DC supply via regulated electronics, as traditionally main use is 240V.

If you are touring and need to run your genni to charge batteries you should be looking at other options which are far more efficient and practical.
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 21:45

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 21:45
John and Regina
I don't like the term "modified sine wave" because, any way you look at it, it was never a sine wave to start with, but a SQUARE WAVE.
That is then clipped and shaped to make it resemble one but is a stepped shape so approximates a sine wave, if your imagination is good and vision poor.

It is so called because it sells inverters, sounds good with the word SINE in there, but really should be termed MODIFIED SQUARE WAVE to be accurate.
As you know, anything running on a sine wave which is designed for a sine wave will run better with less heat build up while running on a sine wave.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 12:13

Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 12:13
As a general rule inverter generators do not convert DC to AC.

They start with an AC generator and convert that to AC.

The difference is the modern inverter generators are far more efficient and stable because the generator that actually makes the electricity does not have to maintain a constant voltage or frequency...nothing like it does not even have to operate near 50 HZ.

Much of the inefficiency and weight of the old style generators was due to attempting to keep the motor RPM constant to maintian 50 Hz and attempts to keep the output stable by electro-mechanical means

The inverter.....or switchmode converter, takes whatever the generator makes and converts it to a stable and consistent 240V 50 Hz supply.

The modern inverter generators are very much lighter and more efficient because of this.

I would not buy a new generator that was not an inverter bassed unit.

We can not expect the same terms and specifications in DC to AC inverters ( portable inverters) and inverter generators.

AS for the KVA ratings.
You need to look futher into the spec that just the KVA rating.

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Follow Up By: Herbal - Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 16:52

Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 16:52
I have not been able to find any information on AC to AC inverters. In fact, all the information I can find says the same thing...An inverter changes DC to AC.

All the information I have seen regarding inverter generators also says the same thing...The genny produces a relatively unstable DC and inverts it to a very stable AC.

The advantage is that whether the genny is making low DC at say 10 volts or high DC at say 18 volts, the output will always be steady at 240 volts. (or 110 volts or what ever country your inverter is set to). This of course means that an inverter genny can have an "economy" feature allowing it to run slower but still make 240 volts (with less amps of course).

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 17:26

Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 17:26
It is very much easier to make an ac alternator than it is to make a DC device.
It is in fact very much easier and more efficient to make a 3 phase device ( motor or alternator) than it is to make a single phase device

The reason you will not find much information on AC to AC inverters is because that is not generally the term used in industry.

Just like air conditioners....the advertising will say " inverter technology", when we start talking in technical terms the device is refeered to as a variable frequency drive and almost never as an inverter.

An AC to AC inverter will almost always be called a converter or a variable frequecy drive or some such specific term

All single phase electrical devices ( motors or generators) are fundamantally inefficient, more complicated and heavier than a similar capacity three phase units.

I have not delved deep into these new "inverter" generators, But I expect the actual generator to be three phase AC ( just like car alternators) the AC to AC converter will convert whatever comes in to the desired 240V 50 Hz AC.

The same technology used in switchmode power supplies, inverters, variable frequecy drives, pulse width modulators and power converters is more or less the same with small differences.

Most convert to DC in the middle, a few do not.

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Follow Up By: Brian 01 - Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 20:02

Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 20:02
Bantam is pretty much on the money.
No AC output inverter generators start off with DC.
The main reason for this is that a DC generator requires a commutator and brushes which are consumable parts, whereas the AC devices require no brushes.
All of them produce a multiphase AC, sometimes 3 phases, often more depending on the number of poles on the stator.
The AC is rectified and filtered to DC and then electronically inverted back to single phase AC.
Because the steady DC is being electronically inverted to pure sine wave (even the best do have a few third harmonics impressed on the waveform), it does not suffer frequency modification due to changes in engine speed which is caused by varying load conditions.
If the device went straight from AC to AC, then frequency stability would be compromised as it would once again be engine speed dependent.
Hope this helps.
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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 17:32

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 17:32
Allein - The major thing to keep in mind when buying a genset, is what is most important to you.

Low noise?
Low fuel consumption?
Low price?
Spares availability?
Servicing availability?
Light duty or heavy duty?

There are lots of Chinese gensets available. They're all built to a price level. Many claim to be identical to good brands. Most are copies of the "name brands". Sales speak such as "inverter generator", doesn't translate into a superior product.
If you buy a Chinese genset online, you rarely get any parts availability or servicing ability.

They have low resale value because their purchase price is low, and because they're basically unrepairable when they cease to function.
Chinese gensets often make claims about their output, that are not matched in actual use.
Chinese wiring usually has poorer insulation quality - and assembly is done by people with low levels of skill.
Quality control is often poor, leading to "hit-and-miss" levels of finish and reliability.

Many Chinese gensets won't supply consistent levels of voltage, which is a crucial requirement for many voltage-sensitive items.
The Chinese gensets often have poor engine speed control, leading to fluctuating voltage under load.
Seriously-fluctuating voltage output will damage many sensitive electrical items - that is, those with electronic components.

If you buy a "name brand" genset, you get parts availability, repairability, reliability, servicing ability, and quality control in the build process.
The importance of quality gensets is that "name brand" gensets will have good engine speed control and supply consistent levels of voltage under load.

Many people are happy with Chinese gensets because they do the low-requirements job they need done at low cost - and they're happy to scrap the unit when it dies.
If you're looking at long-term use, and have sensitive items that need consistent voltage - and you like to be able to repair the genset if it goes wrong - then buy a brand name genset.
AnswerID: 519461

Reply By: Garry S3 - Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 23:17

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 at 23:17
You only need inverter generator if you are after pure sine wave output. Depending on what you are running. Pure sine wave is better but whether the better part apply to you depends on what you run. If you run rough appliances like tools etc then pure sine wave or square wave wouldn't make difference. There are people who claim running square wave will damage laptop's battery and appliances that have a motor built in. That is it will reduce their lifetime. However, I haven't found a solid proof to that as yet. It might just be another term made out by major branding company and now it seems like a must have.
As for chinese generator, I think Kipor is the biggest brand generator produced from China. It does seem like their reputation had gotten better lately but I still don't think they are worth that money. Wouldn't even go Kulkyne, not much feedback of that product in the market and they even cost more than kipor. I don't understand how.
AnswerID: 519479

Follow Up By: Ross M - Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 16:26

Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 16:26
Garry S3 I don't think it people claiming at all, in my case ai have two older laptops and while both will start and run on a sine wave supply, one of the laptops, a Toshiba, will not start and run on the modified square wave type. it tries but demands a lot of current and the switching does burn out the power supply on some. All of them get hotter on the modified square wave, so do drills and other gear.
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Follow Up By: Garry S3 - Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 17:35

Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 at 17:35
Ross, great to hear from someone who had try both first hand.

First result that come up in google when you search for the difference between the two is from this site as well:

Check up thread 73839

I guess modified sine wave will slowly be eliminated from the market.
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