Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

Generator Frequency

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Posted by Bob on November 15, 2004, 6:54 pm
I read your "group" often and now have a question, actually two. I
bought a used generator for back-up power for my fridge and charging
batteries for inverter  until I can complete my alt. energy charging
system.  I have a piece of property in far north CA. where grid power
loss is common with the heavy snows. The generator is an older unit
and was demonstrated to work by powering up an 120v angle grinder. I
have read in older posts but can't find now, that just because it is a
generator doesn't mean it's putting out 120v 60 Hz. question 1 how do
I check, 2 is there that much difference between the  Watts-up and the
kill-a watt.
 thank you in advance ... bob

Posted by m Ransley on November 15, 2004, 7:09 pm
120 is usualy 60Hz, use a Kill A Watt to check Hz,and V. it is cheap and
accurate. Dont start or power down gen with Kill A Watt plugged in, it
scrambeld mine temporarily.  Set up 60 HZ at load needed, gens start
high at no load, and test your unit fully to full load to see what it
does to V and HZ .  

Posted by SQLit on November 15, 2004, 7:24 pm

Your going to need an meter that measures Hertz.  Assuming that your genny
is small, without frequency controls, you will need an load of about 50% to
get started. I sometimes use quartz lights, not an motor load. Most small
gennys are voltage and HZ governed by speed. So load up you generator and
test the outlet for HZ. Do not test at an idle. Do not worry that the
voltage might be a little high, like 130-135v. The voltage comes down as you
approach full load. At an idle you might have as much as 140v.  Set the
speed governor to the correct hz and your done. I do this again after 20-30
hours of run time because my governor tends to wander a bit from the
vibration. It is so easy to fix I have never bothered fixing the linkage.
Anything from 56-64 hertz is reasonably fine unless your running a lot of
clocks. They will loose or gain time depending on the hertz.

Watts-up and kill-a-watt do the same thing as far as I am concerned.

You can buy and multimeter (VOM) from Radio Shack for not much money, ~$5.
Unless of course you really need more accuracy, then you would not have
bought an used genny... a little humor.

Posted by Steve Spence on November 15, 2004, 7:36 pm
 Plug a kill-a-watt into the power outlet on the gen, and it will tell
you volts and frequency, among other things. I got mine from


Good company, good product.

Steve Spence
Dir., Green Trust

Bob wrote:

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