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stratos1

Generators

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I wouldn't attemp too unless it was something very special and only for a few hours (like a parade float or on a boat)

The cost per hour to run a generator is very high. Not to mention the noise!

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I am not 100% positive about this, but I heard that you can't animate lights on a generator. Something to do with the frequency the generator puts out, and the fact the the controllers are factoring in the fades in relationship to the frequency.

--Daniel L

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Daniel wrote:

I am not 100% positive about this, but I heard that you can't animate lights on a generator. Something to do with the frequency the generator puts out, and the fact the the controllers are factoring in the fades in relationship to the frequency.

The frequency should be the same (60hz) as lots of electronics rely on it for timing. What might be different is the purity of the sine wave that it puts out, which will indeed mess up the fades...

But as mentioned, the cost of a generator (particularly a small one) is very high. If it wasn't, you'd see lots of people running their homes off of generators... (we have a nearby grocery store that has a huge generator out back. Awhile back the power went out and that store was open and all lights, coolers, etc. wer on as normal... They only run it when the power is out, but it definitely has the capacity to power the place, so if it was cheaper, I'm sure they'd use it...)

-Tim

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tfischer wrote:

The frequency should be the same (60hz) as lots of electronics rely on it for timing. What might be different is the purity of the sine wave that it puts out, which will indeed mess up the fades...

But as mentioned, the cost of a generator (particularly a small one) is very high. If it wasn't, you'd see lots of people running their homes off of generators... (we have a nearby grocery store that has a huge generator out back. Awhile back the power went out and that store was open and all lights, coolers, etc. wer on as normal... They only run it when the power is out, but it definitely has the capacity to power the place, so if it was cheaper, I'm sure they'd use it...)

-Tim

If your power is at 60Hz, and UK power is at 50Hz will this cause me problems using LOR at 120v in the UK?

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Running lights on a generator is a very advanced feature. The generator has fluctuations in output and this can cause problems with burning out the equipment. I have seen this happen. I think it would be wise to be sure and use surge protectors on everything and I agree with the advice that you use for limited amounts of time and only on special occasions.

Ken

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[align=left]Light sequences will work fine with a generator, but... you might not have dimming capabilities.

Caution: semi-tech-speak-coming

If you had a magical eye and could view the electricity (alternating current or AC) coming out of that wall socket, you would see a pretty sine wave.

10ksine.gif

Left to right is time, up and down is voltage. The voltage swings up and down 60 times a second. Techies call it 60 hertz or 60 Hz.

Dimming is accomplished by rapidly turning on/off the light circuit at specific points in time, or somewhere on that voltage ramp... so the bulb never sees the full voltage.

Some lower priced generators and power inverters simulate alternating current by using a square wave instead of a sine wave.

squarewave.jpg

Notice the lack of voltage ramps? It's either full on or full off and no in-between so there's no way for the light controllers to dim the circuit.

What's the solution? Run some tests in your unique environment before committing. Also keep in mind the portable generators available at the home center are not built for continuous use.

[/align]

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I believe LOR automatically compensates for 50 or 60 Hz. Not sure if it just checks once at boot to figure out which system it is on, or if it will track fluctuating frequency.

While a lot of clocks use the 60 Hz as a time base, the percentage of electronics that care about AC inlet frequency is getting pretty small, and small generators generally don't target electronics as their target market. Most small generators should have decent sine wave output, because they use alternators similar to what every power plant uses. They can't help making sine wave output. What does vary with small generators is frequency and voltage. The frequency of most small generators is tied to the RPM of the engine. Any deviation from 3600RPM is a deviation from 60 Hz. As the load on the generator increases or decreases, the governor on the engine has to react rapidly to keep the RPM constant. Turning a bunch of load on at once should result in momentary low frequency and low voltage, while turning off load should result in momentary high frequency and high voltage. Loads with harmonic content probably also cause bigger issues on generators than electric grid, because you don't have the electric grid and the city full of loads to absorb the harmonics. I used to manage a data center that had a 125KVA generator with mechanical governor, and switching as little as 10% of the load would cause a 3% deviation in the output frequency.

The other argument about frequency being more of an issue for LOR on generator, is that the generators reported to have the best results are some of the few that do not intrinsically make sine wave, but do make 60Hz no matter what the engine RPM. These are the Honda inverter generators. They generate DC power, and use an inverter to make AC. This allows themto run at a RPM that just makes enough power, instead of being stuck at 3600 RPM, even if the generator is only putting out 5%. I have not seen the output wave form on the Honda inverters, but the generator costs about the same as a similarly sized inverter with really clean sine wave output. As such I expect it is at best two or three step modified sine wave. What they do well however, is not change frequency with load applied..

- Kevin

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I'm not sure if this would work but you can try using a power conditioner for the controller. I have a backup generator at home and I have all of my electronics (Tv's, computers, etc...) hooked up to the conditioner.

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