Paralleling Generators: How Does it Work? Pros/cons Discussed

Generators come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes instead of buying a large generator, you join two generators to get more power. This concept is known as paralleling generators. It comes in handy when you want to get more power from your generators and run heavy-duty appliances. To understand this concept, consider an example. You have some appliances that run on 1200, 800, 900, and 1500 watts.

You have one single 2000 watts generator. You need to run the 1200 watt and 800 appliances together. You cannot run them on a single 2000 watt generator. Instead of buying a 3000-watt generator, you buy another 2000 watt generator and run them together by paralleling them. You get 4000 watts starting power and 2000 watts running power when you combine them. In this way, you can run both appliances on the combined generators.

This concept is known as paralleling generators. It is commonly used in large industries that need high power output and low power output at the same time.

As we explained above, you now have a total of 4000-watt power in 2 generators. You can run both of them independently when you need to run more appliances. Similarly, when you wish to run a heavy machine of 2000 watts, you can join them and run it as well.

Paralleling Generators – How does it Work?

In this article, we will explain the concept of paralleling generators for home users. We will cover all the important information you need while setting up parallel generators.

Paralleling Inverter Generators

inverter generators

Paralleling inverter generators is an easy task. If you buy two generators with the same wattage, you can easily combine them together and run them to get more power. The excellent quality and latest inverters offer such features.

Usually, you need the same wattage for generators to run in parallel. There can be exceptions to this, and it depends upon the working of generator engines and parallel kits.

Paralleling Non-Inverter Generators

Technically speaking, you can parallel 2 non-inverter generators. However, it is a complicated process, and you would need a lot of equipment for it to happen. You would need to match and sync the engines, and any mistake can damage both of them. There are high chances that you will not get 100% output with non-inverter generators. It is our advice that you stay away from doing such experiments as you can end up destroying your generators.

Paralleling Different Size/Brand Generators

You need to make sure that both the generators are inverter generators to facilitate the paralleling process. The generators should be parallel capable, and you would need a parallel kit to combine them together. A parallel kit is easily available online and in electrical supply stores. It comes with six terminals. 4 are connected to generators, and 2 are grounded. Helping guide: How to Ground a Portable Generator? 

If one of your generators is not parallel capable, then you can make them work together in a simple way. All you have to do connect the output port of one generator (non-parallel capable) to the other generator (parallel capable) and then connect the appliance to the other generator. (In which output of the first generator is connected).

Now start the non-parallel generator first and parallel capable generator later. In this way, you can connect two different size inverter generators and achieve more power. The parallel capable generator can handle the power generation and adjust automatically to the load applied to it. It is a risky process and can damage your generators if anything goes wrong.

Connecting the Parallel Generators

If you have both parallel capable inverter generators and are of the same model, you can connect them with the help of a parallel kit or parallel cable. A parallel kit is an easy method, and there are no technicalities involved.

The parallel kit comes with 6 heads. 4 are power connectors, and 2 are ground connectors. Now connect the cables and connect the ground ports to the generator. You have just connected the generators. Start both generators one by one and enjoy combined power to run heavy appliances.

Important Factors for Paralleling Generators

Engine Power Compatibility – You can run two different sized generators together, but it will not do you any good. For example, if you are combining 2 generators with power outputs of 4000 watts and 6000 watts, the total load capacity of the combined system will be 4000 watts and not 6000 Watts. Hence, you need to connect the generators with the same engine power.

Alternator Compatibility – The alternators of both the generators should match. If one has a lower frequency, it will act as a load to other generators, and it can bring down the whole system and hurt the generator and appliances.

Interface Compatibility – The generators should be interface-compatible. It means that they must be able to communicate with each other. It is only possible when both models are the same.

Load Sharing Compatibility – When the generators’ frequency and power output will match, it will result in a system that does not need to be monitored. The load sharing will be automatic, and you will enjoy hassle-free parallel generators.

Paralleling – Does it damage your Generators?

The models which come with paralleling features are not harmed in any way. You need to read instructions while connecting them, so you don’t miss out on anything. If you follow all the precautions and instructions, there is no chance that you will hurt your generators.

Load Sharing: Parallel Generators

When two generators are run together, they share the load equally. It is a built-in feature in parallel capable generators, and it is installed to reduce the stress on both generators. In this way, both the inverter generators stay cool and do not have to work beyond their capacities.

Synchronization: Running More than 3 Generators

Many big industries run more than three generators to achieve better results. It is a technical process and must not be tried at home. Usually, it involves dealing with waveform, phase sequence, phase angle difference, and voltage amplitude difference.

Advantages of Parallel Generator System

Enhanced Reliability – A parallel system of generator ensures that load is always supplied to your critical appliances. If one of the generators fails, the other generators can handle the critical needs. This is true for industrial applications of parallel generators where more than two generators are combined.

Low-Cost Power Generation – When you increase the generator size, the cost of producing electricity increases. For a larger generator, you need more maintenance costs, more gas, more engine oil, and you incur more repair charges. Taking care of smaller generators, adding fuel to them, and maintaining them costs less, and hence the electricity produced is cheap.

Conclusion: why run parallel generators and not buy a large one?

Running parallel generators is helpful in many ways. First, carrying two small generators is easy than carrying one big generator. Small generators are easy to meet. They can serve you as independent units and as one big combined generator when you need more power. You can run your RV’s AC, your home appliances, and many other things on parallel generators that you cannot run on one generator.

You may not want to buy a large generator as it is costly, difficult to maintain, and carry around. You may already own a small inverter, and instead of buying a large generator, you prefer to buy another small one and run them together for your occasional power needs. Small inverters are more fuel-efficient and produce a stable and steady source of current, which conventional portable generators cannot do.

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