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Newbies => Newbies => Topic started by: petect on November 03, 2017, 03:45:10 PM

Title: Cleaning ICE driven alternator power
Post by: petect on November 03, 2017, 03:45:10 PM
I'm not sure where to post this, so feel free to move it.

The power was out for about a day, so I fired up the old generator  (3500 W ICE driven ) and hooked it up to the panel - All precautions were taken. Since my portable radio didn’t survive the fall off the garage shelf I turned on the ac powered radio. The noise it made told me it wasn’t happy with the juice it was being fed. The gen…I know alternator  owner’s manual said it could damage “sensitive electronics”.
I looked on ebay and the power conditioners I saw seemed pretty expensive. I’m always amazed at the boards / boxes people here find for every occasion that cheap too. So does anyone know of anything I can get to clean up the power for my tv, dvd player, radio?  100 watts total should do.  MINIMAL assembly is a must . I would plug it into a wall outlet and plug the "sensitive" stuff  into it. The rest of the house can get by with the dirty juice.
Storms can knock out the power for a couple weeks or more, and I might be looking for more entertainment than feeding the wood stove.
Thanks in advance…….Pete
Title: Re: Cleaning ICE driven alternator power
Post by: Bruce S on November 03, 2017, 05:01:59 PM
One of the drop dead easiest ways (may not be the cheapest) would be to find a UPS system. APC , MCG, etc. go for a system that is above 1000VA , you can find them out e-bay pretty easy. Plug that into the generator output , plug your stuff into it and you're set.
I would get much anything lower than that otherwise you run the risk of overloading the thing.

NOW, if you get one that's cheap, plug it into their wall outlet before handing over the cash. Let it sit plugged in for say 1 min, then unplug it from the wall. It should beep, if it last for a minute or two, that'll tell you they unit should be okay. IF it dies, the internal batteries are toast either from age or,,,

Then replacing those batteries with new ones can be easy too.

BTW: This is what I started out with, doing.
Hope this helps
Bruce S
Title: Re: Cleaning ICE driven alternator power
Post by: Bruce S on November 03, 2017, 05:03:25 PM
Welcome aboard
Title: Re: Cleaning ICE driven alternator power
Post by: dnix71 on November 03, 2017, 06:56:12 PM
Go double conversion. I would not trust any UPS to filter noise. The output of most UPS's has a lot of nasty harmonics because they are only designed to run a computer for a few minutes until either the power is restored or the computer does a controlled shutdown.

For double conversion you need a small battery, a true sine wave inverter and a 13.8dcv high amp switching power supply to run the setup. The battery is not backup, the setup is run by the output of the switching power supply. The battery just stabilizes the voltage enough that the UPS can operate.

Here is what I did after the local linemen trying to upgrade the grid fried a bunch of stuff switching lines live.

Title: Re: Cleaning ICE driven alternator power
Post by: Mary B on November 03, 2017, 08:10:50 PM
Could try one of these inline. I use them to clean up switch mode power supplies that put out a lot of hash and RF Mount it in a box with a cord and an outlet.
Title: Re: Cleaning ICE driven alternator power
Post by: joestue on November 03, 2017, 09:14:52 PM
Try a 30uF motor run capacitor across the 240v output of your generator (you should be able to find a 25 to 35uF capacitor in a window air conditioner, dehumidifier, etc). it will pull a few amps of reactive current and the open circuit voltage might rise to be as high as 260/130vac. but as soon as you have a load on it, it will drop down.

its almost not possible for a synchronous generator to produce electrical noise that would cause a radio  not to function.. unless the brushes are arcing.

the highest harmonic you can get is on the order of 24 slots times 60hz or 1440 hz. 
Title: Re: Cleaning ICE driven alternator power
Post by: george65 on November 04, 2017, 12:34:04 AM

Does your genny have AVR or is it the crappy straight through type that relies on the engine gov only for power output?
First thing I'd do is get a multi meter and see what frequency and voltage the thing is putting out.
I bought a new genny once and the thing was 17V and 7Hz out! All it took was an adjustment of the governor screw and the thing was great and held frequency very well. I didn't worry much about the volts, that's a wide margin of error, frequency is better to get close as possible although even that is less important these days.

As far as "sensitive electronics", What the hell are they? Medical equipment? Doubt that even.
Virtually everything of any half decent quality these days runs it's electronics at 5 or 12 or some low voltage. It takes the mains and brings it down and things I have seen have a LOT of filtering and rectification going on.  I remember opening the power supply for a Video camera once. Couldn't figure out what it was so big to supply 2 amps @ 12V.  The circuitry in that made sure the power was cleaner than what would come out of a battery and infinitely more stable. that thing had a LOT of power conditioning.  A lot of these things these days are " Universal" voltage and frequency. Plug in 110 60 Hz or 250 50 hz and they don't give a damn.  I have power supplys rated from 80-400V!!  No settings required, just plug it in!
Internal circuitry cleans it all up anyway.
I have Run loads of electronics off crappy square wave inverters as well and despite Dire warnings, worked fine also and for many 10's of hours use. 

I have run computers and all sorts of things from what I knew as crappy generator output and run them for months of accumulated intermittent time and never had a problem.
I suspect maybe your radio is a really cheap and crappy one and much else you plug in won'g give a damn as long as the voltage is not silly high or low.

I'd check the output for volts and frequency first and make sure they are right or adjust them and then go from there and then some other things in the genny.

With the inverters, for this you have to get the right, more expensive ones.
they type you want is called line active or on line types.  Line interactive are NO good for this purpose. An easy way to see if you have the right type is if they will cold boot. IE, you press the button and the thing will boot up WITHOUT being plugged into the power( wall) supply.

You have to be a bit savvy with these things too. Often they will have settings. IN my case they could be 220V, 230 to 250. Might have a switch on the back or you have to set them through the software.
Thing is, If you have a genny that's doing 220V and the power on the inverter is set to  240, it may kick to battery because it thinks there is a problem with the mains. Every time it tries to switch back, supply is out of range and so it goes till internal batteries are flat. Vice versa, If the gen is doing 240 and the UPS is set to that but then you dump a load on the thing and the gen sags to 220, again the inverter may think there is a problem and switch back to battery again and won't hook up to the mains.

The range in the UPS is generally OK but I have one that is very particular so you have to make sure everything is calibrated. I have a gen I have doing 230V but I set the UPS to 22o and cold Boot it because when the gen is loaded it sags. The voltages meet up so the gen and ups are happy. If I reduce the lad the voltage can come up and they stay synced but that initial hook up is what I have to watch.

Of course another way I have done it is just get the ups on a couple of big batteries you wire up externally and feed those with a big 24V ( in my case)  alternator and don't use mains ( 110/ 240) power at all. Ran one like that for 6 months with a fridge and solar panels and worked fine.
I also had a setup I ran in the middle of paddocks like this. Long hours, low demand. I could run for at least 4 hours with only 20% dod with a couple of car batteries.  Fire the genny up once or maybe twice a day for an hour if that and the rest of the day was silent, no fuel burning, no wearing out a machine to get like 1 amp out of it.

First thing though, see what your genny is actually putting out to start with and get that right if you have to before worrying about anything else.
Title: Re: Cleaning ICE driven alternator power
Post by: petect on November 04, 2017, 08:41:24 AM
Hi  Thanks for the replies
A bit more info..
The young lady at customer "care" was very friendly but otherwise clueless. It turns out this is a brushless unit. There's a 12uf cap that seems to be across the outer windings. Diodes are buried pretty deep - I think they are o.k. No AVR in sight.
Measured at one of the 125v outlets, it puts out 115v no load, 62 hz. I put a 1800 Watt hair dryer on it, the motor slowed a bit, and it put out about 100v , a little  under 11 a, @ 61Hz. The voltage and current bounced around a bit.  That explains why the 3K+ 4K surge gen.   wouldn't start my 170 Watt fridge.
From what I can gather the caps are prone to going on these things, and can cause the problems I'm seeing, as they fail. I've ordered one. Hopefully I'm on the right track. Any other thoughts?
Thanks again.............. Pete