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Standby generators are powered by tractors or engines and may be either portable or stationary. Engine-driven units available may have an automatic or manual start and are powered by gasoline, LP gas (bottled gas), or diesel fuel.
Generators must provide the same type of power at the same voltage and frequency power lines supply. This is usually 120/240 volt, single phase, 60 cycle alternating current (AC). Two to 2 1/4 hp engine capacity with the proper drive system must be available for each 1,000 watts of generator output.
A full-load system handles an entire farmstead’s energy needs. An automatic, engine-powered, full-load system begins to furnish power immediately or within 30 seconds after power is off. A smaller, less expensive part-load system may be enough to handle essential equipment during an emergency.
Power take-off (PTO) generators cost about half as much as engine-driven units and can be trailer mounted. A part-load system operates only the most essential equipment at one time. For most farms this is adequate if the generator has the power to start the largest motor.
Consider what you need. For example, the milk cooler of the ventilation fan must operate continuously, but operation of the silo unloader and mechanical feeing system can be delayed until the milking chores are over.
Wiring and equipment must be installed in accordance with the National Electrical Code, local ordinances, and the requirements of the power supplier. It is important to have the proper equipment for disconnecting the generator from public utility lines. Most companies require the installation of a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch or its equivalent for this purpose. Check with your electrician or power company representative for installation instructions and inspection.
Large engine generators are best located in a dry-conditioned building. Inlet and outlet air ducts must be large enough to carry off excess heat. Air inlets and outlets should open at least 1/2 square foot for each 1,000 watts of generator capacity. Combustion fumes must be carried outdoors safely. Exhaust pipes must be at least 6 inches from combustible material.
An automatic standby unit starts automatically when power fails and stops when power is restored. When using an engine-driven generator with manual start or when using a tractor-driven unit, follow this procedure when power fails:
Used by permission of the Extension Service at Mississippi State University (http://msucares.com/pubs/infosheets/is1731.pdf)
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