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Generator Definitions

Generator: A machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Source: Dictionary.com

Common terms used when discussing generators:
    Alternating Current:  
    An electric current that reverses direction at regular intervals, having a magnitude
    that varies continuously in sinusoidal manner.  Abbreviation - A/C  See Also -
    Direct Current.
    Amperage:  
    The strength of an electric current measured in amperes.  Abbreviation - amp.  
    Amps = watts/volts
    Amplitude:  
    The amount by which a voltage or current changes from zero or an average
    value.  The maximum deviation of an alternating current from its average value.
    Apparent Power:  
    A normal multimeter can measure volts, electrical pressure, and amps, electrical
    current.  The product of these two measurements is apparent power, because it
    is the apparent power transfer.  Apparent power is measured in volt-amps (or
    Kilovolt-amps KVA), because it is the product of volts (root-mean-squared) and
    amps (also root-mean-squared).  The problem with a multimeter is that it
    averages these quantities over time.
Decibels:  
    A unit used to express the
    intensity of a sound wave.  
    Abbreviation - dB.  See chart
    on right for common dB levels
Direct Current:  
    An electric current of constant
    direction, having a magnitude
    that does not vary or varies
    only slightly.  Abbreviation -
    D/C  See Also - Alternating
    Current
Frequency:  
    The rate at which a repeating
    event occurs, such as the full
    cycle of a wave.  Frequencies
    are usually measured in
    hertz.  Abbreviation - freq.  
    See Also - Hertz, Amplitude
Hertz:  
    The international unit of
    frequency:  One cycle per
    second.  Abbreviation - Hz.  
    Household current in the
    United States is 60 Hz
Kilowatts (kW):  
    A unit of power equal to 1000
    watts. (Real Power)  
    Abbreviation - kW.  See also
    Watts
Kilovoltampere (KVA):  
    A volt-ampere in electrical terms is the amount of power in an alternating current
    circuit equal to a current flow of one ampere at an electrical force of ove volt.  It is
    equivalent to watts for non-reactive circuits and in the strictest sense is identical,
    but by convention the two are used as units for subtly different physical
    quantities.  While the KVA and the Kw are dimensionally equivalent on may find
    products rated in both with different numbers.  This is common practice on
    uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).  The KVA rating is the apparent power that
    a UPS is capable of producing, while the Kw rating is the real power it is capable
    of producing.  KVA divided by the Kw is referred to as the power factor.
Load:  
    The power delivered by a generator.  Also the devise that receives the power.  
    When you power a device with a generator you place a load on the generator,
    the device being powered is the load.
Power Factor:  
    The ratio of real power (kW) flowing to the load to the apparent power, and is a
    number between 0 and 1 frequently expressed as a percentage.  Due to energy
    stored in the load and returned to the source, or due to a non-linear load that
    distorts the wave shape of the current drawn from the source, the apparent power
    can be greater than the real power.  In an electric power system, a load with low
    power factor draws more current than a load with a high power factor for the
    same amount of useful power transferred.  The higher currents increase the
    energy lost in the distribution system, and require larger wires and other
    equipment.  
Real Power:  
    Real power is measured in watts (also Kilowatts kW).  As the waves of current and
    voltage coincide less, less real power is transferred.
Sinusoid (Sine Wave):  
    Graphing the voltage of an alternating current gives a sine wave pattern.
Standby:  
    A generator that provides power when conventional power is interrupted.
Volt:  
    The international system unit of electric potential and electrovotive force, equal to
    the difference of electric potential between two points on a conducting wire
    carrying a constant current of one ampere when the power dissipated between
    the points is one watt.
Watt:  
    In electricity a watt is equal to current (in amperes) multiplied by voltage (in volts).