Generators For Beginners: The Very Basic Basics

If you're interested in moving off the grid and have started researching solar panels, wood heat, and generators, you know there isn't much information out there on generators for beginners. Especially for those of us who search for terms like "generators for dummies," and "generator basics."

If you're like me and don't even know where to begin when it comes to learning about generators, here are the basics of generators as they apply to living off the grid.  And please note, this is an extremely basic overview of some of the things you (okay, me) might find useful to know about generators.

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GENERATORS FOR BEGINNERS: THE BASICS

GENERATOR LESSONS ONLINE

"generators for living off the grid", the first entry after the ads was for an article on the Mother Earth News site -- from six years earlier!

WHAT IS A GENERATOR?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a generator is "a machine by which mechanical energy is changed into electrical energy."

Instead, your off grid electricity energy comes from an alternative energy source like wind, or in our case, solar panels and a generator. That's why when you use a generator to power your home systems, you'll need an inverter. An inverter is an electrical device that converts/inverts DC voltage to standard household AC voltage.

HOW YOUR GENERATOR POWERS YOUR HOME

WHY DO I NEED A GENERATOR TO LIVE OFF THE GRID?

You don't. After all, the pioneers didn't have generators. And you may feel that you're perfectly fine with your solar panels or wind turbine.

A generator supplements or replaces your solar or wind power when needed.

1. IT SUPPLIES BACKUP POWER.

A generator supplements or replaces your solar or wind power when needed. We use solar panels to charge the batteries that power our off the grid home.

So you have to equalize them by overcharging them, which takes a lot of power. Often it needs far more than our solar panels can provide. So we use our generator.

2. IT EQUALIZES OUR BATTERIES.

3. IT LETS US RUN APPLIANCES AND TOOLS THAT WOULD OTHERWISE OVERLOAD OUR BATTERIES.