Should you try connecting a generator to a DB board yourself?

Should you try connecting a generator to a DB board yourself?

Hmmmm… Should you try connecting a generator to a DB board yourself? Reducing the load on South Africa’s national electrical supply framework has been an area of much focus in recent years. Everyone knows what “load shedding” is, and it seems to have become part and parcel with living on the tip of Africa. Thank goodness for backup generators, right? The only problem is that many new generator owners think that installing a generator at home is going to be a simple task. Just plug it in and you’re good to go, right? Not quite, which is why we’ve written this article. So, how do you connect a generator to a DB board? Let’s find out:

Should you DIY a generator install?

The short answer to this question is a resounding NO. Too much can go wrong with electrical installations, which is why expert generator installers also furnish you with a certificate of clearance (CoC) to show that the installation has been carried out by a qualified electrician. You could DIY your generator install and then request a CoC from a third-party, but this is risky. You might have done something incorrectly, in which case you’ll have to pay the electrician to fix the issue – costing you more money and wasted time.

General electrical safety precautions

  • Wear non-conductive gloves when working with electrical components.
  • Make sure the electrical supply is turned OFF before beginning the install.
  • Consult with a professional generator installer before going ahead.
  • Ensure your generator contains fuel before hitting the START switch.

Call KZN’s generator experts

As mentioned above, electricity is NOT your friend. One wrong move can spell disaster, and even death, for anyone working on a house’s main electrical supply. When you partner with generator experts, you can rest easy knowing that your generator is being installed professionally – and that the install won’t take as long as it would take if you were to attempt connecting it yourself. About to purchase a new generator for your home? Chat to S&A Generators about getting it expertly installed!

S&A Project: Business Generator Installation in the Free State

S&A Project: Business Generator Installation in the Free State

Yet another highly successful S&A Generators project took place between 14 and 19 October 2019, when we partnered with Diesel-Electric once more to deliver exceptional power-generation services to a client situated in Phuthaditjhaba, Free State. This business generator installation required us to travel cross-country from KwaZulu-Natal, and deploy our trusty S&A Generators crane truck once again. Three S&A Generators team members worked on this job. Below we detail what our client’s problem was, the solution we were able to put in place for them, and the steps we took in the process:

The Problem

It is a problem faced by businesses and households across South Africa, and it doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. We’re talking about load shedding, which drove our client to seek the assistance of generator specialists. His business was suffering due to constant power cuts, which led to losses in both business and subsequently cash flow. The client approached Diesel-Electric, who then contacted us, for a quote on a brand new generator that could power his business when the lights went off.

business generator installation - removing the generator from the truck

Our client’s new generator being delivered to site by our trusty S&A Generators crane truck.

The Solution

S&A Generators assessed the situation, and provided a competitive quotation that included both the cost of a new generator and the cost of the business generator installation. Once the client had accepted our quotation, we sprung into action by ordering the new generator and preparing our team members for the task at hand. S&A Generators staff members involved with this project were Roger Smith (one of our technicians who oversaw the project), Velani Gumede (an assistant who was vital during the installation process), and Siphelele (our talented electrician who was involved with hooking up the generator).

business generator installation - the new generator in position

The new generator in position and awaiting wiring to connect it to the client’s power system.

Once we had the new generator and everything was good to go, we set off from our HQ in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, and travelled across the border to the neighbouring Free State province. Upon arrival, we ascertained where the best place would be for the business generator installation to take place, and constructed a plinth and bund from scratch.

An image respresenting S&A Project: Business Generator Installation in the Free State

S&A Generators team members starting to construct the plinth and bund wall where the generator was to be installed.

Once the plinth and bund wall was completed, and given enough time to set, the next phase was bringing in the S&A Generators crane truck and carefully lowering the new generator into position. This takes a high level of accuracy, and we had our team members close by to guide the generator until it came to its final resting place.

An image respresenting S&A Project: Business Generator Installation in the Free State

Our crane truck lowering the new generator into position upon the plinth.

Finally, all that was left to do on this business generator installation was to run electrical wires from the new generator to the client’s DB board. This in itself is half of the challenge, but our talented electrician Siphelele was up to it. Once everything was connected and tested, we built fencing around the unit to secure it and constructed a small awning to protect the generator from the weather. This was all in all a very successful project that left our client highly satisfied with the result.

Choosing the Right Generators for Your Building

Choosing the Right Generators for Your Building

How do you go about choosing the right generator? With load shedding still a very real risk in South Africa, finding the right power generators has become more important than ever. Generators used in a residential building are very different to those used in commercial buildings. The simplest way to determine the best generator size and capacity is to first consider your requirements and power usage on a day to day basis. Just taking size into account, generators typically come in three sizes – small (2kW to 7kW), medium (8kW to 20kW), and large (20kW to 40kW). The size of the generator will come down to the type of building and the average power needs.

There are a few other things that you will need to consider, too. In this short guide, we share some advice on how to select the right power generators for your specific type of building so that you can avoid loss of power in the event of scheduled or unscheduled power cuts.

How to Go About Choosing the Right Generators

Wondering which generator is the best choice for your building? Here are some of the things to consider when choosing power generators.

Residential Buildings

Smaller kVH generators are best suited for residential buildings. Backup or standby generators for houses are usually smaller and often portable. They are designed to provide power for light-to-moderate usage of various appliances that residential property would require. To determine the exact size, you would need to think about the items in your home that require the most amount of electricity. It’s best to consider the startup current as well as running power to make sure that larger items such as pool pumps do not overload the system when starting up.

Loads you will need to consider powering with your generator could including anything from lighting in kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms, and other rooms to plug points for appliances and devices, larger kitchen appliances such as fridges and freezers, smaller appliances such as kettles and microwaves, televisions and any related appliances, garage door openers, computers, and security systems such as alarms, electric fencing, and outdoor lighting.

Industrial & Commercial Buildings

For most commercial and industrial buildings, whether factories or retail outlets or businesses, larger generators are often a better solution. You will need to be able to fully power your business premises, store or commercial site in the event of a power cut. You will also need to run continuously until power returns. These generators are larger, with features such as automatic operation. This means that generators kick in as soon as the power goes out; shutting down once the power comes back on again. For any type of business, this is crucial to avoid downtime. If there are any gaps between power going out and generators going on, computers, security, lighting, and industrial machines run the risk of not running, which can cause major problems.

Although generators can be used to power the entire building, they can also be used for a single purpose. For example, standby generators could be used specifically for elevators, fire safety systems, emergency lighting, sump pumps or other essential services that cannot risk being offline at any point. For these systems, a large generator of at least 100kW is recommended. Smaller buildings may have different requirements depending on requirements and daily power usage. Smaller retail buildings may only need to power appliances and machines such as computers, security systems, and lighting, and may not require the same level of power as a large-scale factory, for example.

What size generator is needed to power a house?

Ultimately, the best way to ensure that you have the right sized generator for your building is to speak to a specialist who can offer advice according to your individual requirements. Here at S&A Generators, we work with a wide range of residential and commercial clients, offering a range of generators in Durban to suit every need. Contact us today for expert advice on choosing the right generator for your building.