South Africa

Generators for South Africa

Generator Guidelines


Unit A4
The Palisades Business Park
39 Kelly Road
Jet Park
East Rand, 1459
Johannesburg, Gauteng
(Come visit us Mon-Fri: 7:40-16:00)


Office: (073) 276 2056
Fax: (086) 615 8280


Installation of your new generator

For household and office use. The generator warranty will be invalidated if these guidelines are not adhered to.

It is very important that you read and understand the following guidelines with regards to the installation of your petrol, air-cooled Generator Associates generator.

1 Always use an installation electrician who is registered and licensed and experienced at installing generators and who must provide you with a compliance certificate once the job is done. Some insurance companies will refute a claim if your house burns down and you have installed the generator without a compliance certificate.

2 Always have the generator connected to the distribution board in such a way that the generator can never be overloaded. This can be done by connecting the generator to certain circuits only. Alternatively, if you want the generator to run essential lights and appliances within a bigger load environment, insist that your electrician supplies an Essential Load Board. This is a separate box that isolates the generator from other circuits that could overload the generator.

3 This is an AIR-COOLED generator. It must be run in a well ventilated environment that is protected from the weather. The exhaust gases must be able to escape into the atmosphere. The generator needs to be placed at least 1 metre away from any walls and then there should be unrestricted ventilation from at least three sides.

4 The generator should be placed on a hard surface (concrete, paving, tar) and be level. If it is not level it can ”run out” of petrol prematurely as all the remaining petrol is in one corner of the tank. It does not need to be bolted into position. It will not “walk”.

5 We only offer the option of an Automatic Mains Failure and Transfer Switching (AMF+ATS) panel with our 15 kVA and 18 kVA models. If the smaller models are used for the household or office they should be connected to the distribution board via a Manual Transfer Switch.

Operating Guidelines

For household and office use. The generator warranty will be invalidated if these guidelines are not adhered to.

It is very important that you read and understand the following guidelines with regards to the operation of your petrol, air-cooled Generator Associates generator.

1 Always start the generator with zero load and let it warm up for a minute before applying the load. Never exceed the generator’s rated load

2 Reduce the electrical load to zero and let the generator cool down for a minute by running at zero load before switching it off. Never switch off while under load as the AVR (automatic voltage regulator) will blow. Don’t let it run out of petrol while under load because the AVR will blow. (In these two scenarios the AVR tries unsuccessfully to maintain the voltage as the engine slows down).

3 The generator should not be exposed to rain or running water on the ground.

4 Always switch off (under zero load) and let it cool down before refilling the petrol tank – thereby reducing the chances of a petrol fire and injuries to staff.

Choosing the right standby generator for home/small business use

There are a few steps to go through when choosing a generator, the most important of which is determining the power requirement your generator needs to meet. This guide serves as a starting point for choosing the right generator for standby/emergency power (when the mains fail) for home/small business situations, however the easiest and most reliable way to determine your power requirement is to get an electrician to measure the draw of the appliances you need to power.

Before choosing a generator

Before tallying the output requirement of your generator, it is important to first answer the following questions:

Automatic mains failure or manual start?

Do you require your generator to start automatically when the mains fail or do you prefer to start it manually in such an event?

If you require that the generator starts up and takes over automatically when the mains fail, you would want to have an AMF (automatic mains failure) and ATS (automatic transfer switch) installed with your generator.

Sensitive equipment?

Will your generator be used to power sensitive home electronics with microprocessors like pcs, laptops, DVD players or other sensitive equipment?

If so, bear in mind that all of our generators are suitable for this, except for those specifically designed for contractor equipment, such as the Yamaha YS series and the Yanmar CRGD series.

Calculating your power requirement

This step is the most important one by far when choosing a generator for standby needs for home or small business. In essence, the generator you choose needs to supply more power than the equipment it is powering draws. Here is what to do:

Make a list of all appliances

List all the appliances you will need the generator to similtaneously run. While you can perform your own 'load-shedding' by turning off appliances and turning on others when the generator is running, it is important that your generator has enough output to power all the appliances you need running at the same time.

Determine running Wattage

Determine the running wattage of each appliance in your list. The most accurate way to determine the actual power requirements for any given device is to read the label/data plate on the device itself or the manual that came with it. All electrical products should have a data plate with information regarding their power usage. For household items such as central heating pumps, lights, TV's, Video recorders etc., their listed wattage is all the power they require to run.

Determine start-up wattage draw

Determine the start-up wattage of each appliance in your list. Items with electric motors, such as freezers, fridges, washing machines and some lawn mowers normally have a much greater power requirement on start up. This is known as start-up wattage or start-up draw. This can be three to four times the equipment's designated wattage consumption, and is often listed on the motor label/data plate or in the manual. If start-up draw is rated in amps, use the following to determine watts (amps x volts = watts). If it is not present, you can phone the manufacturer and quote the model number, or check the internet.

Determine total consumption

Now we want to work out two totals. The total running wattage is the total of all the running wattages of all the appliances in the list. The total start-up wattage is the same as the running wattage, except, for the appliances which have a different start-up wattage, use the start-up wattage instead of the running wattage in this total.

It is important that the generator standby output exceeds the total start-up consumption, and the Prime (rated) output exceeds the total running wattage. These totals are the minimum outputs you will need from your generator but, as a general rule, you should look for a generator that supplies slightly more than you think you need.

From watts to kVA - Final Step

Single Phase Generators

Generator Associates has a large selection of single-phase generators suitable for home standby power. For single phase generators, the calculated wattage for your appliances can be converted to kVA at a 1:1 ratio. So if your total wattage requirement is 5000W (5kW), you'll need a generator with an output of at least 5kVa. You can see which generators are single phase on the main generator page.

Three Phase Generators

With three-phase generators there is a power factor to consider and so requirement wattage is not at a 1:1 ratio to generator kVA. Generally, required draw (W) is 0.8 of kVa output. So if your appliances draw 0.8 kilowatts (kW), you'll need at least a 1 kVA generator - the generator kVA output should be at least 20% larger than the calculated wattage requirement.

This guide outlines the basics of choosing a generator for your needs and was made to aid in your understanding and help you choose a generator if you want to do it yourself, however, it is often a good idea to consult a professional and we cannot be held responsible for incorrect decisions.

Download Guidelines Acceptance Form.