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Old 09-14-2018, 07:56 AM   #1
Funkydrummer
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Default Generator question

I recently purchased 5 food warmers (electric chafing dishes), and I now need to purchase a generator to power them all. They are 120v 1200w. Do I need a 6000w generator to power them all at the same time? Thanks on advance.
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:28 AM   #2
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Most likely. It is probably unlikely that they will all be drawing 1200W at the same time, but if that happens, then you need the power. Also think about what else you need to power.
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Old 09-15-2018, 01:44 AM   #3
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Yes, I think you need.
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Old 09-15-2018, 09:26 AM   #4
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Be careful. It's common-for generators to be sold based on "peak" or "surge" power, with the continuous power rating being much lower.


Also, the old rule applies: Do not buy junk tools.
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Old 09-15-2018, 10:35 AM   #5
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This is the generator that I plan on getting next.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...BoCKdMQAvD_BwE
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Old 09-15-2018, 10:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pig_Farmer View Post
This is the generator that I plan on getting next. ...
Good example. Top quality product with continuous and surge power ratings clearly identified. For the OP, 5Kwatts is probably marginal since his theoretical worst case is 6Kwatts.

Worst case will happen if he turns them all on at the same time and they begin heating to temp. Once they are at temp, each one's power demand will vary as the thermostat turns the heating elements on and off. So in that case, he may be able to squeek by with 5K.

Vendors lying about specs is very common, especially among lower quality products. So caveat emptor.
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:07 PM   #7
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I would lead towards saying you are going to be OK but its very close threshold and a lot of money for a generator that is almost there.
Are the dishes variable thermostat, so if its on med or 5 it is drawing half power or roughly 600w? If so you can run them no higher than say 7-8. Some reading or easier time with a amp meter and math to see what they do to get to temp and what they do to keep it.

What I am trying to say is when ii heats does it draw 1200w and toggle on off drawing 1200 regardless of any settings? If so I would say step up in generator size. Its a big investment and some extra power for lights, fans etc is never a bad thing.
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:21 PM   #8
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... Are the dishes variable thermostat, so if its on med or 5 it is drawing half power or roughly 600w? ... What I am trying to say is when ii heats does it draw 1200w and toggle on off drawing 1200 regardless of any settings? ...
The amount of power that the device draws when it is maintaining temperature does not depend on the setting. It depends on the ambient weather; if snow is falling on it it will use more power per hour than if it is in Florida sunlight.

Though there are much more sophisticated control algorithms, what this type of device is almost certainly doing is often called "bang-bang" control. Just like 99% of house thermostats. When the hot plate drops below temperature, the heat is turned on full/1200 watts. When the hot plate gets back to the set point the heat is turned off. There is some hysteresis so the thing is not constantly cycling. Maybe the heat is turned on 5 deg. below the set point and turned off when the set point is reached. So you really cannot guarantee that all five will not be turned on at once, even after they are up to temperature.
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Old 09-16-2018, 02:17 PM   #9
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Airedale, thanks for that than yes I vote for something larger than the the aforementioned, hands down. Again just my opinion and definitely not my $$, but I would consider a larger model.
I wish you the best in your decision making, cause I suck at and would go to small and hate myself for it, which is why I said buy up. Good luck Funkydrummer.
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:21 PM   #10
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That is a great generator!

Mine will pull everything in my trailer, AC, Fans, Fridge, CVAP, lights. But when I add the 2nd AC, it overloads. So I had to get a 2nd smaller inverter generator to run the 2nd AC in the summer months.

If your generator can't pull it, then you can rotate turning on all of the warmers, or add a 2nd generator for something if you do need all of them.

I run a gas steam table, so I don't know how much power those draw.
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