March 1, 2001
Add compatible options to increase utilization of your mobile generators. In today's parlance it might be more appropriate to say the power is back on.

Add compatible options to increase utilization of your mobile generators.

In today's parlance it might be more appropriate to say “the power is back on.” Rolling blackouts and scheduled power outages have become part of our consciousness, and the recent problems with the availability of electricity in California have only increased our awareness. California's electrical woes might be a harbinger of problems in other states that have not effectively managed deregulation.

All of this underlines the increasing possibilities for renting mobile diesel generators. Whether it's for backing up a manufacturing plant, the neighborhood meat market, a construction site or a festival, how does a rental company owner equip a generator set for the greatest versatility and increase the opportunity for rentals?

The best way to achieve maximum utilization of a mobile diesel genset is through the addition of compatible options. These include accessories such as electronic governors, automatic start functions, battery chargers and engine jacket water heaters. Because these features add versatility, well-equipped rental generators suit a wider range of applications. Here's why:

Electronic governors

Often called “crystal sync controls,” electronic governors adjust engine speed by monitoring the flywheel teeth. With engine speed controlled, alternator frequency also is maintained within a tight tolerance. The result is better, more accurate frequency regulation, allowing the unit to respond fully to changes in the load. Accurate, stable frequency regulation is a must in today's digital world.

A telecom company looking for a backup generator probably will ask if the unit has an electronic governor. In wireless and fiber-optic systems with uninterrupted power supply batteries, companies demand high accuracy of frequency and low telephone influence from the generators they rent. The same is true for Internet providers. Special events such as local festivals or outdoor exhibitions also demand stable frequencies because microphones, amplifiers and special lighting require this capability.

Auto start

This feature allows automatic or remote starting of a generator. In tandem with a transfer switch, auto start ensures a prompt, smooth transition of electricity when utility power is interrupted and the mobile generator comes on to pick up the load. A manufacturing plant or small business that wants to guarantee it has power at all times will want a rental genset with this capability. Because of auto start's adaptability for a wide range of applications, a generator package equipped with auto start offers more rental opportunities.

Battery charger

Reliability is enhanced with a charger that plugs into a 120-volt AC outlet and supplies a trickle charge to the battery. This ensures that when a rental unit must start, the battery is at full strength. In a backup application, a rental unit always must be ready to go, so a fully charged battery is indispensable.

Jacket water heater

A warm engine is more capable of handling starting loads, making a jacket water heater valuable. The heater plugs into an AC outlet and warms the engine coolant, providing additional assurance that the rental generator will start easily in cold weather.

Experienced rental generator fleet operators such as Arizona Generator Technology in Phoenix have mobile units equipped with these options. Arizona GenTech also uses generators that can deliver simultaneous high and low voltage, single- and three-phase power, eliminating the need for costly voltage change switches, which are susceptible to problems.

“The performance and versatility of our units are enhanced with these added options,” says Bob Piske, president of Arizona GenTech. “Equipping the mobile gensets with these extra features increases our ability to serve a wide variety of customers requiring backup power, from telecommunications to prime power to standby applications. As our territory becomes increasingly threatened with power interruptions, rental generators will become a necessity to a broad range of businesses in this area.”

Rob Underwood, general manager at Wolverine Power Systems in Holland, Mich., agrees that versatility is a key in making rental equipment attractive to all kinds of end-users. For example, Wolverine provides 210- and 85-kilovolt-amp rental generators to the telecommunication industry in his region and to run pump stations for municipal water companies.

“Each site has a specific power requirement, and due to the complexity of each application, the options we've added to our machines increase our ability to enjoy more rentals,” he says.

The features Underwood calls beneficial include the ability to deliver multiple voltages at the same time. With this feature, Wolverine can use only one generator to supply all power requirements to any site. “In the past, customers using units with voltage selector switches would have to rent two generators to do the same task,” he notes.

When evaluating a generator package for their fleet, rental operators should consider these accessories at the start. While generator options might mean additional purchase costs, the greater potential for rentals will far outweigh any increase. Some manufacturers, recognizing the value of these options, have made them part of a standard package. Look for these generators first because it's less expensive to buy a unit with all the bells and whistles than to add them later.

There has never been greater opportunity for renting mobile diesel generators. The range of potential end-users is vast: factories, commercial establishments, utilities, construction companies, telecommunication facilities, chemical plants, refineries, entertainment venues and special events. Rental equipment is also in demand for emergency applications and disaster relief, in which genset capabilities are severely tested.

Current circumstances favor generator rentals, and the wise rental center owner will configure a fleet for maximum adaptability to every kind of application. By upgrading generators with a range of options, rental center owners will find a broader audience for their offerings and receive the maximum utilization and income from every generator package.

Garcia is the rental product manager at Generac Power Systems, Waukesha, Wis.


Miller Electric's Big Blue 502 welding generator delivers 20 to 600 amps of DC welding output. The unit is protected from outside elements with rustproof stainless steel casing and hardware, three varnish layers on the reactor, a sealed rectifier to shield connections and added sealing and greasing of the connection box. A standard version of the Big Blue 502 with a steel case is also available.


The EF2600 can power tools and appliances such as disk sanders, weed trimmers, space heaters and water heaters, according to Yamaha. Features include a brushless alternator, automatic decompression for manual starting and a chrome-plated, tubular steel frame.

American Honda

The EB3000c is a 3,000-watt/120-volt generator. The unit features American Honda's Cyclo-converter technology, which enables the generator to provide a stable power supply, according to the manufacturer. A 6.5-horsepower Honda overhead valve engine powers the EB3000c.


Available in 5- and 7.5-kilowatt models, the new ES generators are equipped with Honda GX Series overhead valve engines, skyhooks, wheel kits with pneumatic tires and deluxe control panels, and 8-gallon fuel tanks. Pramac designed the frame with CNC-formed tube construction. The gasoline or diesel units come with a two-year alternator and frame warranty.

John Deere

The John Deere G5500KE generator features an 11-horsepower Kawasaki overhead valve engine with electric start and full pressure lubrication. The 8-gallon fuel tank provides 9.5 hours of continuous operation at full load and 13.5 hours at half load, the company says. The unit has a voltmeter, an hour meter, automatic idle control and an electronic positive/negative 6-percent voltage regulator. Accessories include a dolly kit and a lifting bale.


Kawasaki offers six models in its self-exciting, double-pole, single-phase generator line: the GE2200A, GE2900A, GE4300A, GE5000AS (pictured) and the Powerpartner 4000 and Powerpartner 6000. The GE5000AS is rated at 4,400 watts of continuous power with 5,000 watts maximum and features electric start with recoil backup, automatic idle control and a four-cycle Kawasaki gasoline engine. Equipped with a 5.8-gallon fuel tank, the unit provides about eight hours of continuous operation, the company says.


ROZK generator sets, including model 115 (pictured), incorporate Kohler's Fast Response brushless alternator technology, the quickest voltage response in the industry, according to the company. Powered by Deutz diesel engines, the generators in the 50- to 170-kilowatt range feature electronic governing and engine controls for frequency regulation, voltage stability and generator management.

MQ Power

WhisperWatt portable generators from MQ Power, a division of Multiquip, are available in a variety of configurations with output power levels up to 800 kilovolt-amps. Features include simultaneous single- and three-phase power, a complete power panel, a voltage selector switch or voltage reconnect board, a brushless design, soundproofed steel housing and a diesel engine with an internal fuel tank. Internal parts are shock-mounted to the frame to minimize vibration and extend service life.


Genex Power Equipment offers diesel and gasoline generators from a variety of manufacturers including SDMO, Yamaha, DEK and Kosika. The units feature engines from manufacturers such as Mitsubishi, Cummins, Yanmar, John Deere, Yamaha, Honda, Volvo, Perkins and Robin Fuji.


Gen-Pro generator sets deliver 3 to 18 kilowatts and offer the choice of a Honda, Vanguard or Kohler overhead valve engine. Each unit allows only 7 percent harmonic distortion, and the power-assist design offers more copper wire and electrical-grade steel, Gillette Generators says.


The 40SQ Coleman Engineering Super Quiet Pac generator delivers 40 kilowatts of three-phase standby power with a noise level of 64 decibels at 23 feet. Features include a safety shutdown system, fuel/water separators, a crankcase vent emissions filter, an analog control panel and a three-position voltage selection switch. Lockable enclosures have large access doors, and all trailers include surge brakes, bolt-on fenders and tail/running lights.


Ingersoll-Rand's new GenPowerSource generators include compact models that deliver 3,500 to 11,000 watts of power: the G3.5, G5, G7, G8, G10 and G11 (pictured). Each unit is powered by a Vanguard or Mitsubishi engine. The G11 features 11,000 surge watts, 9,900 continuous watts, a 17-horsepower Mitsubishi diesel engine, an enclosed frame and a continuous running time of 12.4 hours, the company says.


TPG-Series generators can power single-phase submersible pumps and other electrical tools such as drills, saws and heaters, Tsurumi says. Powered by Honda overhead valve engines, the units feature low-oil-alert systems and automatic idle control.

Lincoln Electric

Lincoln Electric's Ranger 305G welder/generator can be used for general-purpose stick, pipe mode for stick welding, cored-wire and gouging up to a three-sixteenths-inch diameter. The 300-amp unit provides 9,000 watts of 120/240-volt AC generator power for use with tools and lights. With its improved AC waveform, it also can be used to operate Lincoln plasma cutters and inverters. Features include a 22-horsepower Kohler Command gasoline engine, digital weld output meters and automatic idle control.

Pow'R Gard

Available in capacities from 25 to 175 kilovolt-amps, Switchable R diesel-powered generator sets from Pow'R Gard feature switchable voltage selection, sound-attenuated enclosures, automatic overload protection, automatic start and cold-weather starting aids. The brushless units have three voltage combinations: 120/240-volt, one- and three-phase delta connection; 120/208-volt, three-phase low-wye connection; and 277/480-volt, three-phase hi-wye connection.


NAC Construction Equipment's NDK diesel generators, including the NDK-6000YE (pictured), feature tamper-proof electromagnetic circuit breakers. The pictured unit and the NDK-4100YE each have a Yanmar diesel engine, low-oil shutdown and a condenser voltage regulation for consistent output.


Generac Power Systems' GR Series mobile diesel generators range from 20 to 170 kilowatts. Each unit can deliver simultaneous high and low and single- and three-phase output, the company says. Automatic safety shutdowns for high temperature, low oil pressure and low coolant are designed to protect the engine. Single- and double-axle trailers are available.


The HPA1300 portable gasoline welder from Lister-Petter is a revolving-field, self-exciting, single-phase unit with a maximum AC output of 1,300 watts. A 4-horsepower Mitsubishi overhead valve gasoline engine powers the unit. The AC rated voltage is 110, 120, 220, 230, 240, 110/220 and 120/240 volts.

Robin America

The RGV13000T three-phase generator provides 13,000 watts of power and has multiple outlets for a variety of voltage options. The transformer voltage regulation maintains constant voltage when the unit is used with sensitive equipment, Robin America says. The unit is powered by a Robin Subaru 18-horsepower V-twin engine and features fuseless circuit breakers, an hour meter, a low-oil-pressure shutdown system and a tubular steel frame.


Winco offers a variety of portable and stationary generators. Portable units range from 3 to 15 kilowatts and use copper windings for motor starting. WC models feature automatic idle control, full receptacle panels, individual circuit breakers, hour meters and switchless full-power output. Mobile power systems also can be used as stationary units with remote start capability, range from 25 to 87.5 kilovolt-amps, and have switchable voltage.


Wacker has added four models to its generator line: the G 110 (pictured), G 125, G 155 and G 180. Powered by a 135-horsepower John Deere engine, the G 110 delivers 98 kilowatts of standby power and 88 kilowatts of continuous output. The 245-gallon fuel tank provides up to 38.3 hours of continuous operation, the company says. All units feature a digital engine/generator control panel with LCD display to maximize performance and facilitate maintenance.