Accessorize your generator with…. Two Wire Auto Start Control for off-grid solar backup generator.
Solar power is a great idea when the sun’s shining. You can use your appliances safe in the knowledge that your solar panels are collecting power from the sun and converting it into electricity.
But what happens when the weather turns for weeks on end and the battery charge runs out? If you’re off the grid, it’s only a short step to a total blackout. Thankfully, someone already thought of that and invented a range of generators that can be customized to save the day.
The solution is a generator customised with a 2-wire auto start. The two-wire auto start generator is the best solution to automatically top up your off-grid solar system. This article focuses on the options around auto start generators suited to automatically backup off-grid solar sets ups.
Here’s how it works:
Solar panels generate power all day, storing it in batteries, and then supply that stored power to your connected home. However when the weather turns and the solar panels are no longer creating energy, your household starts using the power that’s been stored in the battery, and the charge level gets lower and lower.
The two wire auto start controller is connected from a portable or standby generator to the off-grid solar system control panel, external to the generator. This detects when the deep-cycle battery charge is low and hey presto – it automatically starts up the generator to charge up the battery pack. It then automatically stops once the battery charge levels are topped up.
Why choose a 2-wire auto start?
A generator with a two-wire auto start option means you get all the benefits of solar power with the peace of mind that there’s backup generator power on demand. So if you get a prolonged period without decent sunlight to charge your solar set up, you’ll never be without power as the backup generator will have you covered.
Just as when you’re using a generator normally, the generator provides its own safety protection, such as shutoff for low oil level, overheating, and so on. But just because it starts automatically doesn’t mean you should neglect maintenance of the generator. Be sure to do all the important checks on a regular basis: inspect the fuel line for cracks and replace it if necessary. Refill the tank with fresh fuel and run the generator, plugging in some appliances to check it’s working properly. And if there are any problems, take it for repair so it’s ready when you need it most. Each auto-start generator comes with a maintenance guide in the product manual.
Types of generator with 2-wire auto start
An auto start generator can be complemented by adding a 2-wire auto start controller or some units have this built in already. This two wire device is required for solar backup generator applications. Another typical extra is a Automatic Mains Failure Panel (AMF) which is used when connecting a auto start generator directly to your house to provide mains backup power. The AMF (also known as an Automatic Transfer Switch) is designed to be wired into your home or office’s main switch board for direct power back up in the event of a blackout…the AMF is not relevant for those running their home with a solar set up.
So just to be clear; for Solar set ups, you’ll need a 2-wire auto start controller to go with your auto-start generator (either an additional accessory, or built in to the auto start generator). For direct automatic back up to mains power (not solar) you’ll need an Automatic Mains Failure Panel (AMF) to go with your auto-start generator. In each case, installation of the generator and associated device is required to be undertaken by a qualified electrician. For backup generator options (both manual and automatic) to mains power (i.e. not off-grid solar sets), you can read this article HERE.
Generators with a 2-wire auto start capability suited to off-grid solar back up range in price from just over $2,000 up to around $10,000 depending on the functions and size you need. One manufacturer worth checking out is Pramac, which has a large selection of generators (size and type) designed for 2-wire auto start capability. This brand is headquartered in Europe (Spain & Italy) and is renowned for its overall quality. Other popular options include the Powerlite Remote Start 8kVA generator ; assembled in Australia and powered by Honda, priced under $4,000. The Kubota Lowboy models are the choice for customers wanting Diesel; Kubota is one of the leading diesel engine manufacturers globally and their Lowboy Generators come fitted with Deep Sea Two Wire Auto Start Controllers ready for off-grid solar connection.
Another auto-start generator brand which is new to Australia is Generac; these are gas powered generators, and whilst can require additional installation certification from the outset to connect to mains gas, they are starting to gain significant interest in the market; they can be a more cost effective option compared to petrol and diesel and the units self-test automatically. Can be used to backup solar set ups, but mostly chosen for backup to house mains during blackouts.
The most popular auto start generators for solar backup are the Pramac range, Powerlite and Gentech (affordable 8kVA Petrol models), Generac (Gas powered), and Kubota (best Diesel sets). Pramac has the largest choice of auto start models and designs and they manufacture robust units to suit both domestic or commercial solar backup power requirements. The Powerlite and Gentech models are the typically the most cost effective. The Generac Gas sets are excellent auto start generators, but they are not used as commonly for off-grid solar backup; they are more popular for mains power backup. The Kubota Lowboy models are especially popular for rural or bush properties where diesel machinery is preferred over petrol.
My Generator stocks sizes ranging from 5kVA up to 12kVA in the portable auto start range, with petrol and diesel options available, using world class engines such as Honda, Yanmar, Kubota and Lombardini.
Explore more backup generators for sale at MyGenerator.com.au