How to Prevent Power Loss When Using a Mobile Generator

Lukas Conant
By Lukas Conant / a couple of weeks ago

Today’s post is a guest post written by Lukas Conant of ATI Electrical.  

Have you ever had a power loss at an event you were doing lights for?  Lukas shares some insights below on how you can prevent this from happening in the future!

Zip to the bottom of the article to learn more about ATI and what they can do for you!

1. Have a backup generator with an automatic transfer switch
Generators can and do fail.

The way to make sure that your lighting production doesn’t fail is with a backup generator and an automatic transfer switch. When your primary generator fails, the automatic transfer switch will switch you over to the backup generator and keep the lights on. It may seem excessive to have two generators, but you’ll be glad you have one when your primary generator lets you down.

When your primary generator fails, the automatic transfer switch will switch you over to the backup generator and keep the lights on.  It may seem excessive to have two generators, but you’ll be glad you have one when your primary generator lets you down.

2. Avoid using damaged equipment
A common culprit of power failures is using equipment that has been beaten up too many times. Make sure to check your equipment for damage before you store them away and once again before you use them. If there is damage, label the item for repair and keep it separate from the rest of your equipment. If the product cannot be repaired, it needs to be thrown away.

Stage with Portable Power3. Use equipment that is rated for outdoor use
If you are at an outside event location, then you need to make sure that all your equipment and cables are rated for outdoor use. Generally at an outdoor event metal enclosures for equipment should be NEMA 3R rated.

NEMA 3R protects against falling rain, sleet, snow, and external ice formations. There are many different kinds of NEMA ratings for enclosures – just make sure your enclosure has the NEMA rating that matches its environment. Overlooking this detail can result in power loss and dangerous accidents.

There are many different kinds of NEMA ratings for enclosures – just make sure your enclosure has the NEMA rating that matches its environment. Overlooking this detail can result in power loss and dangerous accidents.

4. Use heavy-duty industrial-grade equipment and cables as much as possible.
It’s often tempting to go with cheaper equipment, but it will save you money in the long run if you go for heavier-duty equipment and cables. Try to use cables with a heavy-duty chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) jacket, and an ethylene propylene rubber insulation (EPR).

Cheaper plastic PPE cables will wear down much quicker, and you’ll have to replace them sooner. If your PPE cable will be near generators, heating equipment, food vendors and outdoor cooking equipment, pyrotechnics, or lighting then you’re going to have a problem. PPE is susceptible to melting from heat and can quickly turn your event into a disaster.

Cheaper plastic PPE cables will wear down much quicker, and you’ll have to replace them sooner. If your PPE cable will be near generators, heating equipment, food vendors and outdoor cooking equipment, pyrotechnics, or lighting then you’re going to have a problem. PPE is susceptible to melting from heat and can quickly turn your event into a disaster.

5. Plan and document everything
Create a plan for your temporary power set-up and document everything as you go. This will allow you to easily identify flaws in your plan before you power up. Additionally, if something does go awry, you will have your documentation to be able to locate the problem.

audio cables into the back of a mixer6. Set up your system based on maximum load projections
Make sure that your power distribution is designed and made up of equipment that will provide adequate power for the load that you are expecting to create. If you’ve fully documented your stage lighting and audio systems, you should be able to project your requirements for

If you’ve fully documented your stage lighting and audio systems, you should be able to project your requirements for surge as well as sustained loads.
Remember that it is impossible to be perfect.

Obstacles and problems will arise during your stage lighting career. The success of that career is governed by how well you prepare, and how well you can effectively recover when things go wrong.

About ATI
ATI is an electrical distributor that specializes in portable power, switchgear, industrial controls, mining, power distribution, and more. They distribute products like single pole devices, generator connection boxes, and spider boxes.


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