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Generator Power Required

Choosing the correct Polaris Power generator means knowing how much power you require. Polaris offers four models: the P2000i, the P3200iE, the P5500 and the P6500. The following information can help you decide which one is the best fit for you.

To calculate your power needs correctly, you need to know which kind of load you are dealing with. A load is defined as the device that you are powering. There are two kinds of loads:

Resistive loads require the same amount of power to both start and run. Many resistive loads are involved in heating or creating heat of some kind. Examples include light bulbs, coffee makers and toasters.

Reactive loads contain an electric motor, which requires additional power to start but significantly less power to run once it gets going. Typically, starting power is three times the amount of power required to run the application. Examples of reactive loads include refrigerators and freezers, furnace fans, well pumps, air conditioners, bench grinders, air compressors and power tools.

Some household appliances, like furnaces or refrigerators, have internal fans that come on intermittently. Extra wattage/power is needed to start the fan each time. Refrigerators also have a defrost cycle that requires power in addition to the compressor and fans.

Reactive loads also may require additional power when the electric motor begins to work. For example, when a saw begins cutting wood, its power requirement will increase. This is not applicable for most household appliances.

Translating Appliance Data Tags
For some appliances, you can determine the power needed by looking at the data tag supplied by the electric motor manufacturer. All electric motors should have a data tag attached to them that lists voltage, amps, phase and cycles.

  • Volts (V): The volts must be either 120 (110-120) or 120/240. 120/240 means that the motor can be wired to operate on 120V or 240V. Polaris generators all are 120V.
  • Amps (A): Indicates the amps required to RUN the electric motor but doesn’t consider STARTING or LOADED power requirements.
  • Phase (PH): Polaris generators can power only single phase motors.
  • Cycles (Hz): All U.S. electrical appliances run at 60 cycles per second.

Other locations to find power requirements on appliances or devices include stamps on the bottom or side and nameplates.

Amps to Watts
While appliances frequently list their power requirements in amps, most generators list their output in watts. To determine the wattage needed, multiply amps by volts.

  • Amps x Volts = Watts

Maximum vs. Rated Power
Generators are often advertised at the maximum wattage they can produce, but you’ll also see the rated power listed.

  • Maximum power is the maximum output that a generator can produce. Maximum power is usually available for up to 30 minutes.
  • Rated power is the power that a generator can produce for a long period of time. It’s typically 90 percent of the maximum power.

In general, use rated power to determine if a generator will be able to adequately power your applications continuously. Keep in mind that older appliances may require more power than what is listed because they become less efficient over time.

The P2000i has a maximum output of 2,000 watts and a rated output of 1600W. The P3200iE has a maximum output of 3,200W and a rated output of 2,800W. The P5500 has a maximum output of 5,500W and a rated output of 5,000W. The P6500 has a maximum output of 6,500W and a rated output of 6,000W. 

Wattage Reference Chart

Table Saw / Radial Arm Saw - 10"20002000
Space/Wall Heater18000
Central Air Conditioning15004500
Circular Saw - 7 1/4"14002300
Hair Dryer300-12000
Sump Pump - 1/2 HP10502200
Microwave Oven - 100 Watt10001400
Coffee Maker10000
Garage Door Opener 1/2 HP8752350
Personal Computer w/ 17" Monitor8000
Color Television - 27"5000
Electric Drill - 3/8", 4 amps440600
Paint Sprayer3601080
Light Bulb - 75 Watt750

To calculate the total generator output required, add the rated watts and surge watts for all appliances. For example, let's say you want to run a coffee maker and a radio. That would be 1000 + 300 = 1300 rated watts and 0 + 300 = 300 surge watts. The rated and surge watts together would be 1600 watts. 

For more information, see your authorized Polaris Dealer. You can find a dealer near you with the Dealer Locator.
More operation and maintenance procedures can be found in your Owner's Manual: P5500 and P6500 Owner's Manual, P3200iE Owner's Manual and P2000i Owner's Manual.
For replacement part numbers, use the online parts catalog

Unless noted, trademarks are the property of Polaris Industries Inc.
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