More applications for dry ice blasting are found every day. In a perfect world, every situation requiring dry ice blasting would also come with a reliable source of electricity. Because this is not always the case, some contractors use a pneumatic dry ice blasting machine such as our Phoenix line of dry ice blasting machines. However, if an electrically assisted machine is going to be used, a stand-alone power source will be needed.
While using a generator is an acceptable method of powering your dry ice blasting machine, it is critical that the generator maintains a steady and accurate current for the dry ice blasting machine to work properly.
Some items for consideration:
- Generators must be properly grounded to release static electricity. Grounding is done by driving a copper rod into the ground and attaching a lead between the generator and the rod. Please make sure that your generator supplier provides you with the rod and lead.
- Always use a properly grounded 3 prong, 110v outlet to plug in your electrically assisted dry ice blasting machine. The 3 prong requirement applies to extension cords as the ground wires on these power cords is how static electricity is released. If the 3rd prong is damaged or does not have continuity from end to end, it can damage the dry ice blasting machine or harm the operator.
- When using a generator there should be a constant “load’ on the generator. The “load” is something in the circuit that will draw power. This can be accomplished by plugging in one or two halogen light sets directly to the generator. The lights should draw high voltage at a stable rate and should keep the generator RPM (revolutions per minute) at a high and steady rate. Most electrically assisted dry ice blasting machines require approximately 120 v AC +10% or -15% to operate effectively.
- Most electrically assisted dry ice blasting machines have a frequency converter to convert AC (alternating current) electricity to DC (direct current) electricity and to act as an onboard power supply and computer. These frequency converters are often what senses the over or under voltage and will either shut down, produce an error code or just simply fail when the voltages coming in to the machine are too high or too low. If your dry ice blasting machine does not power up or you experience intermittent power supply, your electrical source is typically the first place to investigate. To protect frequency convertors we recommend using a surge protector between the generator and the dry ice blasting equipment.
- Many of today’s generators utilize energy saving settings. These settings allow the generator to idle at a lower RPM when it does not sense a large load being pulled. When the generator senses a greater need to produce more voltage, the generator ramps up quickly and then lowers until steady. This ramp up and subsequent slowdown is what often shuts down dry ice blasting machines due to the voltage going outside the approximate 120 v AC +10% or -15% range.
Keeping these considerations in mind when using generators for a power source will lead to a more successful dry ice blasting experience. For more information on the dry ice blasting machines we offer – both pneumatic and electrically assisted – click here.