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What is the difference between a resistive and reactive load bank?

A resistive load bank can be used to fully test the generator set at 100% nameplate kW rating. It will also fully load the generator cooling, fuel, and exhaust systems.

Only 80% of the generator set nameplate kVA rating can be achieved when utilizing a resistive unit.

The resistive load bank will provide a unity or 1 power factor (PF) load to the system under test. Resistive units are predominantly used for AC voltages, however, specifically designed DC load banks are also available.

A resistive reactive combined load bank usually consists of both resistive elements and inductors that can be used to provide load testing at non-unity PF (lagging) including the capability to test the generator set fully at 100% nameplate kVA rating. Combined load banks incorporate resistors and inductors all in a single construction which can be independently switched to allow resistive only, inductive only, or varying lagging power factor testing. Combined load banks are rated in kilovolt-amperes (kVA). It’s worth noting that combined load banks can consist of resistive, inductive, and capacitive (RLC) also.

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