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How long does it take for the generator to kick in after the main power supply shuts off?

Can "start" be used here instead of "kick in"? I mean maybe it won't sounds as natural, but is it likely to be used?

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3 Answers 3

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Yes, "start" in that sentence would be fine. I think you mean "shuts off", though!

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    And he probably did not mean "paper" either :)
    – virolino
    Feb 20, 2020 at 10:07
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Yes, "start" can be used and it makes sense in generic, every-day speech. However, from a technical point of view, that information is not very well defined.


It is one things that the motor starts rotating for any reason (t1), and it is another thing that the generator actually starts providing the nominal power characteristics (voltage, current, power, torque) on a constant, reliable basis (t2).

Always, (t2) > (t1), and the difference can be quite big.

While (t1) can be just a few seconds, some (industrial) setups might have (t2) longer than a minute.


"Starts" sounds more professional, "kick in" sounds more colloquial.

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  • So what sounds better "starts" or "kicks in", I mean what's more likely to be used? Feb 20, 2020 at 11:01
  • They both sound good in their proper context. One should refrain from using "synergies" in the ghetto, the same way as one should refrain from addressing their university professor with "wassap bro'".
    – virolino
    Feb 25, 2020 at 6:04
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"Kick in" suggests something that was ALREADY RUNNING that abruptly TOOK EFFECT.

To "engage", to "come online", to "cycle on", to "activate"/"become active" to "run up" to "kick on" may be more analogous to the premise of the example provided.

I think the discrepancy really comes from the use of "in" instead of "on".

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