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Ok... your average small generator has a panel on it with a couple of 110v plugs. If you need power, you head over to your generator, start it up. Now plug in your lamp (or radio, or fridge), turn the item on (if it has a switch... like a lamp, or a radio). Bingo, that's it.

The generator will have a limit on how much power it can supply (watts). Small generators may not be able to power your fridge or freezer; it depends on the wattage rating of the generator, and how much power the item draws.

Some mid-sized generators have 220v outlets, and some have 12v outputs to charge batteries as well.

Now a larger generator is often built into a complete "system" in the house... something you'd get an electrician to install for you if you don't have the skills. An extra panel is added, and the generator is hardwired into the house. A control system is installed which basically sits there and waits for a power outage... your generator has an electric starter and a car battery... when the power goes out, the control unit tells the generator to turn on, and a couple seconds later, power is being fed back into your house.

You can also do the above setup, but without the controller... so if the power goes out, you have to manually start the generator. This gives you a chance to shut down power-hungry appliances (like a heat-pump if your house has one), start the generator, and turn on individual appliances as they require power. (If your generator isn't powerful enough to run both your fridge and freezer, you would kill the breaker to one of them or unplug one, run the other for an hour or two, then switch to the other appliance to cool it down.)

That give a good enough explanation, or is there a more specific scenario you'd like described?
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