Standby generators play a very important role providing uninterrupted power in mission-critical operations. You will have thought hard before purchasing yours, investing so you are confident your operation – be it a data centre, healthcare facility or residential tower – will continue smoothly, when your main power grid fails.
That shouldn’t happen often, but if it does, you need to be sure your standby generator will be ready to kick-in flawlessly. There are a few simple steps you can take to keep your standby generator engine in good working order, so that when you need it, it’s there for you.
a. Testing at no load or light load
Operation at no load or light load should be avoided. If your schedule includes weekly or monthly exercising at no load or light load, the operating period should be kept down to minutes, or until the battery charging rate returns to normal.
On engines with light load profiles, we recommend regular oil sample analysis and corresponding oil changes. This will help detect excessive fuel dilution and general oil deterioration avoiding premature engine component wear.
Contact your local distributor if you experience a failed start/stop event. It’s important to complete a thorough check, particularly, inspecting the exhaust system for unburnt fuel and draining accordingly. This should be followed up with a minimum of four hours operation at full load.
b. Testing at full load
It’s best to set up a regular programme where you run the generator at full load for a minimum of four hours. This will keep the battery in good working order, burn off any build-up of carbon in the engine and exhaust system and allow your team to practise their processes for switching back to prime power after the generator has been in use. Your generator OMM should provide guidance on recommended timescales for your specific machine.
Load should be built up gradually from zero over the first hour and the balance completed at full rated load.
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