Maintaining Diesel Generators, Regular Inspections & Checks

Energy dependence in today’s world is so much that a short blackout could mount up to huge losses. And it’s not only true for businesses but for households as well. Consider a day without electricity. You can’t watch your favourite programs, would have to bear with the climatic effects and whatnot. Surely, life gets tough in the absence of power supply.

However, a backup generator, preferably a diesel generator can help maintain the supply of electricity when needed. But, as many often mistake the upkeep of this piece of equipment with only supplying it with the fuel, it is not the case. In order to keep it running for years without problems, you need to keep up with the overall maintenance.

Maintenance of the Engine

A diesel generator is a combination of an engine and an alternator. The primary purpose of the engine is to convert the chemical energy of diesel fuel into mechanical energy. Therefore, it is vital to maintain the engine if you wish your generator to keep producing electricity.● Check the Coolant

Different models come with different cooling systems. Usually, the large generators meant for industrial applications include oil cooling systems. However, some smaller units also accompany a radiator to wave off the heat. Keeping the level of coolant in the system ensures that the engine does not overheat. And thus, could work for hours when needed.● Check Fuel Lines

As already mentioned, the diesel generator runs on diesel fuel, ensuring the supply of the fuel is also crucial. During every maintenance cycle, you must check all the fuel supply lines for any leakage. If you find any cracks developing in the pipes, then you must replace them immediately.

•Lubricating the Moving Parts

Presence of multiple mechanical parts requires time to time lubrication to minimize the wear and tear. Of course, the parts that sync harmoniously together require more frequent lubrication. The gearbox, the crank-box, pistons and even the small ratchets and pawls need lubrication. You can, in fact, use a go to site of a manufacturer of diesel generators for better understanding of the parts that need lubrication. It is noteworthy that lubricating the engine not only minimizes wear and tear but also improves its life. And subsequently, eliminating the need for repairs and replacements.

•Cleaning of the Filters

An important part of the engine is the set of filters. Essentially, these filters ensure proper combustion of the fuel and therefore a longer life of the combustion chamber. For instance, if the air filter is clogged, then there won’t be sufficient air mixture entering the chamber. It would lead to improper burning of the fuel and would surely be a waste. Moreover, it also affects the environment by releasing unburnt fuel and gases into the atmosphere through the exhaust.

Maintenance of the Generator

Just like the engine needs regular checks, the alternator (or as it is more commonly known- generator) also needs maintenance. However, unlike the engine, the maintenance checks for generators concern more with the electrical performance.

•Checking Wiring Joints

The most vulnerable parts in a generator include the wiring joints. A slight jerk can the joints to break and interrupt the supply. Besides, if the joints are exposed to environmental elements such as air and moisture, they may oxidize. The process is more commonly known as corrosion. Therefore, it is essential to keep a regular check on the open joints and, if needed, grease them to prevent corrosion.

•Maintaining the Batteries

Batteries are the storage houses of diesel generators. They are necessary for operating the sensors, maintaining a regular current in the inverter circuit, and also for the ignition purpose. During the regular maintenance checks, you must check the electrolyte level in the battery, the specific gravity of the electrolyte, and also the terminals of cells of the battery. Proper upkeep of the battery will ensure that you can start your generator during a blackout period. Besides, the batteries also have a life cycle, beyond which they demand replacement. It is best to consult with the maintenance personnel to know when to change the batteries.

•Checking Instrument Cluster

As important as it is to maintain the batteries and other electrical equipment, checking and keeping up with the instrument cluster is also important. Modern diesel generators come with a variety of sensors and meters to monitor the health of various parts. For instance, there are sensors to detect low fuel levels, low battery, and even the health of oil and air filters. Proper maintenance of these sensors, and checking for any faults in them can help reassure that no problem occurs when you need to use the generator.

•Keeping up with the Controllers

Similarly, there are several controller switches that come with modern generators. Although many pieces come with automatic controllers, some still use manual switching. Regardless of the type of control switch, proper checks are still crucial. You surely wouldn’t want your generator to not start and cause troubles when you need it the most. For security reasons, a faulty controller would generally not allow the modern generators to by-pass and operate. Therefore, it is all the more important to keep up with its maintenance.

A complete overhaul may be sought for generators that are either too old, or require heavy repairs. Spending your time as well as money on such pieces of equipment may prove to be more wasteful than buying a new one. Moreover, the new pieces of equipment would come with the latest features and you can also expect them to be more fuel-efficient.

Experts suggest that a complete checkup of diesel generators should be carried out regularly and bi-annually. But, for specific parts, the maintenance schedule may vary. For instance, batteries should be checked and with electrolyte after every 200 hours of usage. Likewise, after every 300-400 hours of operation, the engine should be checked for lubricants and if needed they should be replaced. Whereas, fuel supply lines may not require frequent replacement and can last up to 2 years without leaking. The point is to keep a check on the various parts and their performance. Failing to which, troubles are imminent. Thus, to keep it running smoothly and without any troubles, you should keep up with the aforementioned checks.

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