Emergency Generator Maintenance, What is generator maintenance

Generator maintenance speaks to what is generator maintenance and why maintain a generator and why it is necessary.

Before performing scheduled maintenance it is best if one understands what a generator is and how it functions. In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy.

A generator forces electric charge (usually carried by electrons) to flow through an external electrical circuit. The source of mechanical energy may be a reciprocating or turbine steam engine, water falling through a turbine or waterwheel, an internal combustion engine, a wind turbine, a hand crank, compressed air, or any other source of mechanical energy.

The reverse conversion of electrical energy into mechanical energy is done by an electric motor, and motors and generators have many similarities. Many motors can be mechanically driven to generate electricity and frequently make acceptable generators.

Generator Maintenance

Generator maintenance is required whether it is used for ongoing or emergency power as it must be properly maintained to ensure proper operation and long life.

It is required on a weekly, monthly and annual basis as well as load and no load testing. It is not uncommon for building technicians to perform the weekly no load tasks and tests as well as the monthly load and tests. This work may also be done on a contracted basis by others.

The manufacturer will provide a schedule of the required tasks and tests and will provide training at the time of turn over. The main responsibilities of the maintenance contractors would be to inspect systems, study the technical data provided by the manufacturers, maintain records and take precautionary measures for safety as suggested by the manufacturers.

Some of the steps taken to ensure smooth generator operation while carrying out scheduled maintenance include:

  • timely removal of worn out parts or upgrading the components
  • checking fluid levels
  • battery inspection and cleaning of connections
  • load bank testing
  • verifying control panel readings and indicators
  • changing fuel and air filters. When performing the weekly and monthly maintenance all tasks and tests should be logged and recorded. The logs should be dated and the run time of the generator should be noted. This allows for ongoing operations to be compared to prior operating parameters and will provide insight into potential problems. Load testing of automatic transfer switches in regular intervals keeps track of the component’s electrical and mechanical integrity in the actual mechanical transfer operation. Other factors to be checked periodically are starting and timing relays, start signal continuity, and utility phase sensing.
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