The genset consists of an engine (usually diesel) and a generator. As with all machinery there is wear that accumulates with use. Both the engine and the generator need periodic maintenance and testing to monitor output, efficiency, fuel consumption and other parameters that signal the health and welfare of the genset.
Generator Load Bank Testing
Load bank testing is done to ensure that the genset’s components are operating up to specifications in consideration of wear on the genset. The equipment used simulates varying loads on the genset to determine its capabilities. One of the criteria is to load the genset to its rated limit in steps and then monitor engine temperature and liquid pressure levels of both cooling and lubricating systems. If the unit runs under 30% of its max rating considering the rating affected by ambient temperature and altitude, regular testing should be conducted. Testing is done by recording various parameters at a specific kW load for a timed interval then the load is increased and at the new load setting all the specified parameters are then recorded. These tests are repeated at various load intervals up to the rated output.
Advantages of Load Bank Testing
Benefits of load bank testing ensure the performance rating of the genset, versus a routine startup. Mechanical problems and parts generally do not fail without warning. Wear is progressive and accumulative. If a problem is detected and addressed early on any intervention and repair can be made avoiding major expenses. Load bank testing can detect and reveal many minor problems before they become major problems.
Working under rated load conditions can mitigate wet stacking problems and ‘blow out’ excessive carbon buildup. Another area the load bank testing stresses is the cooling system, revealing potential points of failure before they are critical. Load bank testing also ensures confidence in your genset when you may need it the most.
Load Bank Testing Procedure
Some of the parameters tested are:
• Load. Every genset has a maximum load rating in kW (kilowatts), the test ensures that the genset is up to rated power generation.
• Voltage is important. The higher the voltage the greater the distance the power can be transmitted. It is important that the genset is producing the rated voltage at the generator.
• Oil Pressure failure. Can be catastrophic, particularly at remote site where full backup may not be available. Load bank testing ensures that oil pressure meets standards under load conditions.
• Frequency. Many electrical devices are finicky about the frequency or cyclic rate of electrical power supply. In the US 60 Hz (Hertz) or 60 cycles per second is the norm. Variance can damage certain devices. The bank load test ensures that the genset is producing power at the required cyclic rate.
• Amperage. Power supplies are required to deliver a specific amperage. Load testing ensures that the amperage required, and the rated output is being meet.
Diesel Generator Leases, Rentals & Sales
Used, new or rebuilt units should be tested before placement into service to be sure they meet the specifications and standards for that unit. All mechanical devices wear, periodic testing will detect wear points and parts failure before they are critical. If available, get a copy of the genset load bank test to see if the unit will be a satisfactory addition to your inventory. Environmental Power Solutions offers clean diesel generators for lease, rent or sale. Contact us to learn more!