• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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How to deal with generators emergencies

How to deal with generators emergencies

(Infrastructure maintenance with Obileye)

Generators are often used as backup or emergency power supplies, serving as a secondary power source during an outage. Due to its infrequent use, except in situations where it is used on a daily basis, some problems may go undetected. As generators get older, there is greater risk of mechanical failure if the equipment is not regularly serviced.

Regular inspections can help detect most problems. However, not all users of generators prioritize routine maintenance so when a problem occurs it can limit or stop a generator’s power production and cause a failure. When this happens, the immediate step to take is for a technician to attend the location of the generator for an emergency inspection.

Emergency inspections usually reveal one of seven problems:

Battery Failure: Battery failure is the most common cause of generator failure. In most cases, battery failure is caused by loose connections or sulfation buildup which occurs when the lead sulfates in the electrolyte begin to coat the battery’s lead plates. As the sulfates builds on the plates, it inhibits the electrical conversion, preventing the battery from providing the current needed to start the generator.

Insufficient Coolant: Generators are designed to shut down when they become too hot. When a generator has insufficient coolant, it is not prepared to operate for a long time, which could lead to a failure when a facility needs it most.

Read also: ‘I better pass my neighbour generator’ turns luxury at N140k

Fuel Leak: Due to the odour emitted, fuel leaks are usually detectable during regular maintenance. If they are discovered while a generator is running, the problem could be a malfunctioning fuel pump or a broken fuel line.

Oil Leak: Oil leaks are caused by wet stacking, a condition where oil, fuel, and other liquids build up in a generator’s exhaust pipes due to carbonized fuel injection tips and faulty crankcase breathers that release too much oil as the generator vents.

Control Setting Errors: Many generators fail to start because controls were left on an incorrect setting after maintenance or testing. If the proper resetting procedure is not followed, a control error could also occur after a fault shutdown.

Fuel Bleed Back: When fuel bleeds back into a generator’s fuel tank instead of going to the engine, air in the injection mechanism or faulty check valves could be the cause. In either case, the generator behaves as if it were out of fuel.

Empty Fuel Tank: If there is insufficient fuel in the tank, the pump will end up pumping air into the system. When this happens, the worst-case scenario would be a catastrophic damage to the engine as the fuel injectors inject less fuel into the cylinder which causes detonation. Also, stuck fuel gauges or fuel gauges that show faulty levels commonly indicate empty fuel tanks.

In conclusion, the best approach to avoid an emergency situation is to ensure regular inspection and maintenance.