Jan , 2014
Helpful Tips on your Onan Diesel Generator
The majority of standby generators are diesel powered due to the durability, performance and reliability of diesel engines. Diesel generators are used in the vast majority of critical applications including airports, hospitals, government installation, and telecommunications facilities. Diesel generators have the ability to start-up and take on a full load in under 10 seconds. In most instances they are capable of operating for more than 30,000 hours before a major overhaul becomes necessary. This remarkable performance is unique to diesel generators, however, similar to any mechanical device, maintenance is crucial.
Facilities that employee qualified technicians will often perform the required maintenance of diesel generators themselves. Others, prefer to contract with Bell & Orders for all of their maintenance needs.
Due to the durability of Cummins generators, the majority of maintenance will be of a preventive nature. Preventive maintenance will generally consist of the following.
- General Inspection
- Cooling system maintenance
- Fuel system maintenance
- Test and service of starting batteries
- Periodic engine exercise
In general it is beneficial to adhere to a maintenance schedule that is based upon your specific application and your operating environment. For instance, if your generator gets frequent use or is subject to extreme conditions of operation, the service intervals must be reduced. Factors that can have an effect upon maintenance schedules include:
- Using your generator continuously – prime power source
- Temperature extremes
- Weather exposure
- Salt water exposure
- Exposure to airborne contaminants such a sand, dust, and others
If your generator is subject to one or several of these extreme conditions, you should consult with Bell & Orders to come up with an effective maintenance plan. A good method for keeping track of your maintenance intervals is to utilise the generator’s run time meter to log all maintenance that is performed. This log is also useful in obtaining warranty support.
When your generator is operating, you should be alert for any mechanical issues that may result in hazardous conditions. The following areas should be frequently inspected in order to maintain reliable and safe operation:
- Exhaust System – check for leaks
- Fuel System – inspect fuel lines and filters
- DC Electrical System – Check the battery terminals
- Engine – monitor fluids, coolant temperature, oil pressure
- Engine Oil Check
Cooling System Maintenance
During periods of shutdown, inspect the coolant level. After the engine is cool take off the radiator cap and add coolant if necessary. Diesel engines need a balanced mixture of antifreeze, water and coolant additives. Inspect the radiator’s exterior and remove foreign material and dirt with a cloth or brush. Check the coolant heater operation by ensuring that hot coolant is discharged from the coolant outlet hose.
Fuels System Maintenance
Diesel fuel can deteriorate and become contaminated over time. This is a reason that it is important to regularly exercise your diesel generator to use stored fuel prior to its degradation. Fuel filters should also be drained at regular intervals. Water vapour may also accumulate in the fuel tank and condense, therefore, it must be drained on a periodic basis along with any sediment that may be present.
The air intake components of the engine should also be regularly examined. The frequency of air filter replacement will be determined by operating conditions and frequency of system operation.
Starting Battery Maintenance
Undercharged or weak batteries are the most frequent cause of failure of a standby power system. Even when your batteries are maintained and fully charged, they will deteriorate over time and they have to be replaced periodically when they are no longer able to hold an adequate charge. Consequently, your batteries must be inspected and then load tested to avert starting problems. Terminal voltage must be tested under load in order to verify proper operation.
Generators that are continuously on standby must have the ability to transition from start-up to full operation in several seconds. This imposes a large burden on engine components. Regularly exercising the system helps keep the parts of the engine lubricated and averts electrical contact oxidation. It also consumes fuel before it can degrade and assists in ensuring reliable system operation. The generator should be operated a minimum of once per month for a period of thirty minutes under loaded conditions.
Periodic preventive maintenance is crucial to maximise system reliability and to minimise repairs. By adhering to a periodic maintenance schedule and performing maintenance that is in accordance with your application and operating conditions, you will be certain that your system will be operational when it is needed. If you need additional technical support or assistance, contact Bell & Orders technical support.
CALL US 1300 550 735