Generators PA.Com is a site dedicated to standby generator and portable generator owners, potential owners and anyone who wants more information about generators, generator service, generator maintenance or battery based power back up systems.. This site is authored by Anthony Guerrera, master Electrician and factory-authorized service and maintenance provider for Kohler, Briggs & Stratton, GE and Winco Standby and portable generator systems. www.guerreraelectric.com
Generators require professional maintenance. They are not lawnmowers. Yes, they have an engine. The difference is…instead of turning a cutting blade, they are turning a rotor. The rotor rotates courtesy of the turning crankshaft of an internal combustion engine. That engine must be precisely tuned to a much greater degree than a lawn mower, or your cars engine. The difference is that the rotary cutting blade of a mower, or the drive shaft of your car will turn, in spite of a poorly tuned engine. Yes, they will still function, albeit poorly. The efficiency of the engine governs the efficiency of the vehicle or mower. Poor efficiency will result in poor fuel economy. Poor performance. Generators are a far different story. The engine must be finely tuned because it must turn the rotor at the precise RPM. The rpm of the rotor, turning within the stationary stator creates the electrical field that the generator produces. The quality of the electricity produced is directly governed by the efficiency of the motor. If the motor is not running at top efficiency, the electrical field produced by the revolution of the rotor will not be of the quality necessary to power todays power-sensitive electronics. Today, nearly all appliances, computers, televisions, control boards on HVAC systems and communications gear require clean power. Distortions in the electrical field powering them, can damage, destroy or shorten the life of this equipment. To protect you from damaging expensive equipment, generator manufactures have programmed electrical generators to shut down when they are not producing clean power. The unit “faults” and will not be able to be restarted until the cause of the “fault” is determined by a professional certified serving dealer. The cause of the fault must be dealt with before the unit can go back on-line.
Professional Certified Factory Maintenance and Service should be performed each year on your generator.
Professional generator maintenance is not an oil and filter change…not a new set of spark plugs, or an air filter change. These are necessary routine maintenance services, but not nearly the extent of what services need to be performed on a regular annual basis. Your generator must be evaluated by a professional and factory-certified generator technician. Once the generator has been run and evaluated, often utilizing specialized equipment or a lap top computer with specially designed diagnostic software, a maintenance should be performed requiring routine parts replacement (oil, filter, air filter, pre air filter and spark plugs). Of even greater importance, are the maintenance tasks that must be performed at regular, pre-determined intervals per the manufacturers instructions. These additional maintenance procedures include valve clearance adjustment, governor and linkage adjustments, fuel pressure adjustment, fuel mixture adjustment, engine RPM and timing adjustments and more. The fuel lines, belts, hoses, seals, spark plug and coil wiring, linkage and governor assemblies, electronic governor controls and battery must be evaluated. The charging system must be tested. The unit should be cleaned, leveled and all connections should be re-torqued to factory specifications. The on board controller firmware should be updated to assure the latest version available has been loaded. These updates adjust internal operations of the unit that have been added to improve the generators performance, or fix an ongoing problem. Once adjustments have been performed, the unit should be tested.
Still think your electrician or HVAC mechanic can perform service or maintenance on your generator?
Todays generators must be serviced by not only a certified generator technician who is certified by YOUR MANUFACTURER, it should be serviced by a tech who is also certified by your generators engine manufacturer as well. There are far too many differences between engine builders, and far too many adjustments that only a factory certified small or big block engine specialist are qualified to perform.
The odds are overwhelming that, if you have your maintenance and service performed by someone who is truly qualified and equipped to do the task, you will extend the life of your generator by many years. Adjustments, properly performed during your annual maintenance, are much less expensive than service calls and parts replacement due to failures, or even worse, premature generator failure. A sound maintenance program will reduce the overall cost of ownership significantly.