Most Common Problems of Generators

Generators play a vital role in the event of a power outage or in regions where access to the main supply is not feasible. These devices help minimise the disruption to daily life by providing power to service the required appliances or electrical systems. As these devices are often used on an irregular and unpredictable basis, owning a reliable and fully-functioning unit is essential for industrial and commercial entities. While routine maintenance and servicing is the simplest way to enhance reliability, your generator may still malfunction for several reasons. Here are some of the most commonly occurring problems in a generator and the relevant solutions. From purchase and generator installation to generator maintenance and repairs, you can trust Reactive Generators to get the job done.

Low Coolant Level Alarms

The main reason for a low coolant level is either an external or an internal leak. Although most generators are fitted with an alarm, very few models have an alert directly connected to coolant levels. More often, these alarms signify a high coolant temperature shut down. If your generator is equipped with an “Approaching High Coolant Temp Alarm” you can determine which fault caused the shutdown.

Block Heaters

An engine block heater on a generator is designed to keep the water in the engine warm. Keeping the engine block at the correct temperature will prevent the oil from becoming too thick in cold climates, and minimise the build-up of substantial matters.

However, block heaters are also required in warmer climates as the device can reduce internal wear from the dissimilar metals used in the generator’s build. As the pistons are typically made from aluminium, these will expand faster than the iron cylinder liners. Such drastic expansion can cause damage to the piston skirt. A block heater will help relieve much of this scruffing by keeping the system at a consistent and appropriate temperature.

Low Coolant Temperature Alarms

A low coolant temperature alarm is typically indicative of a faulty block heater. As these heaters run 24/7, the chance of failure is eventually inevitably. A block heater will not cause the engine to stop running, but the extreme temperature may cause the coolant to circulate through the system.

Oil, Fuel or Coolant Leaks

Generator leaks are typically caused by limited or neglected maintenance. Oil leaks are generally the result of wet stacking, which refers to the accumulation of carbon particles, unburned fuel, lube oil, condensed water and acids in the exhaust system.

Coolant leaks commonly emerge from malfunctions or breakages in the block heater hoses. The extreme temperatures emitted by the block heater can cause the tube to break down and disintegrate, creating the opportunity for fluid to leak.

Fuel leaks can result from an overfull base tank. This leakage is typically due to human error or a failed pump system. Employing a trained professional to refuel your generator is the simplest way to avoid this scenario.

To prevent these leaks from occurring, Reactive Generators recommends regular and ongoing maintenance for all generators.

Malfunctioning Controls

The control panel of a generator displays the settings, running and shutdown of the unit, as well as identifying any “faults” that may cause the generator to shut down. The generator must remain “in the auto” when it is in operation. When the main control switch is in the “Off/Reset” position, the generator is unable to start during a power outage. “Not in Auto” failures are typically the result of alarms not reset, breakers open, switch gears not reset and emergency stop buttons activated.

Fuel Bleed Back

Newer generators that are used on an irregular basis and undergo long periods of limited exercise are prone to fuel bleed back into the tank. The environmental restrictions of contemporary units make these systems more susceptible to the air affecting the start-up ability. Older portable units are not as sensitive to these issues, but may still experience similar problems if there is a leak in the line or damaged valves.

Low Fuel

A generator tank does not use as much fuel as some other mechanical devices, meaning the fuel can sometimes become stagnant. Combined with inaccurate fuel level gauges, running out of fuel is a relatively common issue for generators. Most generators have a “Low Fuel Level Shutdown”, which prevents the unit from starting when fuel depletion is imminent. It is essential that you carefully monitor the fuel levels in your generator to ensure it is always ready for use.

High Fuel

Government regulations require high fuel level alarms to prevent the overfilling of tanks. When a tank reaches over 90-95%, an alert is activated to notify the generator owner. Natural thermal expansion of the liquid can sometimes cause the alarm to activate, but this is an infrequent occurrence. The alarm typically resets itself once the levels drop below a certain point. Occasionally a manual reset may be required.

Reactive Generators

Reactive Generators directs every effort towards supporting our customers. We work with each client individually to establish their needs, goals, and budget before providing tailored advice and services. Operating across Queensland, we offer skilled technicians in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Ipswich. We cater to industrial and commercial clients across the region, providing a comprehensive and end-to-end service.

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