Generator fault finding – take a closer look at batteries

We all know that things breakdown when we really don’t want them too. It is no different for a generator. There are a few items that we need to look at and know about to reduce the risk of a breakdown, and if there is what basics to look at prior to contacting a service agent.

Most reciprocating generators whether they are Petrol, Gas or Diesel will start and run the same way. They will have the same basic safety features to stop the engine or generator from being damaged.

Unless the set is large and is started by air, the most common way of starting the set is via a battery and starter motor. When the set is running, it needs to be controlled, fuelled and cooled.  Over the next few weeks, we will share our experience of what are the possible causes of generators breaking down and what you can do to minimise them. First, let’s take a look at batteries.

Batteries, we all know what they are and what they are used for. Working on a chemical reaction, if they are not maintained, batteries can fail and wear out over time. Breakdowns happen when batteries are not maintained or mistreated. Here are some problems and possible causes.

Low battery voltage, causing starting issues

  • Low battery acid (liquid & chemical) level
  • Dirty terminals
  • Wiring issues
  • Controller left on slowly draining the battery

No voltage

  • Low battery acid (liquid & chemical) level
  • Battery damaged due to overcharging, short circuit or internal failure of the battery.

Old age

  • Batteries get old and will wear out and will need to be replaced.

Just like your car, you need to check the battery in your genset on a regular basis. Keep the terminals clean and tight, keep the levels up if its accessible and, if need be, install a battery charger to keep the battery in good health, especially if your diesel genset doesn’t get run on a regular basis. Even with regular maintenance your battery may fail, and a replacement will be needed.

Batteries do not last forever and will need to be replaced every 3-5 years, speak to your generator supplier or distributor for the correct battery for you genset.

At PowerLink, we have a nationwide service network allowing us to assist clients across Australia. For assistance, please contact your local distributor.

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