Generator is a sophisticated machine, comprised of hundreds of moving parts, and like any other machine it needs regular maintenance and care for optimum performance. Here we have listed some of the most common problems that one can face in industrial generator and their solutions. Remember while diagnosing and repairing, always first check for the most common causes and only then go for big more expensive repairs. Most of the time the problems can be solved with some very minor quick fixes.
1.Generator is not cranking
One of the most common issue is the you turned off the generator at night and when you came back in the morning, it didn’t crank at all. Some times it gives a sound like “tik-tik”. Like it is trying to do something but no movement at all.
Being it general rental industry we have learned that the first and foremost you should check the emergency stop switch. For some reason it gets pressed and until it is released, generator wont crank. Then check the battery on-off switch and make sure it is on. Then check if control panel is turning on and if there are any errors showing there. If there are no errors then at last the most common cause for this problem is a dead battery. Replace the batteries and try again. If still does not work then you need to call the technician who would check the wiring thoroughly. Sometimes rodents at night cut the wire without you noticing.
2.Generator was shut down by itself
There are many reason why this happens. After you have checked the fuel level, the other two most common causes for generators to shutdown are low lubricant level and/or low coolant level. Once generator is off, let it cool down for 15 to 30 minutes. It help generator to cool down and also the lubricant to come down to sum as well. Check the lubricant level and make sure it is not less than minimum. Then cautiously open the radiator cap and check the coolant level and make sure it is full. Before turning the generator on again, make visual inspection to make sure everything else is intact like the belts are ok, there are no oil leakage anywhere etc. After checking turn it on.
3.Generator shuts down itself after some time due to overheating but the coolant level is ok
There are three most common causes for this. Your fan belts are lose which are not rotating the fan to its full speed. That is why the coolant is not getting cooled. 2nd make sure your radiator fins are not bent and also not jammed. We have observed in some tough environmental conditions like in Dubai where it gets hot, humid, and dusty, radiator fins get clogged very easily over time. This clogging can happen due to many reasons which makes a thin layer of insulation on radiator fins and dramatically reduces the radiators efficiency. So clean the radiator with hot water pressure boiler if you can. 3rd most common cause for this problem is that water is not being circulated in engine which is due to the water pump. With the help of infrared thermometer you can check the temperature of different parts of the engine while it is running, to determine if water pump is working or not.
4.Engine give a lot of white smoke
White smoke means diesel not burning in engine as it should. First you need to make sure your fuel line is not jammed, then replace fuel filters, as then sometimes get clogged and don’t supply diesel to fuel pump. Once that is cleared, check the injectors and do the physical examination. Make sure injector nozzles are not clogged or rusted. Most of the time we have experienced that only due to one or two injectors malfunctioning engine gives a lot of white smoke. Send them to lab if required to make sure they are okay. If that doesn’t solve the problem then you need to get your fuel pump checked. Get it checked from lab if it functioning as required.
5.Engine is giving a lot of black smoke
Again there can be many reasons but according to our experience in general rental industry in UAE One of the most common cause for this that engine needs partial or full overhauling. Which included but not limited to changing pistons, liners, piston rings, main and begin bearings, seals, valves, guides, valve seats etc.
6.Generator drops rpm on load
Sometimes you generator does not take full load. Whenever you try to put for example more than 50% of its rated capacity, it seems like it is going to shut down. The most common cause for this is that your fuel pump is not keeping up with the engine fuel demand. It doesn’t supply the right amount of fuel needed. For this you need to get the fuel pump checked by lab and make sure it is working before you think of other expensive solutions like overhauling the engine.
Her we have covered some the most common causes and their solutions. It is by no means a definite guide for generator repair and diagnosis. But it provides with some important tips which can save you a lot of hassle and downtime.