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#201741 - 06/21/11 12:16 PM Commercial Generator Frustrations?  
travistydesigns  Offline
New Member
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 7
WI, USA
I'm doing some research on problems that exist with Commercial Gensets. Wondering if you have any horror stories you'd like to share with me about using them?
Ever been hurt by one? Or simply frustrated? mad

What don't you like about the way they are configured now? What works? What doesn't?

Do you ever clean them? Is it a hastle?
How's the fluid management? Hard to fill?
How about maintenance? Are there parts of the Genset that you have to access frequently that are hard to get to?

Post back and tell me your story. It could have an impact on the way that Commercial Generators are designed in the future...and eventually make the task of using them much easier.

Thanks!


Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#201742 - 06/21/11 03:17 PM Re: Commercial Generator Frustrations? [Re: travistydesigns]  
LarryC  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 783
Winchester, NH, US
1) What size range are you asking about? Tens or hundreds of KW or tens of MW?

2) Fuel types?

3) Stationary, portable, skid mounted, truck mounted?

4) Emergency power, standby power, backup power, field power?

5) Single phase, 3 phase, switchable?

6) 60 Hz, 50 Hz, DC, other?


Who do you represent/work for?

Last edited by LarryC; 06/21/11 03:22 PM.

#201743 - 06/21/11 03:20 PM Re: Commercial Generator Frustrations? [Re: travistydesigns]  
travistydesigns  Offline
New Member
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 7
WI, USA
Let's say in the range of 5kw up to 300kw.


What do you want to change tomorrow?

#201744 - 06/21/11 03:26 PM Re: Commercial Generator Frustrations? [Re: travistydesigns]  
LarryC  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 783
Winchester, NH, US
When I used to service gennys back in the '90s, the skid mounted systems with the engine oil drain plug 4 inches above the ground made changing oil messy. I was always cleaning up oil stains after changing the oil.


#201745 - 06/21/11 04:36 PM Re: Commercial Generator Frustrations? [Re: travistydesigns]  
travistydesigns  Offline
New Member
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 7
WI, USA
Thanks LarryC!
To answer the rest of your questions:
Fuel types: All
Mounting: All
Power type: Standby or Backup
Phases: All
Hz: Any

Not to quote Tron, I represent the users. That's how design research works. I'm looking for interaction experiences, you posted a good example of one.

Anyone else got more?


What do you want to change tomorrow?

#201753 - 06/22/11 12:04 AM Re: Commercial Generator Frustrations? [Re: travistydesigns]  
twh  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 919
Regina, Sask.
I'm glad someone asked:
- the drawings showing the place where the wiring should be brought under the generator were wrong
- the supplier gave us the delivery time but neglected tell the delivery company that we had a crane waiting, so he took care of other business first.
- the supplier sent the keys to the customer's head office, in a different city
- the schematics for the controls were wrong
- the instructions said that installation without the supplied shims would void the warranty on the fuel tank, but the shims weren't supplied
- no training for the customer on use or maintenance of the generator or transfer switch
- the transfer switch connection box for three parallel runs (9 total) of 500kcm cable was was very small
- the control connections in the transfer switch, to start the generator, had to be wired internally
- the control fuses in the transfer switch were blocked by the power cables
- the construction documents neglected to mention that the wires to start the generator had to be in a separate cable
- the fire alarm relays in the generator had the connection points for the end-of-line resisters too far apart for the resistor leads to reach
- the supplier neglected to tell the owner that diesel has a shelf life, so the 24 hour fuel tank can't be filled
- it takes two people, an 8 foot ladder and a funnel with a 4 foot hose to fill the radiator after a leak

As a couple design notes
- these machines are noisy even with the added intake muffler and should't be placed near noise-sensitive areas
- diesel exhaust has a little odor to it and shouldn't be near a make-up-air unit

There is no sight as depressing as a 4 foot wide by 2 foot high enclosure with 36 x 500kcm cables sticking out the front. It's nice to turn something like that over to a co-worker to terminate.


#201763 - 06/22/11 11:31 AM Re: Commercial Generator Frustrations? [Re: travistydesigns]  
travistydesigns  Offline
New Member
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 7
WI, USA
twh, great insight! I can imagine how frustrating dealing with filling a radiator could be, especially at a time when its leaking of has overheated.

Let's keep this ball rolling. What else gives you grief when maintaining or servicing these Gensets?


What do you want to change tomorrow?

#201769 - 06/22/11 04:48 PM Re: Commercial Generator Frustrations? [Re: travistydesigns]  
HotLine1  Offline


Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,872
Brick, NJ USA
Luckly for me as an EC, all the gensets I dealt with were rental units, ranging from 125KW, to 2MW.

Maintenance was by gen techs. I replaced a few filters (fuel) on the 275-450 kw units with no issues that I can recall.

As an AHJ now, with stationary units, I see some of the horrors that are discussed above.


John

#201771 - 06/22/11 06:12 PM Re: Commercial Generator Frustrations? [Re: travistydesigns]  
travistydesigns  Offline
New Member
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 7
WI, USA
HotLine1 (John), you mention that the fuel filter replacement didn't have any issues, what about the oil filters?
When changing either (oil of fuel filters), were there any issues that came up with things like heat, ability to reach the filter, etc.? Did you need a wrench or is it like a car filter (with the rubberized grip) where you can do it by hand?

I appreciate everyone's participation. Research like this is done to hear the voice of the people who actually use these products. If any of you have any additional stories to share, please feel free!
Any input helps, the more you have to say the better!

Thanks again!


#201772 - 06/22/11 09:16 PM Re: Commercial Generator Frustrations? [Re: travistydesigns]  
HotLine1  Offline


Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,872
Brick, NJ USA
Travis:
Fuel filter required a strap wrench to loosen, and then 'by hand' with gloves on. Yes, it was warm in there. There was 'bad' diesel in the onboard tank, and we were running the gennie from an aux. tank while we drained & cleaned the onboard tank. (Gen techs took care of that in AM) Total down time was <10 min.

Access to fuel filter was cake. I should add that all the units on site then were from one mfg., and the techs were factory guys. One of the 2 MW units had a coolant failure, caused by metal fatigue which let a few fan blades fly, puncturing the radiator. Gen shut down on hi-temp in <15 seconds. That was a catastropic failure. Solved by doing a 3AM swap out to a 'spare' 2 MW on site. Planning ahead for any disaster paid off!



John

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