Power Load Banks – A Crucial Component in Generator Maintenance

Comrent is providing solutions for mission-critical power testing infrastructure.

Is load bank testing a regular part of your generator maintenance program? If it’s not, you significantly increase the risk of a mechanical failure during a power outage – at a time when you most need your generator to perform. Generator load bank testing with power load banks helps maintain generator health and promote greater reliability.

Load banks deliver a stable, controllable electrical load to a generator. They come in a variety of types, sizes, and configuration. They can be portable or permanent, provide AC or DC voltage, and range from a few kW to multiple MW.

Facility managers use power load banks to ensure their generators will perform at their nameplate rating during a power outage. Load bank testing with power load banks determines how well your generator functions under stress and whether engine oil pressure and coolant temperature remain within acceptable parameters.

Tips for Using Power Load Banks for Generator Load Bank Testing

  • Monthly, use power load banks to test the generator at 30% load for at least 30 minutes. This testing process will keep engine parts lubricated.
  • Annually, use power load banks to test the generator at 100% of its kW capacity for at least one hour. The capacity is gradually increased at certain time intervals until you reach 100%. To determine the proper process for load bank testing, you can refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations or work with an experienced load bank solutions provider.
  • Be sure to locate the load bank away from combustible material and operate it in a well-ventilated area. You want to keep both the load bank and generator from overheating.
  • During testing, look for any abnormalities, including loose connections, leaks, and smoke that doesn't clear. Black smoke emitting from the engine during testing usually means the generator is running at a high enough temperature to burn away the carbon build-up and fuel in the exhaust system. If the smoke doesn't clear by the time testing completes, you may need to check for unsealed rings, faulty fuel pumps or bad fuel.
  • During your testing, make sure to check the cooling system temperature and oil pressure. If the temperature is abnormally high, you may have a problem with the thermostat. Low oil pressure could mean the oil pump needs servicing.

The goal of load bank testing with power load banks is to uncover problems in a controlled environment. By conducting your monthly and annual load tests, you can maintain generator performance and take corrective action before you experience an actual power failure. When integrated into a preventative maintenance program, generator load bank testing helps ensure performance and reliability.

Comrent’s team of load bank experts is ready to help ensure your load testing goes off without a hitch. We are offering a complimentary consultation to review your project and propose the right load bank solution for your requirements. To learn more about using load banks for testing and commissioning mission critical power systems, download our new eBook “7 Reasons to Consider Load Bank Testing,” or Contact us today.

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