The Different Types of Load Bank Testing Solutions

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

Load bank testing solutions include load banks that test the operation of an electrical system. Load banks control the total load, power factor and schedule during the test. Many of the devices in an electrical system use sensors that measure current to determine their function. Electrical load needs to be added during a system test to ensure all sensors have adequate current to perform as intended.

There are three main load bank testing solutions: Resistive, Reactive and Resistive/Reactive:

Resistive Load Banks The most common type, resistive load banks mimic the operational load that a power source will see in actual use. They convert electrical energy to heat using power resistors and dissipate the heat using air or water.

Some common examples of resistive loads generated in your home come from lightbulbs, space heaters and hot plates.

Several versions of resistive load banks are available, including:

  • Small DC Portable Units – These load banks can be carried or pushed on wheels to test DC power equipment such as uninterruptible power supply (UPS) equipment, DC generators and battery systems.
  • Small AC Portable Units – Also carried or wheeled, these load banks test power equipment like UPS systems up to 100 kilowatts (kW).
  • Large AC Portable Units – These wheeled units test and maintain larger AC power equipment, including UPS systems and generators up to 1000 kW.
  • Trailer-Mounted AC Units – These load banks test power equipment up to 3000 kW.
  • Permanent AC Units – Also testing power equipment up to 3000 kW, permanent units are fixed in place outside a facility. These stationary units are typically installed on a concrete pad or rooftop and operate continuously in all weather conditions.
  • Radiator Mounted Units – The most economical type of load bank, radiator-mounted units install on the radiator of the generator. With no integrated cooling fan, these load banks use the airflow through the radiator to cool the load elements.
  • AC Water-Cooled Units – Instead of using air, this unit uses water to cool resistive load elements. Water-cooled units operate more quietly and accommodate equipment up to 2500 kW.

Reactive Load Banks – These solutions are used to simulate systems affected by electric motors or other electromagnetic devices on a power network. Typically, equipment that requires reactive power compensation are motor-driven devices, transformers and capacitors. Reactive Load banks can simulate either an inductive or capacitive load depending on the type of load expected on the power system

Resistive/Reactive Load Banks These solutions combine both resistive and reactive elements in one load bank package. They may accommodate equipment up to 6250 kW. These load banks can also be used for integrated system testing of utility substation protection systems, particularly for more complex relays like distance, directional overcurrent, power directional and others.

Given the wide range of testing solutions available, commissioning professionals can determine what type of load bank works best for their application. Using the right load bank will validate installation and operation of critical power system components.

Comrent’s team of experts is ready to help ensure your system is successfully commissioned. We are offering a complimentary consultation to review your project and propose the right load bank solution for your application. Contact us today.

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