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11/30/2015 | Advanced Controllers Boost Generator Performance and Extend Equipment Life

Controller CloseupGenerator controllers (also called control units) have been around for so long that many operators take them for granted. One of the first control units was developed in the 1950s by electrical engineering firm Simplex, but these devices have improved dramatically since that time. Even the simplest of modern controllers have LED indicators for engine alarm conditions and diagnostics, and many include programmable inputs and outputs as well as remote-start capabilities.

Despite these features—and others that are even more impressive—many organizational decision makers still don't consider controller choice when they evaluate a natural gas generator or diesel generator for potential purchase. Others don't calculate the built-in value of advanced controllers when they examine the cost and ROI of upgrading to new prime power or standby generator.

Following are a few features of controllers to look for when making a generator purchase that have been proven to help manage genset operation for optimal performance and longevity:

  • Controllers should issue alerts, not only via the LED but also via email or text to designated devices, regarding over-load conditions, operating faults, and other potential problems. Having this information enables operators to perform interventional tasks that prevent engine malfunction, electrical connection disruption and/or equipment damage.
  • Optimally, controllers should also offer "intelligent monitoring," whereby operators can monitor and manage their equipment loads for optimal energy efficiency—and preferably capacity planning and load balancing (for example, to minimize wasted energy due to unbalanced three-phase loads).
  • Systems should provide historical trending data and reports that allow operators to evaluate generator and engine performance over time. Repetitive faults and even unexpected variances or performance swings may indicate misconfiguration or impending trouble. They may also be a sign of premature part deterioration, enabling operators not only to resolve the issue but also to change parts suppliers if they identify an ongoing problem.

These capabilities have become vital to performance and profit for generators that are being used in remote, unmanned operations. However, even on well-tended job sites, having a full range of information about engine and generator performance, provided to designated personnel on a timely basis, can considerably extend engine life and enhance ROI.

To learn more about the advanced controllers used in HIPOWER SYSTEMS generators, including those that support load sharing in a parallel configuration, we invite you to call 913-495-5557. You may also find the pages on our Standby Generator and Oil and Gas Generator pages helpful. While you are there, sign up for myHIPOWER to gain access to extended site benefits and more.



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