Monthly Archives

January 2018

What Is The Difference Between Standby, Prime, and Continuous Power?

By | Generators

Buying an electrical generator takes a lot of research to ensure you end up with a machine that will provide you with the power you need when you need it. One crucial part of that research is the power rating of the generators. The power rating is established by the manufacturer and lets consumers know what kinds of applications are suitable for the generator or how much it can be used.

You’ll find power ratings of Standby, Prime, and Continuous. It’s important to choose the right rating to make sure the generator can provide enough power with enough frequency to meet your demands. This can also help you avoid overpaying for more capacity/capabilities than you need.

Standby Power Generators

Standby power generators are by far the most common. That makes sense given that these are back-up or emergency generators. Most of the U.S. is connected to the local power grid and won’t need to use a standby generator unless electrical power is unavailable for some reason. The most important thing to understand about standby generators is that they are designed to be run for a limited amount of time as a standalone machine. They don’t have any overload capacity and should never be run in conjunction with the local grid power.

Prime Power Generators

Prime power generators are used when power is not available from the local utility. These types of generators fall into two categories: Indefinite and Limited run times.

Indefinite running time means the generator can be safely run at maximum power and variable load for an unlimited number of hours each year. However, there may be restrictions on load based on how many hours each year the unit is needed to run.

Limited running time means the unit can provide maximum power for a limited number of hours at variable loads. A good example of when to use limited run time generators is during a planned power outage. In general, these types of generators are limited to 750 hours of run time per year. If needs are greater than 750 hours, a continuous power rated generator is a better choice.

Continuous Power Generators

These types of generators are run, as you can probably guess by the name, continuously. They supply power constantly at 100% load capacity for an unlimited number of hours every year. You’ll find these generators at remote sites where there isn’t a local power grid such as: mining, agriculture, and military operations.

Contact Critical Power Products & Services For Help Choosing An Electrical Generator

The power rating is just one component in choosing an electrical generator. You’ll also need to factor in location fuel source, size, and genset components. Make sure you get the right generator for your application needs by contacting Critical Power Products & Services. We carry surplus and used diesel generators, natural gas generators, propane generators, enclosures, and more to bring power to many different industries.

Browse our inventory online or contact us at 877-359-0752 to discuss your needs.

Why Do Diesel Generators Need Batteries?

By | Backup power

Anyone who is new to diesel generators might scratch their head when they first see one and wonder, “Why does an electrical generator need a battery?” But the answer is very simple: to provide the generator with enough start-up power to turn on during a facility-wide power outage. Then, once it’s up and running, the generator will create its’ own electrical power to provide electricity to connected systems and components.

In addition to start-up power, generator systems may draw on battery power to provide:

  • Digital Control Panel operation.
  • DC current for small motors or devices that require DC current.
  • Redundant battery power for the primary battery or genset.

Battery Failures Are The Most Common Reason For Generator Failure

Generator batteries are the standard lead acid battery – either conventional or maintenance-free. The size of the battery depends on the size of the generator and what components the battery needs to power and sizing is important to proper operation.

Batteries are so important to generator operation that the battery is often the first thing a service technician will check when a generator fails. Because of this, maintaining your generator battery is an essential part of generator operation. Maintenance may vary depending on whether the battery is conventional or maintenance-free, but in general, maintenance consists of:

  • Ensuring a trickle charge is available to the battery at all times.
  • Testing of the generator battery at regular intervals.
  • Performing a load test as recommended by the manufacturer.

With proper maintenance, a good quality battery can last 3-5 years, depending on use.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Generator Battery

Generator batteries are arguably the most critical, but underrated, subsystem in a diesel genset. Without a battery, or a bank of batteries in the case of parallel gensets, your backup power source may not even turn on, much less provide the electricity you need at critical times. Choose the right battery by:

  • Ensuring the battery is suitable for the application. Consider ambient air temperatures, generator power demands, and manufacturer recommendations.
  • Comparing the currently installed battery against the manufacturer specs. Installed batteries that exceed manufacturer specifications are acceptable.
  • Considering the battery manufacturer’s stated lifespan of the battery, the cost vs. performance of the battery, and the warranty.
  • Availability of the battery in your area.

Need Advice On Generator Batteries? Contact Critical Power Products & Services

If you are not sure what type of size of generator battery you need, contact Critical Power Products & Services for advice. We carry all of the major diesel generator brands and can help you choose the best battery for your generator.

Contact us at 877-943-1017 or send us a question online.