How do Commercial Generators Work?
Posted by Kristopher Schwind
Most businesses, especially ones like hospitals, government buildings, and banks, can’t afford to lose power. Commercial standby generators help guarantee that power stays on even during severe weather and that safety isn’t compromised.
How Do They Work?
Generators take some sort of fuel, whether it be natural gas, diesel, or propane, and convert it into electricity via electromagnetic induction. Since your primary electricity source tends to take energy from power plants and grids connecting to your business, these can become compromised during severe weather.
What Are They Made Of?
Generators consist of seven core parts:
1. Engine: The largest component that inputs mechanical energy. Most standby generator engines run on some sort of gas or diesel.
2. Alternator: What converts that mechanical energy into electrical energy through movement between magnetic and electric fields.
3. Fuel Systems: This is pretty self-explanatory, it’s what gives your generator the ability to create electricity in the first place.
4. Voltage Regulator: This helps guarantee that the voltage of your generator is matching the voltage of your main electrical system. If the voltage in your generator doesn’t match the voltage of the main system, you probably wouldn’t be able to get power from your generator or could create problems for major appliances.
5. Cooling and Exhaust: This makes sure your generator doesn’t get too hot when converting energy, preventing fires. The exhaust pipes help remove hazardous gasses, like carbon monoxide, from enclosed areas.
6. Lubrication: This is where your oil pan comes into play, keeping every part of the generator moving smoothly.
7. Battery: Help supply energy to keep your generator moving.
So, What Happens During a Power Outage?
1. Detecting the Power Outage
In mere seconds, your business’ standby generator should be able to detect a power outage since it is connected to the main power supply. The automatic transfer switch (ATS) between them will disconnect from the main power supply and connect to the generator.
2. Engine Starts
Once the engine starts and creates the correct AC power the ATS will transfer to the emergency power coming from the generator..
3. Power Generation and Transfer
This is where electromagnetic induction begins to create energy via the alternator. Your standby generator should create electricity that matches the voltage and frequency of your business’ original electric system. In the seconds this occurs, the power then transfers through the ATS and into your business.
4. Power Distribution
Once the generator is providing power to the facility, the electricity will be distributed through the system to power anything you need. Many standby generators have the ability to power entire businesses, but you can also have generators power certain things, like lights, HVAC systems, refrigerators, computers, and other critical systems. The generator, if properly working, should be able to maintain power until the main power system is restored.
As stated before, it’s important for your generator to be properly working during a power outage at your business. Making sure you have a proper maintenance plan for your standby generator is essential to its successful operation. Generators also usually have sensors that monitor performance. If one of these sensors is tipped off, it can alert you and your generator service provider. Common maintenance includes changing the oil and filters, checking the battery, and testing the system under load.
Commercial standby generators can be daunting due to their sheer size and power. National Standby Repair can help you with your decision regarding which generator is right for your business.