Maximizing EPS Lifespan: Detailed Maintenance for Aging Commercial Generators

Maximizing EPS Lifespan: Detailed Maintenance for Aging Commercial Generators

Commercial generators are the unsung heroes of businesses, ensuring continuous power supply during critical moments. However, as they age, these vital EPS systems require specific and meticulous maintenance to operate reliably.

Diesel powered generators can operate for at least 12,000 hours and upwards to 20,000 hours before they require engine overhauls, but only if they’re well-maintained. Typically, a good EPS system will last for 15 years.

As your generator ages and gets closer to the end of its viability, there are maintenance steps you can take to prolong its life. Let’s explore the top four maintenance requirements for aging commercial generators, including insights into the wear and tear technicians might encounter and what they tell us about the unit’s aging.

Regular Inspections and Testing

Type of Wear and Tear: With age, generators are prone to various forms of wear and tear. Technicians might discover worn-out brushes in the alternator, indicating increased electrical resistance and reduced efficiency. Additionally, corrosion and oxidation on electrical connections and components can lead to voltage drops and compromised performance. Mechanical components, such as bearings and seals, may exhibit signs of wear, including excessive vibration or leaks.

Signs of Aging: Aging generators often show signs of wear during inspections. These include increased electrical resistance, evident through higher temperatures in electrical connections, and visible signs of corrosion or oxidation. Mechanical wear manifests as unusual sounds, vibrations, or leaks during operation.

Fluid Analysis and Replacement:

Type of Wear and Tear: Fluid analysis reveals crucial insights into the internal condition of the generator. Technicians might detect metal particles in engine oil, indicating abrasion and wear on internal components like piston rings and bearings. Contaminated coolant can lead to corrosion in the engine block and radiator, reducing cooling efficiency. Fuel contamination, such as water or sediment, can impair combustion and cause engine performance issues.

Signs of Aging: Aging generators often exhibit accelerated wear and contamination in fluids. Increased metal particles in engine oil, elevated levels of corrosion inhibitors in coolant, and visible sediment in fuel indicate aging and the need for fluid replacement.

Cooling System Maintenance:

Type of Wear and Tear: Cooling systems are susceptible to wear and tear due to their critical role in regulating generator temperature. Technicians might find clogged air filters, restricting airflow and causing overheating. Corroded or damaged radiator fins reduce heat dissipation efficiency, leading to overheating issues. Worn-out belts and bearings in cooling fans can result in insufficient airflow, further exacerbating temperature control problems.

Signs of Aging: Aging generators often show signs of cooling system degradation, such as reduced airflow, higher operating temperatures, and visible corrosion or damage to cooling system components.

Battery System Checks:

Type of Wear and Tear: Battery systems degrade over time due to factors like sulfation, corrosion, and electrolyte evaporation. Technicians might find sulfation on battery plates, reducing their ability to hold a charge. Corrosion on terminals and cables increases electrical resistance, hindering the battery’s ability to deliver power. Electrolyte levels decrease over time, affecting battery capacity and performance.

Signs of Aging: Aging batteries exhibit various signs of wear, including reduced voltage output, corrosion on terminals, and visible sulfation on battery plates. Diminished capacity and difficulty maintaining a charge indicate aging and the need for battery replacement.

Indicators for Replacement

Unavailable Replacement Parts:

The older the unit, the more likely replacement parts have been discontinued. This makes maintenance more difficult (and more expensive). If replacement parts are harder to find, it’s time to start thinking about the impending end date of your EPS, when you’re no longer able to keep the unit in good operating condition. A new generator is a major expense, but this is a sign that you should be budgeting to replace the unit.

Decreased Performance:

If your generator consistently fails to start or struggles to maintain power output, it could indicate significant internal wear or damage. Decreased performance despite regular maintenance is a clear signal that the generator may need replacement.

Increased Repair Frequency:

As generators age, they may require more frequent repairs. If you find yourself constantly addressing issues or experiencing recurring breakdowns, it may be more cost-effective to invest in a new generator rather than continuing with costly repairs.

Obsolete Technology:

Advancements in generator technology offer improved efficiency, reliability, and performance. If your generator is significantly outdated and lacks modern features or safety standards, replacing it with a newer model can enhance your operations and provide peace of mind.

In conclusion, proactive maintenance is the key to extending the lifespan of aging commercial generators. By adhering to a regular maintenance schedule and closely monitoring performance, businesses can minimize downtime, maximize reliability, and ultimately save on costly repairs or replacements. Remember, when indicators suggest that your generator is nearing the end of its service life, call on the ESGA-Certified technicians at Electro-Motion. We can repair your generator and/or advise you on how near your EPS is to its end of life. If it’s time for a new EPS, we can help you with a unit within your budget. Give us a call at 650-321-6169, or schedule a free consultation today.

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