What Are Standby Generators?

Often referred to as ‘backup generators’ or ‘emergency power systems’.

Standby Generators; commonly used by hospitals also key government buildings. Providing replacement power when the National Grid supply fails.

These power failures are far more common than ever before.

Generators may be gas or diesel powered. Having a large external tank that will usually allow them to run for up to 48 hours before refuelling.

A Standby Generator power back-up system is also becoming more common for banks, distribution centres and private businesses  When locked into a ‘supply from stock’ contract with their key customers, they cannot allow any disruption in their critical system.

diesel-generators-08-standbySimply speaking, a standby generator is a robust commercial engine. Mounted on a skid, fitted with a large alternator, radiator, on-board fuel tank and electric governing. Housed either in a weatherproof canopy or within a purpose built building. Although sometimes referred to as ‘a lorry without wheels’, they are far more sophisticated. Each standby system has to be ready to start up at any given time, winter or summer, rain or storm.

The generator will be cabled into the incoming supply distribution board. This is via an ‘Automatic Transfer Panel’ also referred to as an’ AMF’ or ‘Automatic Mains Transfer Panel’.

This is the nerve centre, constantly monitoring the sensitive harmonics of the National Grid supply for any deviation or fluctuation to the regular pattern. As deviation sensed, the panel will instantaneously send the ‘start up signal’ to the generator.

Is the generator really on permanent standby?

Yes. Every standby generator has a water heater. Keeping the engine at a constant temperature. So when required at a moment’s notice, the engine is already warm, ready to start.

Can a standby generator fail?

Yes, like any mechanical equipment it needs regular maintenance and servicing. On the other hand, if maintained correctly, a standby generator will give over 30 years of faithful service ready to fire up and hold the building load within 60 seconds, day or night.

What could I do to prevent any level of failure?

You require N+1 disaster prevention.

Are standby generators noisy?

Every generator is built to E.U. noise level standards. Each has a silencer and can be either an openset, which has no housing, or an enclosed set which is much quieter. Sound level usually 80dbA at one metre and 65dbA at 7 metres.

In today’s climate of fear, loss of power has become a serious issue. Generator technology has been around since the birth of the combustion engine. Be that at it may, they have become one of the most ‘must have items’ of any new commercial building in the 21st century.

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