By Joseph Inyang, July 2011.
As you can see from the chart below, the challenge of power is a larger one we will overcome. Most people have to run their homes and workplaces with small generators as a main source or backup to a larger generator. Most of these generators start from 800VA to 8KVA rated.
Yes, good small generators do not die; most of them are murdered in cold blood by their owners. And when that happens the “parent” cries and blames the generator “gods”. It is because of these cries and funds wasted that this article is being written. We want to reduce the cries. The main reason for these cries and wasted funds is the fact that most owners and installers do not follow instructions. To prove murder we will use a typical generator used for solar backup solutions for people living off the grid or in this case Nigeria which is as good as living off the grid.
As I write this article, we have not had grid power in the last 4 days, sometimes we can go weeks without. Having lived in a country: Nigeria in the 1970’s, where the only generators, I knew were in my village, a Lister that my Dad had installed for our comfort during those holidays. We even had refrigerator power by kerosene running 24/7, while the electric ones ran only when we were in town.
Getting back to our murder case.
The subject is a Kipor
1. 4.5 KVA – 3000 watt Diesel Generator.
2. 15 litres in 10 hours
3. No hour meter
1. Place the generator on a firm level ground
2. Cover the generator from the elements and provide a rain cover for the exhaust.
3. Do not connect generator to household circuit
4. Add oil and Diesel to generator and run 50% load for first 20 hours break-in period
5. Wait for 3 mins to put load on generator after starting generator
6. Take load off and wait for 3 mins before shutting off the generator
7. First service is at 20hours
8. Next service is 100 hours
9. Every 500 and 1000 hours major service.
Let’s take them one at a time:
1. Place the generator on a firm level ground: The reason for this instruction is to make sure that the generator parts do not rotate off balance and cause extra stress to the parts which will cause failure.
2. Cover the generator from the elements and provide a rain cover for the exhaust. Sun and rain are not good for your small generators. Also provide a good self closing cover for the exhaust pipe to prevent rain damage. So protect your generator and it will serve you well.
3. Do not connect generator to household circuit. This is the greatest single killer of small generators. Let’s take you down memory lane. You buy your generator and have it connected to your house circuit with a new changeover. You are told to turn off some or all your Ac’s, water heater, water pump etc depending on the power of your generator before you put it on You do that religiously until that faithful day (or primer day for faithful day) when you forget. If it is the primer day your hear your generator running faster and faster and you remember you forgot to put off the load and you run to turn off the load or generator, whichever is closet or your adrenalin sends you to and you succeed in turning it off before the ultimate blow is delivered. You say thank God. Most people do not know some damage has been done, and all it takes is a few more. If it is the faithful day, you are not around or sleeping or get there too late (remember other blows have been struck in the past.). The generator runs fast and the blows keep coming until the final upper cut. You have a dead generator in your hands…..and the cry starts.
So what is our advice?
Have your small generator connected to a sub panel and have all your low power load connected to that panel or have one phase separated for your generator if you have a three phase setup.
Make sure you get a professional to do this. The likelihood of your Ac or Pump etc coming up when your small generator is on is now ZERO.
4. Add oil and Diesel to generator and run 50% load for the first 20 hours break-in period. This is a universal rule for all machines. Same rule applies for new cars. I personally serviced my first small generator after taking records of 20 hour operations with a note book (thanks to our new hour meter mounted in my house I only need to look at the meter and next service hour on the hour card) I found particles of metal in the drained oil and filter. If I had run that engine above 50% load or longer than 20 hours, that could have worn out the engine.
5. Wait for 3 mins to put load on generator after starting generator. This is done to make sure the engine is warmed up, just like when you exercise you do some stretching and slow movement to warm up; this is to avoid hurting your muscles. Same way you avoid hurting your engine.
6. Take load off and wait for 3 mins before shutting off the generator. Just like your body after some serious exercise, you need to cool down. The engine will overheat if it is suddenly shut off without time to cool down. Overheating is bad for your engine.
7. First service is at 20hours. We have spoken about why the first service is important.
8. Next service is 100 hours. Most people use 200 hours rule, which is made for large generators, by the time you get to 120 hours your generator is hurting. So please obey this rule.
9. Every 500 and 1000 hours major service. This service calls for adjustments or replacement of parts like fuel filter.
Finally, we advise you to read your own manual and follow the instruction. I bet you your generator will last very long.
Mounting the exhaust upright reduces sound pollution, but with this you need to provide a good self closing cover for the exhaust pipe to prevent rain damage.
Install an hour meter to help you keep accurate records of hours of operation.
If you still have any questions, email us on – firstname.lastname@example.org