A generator does require a battery. Batteries are the most critical, but often forgotten, part of a diesel genset. Without a battery your backup power source will not even turn on and will be unable to provide the electricity you need at critical times.
The engine of a standby generator is very similar to a car engine. Although the generator needs fuel to make the engine run, the generator also has to have a battery to run the electronic components. Similar to a car battery a generator battery recharges as the generator is running.
The battery plays a very important part in the generator starting sequence. In a standby generator situation, the ATS panel will detect when the mains power has failed and sends a signal to the generator controller to start. The controller then activates the starting sequence to run the generator. If the battery is not charged or switched on this sequence will fail. It is therefore incredibly important to check your battery is in good condition. On average most batteries have an effective lifespan of around three years. If the battery within a generator fails, the generator will not be usable until the battery is charged or changed.
Proper maintenance of a generator battery
- Start the generator frequently and for long enough for the battery to recharge.
- Check the battery water level, make sure to use distilled water to top up the water levels.
- Check the voltage regularly with a multimeter, in the event of a loss of power it is best to replace the battery.
- Check the battery terminals, make sure there is no oxidation between the terminals. Keep these areas of the battery clean and make sure to tighten the battery terminals to reduce oxidation.
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