Maintaining the diesel generator?

softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,624 ✭✭✭✭
So I figure that engines should be ran a couple times/year for several reasons. Yet I seem to recall that running diesel generators without a load is "hard" on the generator. If so, what would be a happy medium? 

The guy who installed my solar was pretty smart so I only need to run the generator about once/year. That is usually because a battery gave up on living.

I figure that running the generator for ~fifteen minutes...every ~six months...helps keep things working properly. Fifteen minutes of no load run time is not a very long time. 
First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries


  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    In the off season,spring/summer/fall I run each genset about 15-20 min, keeps the oil in the bushings, helps dry out water and prevent injectors and fuel pump from sticking.  I usually do it in the morning and charge batteries as a load.   Modern diesels since 2005 or so, have pretty tight tolorances and run higher RPM's than earlier diesels, and are more resistant to "Wet Stacking" problems.

    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    gen: ,

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,854 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    In commercial applications a standby generator is generally run once per month for at least an hour on house loads and all fluid levels including start battery are checked, an annual full load test is conducted with a load bank and oIl changed. The schedule may vary, but the but the tests ensure that the backup system is available when and if needed. The genset needs to run at least long enough to reach operating temperature, in order to ensure all components are working as designed, records are kept to reveal any changes in temperatures, load, voltage, frequency etc. etc. which would reveal a potential problem before it becomes a major issue. Running without load is not recommended because working temperature will probably not be reached which is needed not only to prevent wet stacking, but also to vaporize condensation which can accumulate inside the engine, especially in cold climates without block heating. Another benefit of regular testing is that fuel is burned, which needs to be replaced periodically due to bacterial growth. Using a load bank such as space heaters is useful to conduct testing and allows the generator to actually work as opposed to run. The importance of conducting these tests are in direct proportion to how critical  the backup power is to the application and the value placed on the equipment. Personally I run once a week at ~50% load pumping water for at least an hour, checking oil level, voltage, frequency and all other relevant items, such as connections loose fittings etcetera.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Battery Bodyguard BMS 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Daly BMS, used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
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