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103 posts

Master Geek

# 83953 24-May-2011 14:07
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Following the earthquake and resultant loss of power I've learnt that a backup diesel generator with an automatic transfer switch is likely a good idea. Currently there are three on-line UPSs with extended battery packs which keep things going for 30 mins and a manual start petrol generator which works OK but isn't ideal.

I've got quotes from several suppliers (after a generator to support a maximum load of at least 8 kVA, auto start, 'silent' enclosure). In general it appears 1500 rpm 4 pole models are better as they quieter and last longer. One supplier was promoting LPG as superior to diesel, but I like that we have a large diesel tank onsite for fuel.

What I'm missing is information on after-sales support of suppliers and reliability of makes/models. Does anyone have experience with diesel generator suppliers and particular makes and how they have performed in terms of support and reliability?


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2363 posts

Uber Geek


  # 474996 27-May-2011 23:18
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I'm not sure in the 8 kVA space but we've got a bunch of large Pramac 500kVA ones and another (not sure on brand) 2MVA one serviced every few weeks by Appleby. Use a 'Deapsea' transfer switches for seamless transfer from utility to genset power, its actually quite interesting to watch the two power sources synchronize before the automatic breakers swing open or closed.

I guess the only benefit I could see to LPG over diesel is that diesel can go 'off' if left to sit for a long time untreated.

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Uber Geek


  # 475032 28-May-2011 06:29
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Didn't think they made diesel gensets that small, but agree that you need a synchronised transfer switch to avoid a gap while it switches back to mains power. Sounds like you will be hard wiring the transfer switch to only the UPS and circuits that run critical stuff your server room? Hope its enough power to run your coolers too because you don't want to be overheating when the power goes out.

I think the main thing is to get a generator that your supplier can maintain regularly, and perhaps a spare if it really is mission critical since they tend to be down for maintenance occasionally. You also need to ask whether its suitable as a backup system that has to start automatically on a cold morning, shutoff automatically when the fuel runs out, and be reliable despite only ever getting run for 30min a week. If thats all good, you need a big enough fuel tank to last for perhaps a day without having to let it go stale, and a programme to keep the fuel topped up (apparently Diesel bug will block the fuel filter if the tank isn't kept full).

Qualified in business, certified in fibre, stuck in copper, have to keep going  ^_^

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