What Causes Generators To Smoke

What Causes Generators To Smoke

What Causes Generators To Smoke

A Generator, also called dynamo, is any machine that converts mechanical energy to electricity for transmission and distribution over power lines to domestic, commercial, and industrial customers. Generators also produce the electrical power required for automobiles, aircraft, ships, and trains. These generators are standalone machines that provide electricity when power from the local grid is unavailable. Industrial generators are often used to supply backup power to facilities, businesses, or homes during power outages but they can also be used as a primary power source of electricity in areas where a local electrical grid is unavailable or difficult to access such as mining and farming operations or even new developments and construction.

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Table of Contents

Types Of Generators

What Causes Generator To Smoke

Generator Maintenance

Generator Inspections And Repairs 

Types Of Generators

There are different types of generators distinguished with their various purposes:

The different types of generators are intricately linked to their applications. Based on these applications various types of generators include portable generators, inverter generators, standby generators, industrial generators and induction generators.

Portable generators

Portable generators are very useful in a variety of applications. They come in varying power configurations suitable for different types of uses.

Portable generators are handy during natural disasters or calamities when grid power breaks down. They provide power during planned or unscheduled power outages. They are more suitable for residential purposes and smaller commercial establishments such as retail outlets and shops, at construction sites .

Inverter generators

Inverter generators produce AC power and by using a rectifier which converts the AC power into DC power and then inverts it to AC to provide steady current to appliances. These are very useful for appliances such as air-conditioners, refrigerators, automobiles, boats and recreation vehicles which need particular values of voltage and frequency, which inverter generators are capable of providing. They are also light in weight and compact, therefore highly ..

Standby generators

Standby generators serve the purpose of switching on automatically when grid power fails. These are very useful for residential apartments, hotels, restaurants, hospitals and commercial establishments connected to grid power.

Industrial generators

Industrial applications of generators are very different from residential or small commercial applications. Industrial generators or large commercial generators need to be more robust and rugged and perform under harsh conditions. They also need to provide a wide range of power supply characteristics – from 20 kW to 2500 kW, from 120 to 48 volt and single phase to three phase supply. 

Typically these generators are more customized than other types of generators. There are many types of industrial generators and they can be classified in another way based on the nature of fuel used to run the engines that help to generate electric power. These include fuels such as diesel, .gasoline, natural gas, kerosene and propane. Within the industrial generator category, there are portable industrial generators that find uses in various applications where large generators cannot be installed.

Learn more on Where to buy generator in Nigeria

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What Causes Generator To Smoke

The cause of the smoke from a diesel generator depends on its color. It could be:

Black generator smoke - indicating partially burnt fuel

White generator smoke - shows diesel that has not combusted at all or water

Blue generator smoke - is caused from oil being burned

Even when not visible, smoke from a diesel engine is present. When you cannot see it, that is a good sign that everything in the engine is healthy. It means the engine is combusting the fuel well and there are fuel particles of soot or other contamination in the exhaust gas leaving the engine. Smoke of any color is generally bad and should be investigated. You might see a little white smoke at startup which is normal in most cases. Smoke is a sign that something is in the exhaust gas.

Smoke from a diesel engine indicates that something is not right , this will potentially shorten the engine life, or result in unnecessary costs. A diesel engine in good condition should produce no visible smoke from the exhaust, under most operating conditions. A short puff of smoke when an engine is accelerated under load may be acceptable.

Black smoke is the most common smoke emitted from diesel engines. It indicates poor and incomplete combustion of the diesel fuel. There are many causes, including:

  • Incorrect timing
  • Dirty or worn injectors
  • Injectors sticking open too long
  • Over-fuelling (yes this is possible)
  • Faulty turbocharger (ie not enough air to match the fuel)
  • Incorrect valve clearance
  • Incorrect air/fuel ratio

Blue smoke is an indication of oil being burnt. The oil can enter the combustion chamber for several reasons.

  • Worn valve guides or seals
  • Wear in power assemblies (cylinders, piston rings, ring grooves)
  • Cylinder glaze
  • Piston ring sticking
  • Incorrect grade of oil (eg oil too thin, and migrating past the rings)
  • Fuel dilution in the oil (oil thinned out with diesel)

White smoke occurs when raw diesel comes through the exhaust completely intact and unburned. Some causes of this include

  • Faulty or damaged injectors
  • Incorrect injection timing (could be a worn timing gear or damaged crankshaft keyway).
  • Low cylinder compression (eg caused by leaking or broken valves, piston ring sticking, cylinder and/or ring wear, or cylinder glaze)
  • Water entering combustion spaces will also create white smoke

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Generator Maintenance

While generators are relatively simple devices that need little maintenance, they do need certain types of maintenance. We recommend generator owners implement a preventative maintenance plan and get inspections and repairs as needed.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance involves checking for worn parts and proper operation before the generator experiences problems. This can include items like making sure the fuel hoses are clear of debris, not kinked and supplying the correct amount of fuel to the engine of the generator. It may also involve lubricating the moving parts in the generator and making sure all electrical connections are tight and that electrical components are not corroded or damaged.

Generator Inspections And Repairs

When a generator malfunctions or does not supply any power, it is time to get it inspected and repaired. Common items that need to be replaced and repaired include the fuel hoses, engine, control panel, voltage regulator and battery and battery charging system. The good news is that all the components of a generator can be either repaired or replaced so that reliable supplemental or backup power can be restored.

For further information contact GZ Industrial Supplies for quality products, services, inquiries and procurement or visit any of our offices close to you.

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