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Diesel Generator Control Panels

Diesel Generator Control Panels - Vital Power

Understanding the basics of a diesel generator is fairly straightforward. Many people know exactly how a generator works why they are necessary, however there are many aspects of generator parts and systems that are more complex to get your head around.

Just like with many other pieces of equipment and machinery, a generator has a control panel to help it run. The generator control panel enables the owner to monitor operations, check for efficient functioning and intervene when required. To the untrained eye, this control panel can look very confusing.

Our team of generator specialists has answered some of the most frequently asked questions about control panels to help out new owners. Read on to understand the generator control system, what it does and why you need it.

What is a Generator Control Panel?

Generator Control Panel - Vital Power

Visually, the control panel on a generator is a set of displays that indicate the measurement of various parameters like voltage, current and frequency, through gauges and meters. The control panel also contains buttons or switches that help you to operate the generator, for example, a switch-off button or turn-on switch.

You may find your generator’s control panel in different places depending on the size of your generator. For larger industrial power generators, this panel is completely separate from the generator itself. They are usually large enough to stand on their own, or they may be wall-mounted next to the generator.

The control panel serves as the user interface for the generator, offering operational insights and functionality. It enables the generator controller to monitor system diagnostics, functions, and the current status of the equipment. Given their significance in various capacities, these heavy machinery pieces are prone to issues like overheating, speed fluctuations, and general wear and tear.

What is a Generator Control Panel For?

Different types of control panels work in different ways. Depending on the type of panel you have it will be able to do multiple different things. New diesel generator control panels are becoming increasingly complex and they can do much more than they ever used to be able to.

Ultimately, a standby generator’s control panel connects to several sensors throughout the generator. Each of these sensors can provide you with vital information about the system’s efficiency, voltage and run hours, they will trigger alarms and display warnings if something is wrong. The control panel is also able to shut down the generator in case of an emergency.

How do Generator Control Panels Work?

Diesel Generator Control Panels

All generator control panels contain a microprocessor that can process and manipulate input from the sensors in the machine. This microprocessor can manipulate input from sensors to help give feedback to the machine to manage itself.

Take temperature – for example, if your generator engine begins to reach temperatures that meet or exceed the operating temperature range, the sensor would sense the buildup of heat in the generator body and pass this to the microprocessor in the control panel. The control panel will then prompt the generator to shut down automatically to prevent any further damage.

What is an ATS Panel?

Diesel Generator Control Panels

You will often hear generator control panels and “automatic transfer switch (ATS)” in the same sentence. They are often combined to ensure that your generator is an uninterruptible power source.

The role of the ATS is to detect an outage of power when your main grid fails. It then signals the control panel to start the generator. Then, when the main power is available again, the ATS disconnects the generator and connects back to the main power grid.

Having an ATS is essential for commercial and industrial properties that rely on having power at all times. It prevents you from having to manually start the generator which can sometimes take time leaving you without electricity until it has been turned on. Learn more about the differences between AMF and ATS panels.

How to Customise Your Control Panel

Diesel Generator Control Panels

Almost all generators will come with a control panel designed by the manufacturer of your generator. However, it isn’t uncommon for some businesses to have special requirements above and beyond the common features included with the standard control panels.

If this is something you require then you can have a control panel custom-designed and fitted onto your existing generator. We offer a range of specialist power supply services – from backup generators for hospitals to school and university generators.

If your business requires a new generator control panel, Vital Power can help. As a company with many years of experience, we can replace any old or damaged control panels or even upgrade your existing panel to include the additional features you require.

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