Load Bank Testing

A critical part of generator maintenance should include regular testing of your generators’ ability to deliver the power required to keep your site operational. Standby power systems are designed to operate in the event of an emergency and the last thing your business needs after experiencing a mains outage is to find out that the diesel generators on site can’t support the required load.

As part of a thorough maintenance programme we recommend at least an annual load bank test to prove that your generator is capable of delivering maximum load. This not only provides you with the peace of mind that your site is fully supported but it also gives the engine and alternator a proper workout.

What is a Load Bank Test?

A load bank test is essentially a test that validates the correct operational performance and battery autonomy of the UPS system. In simple terms, load bank testing measures the reliability of your generator and makes sure its operating at full capacity.

How often should you load bank test a generator?

At Vital Power we recommend that load bank testing should be carried out as part of your preventative maintenance programme. It is recommended that you test your generators at least annually to ensure that your generator is capable of delivering the maximum load when required.

Load Bank Testing - Vital Power

Why is load bank testing important?

When it comes to generators, simply starting them up every now and then is insufficient. As well as keeping the fuel itself at its best with fuel services from Vital Power, you need to know that it will actually work, fully loaded, when required to do so.

It is important to test the power protection system, and component parts, under load conditions but without risking supply to protected loads. Confused? Think of it like checking the components in a racing car… they are tested in simulators to see if they hold up in race conditions but without risking crashing the actual car itself.

The last thing you want is to find out that your generator doesn’t work or has a fault when your mains power fails. Completing a load test will not only provide you with the confidence that your site is fully supported, but it also gives the engine and alternator a proper workout.

How does load bank testing work?

At Vital Power, our load bank testing service takes all the hassle off your hands. To carry out the testing process, the load banks should be supplied with quality rated cables to ensure an effective charge transfer.

There are a few don’ts to keep in mind too – the load bank should not be placed more than 20 metres from the output power system’s distribution unit or the UPS terminals. This test also shouldn’t be carried out close to any areas where people are working or near sensitive alarms and sprinkler systems.

During testing, measurements will be taken during discharge to determine the generator’s battery and system performance. For example, when working on a standby generator the load bank test will indicate:

  • The ability of the engine to provide the power required
  • The capability of the alternator to provide the required voltage stability for the system
  • The efficiency of control systems under different conditions of the load
  • The stable frequency
  • The pressure of oil and fuel
  • The performance of the whole load bank system
For more information on our load bank testing services, get in touch with our UK team.
Load Bank Testing Generator - Vital Power

What do the results of a load bank test mean?

After completing the test and after making all of the above observations, the generator load bank testing will help to remove all deposits from the pistons and remove engine castings and exhausts. It will also identify any potential weaknesses.

Your load bank test results will provide a detailed report and inform you of any work that needs to be done. This can then be completed by our expert power supply engineers to ensure that the components within the power protection system will work together as intended when required to support a critical load.

Vital Power generator load bank tests

At Vital Power we offer a load bank service that rigorously tests the emergency power systems on site. The tests are operated in a controlled environment and monitored throughout by one of our skilled engineers. We are also able to include your UPS systems within the test if required. In addition to testing, we also offer a watch keeping service if your business does regular building load tests to ensure no generator issues are encountered.

We own a comprehensive fleet of load banks sized to ensure that no project is out of scope. We currently support customers with small 10 kVA machines through to multiple large set applications all over the UK.

As part of critical load test service we will send a power expert to your site to conduct a full site survey to understand where the load banks can be positioned and how far the cable run is for connection. Any required site logistics will be handled entirely by us.

A full, detailed report with our recorded load bank test results will be issued. If for any reason it is found that the generator is performing below optimum level, our skilled engineers will recommend the necessary remedial works to restore back to working condition.

Role of UPS In load bank testing

In a standard set up, you will find a UPS system (uninterruptible power supply) between alternative sources of power and the protected loads (for example data centre computers, storage facilities, etc). This is to protect the loads from unexpected power failures which could damage them.

The UPS is designed to power connected loads through an inverter. The main function of this inverter is to enable conditioning of the main supply voltage or break-free electrical energy supply when there is a failure to avoid potential damage.

For this reason, load bank testing is implemented to ensure that the UPS can meet the requirements of its intended function when it is most needed.

How to book a load bank test

Load bank testing is a key part of our turnkey service offering here at Vital Power. Our skilled engineers can complete the rigorous testing required onsite. The test will be operated in a controlled environment and monitored throughout.

If you require other affordable generator services – from fuel quality testing to generator repairs, fuel testing services or any other diesel generator preventative maintenance – our experienced team offer a comprehensive service.

If you’d like expert advice or recommendations on load bank testing for you, our team are happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us via our enquiry form, email or 24-hour support line.