Chances are if you are looking to purchase a generator, the generator start batteries that come with your new generator will be part of the overall backup power solution, which is largely driven by the generator manufacturer. And, if you ask said manufacturer or the rep involved about those batteries and the potential of those batteries to be the cause future generator failure, they’re likely to change the subject… because— there is a best-in-class control system that has that covered with all the battery voltage monitoring, protection and testing that could ever and will ever be needed.
But, the truth is: the most frequent service call for generator failure is battery failure. Those best-in-class controls only monitor voltage and current at the string level. And if you are only looking at the string level, any issues that an individual battery is facing may be masked by the other, more healthy batteries in that string.
Reasons for battery failure such as sulfation build-up i.e. when lead sulfates accumulate and build up on the battery’s plates are difficult to detect when only the battery string is monitored. A stand-alone battery monitoring system that can perform regular ohmic tests on each battery unit can and will detect any issues affecting the health and well-being of a battery, including sulfation. Additionally, unit voltages, string voltage and current, ambient temperature and pilot cell temperature are crucial aspects of any battery monitoring system focused on assurance of generator start batteries.
Let’s not forget why you purchased a generator in the first place: Because continuous power helps you keep your business operating. The goal is to keep the facilities your business relies on up-and-running, and the means by which you do that is by ensuring your standby power system, including your generator, is always ready when it is called upon. What good is that best-in-class control system or those quarterly service visits if the batteries connected to your generator can’t provide the necessary power to the generator engine starter.