What is a Generator Control Panel and How to Use It?
Control of Machines
Displaying the parameters of a machine requires a user interface to control its efficient operation and to intervene when necessary. Conditions such as overheating of the machine, decrease in speed, increase in speed are generally dependent on weather conditions and wear of parts. In electrical machines such as a generator, these changes create an electrical signal, preventing damage to the generator.
Additional information on generators and their components can be found in How Generators Work. These signals are processed by a microcontroller to control the performance of the machine. Many machines in urban environments (such as signal lights and automatic doors) are completely self-managed thanks to such controllers. These machines have sensors that detect changes in physical properties such as temperature and speed and can generate signals accordingly. Modern generators also have similar sensors to detect changes of various parameters. These sensors are used to control the generator via a control board.
Control Panel – what is it?
Visually, a control board; It is a set of signs and images that measure various parameters such as voltage, current and frequency through indicators and meters. These meters and indicators are usually placed on a corrosion-resistant metallic body to protect it from the effects of rain and snow. The switchboard can be mounted on the generator body for small generators. When it is mounted on the generator, shock and vibration resistant supports are used. Industrial generator control panels are large enough to be completely separated from the generator.
Control panels are usually equipped with buttons and switches that assist the operation of the generator, such as off button and on switch. Switches and indicators are often grouped by functionality. This makes the dashboard useful while minimizing the possibility of an operator accidentally making the wrong choice.
How does it work?
The control panel is a microprocessor structure that provides the management of the machine by feedback after processing the information from the sensors. Such feedback could be temperature, low/high speed, low/high oil pressure indicating overheating. Typically, a temperature sensor inside the generator detects the temperature and sends this information to the microprocessor in the control panel. The microprocessor then takes the necessary measures to regulate the performance of the machine, such as when the oil pressure is too low or the coolant temperature is high. In industries, this function of control cabinets is becoming increasingly important. The microprocessor or microcontroller is programmed to receive and respond to sensor inputs with the circuit inside the control panel.
Controllers can be combined with Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) to provide uninterrupted power. The ATS detects this when the mains goes out. After detecting, it sends a signal to the control panel to start the generator. Depending on the type of generator used, the control panel activates the glow plugs (for diesel) in a set time period. Then it starts the generator by cranking. As soon as the Diesel Generator engine reaches optimum speed, the starter is disabled. Afterwards, ATS closes the generator contactor and ensures that the plant is fed without any interruption.
Custom-Made Control Boards
Control boards are usually designed by the manufacturer of the generator.
Some of the common features that today’s control boards offer are: continuous digital readout, large font LCD displays, oil pressure and water temperature sensors, setpoints and custom message options, remote start capability, etc.
In addition to these common features offered by the standard panel, special control panels are made to meet the special indicators and meters you will need, special parameters to be followed, automation requirements. Specialized switchboards are very popular in industrial and residential generators.