Generator Control Systems

ABOUT GENERATOR CONTROL SYSTEMS

You may wish to know, - what are 'Generator Control Systems' and what do they do?

Taken as a units, the generator control systems encompass  intelligent electronic controllers, of any form, that integrate  3-Phase Mains Failure Control Modules (note 1),  Circuit Breaker Controllers (note 2),  Alternator Monitoring Modules (note 3),  Engine Control & Monitoring Modules (note 4) and  Serial Data Interfaces (note 5). Generator control systems must provide clear visual indication by means of LEDs and Displays for all supervised parameters and alarms.

The Generator Control Systems manufactured by Bernini Design feature a range of programmable settings (from a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 300) and are engineered to comply with NFPA110 CAN/CSA-C282-M89 recommendations. Some of our Generator Control Systems feature RS485 and CANBUS  interfaces in order to communicate with engines equipped with ECUs (Electronic Control Unit according to the SAE-1939 standard).

The user manuals of Bernini Design Generator Control Systems, illustrate the layout of the front panel of the controllers. The Generator Control Systems should be capable of interfacing with analogue sensors or switches for the OIL/°C/FUEL monitoring if the CANBUS is not available and this is integrated by Bernini Design.

Complex Generator Control Systems may include all modules indicated in the notes 1-2-3-4-5 (example BeK3, Be2K-Plus). Simple generator control systems may include some of them (Be142, Be1,Be24....) or simply only one of them (Be72). This affects the total size and weight of the Generator Control Systems. Good Generator Control Systems should operate reliably in a range of environments, from minus 30 up to 70 degree Celsius. In some situations LCD displays (Liquid Crystal Display) are not recommended at the extremes of this range. As a matter of fact it is quite difficult to obtain good readings below 15 degrees Celsius on an LCD Display. Ancillary functions of Generator Control Systems may include selected extra complex features like Genset Parallel and Synchronisation.

The majority of the applications for Generator Control Systems find a convenient mounting place directly on the frame of a Diesel Generator. In this case the genset controller must be both rugged and vibration proof (all Bernini Design Generator Control Systems satisfy this requirement). In some case the Generator Control Systems are connected with a separation as much as several hundreds meters from the generator itself. This is not an issue of concern since that all Bernini Design generator control systems feature a rugged RS485 serial interface, allowing you to drive a twisted cable length as distant as 1000 metres.

(note 1) 3-Phase Mains Failure Control Module. This is a type of electronic circuit that continuously monitors the parameters of the Mains: Voltages/Frequency/Phases Power and so on. You can program chosen limits to these if desired. When the parameters are no longer within the set limits, the Mains Failure Control Module, upon detecting a failure of the mains for example, can start the engine via the controller. You will understand that the converse also applies when the Mains Supply returns within its limits, the Mains Failure Control Module will then stop the engine. According to the programming routines that you have set, the Mains Failure Control Module will also automatically control the Mains Circuit Breaker. This module is often designated AMF (Automatic Mains Failure).

(note 2) Circuit Breaker Controller. This is a type of electronic board, or electronic circuit, that monitors the status of the circuit breakers for the Mains and Generators. The Circuit breakers will connect the Load to MAINS or GENERATOR automatically. The boards may contain fuses, these are intended to protect the coils of the Circuit Breakers and relays designated to drive the Circuit Breakers. A feedback message can be generated automatically to inform the user should the failure of a circuit breaker occur.

(note 3) Alternator Monitoring Module. This module monitors the parameters of the Alternator. In outline terms it performs similar basic functions to the Mains Failure Control Module. This module will compare the settings of your parameters (Over Voltage, Over current for example) with the measurements made by the Alternator Monitoring Module. The result of this comparison will then generate alarms, warnings or will drive the Circuit Breaker of the Alternator in the correctly controlled manner.

(note 4) Engine Control & Monitoring Module. This is the core of the system; it encompasses all basic functions required to control the engine in a safe and automatic way. The internal microcontroller continuously combines the requests of the user (local pushbuttons or remote controls) and the requests of all inputs and ancillary internal Modules. It compares the internal settings with the sensed measurements that are made hundreds of times every second on the Genset. It delivers commands on the output connections and ports to keep the system working in an efficient way.

(note 5) Serial interface. This could be the industrial interface RS485 that, via a MODBUS protocol, allows you to communicate with the Generator Control System using a computer. It could also comprehend a CANBUS interface designed for connecting engines compatible with the SAE1939 standard. Less popular today but still used, especially in cases where you use a MODEM, the serial interface RS232. Should you require more information regarding serial interfaces, then you will find this Wikipedia link helpful.

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