When we talk about load bank testing, the entire process is based on three parameters – when, how, and why?

Operators of data centres generally perform load testing when the facility is initially commissioned. Once the data centre gets functional, experts of the data centre in question recommend load testing of the entire mechanism that is in place, at a prefabricated load at least once in a year, if not in a month.

Now the million-dollar question in this regard is, what does load bank testing involve and what are the best practices of load bank testing?

Generator Load Bank Testing Should Ideally Follow the Following General Practices:

  • The development of site-specific standard and emergency operating procedures before the start of the equipment commissioning process is imperative. This practice is all the more important for new data centres. After the plan has been chalked out properly the commissioning phase will come up with the most feasible opportunity of validating the procedures, training the staff, and verifying the performance.
  • Preparing the commission backup power system thoroughly is another imperative after the installation is done. Commissioning includes operating all the components as well as the key features in different application modes, including normal mode, bypass mode, and the failover mode. It is also imperative that testing is conducted under multiple loads, which may vary from very light to the full design load.
  • Performing the integrated testing with the actual loads that are connected from the HVAC or UPS and other appliances and systems during equipment commissioning of the generators is another must-to-carry-out practice to evaluate the load capacity.
  • It is also important to consider renting the load banks from the experienced suppliers of load banks. Most equipment may include incremental switching, which will allow the users to ramp up the generators safely, without inflicting any damage to it whatsoever.
  • Another standard procedure involves following the safety rules and norms, recommended by the supplier of the load bank, for testing and then carefully establishing the connection mechanism.

What is the Procedure for Conducting Load Testing?

  • Starting and then running the generator until the temperature of the water attains a stability
  • Transferring all the manual and the automated transfer switches to the emergency source
  • Step loading the generator till the desired load volume it attained
  • Now when the load test is on, the performance of the generator needs to be scrutinized and when the system is in operation, every component and their functionality needs to be checked to ensure that everything is normal.
  • Once the test is done with, the load of the load bank needs to be taken off at first
  • Then every transfer switch needs to be returned to normal
  • Now that the test is done the manufacturer’s guidelines need to be followed to cool down the generator

Try to Find Out the Answers to the Following Queries

  • Does the engine sound like what it should?
  • Is it vibrating abnormally?
  • Do you notice any abnormal exhaust smoke?
  • Is the voltage stable or is it fluctuating?
  • Is the temperature of the generator operating within the normal range?
  • Is the fuel being properly transmitted from the tank to the reservoir?
  • Is the oil pressure normal?
  • Is there any visible leakage of oil, coolant, or fuel?

Once you have got satisfactory replies to all these answers you can assume that the load bank testing has fulfilled its purpose and the generator is ‘good to go’!!

Author's Bio: 

The author runs a company that hires out Loadbanks for power testing. He is also a technician and an avid blogger.