Generator controls now have a detailed display on the control panel in order to meet the NFPA 110 requirements:
like this older model Generac that uses lamps to display alarms
or this Onan/Cummins panel that uses an LED display
The control panels pictured above are all excellent and are safe to use. These photos are for example only of what a control panel looks like and not intended to imply that any problems whatsoever exist in their design or construction.
Control panels often use solid state boards to control generator set function. Control boards designed to operate correctly on a minimum voltage may use the DC voltage provided from the cranking batteries. When the cranking batteries deliver voltages below a minimum a board is designed to use, malfunctions may occur and false readings result.
An RPM sensor loss alarm, an overspeed alarm, or some other unrelated alarm may be triggered by low battery voltage.
If you get a shutdown alarm, always check for the indicated fault and correct the problem. However, if you cannot find and correct an obvious problem, check your battery voltage.
Generators and automatic transfer switches as well as their appurtenant devices employ high voltages that can hurt you. Do not attempt to work with this equipment unless you are qualified. Observe all rules and cautions found in the manufacturer’s manuals as well as NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.
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