Reliability considerations in simple paralleling applications
Service and support
One of the first questions that should be considered when choosing a supplier of a paralleling system is how the system will be supported in the future. Properly supporting all the system’s equipment requires a diverse skill set. Working with a supplier that has a proven track record of designing, installing, and maintaining complete paralleling systems is the best way to ensure reliable operation over the life of the system. Questions to ask include:
- Have the service technicians been trained and certified by the manufacturer on all components of the paralleling system? Claims that an engine dealer technician can service a paralleling system should be viewed with skepticism.
- Have the service technicians been certified with the make and model of engines being used in the application? Suppliers that use engines from different manufacturers may require different service organizations to support systems within the same geographical region.
- Does the service organization offer comprehensive maintenance programs for the entire system?
- Does the service organization have a demonstrated history of supporting paralleling systems in many different types of applications?
- What is the availability of replacement parts? Power transfer devices will often need to be replaced after faults. Replacing a proprietary contactor rather than a paralleling circuit breaker can result in a system being down for a significant period of time. Replacing a proprietary component with a standard one may not be acceptable if the new device isn’t listed for use with the existing overcurrent protection.
- If a control needs to be replaced, is custom programming required for the replacement control and who is authorized to do the programming? What is the time frame for replacing the control?