A generator control panel is a sort of metallic box that contains Electrical & Electronic Equipment. Despite the various applications of an Electric Panel, we focus our attention to a Generator Control Panel connected to an electric generator. There are two basic version: AMF and Manual Generator Panels.

AMF Generator Control Panel

AMF means AUTOMATIC MAINS FAILURE . It includes a controller for the Automatic Control of Standby Generator. You will use an AMF Panel where you have to control a generator that is connected to the Mains a standby configuration. The AMF  controller  manages, in a fully automatic way, the connection assignment of the LOAD to MAINS or GENERATOR.  In this case features all programmable parameters that will allow the AMF panel detecting a Mains Failure and a Mains Restore. The electronic controller  is conveniently tasked with driving the Circuit Breakers. Typical sizes for this kind of Electric Panel is in between 10kVA up to 2000kVA. Normally, an AMF Generator Panel contains ancillary equipments: battery chargers, control & monitoring via TCP/IP, Modbus RTU serial interface.

On the left you can see an examples of  Manual & AMF Generator Control Panels.

Despite the fact that the power configuration and general arrangement is the same for all Generator Control Panels , the I/0 lines for the engine connection and ancillary equipment depends on the type of controller fitted to the panel. The size of the circuit breakers capacity and wires defines the required Power rating of the panel.

What about ATS Panel?  ATS means AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH (more often called ATS). It is about an Electric Control Panel for the Automatic Control of a LOADS in a standby configuration. An ATS Panel is the proper choice in cases where you have to control a generator that is connected to the Mains in a standby configuration. The ATS panel is less complex than an AMF Panels and more easy to use. It is normally fitted with an ATS controller that manages, in a fully automatic way, the connection assignment of the LOAD to MAINS or GENERATOR. The ATS controller send to the generator a request of start. The ATS controller does not take care about Engine Automation & Protection. After sending a start request, the ATS panels simply waits the proper conditions for connecting the LOAD to the Generator. Typical sizes for this kind of Electric Panel are in between 10kVA up to 2000kVA. Some simple ATS Panels feature only the power breakers to connect the load to Mains and Generator. These panels features terminal blocks that will allow you to drive the Power Switches by remote  or, more often by a Programmable Logic Controller (so called PLC). Despite the fact that the power configuration and general arrangement is the same for all ATS Panels , the proper place of an ATS panels it is not on a generator frame. Normally this piece of equipment is designed for wall mount close the Mains Distribution Box. The controller inside the ATS control panel is able do send the basic commands (Start, Stop, Test and others) to a generator placed in a remote location.   WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT AMF


Image of a Generator Control Panel Equipped with the Be124 Centurion Generator Control System.

Available sizes: 30-60-100-130-250kVA

Image of a Generator Control Panel Equipped with the BeK3 Auto Mains Failure Control System.

Available sizes: 30-60-100-130-250kVA


BE124 BEK3

We analyze a typical case of  combined Generator Control Panel and Auto Mains Failure Module.

(1) Mains Failure Control Module.

This electronic circuit 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 (1), upon 
detecting a failure of the mains for example, can start the engine via the controller (4). 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 (C) and, if it is the case, the generator circuit breaker(D). The parts included in the white dotted line consists of big size wires and terminal blocks. In some cases all this equipment are contained in a separate Electric Panel normally called ATS Panel.

(2) Circuit Breakers Controller.

This electronic board 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 (C)(D) directly or via a remotely operated pilot relays (included into  external ATS panel). A feedback message can be generated automatically to inform the user should the failure of a circuit breaker occur.

Circuit breaker are motor-driven for big power generators and are wired in a so called ATS Panel (ATS).

(3) Alternator Monitoring Module.

This module monitors the parameters of the Alternator (G). It performs similar basic functions to the Mains Failure Control Module. This module compares the settings of your parameters with the measurements made by the Alternator Monitoring Module. The result of this comparison will then generate alarms,or proper action according to your needs.

(4) Engine Control Module.

It encompasses all basic functions  required to control the engine in a safe and automatic way. The  internal micro controller continuously combines the requests of the  local or remote controls and the requests of all inputs and ancillary internal Modules.

It compares the internal settings with the sensed measurements on the Engine (E) & Generator(G). It delivers commands on the output connections and ports to keep the  system working in an efficient way.

The modules (F) (G) (M) have a particular design

and special coating to avoid problems with elements, humidity and fungus.

The Engine Control Module includes a user interface able to interact with the user (L).

(H) Inputs/Outputs. This board includes relays and optocouplers able to interface with external programmable controller, switches  or others.

(I) Serial interface. This could be the industrial interface RS485 that 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.

(L) User interface. The minimum configuration includes display able to provide all necessary information in a digital form. Sometimes analog instruments my be added to guarantee redundancy. Additional  components are switches, function selectors and so on.

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