D346 MARINE ENGINE Caterpillar

Generator Performance


Generator Loading

When a generator is installed or reconnected, be sure the total current in one phase does not exceed the nameplate rating. Each phase should carry the same load, allowing the engine to work at its rated capacity. An electrical unbalance can result in an electrical overload and overheating if one phase exceeds the nameplate amperage. Any unbalanced load that's required should be placed on phase 2, since current sensing for voltage regulator is on that phase.

Power Factor

Power factor may be thought of as the efficiency of the load - the ratio of apparent power to total power. Power factor is expressed as a decimal and denotes that portion of current supplied to a system doing useful work. The portion of current not doing useful work is absorbed in maintaining the magnetic field in motors. This current, although it is called the reactive load, does not require engine horsepower to maintain it.

In most applications electric motors and transformers determine the power factor of the system. Induction motors usually have a .8 power factor. Incadescent lighting is a resistive load of about 1.0 power factor, or unity.

The power factor of a system may be determined by a power factor meter or by calculations. Determine the power requirement in KW by multiplying the power factor by the KVA supplied to the system. As the power factor goes up the total current supplied to a constant power demand will go down. A 100 KW at a .8 power factor will draw more current than a 100 KW load at .9 power factor. A higher power factor increases the possibility of overloading the engine. A lower power factor increases the possibility of overloading the generator.

Low Idle Adjustment

Electric sets require higher low idle setting than do industrial engines. Low idle must not be below 2/3 the full load speed of 60 Hz units (4/5 full load speed of 50 Hz units).


Disconnect the exciter circuit by removing fuses F1 and F2 (on SRCR) or Fuse F1 (on SR 4) before operating the engine below the low idle rating. Failure to do this will result in generator damage.

On electric sets with Woodward governors, there is no low idle stop. On electric sets with mechanical governors and natural gas electric sets, the low idle is set at the factory, and should only be adjusted by your Caterpillar dealer if adjustment is required.

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