Generac unveiled a number of updates to their Guardian generators in January at the 2013 International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Highlights include the new Evolution Controller and control panel for the highly popular Guardian Series Standby Generators that include new features and new programmable options, additional optional accessories including a web accessible controller dashboard, and an updated power management system. All told, more than 80 new improvements were implemented for faster and easier installations and a more user-friendly product.
Changes were also made to the limited comprehensive consumer warranty, including extending the warranty length to five years, ranking it with the best of the industry leaders.
Evolution Control Panel
The new Evolution control panel is brighter and more user friendly than its predecessor. A color coded membrane keypad with LED back-lit icons provide generator status at a glance. Generator operating mode―Auto-Manual-Off―was previously selected with a rocker switch. Now the mode is chosen by pressing the keypad and an LED indicates the selection.
The familiar two-line display (multi-lingual) display still provides alerts, logs, and reminders with additional information on the battery condition and status. Menus are navigated using the Up, Down, Left, Right, and Enter keys. A handy Escape button returns the user to the menu from any page.
The new controller helps homeowners identify possible issues before they turn problematic with six additional alarms to identify battery charger problems, fuse warnings, overload conditions and more.
One very useful feature is the new USB port which allows technicians to update the controller firmware in the field instead of performing a costly replacement.
As with its predecessor the Nexus, the Evolution handles all the functions of the generator including voltage regulation, monitoring and controlling engine speed and generating unit status, utility line monitoring, transfer switch control, and much more.
Also updated on the Guardian Series are the power management features of the Smart Switch, the automatic transfer switch packaged with many Guardian Series standby generators.
Generac implements power management with a priority based, load-shedding control system for high-voltage, high-current appliances. The load-shedding controller is located inside the Smart Switch and can handle a total of six loads assigned to priorities one through four. As shipped, the controller will manage two air conditioners. Additional loads require a Power Management Module Starter Kit that includes a transformer and Power Management Module (PMM). The kit allows a third load, and with additional PMMs, can handle a total of four loads in addition to the two air conditioners.
The new power management strategy utilizes low voltage wiring and controls to reduce cost and simplify installation.
Guardian standby generators already had the only engine in the industry designed and manufactured specifically for use in a generator. Improvements to the design included modifying the fuel system, implementing a new throttle body, and eliminating the choke.
The changes allow easier starting at any temperature and simplify servicing. Switching between LP Gas and Natural Gas is easier than ever and only requires turning a knob. Installers don’t even need a tool to perform the switch.
As homeowners spend more time away from home, keeping track becomes more difficult. Mobile Link is an optional accessory that keeps the homeowner in touch. Utilizing the cellular text messaging system, it provides updates and alerts to homeowner cell phones.
The system also allows access to the generator controller through a web-based dashboard via the Standby Status website. Using a web browser on laptop computers, tablets, and smart phones, homeowner access includes viewing reports, scheduling maintenance, and checking standby generator status.
The all weather, corrosion resistant enclosures received their own updates to make it easier to access the unit for servicing and for making fuel connections. Wiring changes make it easier to comply with future electrical code changes. Continued compliance with National Fire Protection Codes allow installation as close as 18 inches to a home.
Generac Guardian Series standby generators include certification and listing by the Southwest Research Institute.