Black smoke at startup
Troubleshooting and solving of excessive smoke during emergency generator start-up

The intervention, requested by our client, was performed on board a prestigious cruise ship jointly with a mechanical engineer. The activity was aimed at identifying the causes of failed start-ups and the emission of a significant amount of black smoke on departure.

IThe genset in question consists of a 12-cylinder engine pulling an emergency generator rated at 1155 kW. The fuel admission valve is moved by a  Woodward EG10P actuator controlled by a Woodward  2301Edigital speed controller. In addition, it is equipped with a backup switchboard containing a second 2301E emergency controller.

The technicians embarked the ship in Castro, a municipality in southern Chile. From there they began their navigation heading for Ushuaia, Argentina, passing through Chile's characteristic fjords where unspoiled nature, glaciers, and wildlife create enchanting landscapes.

After checking the entire system, including the MPU sensors for speed detection, our technician identified two main issues:

  • Non-optimal configuration of parameters related to starting dynamics;

  • Excessive amount of fuel delivered at startup and subsequent emission of black smoke. 

Thanks to the Woodward digital speed controller's flexible programming and the many functions available for optimizing control at start-up, it has been possible to improve the starting phase, reducing the start-up time and eliminating the generation of excessive black smoke.

The problems were identified thanks to a detailed analysis of the control variables during the start-up phase performed with  Woodward's Control AssistantsoftwareThis advanced troubleshooting and maintenance tool is designed to communicate with Woodward controllers via serial or Ethernet connections. Its versatility allows real-time monitoring and adjustment of parameters and the display of alarms and events from SOS servers/controls.


Upon completion of the work, the technicians returned to Italy to the client's full satisfaction and enriched by an indelible experience. 

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