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Generator Problems and Troubleshooting

A generator in simple terms is an alternate source of power. It is a machine which produces electricity. A generator requires an internal combustion engine which is usually driven by diesel oil or gasoline. These appliances are useful when there is power outage and you need to run certain important appliances to keep your day to day functioning running normally. Generators are also used for mobile kitchens which have appliances installed in them.

Listed below are a few common questions answered by the Experts on generator problems.

Why would a year old generator to only work for a couple seconds and then turn off?

Most generators would show some kind of fault or error code. Usually when the oil level is low, it can cause the generator to shut down in the manner described by you. Check and verify the oil level and if required, change the oil in the engine. Locate it and try to jumper it out. This should help the generator to function again.

If an individual has installed a generator and performed a load test with the results of being unbalanced with 7 amps at neutral, what could be the cause of this?

This could be a faulty generation installation. It should be noted that a generator should be planned and installed to operate at 50% or less than its full load rating. This is especially true if it operates at 3500 rpm. If it operates at 1750 rpm it is considered a higher capacity and relatively heavier duty hence can be run at 60%. In most cases, the 3500 rpm generators are meant to be used occasionally for short period of time. They do not function well if expected to run for several days.

Is it possible for an overloaded generator by running a microwave, fridge and washing machine?

Low voltage emitted from the generator to the appliance can cause some amount of damage. A washing machine usually uses an inverter board which converts AC single phase voltage to DC multi phase in order to operate its motor. This is where the problem could have occurred. Using a generator to run such an appliance is usually not recommended. Currently it would be better to leave the washing machine plugged in until you receive regular power. This will prevent further damage to your electronics and more information on the situation of your washer can be obtained once the power is back.

I was using my generator with an output of 57 volts but my microwave is not lighting up now. The power ceases at the main board. What could be the problem?

This is a case where the low voltage from the generator has most likely damaged the transformer on the control board. To fix this issue, you may need to replace the control board.

If an individual uses a GE propane 24,000 KW generator to operate a stove, refrigerator and freezer, what could be the problem when the generator suddenly shuts down?

As per your observation, if you consider it to be one of your equipment causing the problem the breakers connected to them would be tripping. If that is not happening, it is most likely an issue with the generator itself. You should probably consider a mobile generator repair service from the yellow pages that can come to you at the festival and service it for you. You could try contacting the organizers of the event as they usually would have an electrician who can fix it.

While installing a 15 KW Generac generator we accidently closed “the disconnect” with the generator breaker in the closed position. What has happened and how difficult would it be to repair?

As a matter of warning, an untrained person installing or involving themselves in installing a generator can lead to a potentially hazardous and dangerous situation and could fatally harm a lineman working on the utility system. What has probably occurred in your case is the generator voltage regulator was powered with the incoming “out of phase” power from the utility supply to your house. This is not a repair to be handled by an untrained individual and you need a licensed electrician to install a “transfer switch” between the generator and the power panel. This will perform the function of isolating the generator from the utility power at all times.

Generators are a useful device in situations where there is a power shutdown. With proper usage it can help you run the appliances you need most such as an electric range or refrigerator in the event of power failure. However generator installation and generator repair should be handled cautiously with the help of professionals. Low voltage from generators can cause a lot of damage to your appliance even if it affected it only for a few minutes. In order to obtain the right information on generator troubleshooting and generator replacement, guidance from Experts can be very useful as well as necessary.
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