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Generator Troubleshooting Questions

An electric generator is a machine that changes mechanical energy into electrical energy to power machines or buildings that have a limited access to power supply. Generators run on a scientific law that is called the principle of electromagnetic induction discovered in 1831 by British scientist Michael Faraday and American scientist Joseph Henry. Based on the principle, electric conductors, such as a copper wire, create a flow of electric current within when moved through a magnetic field. Generators are used many times in emergency situations but can often fail to operate for various reasons.

Listed below are a few questions answered by the electrician Experts on issues related to generators.

When the electrician installed a 10kw generator, he fixed a conduit that had three power leads plus two 12v, and two 120v control wires. Shouldn’t there be a separate conduit for the control wires? Also, shouldn’t the generator and the ATS have a bonding lead installed between them?

It doesn’t go against code to run the low voltage wires with the high voltage ones. But it’s better to bond the two sets of wires together.

I need a generator for the whole house. What is the most reliable one available?

Many think the Generac 25kw liquid cooled generator should be a good buy. It can power a 2200 sft home and works very quietly.

I need to operate a 110 A/C to cool a 12 X 12 room. How big a generator would I need?

A room of this size should normally require only a 5000 BTU unit. But you would probably need a 1000 watt generator at the minimum because of your A/C specifications.

My veterinary clinic which needs approximately 45 kVA single phase requires a backup generator. I have mounted a John Deere 115 Hp turbocharged diesel engine on a movable frame. What is the size of the generator I need to run this engine?

Installing a generator head might work better in this case. They are available in different kVA configurations and should be ideal for your setup. Get in touch with a generator manufacturer to get a head that suits your requirements. The link below will give you an example of what you should be asking for: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_8795_8795

I have a 5,000 sq ft home on three levels with multi-zone cooling and heating. Since I am keen on buying an automatic fail over generator for the place, I am currently checking out the Briggs & Stratton 30kW that has GM Vortec Engines. What kind of generator would suit my requirement best?

To begin with, you need to know what your existing kW load is to determine your generator size. Perhaps, one of the simplest and most accurate ways to do this would be to check for this information on your Electric Utility Bill. You could go through the bills for the year and look for trends and understand what your peak demand is. This information should be available with your electrical utility company.

The higher your kW, the larger the generator required. This size could be brought down if you choose to remove certain circuits to lower the generator load, or if you replace appliances that consume a high amount of energy, with gas.

Another important factor that you should think about when considering the size of a generator for the whole house is the load on the motor. This is because motors require a lot of power to start and if there are multiple motors running together, they draw more power from the generator. Staggered Start or Staging devices could be installed to prevent this from occurring.

Once you get all this information, you can determine your actual usage needs and choose a generator that fits your requirements best.

It is important to carry out regular maintenance on generators so that they don’t fail in an emergency situation. If you have a generator at home that’s causing a problem, there are a few ways you could troubleshoot the problem. To begin with, check if the fuse located on the control panel is burnt out. If it is burnt, replace it immediately. Otherwise, locate the battery on the control panel and set your voltage meter to the VCD setting that is marked on the control. Touch the end of the battery to the probes of the voltage meter. You should get a reading of at least 9.5. If you get a lower reading, or one that is higher than 12.6, replace the battery. Then check the cables for corrosion and clean the connectors using steel wool to remove rust. Also remove and check the fuel hose for signs of clogging due to evaporated fuel in the lines. Ensure that you check the fuel and oil supply of the machine as well. Finally, use a wrench to remove the spark plug and replace it if it is corroded. If you have trouble with any electrical work, consult an Expert.

Ask an Electrician

Mike
Mike, Master Electrician
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
11762411
Type Your Electrical Question Here...
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Electricians are Online Now

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Recent Generator Questions

  • My back-up power system does not trip my RCD when I insert a leakage current between Live

    My back-up power system does not trip my RCD when I insert a leakage current between Live and Earth. Will a RVD work in this case? The system is seperate from the house and has it's own earth rod. In the back-up power system, the Neutral conductor from the inverter cannot be bonded to earth (due to inverter design). I read that a RVD (Residual Voltage Device) will solve my problem as it's sensitive to currents of 8mA, and will work with many different earthing systems.
  • I'm off the grid & I've been without water for a week.... PLEASE

    I'm off the grid & I've been without water for a week.... PLEASE HELP!
    My generator recently broke down & I have rented a Multiquip welder/generator for a month. The rented generator has:
    1) a 40 Amp GFI breaker
    2) a 40 Amp 120/240 receptacle (Actually 50A 125/250V twist-lock style)
    3) a G.F.I.C. ground connection
    My generator was only 30A so I've had to upgrade some things.
    > Purchased a new 40A 2-pole breaker for my Federal Pioneer Electrical Panel.
    > Purchased a new 50A 125/250V Plug and properly rated wire.
    I installed the plug onto the 4-wire and ran the wire to the breaker panel.
    At the panel:
    > I connected the bare ground to the ground bus in the panel
    > I connected the white neutral wire to the neutral bus in the panel.
    > I connected the Red & Black wires to the new breaker & installed the breaker.
    I also connected the G.F.I.C ground connection from the generator to the wire connected to the grounding round.
    Every time I try and insert the plug into the generator, the GFI breaker on the generator trips.
    I've done some diagnosis and have determined that it is the neutral connection (in the panel) that is causing the generator GFI to trip
    Any ideas?
  • my breaker panel currently has 2 - 15 amp circuit breakers

    my breaker panel currently has 2 - 15 amp circuit breakers tied together with a steel pin... one has a black 14 wire running to it running a light circuit... the other appears to run to the furnace.... can these be separated? I see no reason why they are tied together in the first place?
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