Simple Troubleshooting Procedures For Generator Problems

When troubleshooting a generator, it is advisable to read and understand the manufacturer’s manual. The guidelines provide instructions on how to troubleshoot the engine safely and appropriately.

Granted that you are done reading the manual, the first basic troubleshooting that you can try is to check the engine oil level. If there is sufficient oil, then the next step you should do is to check the control board by removing the cover. The engine control board controls the ignition, field flash, fuel pump, fuel solenoid and starter.

Then check the battery. A full charged battery (in good condition) commonly reads 12.6 to 12.8 VDC. Charge the battery if necessary.

Checking cranking can also be helpful in identifying the reason why the engine malfunctions. You can do this by connecting (through jumper) the positive battery post to the coil terminal on the start solenoid. If the engine cranks, the cause could be poor connection or wiring damage. But if the engine cranks when the positive battery pin is jumpered to the start solenoid pin on the control board, there’s a possibility that the board is defective.

If the engine cranks but doesn’t start, do a test for sparks. Remove one of the plug wires from a spark plug and put the end of the wire near a metal surface. Or remove a plug wire and insert an old plug into the end of the plug boot.

What if the engine cranks and has sparks but does not start? The problem maybe something related to fuel. Check the fuel system by injecting starting fluid into the air intake. Your engine is starving for fuel if it fires and tries to run.

When the engine starts but fails to keep on running, it may not be producing voltage or the oil pressure signal is not present. If your engine does not keep on running, you can do the following: check the generator AC output, check for 10-12 VDC at the field flash pin, check the field circuit or check the oil pressure switch as soon as the engine starts.

Before troubleshooting your engine, always check the troubleshooting chart for your model. If the generator is owned by a Rental Power provider, contact them immediately. Companies that offer generators rental services have their own technicians to who will do the troubleshooting if one of their generators for rent malfunctions.

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