Don’t get panic if your generator is running but doesn’t produce power, we are going to provide you with the top 8 reasons and their solutions as well.
The most common reasons are tripped breaker, defective AVR, and loss of residual magnetism; however, sometimes you need to dig deep for diagnosing the actual cause.
Without further wasting time, let’s dive in;
Why Is My Generator Not Producing Power?
The following could be the major reasons for not producing the power.
1. Tripped Breakers:
Let’s check out the circuit breakers of the generator first, if you found them in the OFF position, you have tripped the circuit breakers.
To avoid excessive damage the circuit breaker mostly tripped once you have overloaded the generator.
For E.g. your generator has 2kw of capacity and you have operated the Air-condition of 2.5k of running and 3kw of starting watts. As a result, the generator’s breaker popped up within a few seconds to save the other organs of the generator.
Make sure to reduce the load, turn on the breakers, and fire up the generator. if it works you have overloaded the generator.
To make the generator safer, most renowned companies have added GFCI breakers (Ground fault circuit interrupter) instead of circuit breakers (fuses).
The reason behind adding the GFCI breakers is to avoid electrocution, they sense the amount of current flows in the circuit and make sure the same amount should be passed, otherwise, they will be tripped.
The following are the reasons for tripping a GFCI breaker.
- Leakages in power cords, if the power lines are fried or have broken insulation etc. you can replace the cord and try it again.
- The GFCI outlet may be faulty itself, try to plug an appliance directly into the GFCI outlet if the breaker pops up, you need to replace the breaker.
- Like a normal circuit breaker (fuse) the GFCI breaker is also pretty sensitive about overloading, they pop up rapidly if sense overload.
NOTE: In emergencies, I have to bypass the circuit breakers to get my work done but it is highly dangerous please don’t do that if you are not a technical person.
2. Faulty Outlets:
Bad or faulty outlets could be another major reason that your generator is working but not producing power. Make sure to check out the condition of the outlet if it is fine.
Fire up the generator, keep the circuit breaker at ON position and take a multimeter and place the black end to the right slot and place the red end to the left.
If you are getting some readings the outlets are fine otherwise you have to replace them.
3. Loss of Residual Magnetism:
Your generator always has a small amount of leftover magnetic field in the coil even if you have shut down your generator, this is called the residual magnetic field which will help the generator to create an electromagnetic field again for producing power.
If the residual magnetic field is lost your generator may not be able to produce power again.
Reason For Losing the Residual Magnetic Field:
Thankfully there is no rocket science to recharge the magnetism of the generator. Below are the step-by-step guides to re-magnetize the generator using the drill or 12–volts battery.
How To Restore Residual Magnetism in Generator?
Re – magnetize the generator with a drill:
- Take a drill and remove the drill bit.
- Start the generator and make sure to wear a pair of protective gloves.
- Plug the drill into the generator and Hold down the trigger.
- Twist the chuck of the drill in the forward direction with your hands, if you have a pair of protective gloves otherwise, you can do it with something else.
- If the drill powers, you have successfully recovered the residual magnetism. If it is not make sure to repeat the process 3 – 4 times.
Re – magnetize the generator with 12 – volts battery:
- Remove the generator’s alternator cover and disconnect the two wires that connect the AVR and brushes. Check out the positive and negative ends, I suggest you take a picture so that you can detect them easily.
- Plug a light into the outlet of the generator.
- Take a 12 volts battery and alligator clips. Clip the Red +VE terminal of the battery with the +VE end of the rotor where the red cable where attached.
- Start the generator, tap the breaker to the ON position, Now clip the black –VE terminal of the battery to the –VE of the rotor where the black cable where attached.
You can follow our detailed guide about flashing the generator to re-energize your generator
4. Poor Connections:
Check out the outlets and cords of the generator if you found some obvious damages like cracks, burned insulations, etc. make sure to replace them.
Also if you found any debris, dirt, or bugs in the generator’s outlets make sure to clean them.
Faulty cords and outlets will shoot signals to the GFCI breakers and as a result, the generator will not produce power for obvious safety reasons.
5. Defective or Busted AVR:
The function of AVR is to regulate the voltages so that the sensitive appliances will get steady voltages.
If the AVR becomes faulty or busted your generator may not provide output voltages. To locate the AVR you have to open the generator’s alternator cover, as you can see in the picture.
Remove the +VE and –VE cables from the carbon blushes assembly and unhook the AVR.
You can run the following tests to identify whether the AVR messing with the generator or it’s because of the rotor or winding.
Before starting the readings let’s fire up the generator and take a multimeter.
- Reading No1: Take a multimeter and check out the volts of brushes, make sure to place the red probe on the left side (
- +VE) and the black probe on the right side (-VE) of the brushes. You should get voltages between 5 and 10, >10 could be the reason that something is wrong with the rotor or brushes.
- Reading No2 – 3: Now you have to check out the windings (L1, and L2, R1, and R2). Place the red probe of the multimeter on L1 and black on L2, also place the red probe of the multimeter on R1 and black on the R2. You should get around 3 to 5 volts.
- Reading No 4: Place the red probe of the multimeter on R1 and L1, the probe the readings should be 0 volts
NOTE: If you are getting incorrect readings from the winding chances are your generator’s windings are gone.
Below is the video of Generator Guru for testing the AVR of the generator:
6. Defective Capacitor:
If you have a generator with a capacitor instead of an AVR, you should have to check out whether the capacitor is working or not.
The location of capacity is almost the same as AVR, you will see a rounded shiny box connected to the +VE and –VE of rotor or brushes (if you have a generator with carbon brushes).
Take a multimeter and connect probes to the ends of the rotor’s wires, let’s fire the generator and check out the readings, if the reading is 5 volts or slightly less the capacitor is the culprit make sure to replace it.
- Don’t touch the ends of the capacitor with bare hands, the capacitor is known for their great shocks
- Don’t start the generator during the testing process.
below is the video from Home in the Earth to change the capacitor of the generator in instant.
7. Poor or Worn Brushes:
Carbon brushes are small pieces of carbon that contact the rotor to supply electrical current to the voltage regulator.
You can mostly find them above the AVR, and also the two wires of AVR (+ve and –ve) are connected with the assembly of the carbon brushes. To locate that you just have to open the cover of the generator’s alternator.
Remove the assembly of carbon brushes by removing the screw on the top. Examine the condition of the brushes. If they have the following conditions make sure to replace them.
- Small in size.
- Lose carbon blushes
- Burned or melted.
8. Defective Breakers:
Defective circuit breakers could pop up unnecessarily as a result the outlets of generators don’t transmit power.
To replace the defective breaker, you need to shut down the generator, unscrew the control panel, and locate the circuit breaker’s position. Make sure to remove the wiring of the breaker and replace it with a newer one.
We assure you that your generator will produce power if you have gone through the all reasons we have listed and followed the all steps to fix each of them.
As we have discussed the most common reasons are tripped breaker, residual magnetism, defective AVR, and worn brushes, you should check them out before going to the technicalities.
Let us know in the comment section if you found this article helpful.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
When should you flash a generator?
If the generator not producing power and all things like AVR, carbon blushes, Breakers, Outlets, etc. are in working, you have to flash it with a drill or battery to re-energize or re-magnetize it.
Brushless generator not producing power?
The following could be reasons If your brushless generator is not producing power.
Loss of residual magnetism.
Defective capacitor or AVR.
Tripped or defective breaker.
Faulty outlets or poor connection
Josh is a highly skilled electrician with specialized expertise in the field of generators. With years of experience under his belt, he has established himself as an expert in all aspects of generators, ranging from installation and maintenance to troubleshooting and repairs. Josh’s in-depth knowledge of electrical systems and his commitment to staying updated with the latest industry advancements make him a reliable and sought-after professional.