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Troubleshooting, diagnostic and repair tips, tricks and videos

Why is my generator not producing any power?

Here are a few preliminary things to check if you appear to have no output.

1) reset circuit breakers

2) Give the engine a little rev

Sometimes when the rotor magnetism becomes weakened during storage just giving the engine a momentary rev by manipulation of the throttle will compensate for the weakened field and be enough to spark things into life. If its going to work it will work instantly and there is nothing to be gained and plenty to be lost by prolonged reving of the engine.

3) Clean slip rings and check brushes (only applies to AVR machines)

4) Inspect the condenser (only on capacitor compensated machines)

This usually takes the form of a large white cylinder in the back of the alternator with two connections. If the condenser is bulging burned or damaged in any way then this is a good clue that the condenser is probably at the root of your problem. A condenser that looks OK will need a capacitance meter to test it. Be careful with condensers as they store power and can give quite a kick unless discharged. I just short across the terminals with an insulated screw driver.

5) If you are a fan of the holistic approach then you can try hovering your generator above of the TV whilst playing my astral generator repair video. If all that fails call me

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Why is my generator struggling and vibrating a lot?

This can be caused by a condition I call “loading”. It indicates a short circuit in the generator. If you encounter this condition its important to stop the machine and seek advice. Some shorts can be fixed but if allowed to persist will certainly result in permanent damage to the stator or other parts of the generating circuit. Here is a link to a video I found on YouTube of an American chap who is trying to diagnose what he thinks is an engine fault in an old G400 generator. The moment he starts the generator any specialist would see that the generator is loading and struggling under the load of a major short circuit. The machine is loading so hard its trying to walk across the floor as you will see. Our American cousin however proceeds to investigate every possible wrong avenue until after 4 videos the smoke pouring out the back of the machine starts to give him a clue that its not an engine fault. It does provide a classic example of what a loading generator looks like.

A generator exhibiting the symptoms of a short circuit

watching this video of a loading generator and reading the paragraph above can save you a lot of time.

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My generator is hard to start, reving up and down or cuts out after a few seconds

This usually indicates a blockage in the carburetor requiring ultrasonic cleaning of the carburetor . See “Ultrasonic carburetor cleaning”.on the service page.

Problems caused by incorrect environment and location

Its surprising how often problems experienced with Honda generators can be traced back to environment in which they have been used. Most Honda generators are designed to be run outside in the open air. Running them in a garage, shed, vehicle or hole in the ground will result in disaster and probably fire. When the air flow available to an engine is restricted in any way then the available air will be recycled resulting in overheating. There is a lot more to consider than simply piping the exhaust out through a hole in the wall. If the machine is not designed to run in an enclosure then don’t do it. There are generators available that are designed for enclosed operation like the Dometic and Electrolux range of Recreational Vehicle generators also referred to as RV generators or onboard generators. Honda also do an EV range of onboard generators but I don’t think much to them. RV generators cost a packet because designing and building a generator that runs safely in an enclosure is a very tricky business.

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Generator repair and diagnostic videos

1)Clean the carb on the Honda EX650 suitcase generator


2)No output diagnostic for Honda EU26i and Eu30is inverter generator


3)No output diagnostic for the Honda EX5500


4)Some simple fault finding tips for capacitor compensated brushless alternator


5)Replacing the recoil rope on the Honda EX350 and EX500 inverter generator


6)Removing the carb on the Honda EU10i inverter generator


7)Removing the carb on the Honda EU20i inverter generator


8)Resetting the governor on the Honda EM4500s generator


9)Adjust valve clearances on a Honda GX160


10)Replacing the recoil rope on a Honda GX160 engine


11)If all else fails then there is this


12)A diagnostic check for the Honda EX500 and EX350 two stroke inverter generator


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by Peter Noble