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.

You probably already tried this but not everyone is as clever or good looking as you.

2) Wishy thinking.

I am flabbergasted at the popularity of this approach considering how little success it elicits.

3) Give the engine a little rev (hope springs eternal)

Sometimes the rotor magnetism can become weakened. 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 revving of the engine.

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

On machines that have stood idle for years, the brass/copper slip rings that pass current to the rotor can become oxidised and cease to conduct. Clean them with brasso or fine crocus paper.

5) 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. I discharge them by shorting across the terminals with an insulated screwdriver or a gullible teenager.

6) Transcendental medication

If you are a fan of the holistic approach then try hovering your generator above the monitor whilst playing this video. If it does not work on the first attempt then try adjusting the chakra on your monitor and cogitate on the wise words of Swami Brian.

“With patience and perseverance you can shag a gnat”

For further information on this technique see “Fly Fisting” by J.R. Hardly.

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I nearly dislocate my elbow trying to start my generator.

This is often caused by incorrect valve clearances. The gx series engines have an automatic decompressor for easy starting. The decompressor lifts the valve slightly to reduce compression when starting and is then thrown out of the way when the engine starts. If the valve clearances are excessively loose then the decompressor cannot do it’s job.

Why is my generator struggling and vibrating a lot?

This could be a condition I call “loading” caused by a short circuit. If you encounter this condition, stop the machine and seek advice.  If allowed to persist a short can result in further damage or even fire.

Here is a video I found on YouTube of someone who is trying to diagnose what he thinks is an engine fault in an old G400 generator. The moment he starts the generator I could see that it is struggling under the load of a major short circuit. With superhuman patience he explores every possible wrong avenue. Eventually the acrid smoke pouring from the alternator alerts him to the possibility that it’s not an engine fault. It does provide a classic example of what a loading generator looks like.

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, revving 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

Often problems experienced with Honda generators can be traced to the 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, 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. There are generators 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 tricky business.

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Generator repair and diagnostic videos

scroll down for the videos listed below

* Cleaning the carb on the Honda EX650

* No output diagnostic for Honda EU26i and Eu30is inverter generator

* No output diagnostic for the Honda EX5500

Some simple fault-finding tips for capacitor compensated brushless alternator

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

* Removing the carb on the Honda EU10i inverter generator

Removing the carb on the Honda EU20i inverter generator

* Resetting the governor on the Honda EM4500s generator

* Adjust valve clearances on a Honda GX160

* Replacing the recoil rope on a Honda GX160 engine

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

 

Cleaning the carb on the Honda EX650

*

No output diagnostic for Honda EU26i and Eu30is inverter generator

*

No output diagnostic for the Honda EX5500

*

Some simple fault-finding tips for capacitor compensated brushless alternator

  *

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

*

Removing the carb on the Honda EU10i inverter generator

  *

Removing the carb on the Honda EU20i inverter generator

 *

Resetting the governor on the Honda EM4500s generator

*

Adjust valve clearances on a Honda GX160

*

Replacing the recoil rope on a Honda GX160 engine

*

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

*

If all else fails then there is this

 

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by Peter Noble

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