Why Is My Home Generator Not Producing Power?

Before reading this article, you must know that a generator is dangerous and can cause severe harm or worse if someone unqualified works on it. There are many different types of generators, from small power units the size of lunchboxes to massive generators as large as houses.

This article covers portable generators, which is the most common generator found throughout people’s homes, and someone who is handy can usually make minor repairs. In comparison, only licensed and trained generator technicians should work on automatic standby generators.

When it comes to a portable generator, there are a few main components that go into your generator, producing electricity.

-Prime Mover (Engine)

-Brushes

-Automatic Voltage Regulator

-Generator End

4 Common Causes A Generator Isn't Producing Power

Engine Not In Working Condition

Your engine, which is called a prime mover in the generator, is the most important part of your generator. You need to make sure your engine is always serviced and in tip-top shape to produce electricity. Your engine is responsible for spinning your rotor at 60Hz. If your engine is not in good working condition, it will struggle to spin your rotor at 60Hz, and you will not be able to produce the type of electricity your home needs.

Broken Brushes 

Apart from engine failure, the brushes on a portable generator are the most common part that break. This is because most generator manufacturers use inexpensive parts made overseas, which cannot handle the rigors of using your generator often. An easy way to diagnose this is by pulling your brushes off and inspecting them. If they seem burnt out or worn, then you probably need a new set. 

Automatic Voltage Regulator Needs Replacing

If your brushes seem to be okay, the last part that more than likely needs to be replaced is your automatic voltage regulator. The automatic voltage regulator (AVR) does exactly what it sounds like; it regulates the generator’s voltage. If voltage is too high or too low, you may be able to adjust it through a potentiometer, but if you cannot get good voltage out of your generator, it’s best to replace the AVR.  

Bad Generator End 

Your generator end is the final component of what produces electricity on your generator. Your rotor and stator are apart of your generator end, and if your AVR or brush replacement still did not fix the voltage issue, then one of the two components of the generator end is bad. This repair usually is expensive and time-consuming. Depending on the price you purchased for your generator, it’s usually best to buy a new generator with a warranty or investigate into getting a more heavy-duty machine like a home standby generator.

If you have issues with your portable generator and are not qualified/confident in working on it, it is best to call your local small engine repair shop and have them help you out. Most local generator companies will not work on portable generators and only specialized in “fixed” generator systems.

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Anthony Boucher

Anthony Boucher is the head of operations at A & J Generator and Equipment. Anthony has been in the generator industry for over 7 years, previously as a service technician. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Hartford. Generac, Briggs, and Stratton parts can be purchased through A & J Generator’s website.