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Why is My Generator Not Producing Power?

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When you’re left in the dark, both literally and figuratively, by a generator that refuses to fulfill its sole purpose—producing power, a non-functional generator is a problem you want solved quickly.

In this article, we tackle the pressing question: “Why is my generator not producing power?” We’ll explore common reasons for this issue, from simple fixes to more complex technical troubles, and offer straightforward solutions to help restore your generator’s functionality. 

Let’s get your power source up and running 

We’ll cover key generator issues, including:

  • Residual magnetism losses
  • Circuit errors
  • Connection problems
  • Poor maintenance

Understanding generators

Diesel generators are complex machines with numerous components. They can produce prime power in off-grid settings or standby power when you lose access to your main electricity supply.

According to Open Access Government, businesses in the UK lose £3.6 million annually when power cuts result in IT downtime. Diesel generators offer a seamless transition when your electricity supply fails, offering long-term peace of mind.

It’s important to know how generators function and which components they use to understand why they sometimes fail.

Key generator components:

  • Diesel engine: The engine is the heart of your generator. Diesel engines are popular because they’re cheaper to run than petrol. Our generators are compatible with red diesel fuel, resulting in more savings.
  • Alternator: To function properly, the generator must convert diesel power into electricity. The alternator handles this process.
  • Voltage regulator: Your portable generator will also have an automatic voltage regulator, which maintains a consistent output voltage and ensures safety.
  • Cooling system: When a generator runs, it creates a lot of heat, but the cooling system prevents it from overheating.
  • Control panel: The control panel enables you to customise the generator to your needs, and contains important data regarding fuel levels, battery levels and the generator’s general operating status.

Along with the key functions, generators come with instant alerts, noise reducing features, and automatic transfer switches for seamless integration into a home or business.

Common issues that impact a diesel generator’s output

Once you choose a diesel generator that meets your needs, you should enjoy years of stress-free usage. However, generators are complex machines, and minor issues can impact their ability to produce electricity.

The good news is that most issues are relatively easy to repair—once you know what you’re looking for. Let’s explore the most common problems that impact a generator’s output.

Residual magnetism loss

The most common generator power output problem is a loss of residual magnetism. Although it sounds complicated, it simply refers to malfunctions in the electrical conductors.

Generators don’t have magnets and rely on conductors to create a magnetic field by turning the output voltage into DC (direct current). Once the direct current feeds into a coil, it creates an electromagnet, producing power.

Residual magnetism is essential because the generator needs it to start up. The conductors will use the residual amount to power the generator and create more power.

When there’s no magnetism, the generator can’t produce power, which is often due to:

  • Improper transportation 
  • A lack of use
  • Damaged conductor components

The fix

The magnetism can be restored sometimes by connecting a DC supply into the alternator exciter field windings, but damaged components will require professional help. A specialist can assess the components for issues and repair them.

Connection and circuit errors

Your generator might switch on and run but fail to produce electricity, which often points to issues within the circuit breakers and wires. General errors might occur due to obstructions and frayed wires, impacting the connection.

Loose or damaged connections are a common problem with generators, and performing a visual inspection can help you identify.

The fix

We recommend avoiding the generator’s wires if you’re not an experienced electrician. Even a small error could endanger you, and generators are complex systems. A specialist will find the source of your wiring problem and fix it.

In some cases, this might mean polishing and smoothing surface oxide layers, repairing loose connections and cleaning the generator’s components.

Defective breakers and automatic voltage regulators

Tripped breakers are usually indicators of short circuits and overloads within the system. Luckily, instant alerts often inform you of these issues as soon as they occur, making them easy to fix. Defective circuit breakers and AVRs can compromise the safety of your generator, so it’s vital to address them immediately.

The fix

The best way to fix defective breakers and automatic voltage regulators is to replace them. Again, if you’re unsure how to do this safely, it’s best to call a professional repair service. They’ll ensure a stable generator output voltage by replacing faulty components.

The link between generator maintenance and longevity

Whether using a standby generator or prime power for off-grid operations, maintenance is integral to your generator’s lifespan. As an authorised distributor of diesel generators, we offer regular generator services and maintenance that maintain efficiency and longevity.

Our maintenance packages include: 

  • Prevention: It’s better than the cure and costs less in the long run. We’ll assess your generator regularly, performing general maintenance that prevents future malfunctions.
  • Cleaning: By cleaning the generator’s components regularly we can safe proof them against wear and tear. Whether lubricating components or tightening connections and bolts, we keep your generator in full working order.
  • Protection: Generators are prone to rust and corrosion over time, but applying protective coatings will prolong their lifespan.

The bottom line

Diesel generators are an investment for your future, offering seamless prime and standby power. Issues are rare, but when they do occur, most require minor repairs.

With years of previous experience in supplying and maintaining diesel generators, Solent Power ensures nothing stands in the way of your generator running. We supply a range of generators from reputable manufacturers, including CAT, Himoinsa, Pramac and more. If you require help choosing your generator, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team of experts. We also offer an installation service, making integrating a diesel generator into your home or business a stress free experience.

Paul Phelps Solar Power Owner
Paul Phelps
Paul is the MD of Solent Power and specialises in emergency power solutions, helping to protect your facilities from power loss. Get in touch with us today to discuss the different power brands that we can offer and how they can suit your needs.
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