Last updated on February 18th, 2021 at 10:03 am
A generator is a very useful device at times of power outages. Sometimes, your generator may face some problems. One of the most common problems that a generator faces is that it starts well, runs for a few seconds, and then shuts down. This can get very problematic as it stops the important appliances from running, causes your security systems to go down, and disrupts the business activities.
In this article, we will discuss how you can get rid of this problem. As this is a very basic problem, so most of the time, you can solve it yourself by identifying the cause. Here, we will identify the causes and suggest to you the best way to deal with them.
Fixing the “Few Seconds” Problem
Following are the most common problems and errors due to which you face this problem:
1. Overloading – The most common reason behind this problem is the overloading of the generator. When a generator is overloaded; it stops working and shuts down. This problem is commonly found in the latest models as old models do not have the necessary equipment installed to shut down in case of overloading. They just continue to work and under power your appliances. This feature is actually good for the safety of your appliances as it saves them from getting stressed.
Solution: The best way to deal with this problem is to reduce the load on the generator and then start the generator again. Now you can add the loads according to the size and capacity of the generator. Another way to ensure that the generator does not shut down due to overloading is to hear the sound of the generator. If the sound is getting too heavy than the usual sound, then you need to reduce the loads as your generator is overworking.
2. Oil Level – Your generator may sometimes shut down after a few seconds when there is a problem with the oil level. Either the oil level is too low or too high in your machine. With low oil levels, you can start your generator but after a few seconds, the temperature of the oil rises too quickly and it causes the system to shut down. When the oil level is too high, it also causes the sensor to force a shutdown. Mostly generators with low oil level auto shut-down feature turn your generator off.
Solution: Check your oil levels, keeping the optimal oil levels can solve this problem and also help in the smooth functioning of your generator. Here’re the best generator engine oils on the market to buy, do check them out.
3. Water Levels – Water levels in the radiator can also cause the system to switch off after a few seconds. The reason here is the rise in the temperature without proper water levels in the radiator. If the generator goes on running at a high temperature, the sensitive parts of the engine, control panel, and voltage meters can break down.
Solution: keep the water in the radiator filled. Make it a habit to check the water level in the radiator after a month. You can also use a coolant along the water to get better results.
4. Low Fuel – Sometimes a very minor problem like less fuel in the fuel tank can also cause your generator to run for a few seconds and then stop. The generator may have enough fuel to get started a couple of times or run without the loads but when you out the loads, it stops.
Solution: Just check the fuel gauge on the control panel or do it manually if you have an old generator, fill the tank and give it a try.
5. Fuel Tank and Fuel Pipes – Some of the most common problems that can cause your generator to stop working after a few seconds are associated with the fuel tank or fuel pipes that carry petrol to the engine and carburetor of your generator. The pressure can get locked in the fuel tank causing supply problems. Dust accumulation in the tank, restrictions, damage, bending, and leakage in the fuel pipes can cause this problem as well. You can easily spot any leakage by petrol or diesel marks on the pipes or surface below your generator.
Solution: You can just deal with problems with your fuel tank by getting it cleaned, releasing the pressure, and carefully checking the pipes for any above-mentioned problems.
Fun Fact: Did you know when fuel sits in your engine and fuel tank for long, oxidation takes place; this oxidation creates new compounds that damages the engine. You need a fuel stabilizer to fix this issue.
6. Carburetor – The carburetor of your generator may have some problems due to which your generator is shutting down after running for a few seconds. Bad fuel left inside the carburetor can cause this problem. The volatile ingredients in the fuel evaporate from the accumulated petrol in the carburetor and a thicker mixture of sticks in the base of the carburetor causing disruption in the fuel supply.
Solution: Most of the time, this problem can be dealt with by thoroughly cleaning the carburetor. If this problem persists for a longer period of time and after getting your carburetor serviced, you will have to replace the carburetor.
7. Engine Fault – Some internal engine faults can also be the reason behind shutting down your generator. Such problems are usually difficult to diagnose.
Solution: Call the professionals for engine service and fault diagnosis.
8. Electrical Problems – This can also happen due to electrical problems in the circuits and wiring of your generator.
Solution: If you are aware of the electrical connections in your generator wiring, you can check them. Otherwise, it is better to get help from professionals.
9. Battery Problems – The battery supplies power to turn on the generator. When your battery is not charged properly, your generator may switch off after running for some time.
Solution: You need to get your battery charged properly from an external source or check the battery charging mechanism of your generator.
10. Choke – The choke might be turned on and it may cause your generator to stop running after a while.
Solution: Turn off the choke and restart your generator.
11. Spark Plug – Spark Plug is one of the most important parts of your generator that plays a critical role in starting your generator. If the spark plug is fouled and out of order, then your generator will make cracking sounds right after starting and shut down in a few seconds.
Solution: Open the spark plug, check its condition. Sometimes you can re-insert the same plug after getting it cleaned or you will have to get a new plug for your generator.
12. Sensor Failure – Latest models of generators have a lot of sensors in them. These sensors can fail sometimes and cause your generator to behave inappropriately.
Solution: Check the notification on the control panel and replace any faulty sensor. Remember to re-program your generator after changing any sensor or any other part.
13. Air Filter – Blockage in the air filter can also cause this problem. If the engine is not getting air from the surroundings, it will automatically shut down in seconds.
Solution: Get the air filter cleaned or replaced. The best way to deal with such problems associated with air filters is to get them replaced on a timely basis.
14. Exhaust System – If your exhaust system is faulty, your generator will not be able to run for more than a few seconds. It is unable to release the exhaust and hence shuts down.
Solution: Make sure that the exhaust system is up and running.
We are hopeful that you will be able to fix the “few seconds” problem now very easily by identifying the problem and dealing with it in a reasonable way. However, if the problem still persists, we suggest that you get professional help and get the problem sorted out. Make sure that you have placed your generator at a place that is properly ventilated.
See here in the video below how to fix this issue.