When your generator breaks it's hard to not despair. We've found ourselves panicking that we'll have to return to the dark ages. We'll have to learn how to hunt, to make our own clothes, buy a cow…
We realize we might have been overreacting a little bit, but generators no longer producing power can cause a lot of people to panic.
So, what do we do when our generator doesn't produce power? Is there anything we can do to work out what the problem is? Is there any way to fix our own generators?
Well, today we're going to talk you through the most common reason generators stop producing power. We're also going to teach you a simple trick to fix that problem.
The Cause - Loss of Residual Magnetism
If your generator is still running but not producing power, 9 times out of 10 this is due to a loss of residual magnetism.
What does that mean?
To create power our generators move electricity through a magnetic field. Generators themselves do not have magnets in them. So, they create their own magnetic field.
They do this by converting some of the power they produce into a DC current. They then run this current through a coil, turning it into an electromagnet.
After you have used your generator it holds onto some of this magnetic field. We call this Residual Magnetism. The generator uses this residual magnetism to help it being producing power the next time it starts up.
Without this residual magnetism, it cannot produce power and do its job. Despite its engine still running, it will not produce any power.
How is Residual Magnetism lost?
There are a few things that lead to the loss of residual magnetism.
Firstly, lack of use can cause a generator to lose residual magnetism. Over time the reserve of magnetism is slowly depleted. Until it eventually runs out.
Another cause of loss of residual magnetism is keeping things plugged into the generator when you turn it off. If the generator is powering a load when turned off the last of its magnetism will be sucked into the load.
Finally, the third main cause of loss of residual magnetism is to leave the generator running for too long without plugging it into anything. This can cause the electromagnetic field within the generator to shut down.
How can that loss be prevented?
There are a few things you can do to prevent your generator from losing its residual magnetism.
Make sure to use your generator regularly. This will keep its residual magnetic reserve strong and full.
Remove all plugged in loads from the generator before shutting it down. This will help the generator to maintain its own magnetism.
When running your generator, try to keep it plugged into something unless you are about to turn it off. This is one of the best ways to prevent your generator from losing its residual magnetism.
It's already stopped producing power, how can I fix my generator?
Obviously, the tips above cannot help you if your generator has already stopped producing power. But they will help you prevent it from happening again.
What you will find helpful is this next section, where we talk you through two easy ways to get your generator producing power again.
12+ Vault Battery Method
For this method, you will need some rubber gloves, a light, and a 12+ vault battery.
Start by finding the voltage generator within your generator. There will be two brush wires plugged into it. One will be red. The other will be either black or white.
Unplug both of the wires. Plug the black or white one into the generator's ground battery terminal. Plug your light into the generator and start the motor.
Take the red cable from your 12+ vault battery, and connect it with the red brush cable. Hold both against the voltage generator terminal for 3-5 seconds.
Remove the battery wire. Plug the two brush cables back into their original sockets. Everything should be working again.
Tip - make sure to unplug the brush wires from the automatic voltage generator. Otherwise, you could fry your generator.
Tip - Do not touch the Automatic Vault Generator with any other wires. Doing this could lead to your receiving an electric shock.
Electric Drill Method
This is a super easy method for testing if it is the loss of residual magnetism that is causing your problem. Even better, if your theory is right it will fix your generator in the process.
Plug an electric drill into the receptacle of the generator. Make sure that you have the drill in a forward position. Press down on the trigger of the drill.
Now, start your generator. Then start to release the drill's trigger. You want to be spinning the drill's clip in reverse.
If the problem is with loss of residual magnetism then doing this will wakeup the magnetic field in the generator. The drill will turn on and start spinning. The generator will now produce power.
If this doesn't work, try spinning the drill in the other direction. You may have your reverse switch positioned backward.
Tip - Make sure that nothing is attached to the drill bit when doing this method. The drill will turn itself on as soon as the generator's field is woken up. It will start spinning, as will anything else attached to the drill bit.
Tip - if this does not work you should try replacing your Automatic Voltage Generator. As that is the next most likely cause of your problem.
Why does this method work?
When run backward, an electrical drill can function as a mini generator.
The drill has small magnets that it uses to produce its own power. Using this method you can transfer some of that magnetism from the drill to the generator.
It passes down the wires and flows through the coil in the generator. This coil becomes an electromagnet again and the generator will start producing power.