How To Fix A Portable Generator
Ever tried to start up your portable generator only to be greeted by the sound of silence? Here’s How to Fix A Portable Generator.
Don’t panic. There are a number of quick steps you can run through before you dig out the receipt and call the professionals.
Check the Fuel
We know; it’s like being told to check that the kettle is plugged in. But one of the most common reasons for portable generator failure is simply that it might not have sufficient fuel. Especially if the last time you used it was last year. As well as checking the quantity of fuel, be sure to check the fuel quality as fuel can degrade while in storage. If this has happened and it has clogged up the engine, you might need to call a mechanic for help.
Check the Oil
Many portable generators feature automatic oil checks and will shut down automatically if the oil level becomes too low. Check the oil level with the dipstick and if necessary, add oil to meet the full level.
Also check to see if you generator needs an oil change. Within the product manual of your generator, the manufacturer will recommend the frequency of an oil change. Below is a good demonstration of a customer changing the oil on his inverter generator:
Replace Fuses and Circuit Breakers
If your portable generator is running but not generating power, it may have blown a fuse or tripped a circuit breaker. Resetting the breaker and replacing blown fuses will easily solve this. However, to prevent this from happening again, try and work out what caused them to trip or blow before restarting the generator.
Generator Is Running But There Is No Power
If the generator is running, but you are not getting any power, chances are some internal setting or the motor might have been damaged. To check on this, keep a voltmeter and ampmeter handy. Find out what the correct readings ought to be from your generator user guide and check if the meters are giving a congruent reading. If not, then it is most certainly an internal issue, which needs the expertise of a professional to fix. So, call in the experts!
The best way is to prevent any issues from happening in the first place is to take necessary precautions and maintain your portable generator. Ensure that you do proper and timely servicing of the generator, even if you don’t use it all that regularly. Also replace any parts that might be used above and beyond their usual running life. And finally, remember to use good quality oil and fuel as they circulate through the entire engine coming in contact with many different components.
Still need help?
Check out this helpful video for maintenance checks on your generator:
If you are still having problems with the generator or don’t feel confident going through the steps above, it’s best to seek professional help. This will stop you from further damaging the generator or voiding the warranty. For more information, contact the team at My Generator.
DISCLAIMER Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.
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108 thoughts on How To Fix A Portable Generator
Can you tell me how do jtake control box apart on ya#maha yg4600d
My Generator Response Hi Michael, The Yamaha YG4600D is not sold in Australia. However, we recommended any mechanical repairs be conducted by a dedicated Yamaha repair agent.
Thank you for sharing this easy fix to portable generators! You mentioned that each generator is designed to handle a specific electrical load. Are there other risks that could happen if the required electrical load is exceeded?
My Generator Response Hi there, Most of the generator we sell have inbuilt safety protections for this scenario. However, repeated overload of the generators maximum output can result in damage to the generator. Thanks for your question.
Hi I have a Honda generator. Just serviced the carb. The fuel is shooting out of the breather pipe from the crankcase
My Generator Response Hi Shaun, Thanks for your question. You will need to take the generator to a local Honda service agent for inspection and repair. Kind regards, Jessica.
Hi, Ryobi 3400/4000 inverter generator back for an update. I let the generator sit in my unheated garage for 11 hours (overnight). Same problem would not start COLD. Pulled cord several times nothing. This time I decided to Spray some carb cleaner into the carb with choke in the open position it did start. Could it be some internal problems with the carb? too much or too little gas? I’m running out of ideas. 25 degrees today.
Hi. I have a Ryboi portable inverter generator 3400/4000 watt. Model # Ryi4022x. When cold (overnight cold) it takes 12 or more pulls to get it started. Once started, I can shut it off and it restarts right away. So my problem is when it’s COLD. I removed the carburetor cleaned it manually, poked out all the holds, removed the main tube and cleaned, removed the black idle screw and cleaned both inside the carb and the black fuel inlet. Blew compressed air through out and then let it sit in an ultra sonic cleaner with heat in gun cleaner solvent(Slip 2000 great cleaner) for an hour, rinsed off the carb and dried. The carb is clean. Looking at the choke it seems to be closed correctly when in the start position. I changed the oil to full synthetic Mobil 1 0w/30w. Changed the spark plug and gaped to 0.26 the manual said between 24 and 28. I went in the middle. Emptied the fuel tank blew the inside dry and even had a small vacuum ( tank completely empty) and tried to suck up any dirt inside the tank. The tank is clean. Put in 93 octane with stable mixed into the gas. Checked all fuel lines. Fuel is making it all through the system to the carb. No leaks of fuel anywhere. Tried starting the unit cold with the oil pressure switch disconnected. (didn’t Help). Cleaned and oiled (not to much oil) the air filter. Spark arrester is clear. I put in a new fuel filter. I am currently running the unit with a 500 watt load for one hour. I want it nice and hot to let all the new fuel, oil etc to work its way through. It’s now 28 degrees outside. I will let it sit over night to see what happens when it’s cold again but I’ve tried this before with no luck. The only change is the Mobile 1 0/30. I had Mobile 1 5w/30w. Maybe Valves need adjusting. Please share your thoughts. Thank You.
I have a boar 2200w inverter generator have power at USB but nothing going to 240v?
My Generator Response Hi Sam, This definitely should not be happening. We strongly recommend going to your nearest service agent or electrician to look into this.
Hi there, When I run my generator in freezing temperatures (like.5 C) it often swings like jump from very powerful run to almost stalling and back every second or so. My guess is that the system that regulates fuel intake according to the connected load becomes sluggish / not responsive quickly enough. Maybe some parts of it freeze or something. Does that sound like a common issue? Would it perhaps help to lubricate the levers/springs in the load/fuel regulation mechanism to prevent them from losing agility when it’s freezing? Thanks!
My Generator Response Hi Eugene, We recommend seeing a small engine mechanic. The cold temperatures are probably causing the issue, but there could be something else at play. It sounds as though it could be engine / fuel related. Please let us know if we can assist you any further.
I have owned and ran my yamaha 2000 alot but now the low oil light flickers as it dies then light goes out and it speeds up again. Where is the Low oil pressure sensor yellow wire located so i can cut it?
My Generator Response Hi Robert, Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately we do not have an exploded parts diagram which would display where this pressure sensor wire is located. in this case we recommend contacting Yamaha who will be able to assist you further. Yamaha’s head office number is: 61 3 9316 9700 Kind regards, Jessica.
My 3000w pro point generator is trying to start when I turn key but isnt starting and my air filter is covered in oil, and I hear a knocker on the piston head any thoughts??
I have a fuji puresine micro 4.6kva invertor generator, and it goes into overload when put under a load of anything over 900 watts. it has enough oil and fuel. It has only recently started doing it. I can not find any help to do with fuji generators hoping you can help
My Generator Response Hi Justin, Unfortunately we cannot be much help with this brand of generator. we would recommend contacting the manufacturer or another company who supplies the Fuji Puresine Micro generators. For example, https://www.mytopia.com.au/ Sorry we could not assist further.
I have a Powerhouse 2700 inverter generator that has never been started and is about 4 years old. I put oil in, fresh gasoline and when I start it, it goes to full throttle and overload light is on with nothing plugged into it. I moved the throttle plate(manually) and it stayed at mid throttle but overload light was still on. Turning the “ECO” switch on and off has no effect. Thanks
My Generator Response Hi Jesse, thanks for your question. From what you’ve stated it sounds like a fuel issue. Being a USA generator that we don’t deal with, we would have to recommend you contact your local service agent. Sounds like the carburetor or jets are blocked. Leaving fuel sit for that long will definitely have adverse affects to the engine. You can check out our blog on Generator Maintenance and Safety Tips for more information.
I have a Blackridge BRG-800 generator that will start just fine and runs, BUT, after it has been running for 30-45 seconds (happily) the “overload alarm” light comes on. There is nothing plugged into it, it just runs happily then the light comes on.
Hello i also have a problem with my impax (im8001) my fuel finish ,i put another fuel and that is how the problem started if i starts the engine and set the choke to choke position the engine work, but when reverse the choke to run positon then the engine dies. and it get very hot ,i dont know where the problem is i need help thank you
My Generator Response Hi Shatu, I am not sure the exact model, so you should always contact your local repair agent for that particualr Generator. I can advise on what it could be. 1) If it is getting very hot, there may not be enough oil, or the oil may need to be changed. 2) The air filter may be blocked and need cleaning or replacing as air is not getting in to cool the engine. 3) The carburettor or jets may need to be cleaned or replaced as fuel is only getting through on full choke regards Paul
3i have a ryobi 3600 watt 212 CD generator it’s starting to use about a quart of oil a day how can I fix this and it is starting to smoke as well. Thankd
I have a turbo 3699 watt 212cc generator and it’s starting to use a quart of oil a day. What can be done to fix this
I have Champion 3000 generator that runs fine but can’t power anything more than a small space heater. I plugged it into an RV and it sounds like the engine really has to work and keeps cutting the power off and on. The RV’s power box really whines whenever it’s getting power. Also the generators volt gauge shows 120 volts fine even when it’s feeding power to the RV. I hooked up my uncles older 3000 Champion and it ran the RV perfectly with ease and the power box in there was quiet so it’s not the RV. Any ideas?
Hi, i have a Zipper 1200iv inverter Generator and my question is if there is an option to throttle up the engine like the Eco switch on a Honda inverter? The inverter circuit of the generator shows several unconnected pins and i assume that two of those pins connected could result in a throttle up. My Problem is if i wanna charge some Lipo batteries on the field (the Charger draws about 800W), the Charger shut itself down because the voltage drops so hard as i start the charging process. And sorry for my bad english, I’m not a native English speaker.
Hi, my Gentech 7Kva generator ran out of fuel on load and now only supplies 10volts instead of 240. It only seems to have a diode and capacitor inside, no fuses etc. Cheers. Steve
I have an 1100w generator but will not run a 650w hoover (HENRY)
My Generator Response Hi Doug, I’d suggest that your Hoover draws more power upon starting up and so your generator is not coping with that initial max power draw. Many appliances will have a start up power requirement in the order of 3-5 times the running power. Therefore you may require a larger generator. Many thanks
Dear MyGenerator team, I have Suzuki 2.4 KVA generator. It was working very well. From last week when we put 600 to 800 watts load ,it lose its power and voltmeter shows zero. when we reduce the load it becomes fine. We have to use this generator for the power for which it is designed for that is 2.4 KVA. At least it should give us power of 2000 watts which it had been producing previously. What is the cause and what will be the solution.
I got a 2 cycle 1000W generator yesterday, brand new. Got it to charge a teardrop camper battery and run small Watt devices (nothing over 500W). In the process of getting it setup and connecting devices, the circuit breaker tripped a couple times. Now, the generator puts out some power (75 volts) but not enough to run things at full capacity. Doesn’t respond to loads now either. Any thoughts on what it could be?
I have a EU1000i Honda generator. It runs fine for about an hour and then revs up and down before it quits. I have to pull the choke on and 2 or 3 hauls and it will go again but same thing happens. Gas and oil is fine and new spark plug. Vent in gas cap is ok. Air filter is good. Carb was cleaned. At a loss for the problem I have. Thanks, Mike
Hi, I have a generator and yesterday it ran out of gas and I refilled it straightaway. The thing is, I waited for it to cool down overnight and it won’t start this morning
My Generator Response Hi Cristal, Any good portable generator should come with a comprehensive user manual with a section for trouble-shooting. If the generator has a choke, you may have to start with the choke on. It is always a good idea to check the spark plug is clean and intact. You may want to contact the local service agent in your area for further diagnosis. regards Paul
Hi, I have a Clarke IG1000 1kw inverter generator. I tried to use it to run some lights etc at a party and after about 10 mins of running it showed overload and cut the power (engine carried on running). There wasn’t a lot of power being used, and we had another generator (1.2kw) running the audio equipment. After resetting it would work for about 10 mins again then trip every time. In the end we ran all the audio equipment and lights on the second generator which worked fine, so not an issue with the lights. Any idea what the problem could be? Thanks.
Hi I have a wolf 2300 generator runs fine but as soon as I put any load on it cuts out Any ideas how I can fix it Thank you Daz
My Generator Response Hi Daz, That sounds like the inverter or the alternator has gone. It may have been overloaded at some point. You might get lucky and only have to replace the capacitor (if it is that type), but most likely it will be the inverter or alternator that needs replacing. To know for sure, you should take it to your local service agent for diagnosis. At My Generator, we ensure that all of our products come with a service agent support around Australia.
Hi, I recently bought a used Ryobi 2000w digital inverter generator. It does not start and I can not see any spark in Spark plug. I assume that the coil is wrong (maybe). Am in in the right path? and if yes, how can I test my coil? If that was not the problem, what is the next step? Thanks Kamran
I have a 3.3 kva Honda generator and the unit does not auto rev when under load anymore. The motor runs fine and there is power for lower voltage items but when an item requires more power it won’t auto rev to supply the power. It does work if I push the govener by hand.
Have been given a PRO-TIGER-TG-950 Generator, it has spark ,not sure on the fuel did put fresh fuel in but still does not start plenty of compression I belive the generator has not been used in seven or eight years, any ideas? Could you recommend where one could obtain a manual and a repair dealer? Thank you, your advice would be much appreciated, Regards Bob.
Hi there, I have a Ryobi Rg-2700. It runs fine, but there is petrol leaking from a circular metal housing when it runs. I have no idea what this part is. I suspect spring screw is missing, as there is one on the top of the housing. any idea on a part number ? Regards, Nick
I have a Ryobi 2300 inverter. Im having the overload alarm and its not producing any power. The generator runs all the time at 25% of its load capacity. What could be wrong?
My generator was working well today. But when i switched it off, i forgot to close the fuel valve… Got back home this night and it wouldnt start. The fluel valve was left open for approximately 6 hours… What do i do?
Hello I have a question as to what would make a generator power things then it won’t power but is still running. There’s no problem starting or keeping it started. After its start it will power something then just stops. There’s a indicator light on it and when it’s powering fine of coarse it’s on then when it stops powering that light goes off. It does staying running even though it won’t power anything
I have a tailgater 2 cycle generator. Use it for 2 weeks. The ac voltage has drop to 20.24 voltage. The motor run ok. I never over loaded it. Need help
Hi guys, I have a fuji XG-SF3600 inverter generator that has been in storage for a couple of years. I just drained the fuel and oil and replaced the plug and motor starts and runs nicely but i am getting now lights (power, overload and pilot) illuminated and no power coming from the outlets. Any ideas? I am hoping it isn’t the inverter module. Thanks
My Generator Response Hi Bryan, typically with your described issue that means there is a problem with the inverter. I would be inclined to contact the manufacturer of Fuji generators (AGR Machinery/Edisons): https://www.edisons.com.au/ Thanks
I have a wolf professional generator. It runs but no power being produced. I’ve changed the AVR but still doesn’t produce any power. Please any suggestions?
Hi! I have an almost new Yamaha 2000IS that was working fine and now won’t start. Any suggestions of what it might be the problem?
I opened my new Fuji Micro F4200i. fueled, oiled, would not start. Followed the manuals checks and when I removed the plug using the supplied spanner, disaster. as the spanner does not actually grip the plug, once it is undone fingers are needed to get it out. A diificult area, plug disappeared in to the cowling area Note: use a proper plug socket that keeps a grip of the plug. anyway, I had to completely open the genny up to get at. jammed in between two fins and broke a couple as I had gently pulled the cord to see if it was caught up, IDIOT. it was. I normally take a phone shot of any wirinf connections but as all bar 2 were plug ‘n play connectors I didn’t. Mistake: I now have a shortish black cable from the black cylinder from whence the plug cable emerges ( other cables going in. I have found only one place where it can reach and attach but not too sure.one of the bolts that holds the plastic casing over the recoil start alternator, so it would be earthing to the engine As it has marks on one side i assume it is meant to be connected somewhere, but the again it may only be used for the electric start version. I have a photo if it makes it easier
Hi I have a 909 2200w inverter petrol generator bought from masters in Australia. I need to source a coil. Do you have any ideas? Cheers MIchelle
I am hoping you can help. Getting ready for a hurricane and I went to test the generator only to find the choke has to stay on and it purrs like a kitten however I am not getting any power out of the generator.
I have a generator I never used that has old gas oil in it. How can I get that service? What would that cost to have it service?
Hi, I’ve got a Gen Trax 3.5 KVA generator. I need to clean/change the air filter. I don’t have a schematic drawing of the unit. Where is the air filter how do I get to it ? I don’t want to pull the whole unit down if hit can be helped. Thanks Rob
Why does my Honda EU30is turn the spark plug black and won’t spark after about 15 hour of running. Not in shed, so plenty of air, in fact new air filter, choke in. Not on eco throttle, giving 2.7 kw when running.
Aldi Workforce 3500w inverter genny. Has no spark. tried another plug also. but gives a ‘spark’ indication between apark lead and earth on multimeter (not sure how much volts should be there when pulling over). Main coil two wires has continuity as does very small pickup coil. strange very smooth flywheel has no inset magnetics. just a raised trigger spot. which does not seem to be magnetic. or if so, is only very slightly. Checked OnOff switch. ok. Coil is mounted on top of engine and carby has an electrical connection with a number of wires. (looks like a little electric motor mounted above carby) Any ideas anybody. don’t want this beastie to beat me. nor fund someone elses retirement fund.
Have 2500 geny, that i hooked up to mid size fridge. Ran for 2.5 hrs then stopped,after using half tank of fuel. Let geny cool down for 1 hr, then restarted geny, ran for half an hour then stopped. This has now happened a second time. Can you help ? please
I have a Yamaha 2400 is its running very rough and only seems to be outputting 101volts when it should be 240 volts ac.
My Generator Response Hi Kel, That is a tough one. The machine would really need to be assessed. Yamaha Generator Australia provide national support service for the EF2400iS. You cal call 1300 735 440 to find a local service agent to assess this generator. regards The team @ My Generator
Hi Guy’s 12 months ago I purchased a Fuji Micro Inverter Generator its never been used and is still brand new. Today I tried to use for first time, new fuel and oil level good but will not start. I have tested ignition coil both primary side and secondary side resistance of coil is as manufactures spec’s. Checked for spark with inline spark plug tester and found there was no spark, even though the spark plug has never been used.Tried several new spark plugs same result.I removed covers for a visual inspection everything seems to be ok’a no loose wires ect; the only thing I find strange is that the ignition coil is mounted on plastic cover which covers the fly wheel I’am wondering how this can induce voltage into the coil as the plastic is an insulator.With multi meter connected to one side of coil and pull starting cord there is no induced voltage present any ideas as this generator has never been used. Michael
Hi, I’ve recently serviced the carby on my china 4.4kva(lol) generator. Now I’ve connected everything back up it won’t run. I’m pretty sure it’s a fuel issue (not sure I’ve reconnected everything correctly). Would you have a photo/picture on how everything is connected, it would really be helpful. Cheers Neil
Hello, I have a Tahoe 7000 diesel generator. It will start fine and run well until I switch on the power. It will run for about a minute then kill the generator. Any suggestion? I have changed oil, plenty of clean fuel. Thanks Todd
Hi I have a Pulsar generator 1200 watts. When I start it, it doesn’t sound normal. It sounds more fast and louder. I checked the oil and it’s good, but there’s a hole in the cover of the air filter. I’m guessing it’s because of that.
Hi, I live in Brisbane and i’ve recently purchased a GT6000 150cc fuel injected generator and well i’ve thought it was a diesel engine and stupidly put diesel fuel in it. Is there someone I can call to drain all the fuel from the system and filters etc and flush it and get it going as its only a few months old. Any help would be appreciated.
My RYOBI 2000Watts Digital Inverter Generator is rated to run 4.5 hrs. But why does it only run for 2.5 hours? how to get it back to 4.5hrs. I hope you can help us. thanks.
My Generator Response Hi Chris, my first though is that the ratings are load dependent. I.e. most generator manufacturers will state the approximate run time base on either a 25%, 50% or 75% power load. So obviously depending on the power you are drawing from the generator will influence the run time you get. Thank you.
hi, i ve got Clarke inverter IG1000. the inverter unit does not working-there is no 220 AC. the new one is very expensive, so does the board may be repaired, or have to be replaced.thanks
My generator stayed in the garage for a year now, stored it with no petrol, think the timing is a bit out; if I try and start it gives a backlash. If you pull the starter coil it actually pulls the rope back and whips a person. Please help, just want to know how to set the timing?
Working on a powerhouse 3100 inverter generator as soon as i plug anything into it it gives me an overload fault puts out good voltage with no load also if i put it in economy mode it will give overload with no liad applied. Is the inverter bad?
Full Boar FBT 3100 I need to remove the main cover on the carby side, but there is one bolt of some sort still holding it the cover together. Doesn’t look like allen key or screwdriver bolt or normal hex head, just a round bolt head with a round centre to it. It’s the one on the battery end, just below the fuel tank cap. Can’t for the life of me work out the sort of nut/bolt/screw to undo it. Has anyone got answers/suggestions please ? Regards Tony Hayes
I have a Ryobi 2000 Generator and the switch has three settings. off/stop, start, run. According to the manual the start position also engages choke. Should start with a couple of pulls, let engine warm up, then move to run position. I have two problems. 1. It will NOT start cold without removing the spark plug and putting some gas in the cylinder. 2. When it does start and warms up I can not move to the run position. As soon as I move the switch just slightly off the start setting it is like shutting it off. starts to die IMMEDIATELY. I can leave it on the start setting and it runs fine and generates 110 fine. Evidently the start setting is NOT engaging the choke thus the need to put gas in cylinder. Iam 74 years old and have worked on cars, engines all my life so not a novice with these things. Any suggestions?? Thanks, Jim
Hi, I bought a Grip 7.5 KVA Petrol Generator for my 2 room flat, when the power is out i use it to run my fridge, dstv, TV and 2 x 220 to 18 watt fluorescent tubes. I just tried to start it after about 6 months, using the battery and wont start so i started it manually. It is running but I am not getting any power from it. The V.F.T. METER goes on and of on and off. It worked in November with no problem. Why now all of a sudden? I got it cheap about 2 years and only used it about 5 or 6 times for about 4 hours at the longest. What could cause to suddenly not give power properly?
My Generator Response Hi Simon, it sounds like you have either tripped the overload breaker (by drawing too much power) which can be reset, or the alternator is damaged. If its the former, revert to the product manual to reset the breaker. If its the latter, this would require inspection from a qualified service technician. Thank you
‘hi,, ive got a IM800i inverter generator ,, it starts but only runs for less than a minute on choke before stopping,as soon as I turn it too Run it stops and won’t start ,it won’t start on Run only on choke, I’ve check the stark plug, cleaned and replaced ,checked fuel lines, I’ve tried everything I know and nothing is helping. any advise. many thanks Wozzer
I have a Sportsman 3000 that when I start it, it will output voltage for about 10. 20 then even while its stays running it will stop outputting a/c voltage and I made sure it did not trip the overloads. Any ideas on what could be wrong?
Hi Admin, My gasoline generator suddenly dropped voltage to 100v. The correct voltage is always 220v. Upon switching off and trying to restart, it completely failed. Kindly advise on the possible solutions of the issue. Thanks in advance
Hi, My generator runs but but as soon as I plug something in the generator kicks down to really low revs it produces power but a low power how can I fix this?
Sorry L Adams, a search in mpower.com.au came up with nothing. Any other ideas?
My Generator Response Did you call them? Their number is 1300 733 004. they have a portable generator dept. Thanks
What would cause a generator to start in weather 40 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer but not in 39 degrees or under? This is a small portable generator MCI 2500 (watts).
G’day. I’ve got a Honda APH33RS1 3.3kVA. Is there any way to get new parts? A fair bit of the plastic parts are broken as well as the single phase sockets.
My Generator Response Hi Brenton, that model is an Advanced Power Generator. the parent company and manufacturer of the Advanced Power brand is M Power, who have spare parts. Their website is: https://www.mpower.com.au/ Many thanks
Hi my Bushpower generator g1000i starts no problem but goes from green light to overload within 10 seconds and outputs no power.
My Generator Response Hi Peter, sounds like it could be an inverter or circuit breaker issue. I would recommend you contact Matson Australia. they are the national distributors for Bush Power. here is their site: http://www.tridon.com.au/products/Matson/ Many thanks
hi, pls help me out here, I tried servicing my generator cause there was no compression, I cleaned the valves and installed everything. The generator starts but over fires like crazy, I put it off immediately and tried starting it again, same issue, I’ve completely run out of ideas as the tunning screws doesn’t seem to work. I really need assistance from the house, thank you all in advance.
I have a Ryobi RYI 2000T generator/inverter. It starts and runs great, but the fuel tank had a leak so I took the unit apart and fixed the leak. Upon reassembly I found a part that I hadn’t noticed while disassembling. I believe it is the Bridge Rectifier from the drawings I’ve seen. I don’t know where it goes or how it mounts. It has what appears to be a mounting flange with a hole on one end. Any help would be greatly appreciated. This is the only thing keeping me from buttoning this up. Thanks.
Good Day I am lookin for a scamatic elecrical diagram for a Ryobi model rg-6900 engine starting side ,my dog got hold of the wires cumming out the bottom end of the control panel please help Regards Nico
My Generator Response Hi Nico, you could contact Bunnings about that type of information; they are the exclusive distributor of Ryobi generators in Australia. Thanks
Is your Inverter Generator actually being rotated when you pull the cord. Several possibilities. Could be the sprag clutch not engaging, could be (but unlikely) that the spark plug has become loose enough to allow sufficient leakage as to not start. I presume the starter cord retracts when released. A bit more info would be helpful.
I have a customer who says they are pulling the cord on their inverter generator, but feeling no resistance and it won’t start? Any ideas as to why this might be? Thank you! Your site is great!
I just bought a 800 watt earthquake generator and I have 3 light bars on my boat. One runs 144 watts and the other two 125 range. They are rated for 10-30 dc and this is a 12 dc outlet. Everything starts up fine. I wait a minute to plug the lights in and they run 15-20 seconds and cut off. The dc circuit protector keeps shutting off. Every time I push the dc circuit protector they come on for the same as before and cut off. I don’t know what the problem is the rated load is 700 watts and this is not close to that. I don’t know what is wrong. If you have anything that can help me. Thanks Tyler.
My Generator Response Hi Tyler, we are not familiar with that make of generator but in our experience, using the DC outlet from inverter generators for prolonged periods is not always recommended. The DC charge is not regulated and it is designed only for a trickle charge for a short period (such as kicking over a flat car battery). I’m not sure if that is the cause of your issue, but it s worth keeping mind that your DC capability on your generator is not intended for sustained running of appliances. Thanks
i have a furman 3800 genset.all are running but the voltmeter does not reach the 220v line.pls help.were where recently hitted by typhoon nina.thanks.
Hi, My 2.5kw generator keeps sounding as if its on choke even when you remove it from choke. Kindly tell me what the issue may be? Austen.
Hi, i’ve got a Wolf Professional WPX2800 3200 Watt Dual Voltage 230v 115v 6.5HP 4KVA 4-Stroke Petrol Generator. And i’m trying to run a small pressure washer Nilfisk C120 6-6 PCA X-Tra with a 1400W motor. but it doesn’t work correctly. the Generator isn’t tripping out but the washer has little to no power and the motor spins once every 10/12seconds. Any advice would be great! the genny is brand new so is the washer. Cheers. Matt
Hi, We have an Aldi 3kw petrol generator (yes I know!) but it has worked perfectly on site and has run a fairly beefy drop saw without difficulty. until now when it trips out using the same piece of equipment, whilst operating fine on lesser loads. To my ears it seems to be not running as strongly as previously. thanks NIck
My Generator Response Hi Nick, tough for us to advise as we don’t sell the Aldi units. those cheaper Chinese models are often difficult to diagnose and finding a service agent willing to inspect and work on it may not be easy either. Hopefully someone on this forum can shed some light? Cheers
I’ve been using a Ryobi RIG2000, but now won’t start as no spark. The overload light comes on (NOTHING CONNECTED!) if turned over fast enough eg with sparkplug out. Manual says the overload auto resets after load removal (even though it was working prior to being stored for a few months). Still under warranty I think, but anything I can do re this? Oil is all OK.
My Generator Response Hi Phil. if you have fresh fuel and plenty of oil and it won’t start, then you may need to take it back to Bunnings (the exclusive retailer for Ryobi). Ryobi dont have national accredited service agents like Honda or Yamaha, so you may have to take it back to Bunnings and see if they will repair or replace under warranty.
I have a GenTrax 1.2kVA and the pull start is jammed. Sometimes it will pull a small amount but mostly not at all. Can I get the required part anywhere and can I fix it myself? Alternatively where in Brisbane can I get it fixed?
My Generator Response Hi Neil, for the Gentrax brand, you can contact a company called Outbax Camping, who import these generators from China: https://outbaxcamping.com.au/ Unfortunately this is a brand that does not have national accredited service agent or spare parts support. You will need to go through the distributor (Outbax Camping) to see if they can provide you a spare part or have the unit sent to them for repair.
Hi my generator pull cord is hard to pull. When I take spark plug out it is easy to pull. When I put it back in, it gets hard to pull again?
Hi. I have a Power Max. Tiger Model IN2500i Inverter Generator which has not done more than 10 hours running. It has been idle for a couple of years and was operating when last used. I started it to use it and it started easily and the auto-throttle works fine, however it has no output, either AC or DC, and after about 20-30 seconds of running the Overload annunciator lights up. My manual does not mention any fuses and there is no Reset switch or button visible or mentioned in the manual. Do you have any advice please?
My Generator Response Hi Tony, generally if the generator is running but producing no power, then it may have been overloaded (power draw from the appliance(s) greater than what the generator can produce) and therefore the circuit breaker has been tripped (which can easily be re-set for most models)…or your inverter board may be damaged, in which case you will need to take it to a service agent to be inspected; check your manufacturer’s warranty card for details. Cheers.
I would like to get a copy of the wiring cct for a G1000i inverter generator (Unit has overload light up perm.)
My Generator Response Hi Lyell, we don’t sell the G1000i model. It is not a model from a premium or trusted brand. It looks like it might be from the likes of Bush Power (http://www.tridon.com.au/products/Matson) or a brand called Sealy (http://www.sealey.co.uk/). I would recommend contacting them for any diagrams for your generator. Thanks.
I have a 3.5kva gentrax that looks to have blown caps on the AVR. Does anyone know where i can buy a new board or even a wiring diagram to figure out which parts are blown? cheers, Adam
My Generator Response Hi Adam, the distributors of Gentrax Generators are a company called Outbax Camping: https://outbaxcamping.com.au/ I would suggest contacting them in the first instance for spare parts or technical diagram info. Cheers.
Dear My Generator Team, My 3 kva generator which is causing problem since a few days. It start normally, but does not generate power. First time it start generator power after two tries without doing anything. But after a week no more power generation. It stared working after cleaning the brushes rings. Next time even cleaning does not work unless I flashed the generator with 12 volts battery. Now its not generating power even with the flashing. After changing The brushes it worked but only for 3 days. Then again worked with the flash. My question is that why its happening again again? Is there any permanent solution? Should I changed to AVR also?
My Generator Response Hi Habib, its hard to say without knowing the type of generator/alternator etc. you have. Typically if a generator starts and the engine is running but it is not producing power, there is a problem with the alternator, or even issues with the outlets. You should also check that you have not tripped the circuit breaker by overloading it. In any case, I would suggest you take it to a local generator service agent for inspection if the problem continues.
Hi, we just bought a kipor kde6700 ta for 200, it has a p-07 error code which is a charge fault issue, I put a multimeter on the battery when running and there is no charge going in so I figure this is the problem and was hoping you had come across this? it is a companion product and they are useless and have no real intention of helping me source whatever it is that is wrong. it also needed an oil sensor (P-01 error code) and it was easier to buy one in states for 63 delivered which was cheaper and faster than dealing with them (or through an authorised agent). For the money I spent it is worth fixing so any help would be appreciated. Regards
I have a Mishta X2500i inverter generator that runs smoothly when it is started but when I connect an electric kettle to it, the unit runs for about 15 seconds then stalls. Any suggestions
My Generator Response Hi John. we often get customers contacting us about issues they are having with a generator running their household kettle. The main issue is that a kettle actually draws more power than most people expect. an average household kettle will draw around 2200.2400 watts (sometimes more), and will need this level of power draw the whole time it is boiling. So it sounds like your generator can handle the draw for a short period (the generator’s maximum peak capacity), but cannot sustain the required kettle power draw for a continuous (or rated) period. Thanks
2 Months ago I have Purchased an Electric Start (Self Start) Generator. Since 2 days My Generator is Starting By Pulling The Cord But Won’t Start When I Use Self Start. The Battery and the Starter are in Good Condition. What Should I Do.
My Generator Response Hi Shah. if it is not a battery issue, then sometimes the auto-choke in these electric start units can be causing issues. I would look at that in the first instance. Thanks. good luck
Hi, I have a Gen Power GP-SDG6500S it’s a 3 phase unit and has been working fine using a distribution board connected to the 3 phase outlet. Last night it just stopped supplying power (volt meter shows zero when it is usually at 420) it did not trip the breaker and the diesel engine continued to run, I can still start and stop the engine and it runs freely. Could failure of the automatic voltage regulator cause this? Is there a test I can do to determine if the wiring has failed?
My Generator Response Hi Gavin. it sounds like a possible issue with the alternator. From our previous experience with the Gen Power generators, this was not an uncommon issue. You may have to speak to the Gen Power dealer (edisons.com.au) regarding inspection. Cheers
My Honda 8kva starts but the blue circuit safety switch wont stay on. Unable to use.
My Generator Response Hi. this could indicate that the appliance you are using is faulty and therefore the safety switch is tripping. If you have nothing plugged in and the switch is tripping, then you would need get the switch inspected by an electrician / service technician. Thanks.
Hi,I have Hyndai Model #HGS 3500,is there any technical trick to lower it’s noise without effecting it’s engine life. 2) I use natural gas which will lower its life but can you let me know the ratio of natural gas and petrol can be used to protect its engine life. 3) Can we use any portable generator on continuous running for 2,3 days without rest? Your prompt reply will be appreciable. Warm regards Engr: Asad Shah
My Generator Response Hi Asad, we don’t recommend making technical amendments to a generator as this can cause issues with the unit and void your warranty. Portable generators are not designed for continuous operation day in, day out. For this kind of power source, you would need to consider a diesel generator that runs at 1500rpm and is designed for continuous operation. Thanks.
Hi I have a Gentrax 2 Kva Generator for about 12 months now. its not missed a beat. I do however agree it is on the cheaper side of generators and is run as such. My question is this, I was running it on standard unleaded fuel all of its life from new, a few weeks ago I accidently put in 98 octane unleaded fuel and whilst this will make it run hotter it has developed a problem where if you choke it as normal it runs within a few pulls. However when I turn the choke off the engine dies. would this be due to the higher octane fuel. (personally wouldnt think so). I took off the carbi and checked for blockages etc, it seems to me when I open the choke it gets to much air and dies. But when I again close the choke it seems to run close to normal. Lost with this one. Dan
I have a pulsar generator and every time we pull to start, it turns on for a couple seconds then turns off. Need help!
My Generator Response Hi Krystal. sounds like it could be a low oil sensor, so check your oil levels. Or, it could be an issue with the fuel line. check that fuel is getting through properly. These two basic steps are a good starting point and can often solve the issue you are having with your generator. Cheers 🙂
Hi i have a ryobi 1100 watts petrol generator and is burning spark plugs like in 2-4 days, can i get some help why its doing this?
My Generator Response Hi Shamir. this could be many things; wrong plug, incorrect gap fitting, engine problem. Difficult to tell without inspecting. I’d be inclined to take it to a local small engine service agent that is willing to work on ryobi generators. Thanks.
Hi. I’ve been given a Gentrax GT4000. The engine runs fine (seems a bit loud fast) but runs smooth. However, the overload light always flashes even with nothing connected the power outlets turned off and when I connect anything there is no power output (12v or 240v) Any ideas?
My Generator Response Hi Kieran, Thanks for your question. from what you have described, it sounds like there could be a problem with your inverter board. This can be a common problem with the cheaper Chinese inverter generators (like Gentrax, Fuji etc.). the engine will start and run, but there is no power output. You could contact Gentrax to inquire about a replacement inverter board, but often the cost is prohibitive and it may be more practical to buy a new Inverter Generator. Hope that helps. cheers.
Hello, My Honda EU 6500IS Invertor Generator won’t start or turn over. The generator refuses to turn over from the starter battery or when being pull started. It only has a few dozen hours on it, if that. I just put fresh fuel into an empty tank and charged the starter battery. Oil level is good. Spark plug looks great. Pull starting doesn’t sound like it is getting anywhere at all. Starting with the battery doesnt turn over or sound like it is even trying to start. Could use some help. Thanks
My Generator Response Hi Brendan, thanks for your question. I’d double check the oil level to start with as the generator has a low oil sensor. this is a common problem that stops generators from starting. The other thing could be the fuel. was the generator in storage with fuel residue? If so, was a fuel stabilizer used? After those checks, I would then contact a Honda Service Agent if you are still having the issue. Here is the Honda Service Agent directory link: http://dl.hondampe.com.au/Default.aspx?d=P/E Cheers, Lachlan
Hi I have purchased a 4.4kva Gentrax Generator as a back up on a small farm. Is there a limit to the time i can run this sort of generator?
My Generator Response Hi Emmanuel, we don’t sell the Gentrax, but we have had experience with some of the budget brands from China in that size. We’ve tested them running a few fridges for around 15 hours continuous use (roughly 2 full tanks of fuel) and some brands stand up to it fairly well. When you start going longer than that, we’ve found there can be overheating issues on occasions. They aren’t designed for long term continuous use. only infrequent use up to a few tanks of fuel at a time. People do run them for longer, but again, its not what they are built to handle. If you want an inverter generator option around that size for longer run times, I’d suggest you look at the Yamaha EF2800I which comes with an 11 Litre Fuel Tank. Cheers, Steve.
I have a brand new Honda 6500 electric start. I just completed full maintenance on it having not used it for more than 2 years. I tried to recharge the battery with an 8 amp car battery charger and now the electric start is completely dead. I have come to realize that I should have only used a 1.1 Amp charger so I bought a new generator battery and still nothing. I know I fried something but not sure what. Any ideas?? Thanks
My Generator Response Hi Dan. bit of a tricky one. With battery charging, it is always recommended that you use a battery charger as the charge is then properly regulated. without a proper battery charger you run the risk of damaging the batteries with an unregulated charge. Now that you have a new battery and are still having issues, I’d be inclined to contact your local approved Honda service agent; they’ll be able to troubleshoot or perhaps inspect the new battery its functioning properly with the iGX390 engine. Cheers, Steve
[OPINION] Save money and save the environment: Go solar!
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NADINE LUSTRE. The actress helps set up a solar charging station in Barangay Malinao in typhoon-hit Siargao.
‘After a typhoon, our generator failed within one hour, but the solar system continued to generate despite destructive winds and the heavy Cloud cover’
I started simple years ago and you can do it yourself, too. I bought a 100-watt solar panel, an inexpensive controller, and a repurposed used car battery. Today that system would cost only P1,750. For that price, you get 100 watts and a controller with a 12-volt DC output and two USB ports. The USB ports could power cell phones, including ones that are internet-connected via LTE. That capability could be a lifesaver if you are desperate to call for an ambulance or other help.
You can do a lot with 100 watts. Imagine all the things you might be tempted to plug into the “cigarette lighter” of an automobile – but don’t go overboard because 100 watts won’t power your TV.
We wanted emergency lighting during brownouts and outdoor security lights all night. Our repurposed car battery worked well every night but lasted less than a year. Car batteries are not designed for solar applications. They don’t last when you discharge them deeply every night. So, we replaced the “junk” battery with a new solar (“deep discharge”) battery that served us longer. Inexpensive solar batteries may last about two years IF you don’t discharge them much every night. A less-expensive small battery might be one made for eBikes. A 12-volt 25 AH battery costs about P2,000.
I purposely kept our starter system small and simple by supplying only 12-volt battery power and 5 volts for cell phones, etc. LED bulbs are a godsend for efficiently using solar power. Many LEDs are 12-volt and you can use any of them for your lighting. I love clear (not colored) LED bulbs meant for motorcycles because they are cheap, give off about 3 watts of light, last for thousands of hours, and use little electricity. You might expect dim light from only 3 watts, but those bulbs give off a surprising amount of light. I particularly like waterproof bulbs because we live by the sea, where we are exposed to salt spray from habagat and amihan winds.
Solar power a lifeline for isolated Olango island
To avoid replacing your battery every two years or so, you can buy a quality Lithium (LiFePO4 or LFP) battery that could last about 14 years and allow very deep discharging. Only you can decide what’s best for you – to pay now or to pay later after batteries have failed when you desperately need power. We have learned with some cost and inconvenience by advancing from a junk battery, to deep-cycle lead batteries, and finally to a LFP battery.
We started small just like you might. But DIY solar systems can be expanded whenever you need more power and can invest a little more. We kept adding solar panels to generate more solar power and adding more batteries to have more power at night. We also added an inverter to supply 220-volt AC power in addition to the 12-volt DC.
A ‘big’ solar system
I usually estimate how long a new solar system will need to pay back its cost by avoiding payments to the local electricity utility company. Before committing to our first “big” solar system, I estimated that 60% of our monthly power bill was from running the water pump in our swimming pool. I hoped to eliminate that cost and have been able to do so. But I had to consider the cost of a new solar pump, solar panels, and solar controller. Our expensive electricity costs P11 per 1,000 watt hours (Kwh). I calculated that the investment in solar would be recouped in about two years.
Despite the expense, we made that investment in solar energy. It has paid for itself by saving money and giving us reliable power. After a typhoon, our generator failed within one hour, but the solar system continued to generate despite destructive winds and the heavy Cloud cover.
Our swimming pool needs water to be pumped during the day when the sun encourages growth of algae and other microorganisms. There is no need for pumping at night. We were able to save money by building a solar system with no expensive batteries. The pump automatically runs whenever it has adequate solar power and stops as soon as the solar power becomes insufficient. This system is totally “off-grid” so we never pay a centavo to our electric power company. Please consider saving money like this if you, too, have an application needing power only during daytime.
Our solar aircon
As seniors with health challenges, we feel a need to cool our great room. But we only want air conditioning during the day and early evening. It seemed impractical to go “off-grid” because we wanted to avoid the cost of batteries for use in the evening. Our hybrid solar air conditioner solves this problem by providing solar cooling during the day and using 220-volt AC power from the electric company whenever the solar power is insufficient. This system has proven itself to be an affordable compromise. It mostly uses solar during the day and automatically uses power from the grid whenever necessary. Hybrid solar air conditioning works for us and might for you.
[OPINION] Use solar energy for responding to disasters
Solar energy will help our children and the environment
I focused on costs and savings because cost used to underlie much resistance to going solar. Thinking beyond economics, increased use of solar energy will help the environment. It’s so critical to be concerned about our children and grandchildren in this archipelago nation that might lose islands and urban areas to the rising seas. Storms are increasing in frequency and intensity. Solar energy can slow down climate change and help us to cope with disasters.
I am passionate about solar energy, as you can see from posts on my page. I have been posting articles less frequently of late, and I seek a way to disseminate more information about solar energy. I hereby invite other enthusiasts to take over the page, become the new owner(s), and make the page more effective in helping the RP become a solar country. – Rappler.com
Stanley West is a former MIT professor, an author, an urban planner, and a NASA engineer. He co-founded the Caticlan Academy Foundation with his wife, Gretchen.
The 10 Best Portable Power Stations of 2023
Jeremy Laukkonen is a freelance writer with 10 years of experience explaining and reviewing Smart home technology, home entertainment gear, and other consumer electronics. His own home is full of Smart tech, from the lights to the vacuum cleaner.
Yoona is a Smart home and home tech commerce editor for The Spruce. She has contributed product reviews and how-tos for Lifewire and has prior experience in knowledge-base technical writing, technical customer support, and academic publishing.
Portable power stations provide electricity where and when you need it, whether that’s a large supply for a power outage or a weekend camping trip with the family, or a smaller capacity for those long days out when you’ve exhausted your phone’s power but still need to keep it on.
When selecting a portable power station, Alan Duncan, CEO of Solar Panels Network USA, recommends going all-in on battery capacity. “[Y]ou want a battery that can handle whatever situation you might need it for,” says Duncan. “Job sites, camping, and emergencies all require different levels of power, so make sure to pick the right one for your needs. Another thing to look at is output wattage—this tells you how much power the portable power station can provide.”
We examined dozens of power stations, from big solar power stations to ultra-portable power banks, looking at key factors, such as battery capacity, power output, size and portability, and feature sets.
Issomi Portable Power Station
The Issomi Portable Power Station is portable and powerful, an ideal combo. Plus, it’s water-resistant, which adds to its overall versatility and suitability for camping. That last factor is the most important because very few portable power stations offer this protection, and you’re likely to run into rain sooner or later if you spend enough time outdoors. Along with water resistance, this power station also has an IP63 rating, which means it’s completely sealed against dust and can withstand spraying water.
While many portable power stations are light enough to carry and comfortable to travel with, the Issomi is very well suited to the purpose at under 11 pounds. But even with its lighter design, it has plenty of reserve power to keep your devices running. We also like that there’s a helpful LED screen that gives you a clear number for the battery percentage, so you’re not left guessing how much you’ve used or how much is left. There’s also a built-in LED light, so you don’t have to use one of the ports to charge a reading light.
It has seven ports in total, and there’s enough power to charge your phone more than 30 times (the top of the device even doubles as a wireless charging pad). With two USB-A ports, you can also use it to power other low-wattage electronics like a portable projector or a fan to keep you cool at night. It only has one AC port, though, so you are limited to plugging in one non-USB device at a time. If you’re looking for a practical power station to get you through camping trips or power hiccups at home, it’s a great choice.
Price at time of publish: 298
Dimensions: 11.41 x 9.05 x 7.28 inches︱Weight: 10.87 pounds︱Power Source: Lithium-ion battery︱Ports: AC outlet, DC port, Quick Charge 3.0 USB-A, USB-C Power Delivery, 2x USB-A
Best Overall, Runner-up
Jackery Explorer 1500 Portable Power Station
- Large battery capacity and rated output
- Plenty of ports and outlets
- Easy to carry, transport, and store
- Doesn’t use lithium iron phosphate batteries
- Doesn’t include solar panels
Whether you’re looking for a backup in case of emergencies, something that can power your tools on the job site, or a way to keep your electronics up and running on an extended camping trip, the Jackery Explorer 1500 is a great pick. This power station strikes a balance between affordability, portability, and utility. It’s on the expensive side (which is why it’s not our top pick), but it’s ready to handle just about anything you throw at it. Need to keep the food in your freezer safe during a power outage? The Jackery Explorer 1500 could have you covered for up to 15 hours, depending on the power consumption of your freezer.
The Jackery Explorer 1500 is ready to go right out of the box, and it comes with everything you need, including a fast charger that you can plug into a wall outlet, and a slower charger that you can plug into an accessory outlet in your car. The wall charger will take the battery from zero to full in about four hours, or significantly less if you add a second optional charger. The car outlet takes much longer, but it’s a helpful option to have. Though this unit doesn’t come with solar panels, you can add up to four if you need power off the grid.
The best thing about the Jackery Explorer 1500 is its utility. It features three AC outlets, and it can put out 1500 watts continuously. That’s enough to run power-hungry devices like a hairdryer or a curling iron on a camping trip, run a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for several nights, brew coffee, or even pop some microwave popcorn during a power outage. It’s also compact and light enough that it’s easy to carry around, position exactly where you need it, and store away when you don’t.
Price at time of publish: 1,700
Dimensions: 14 x 10.4 x 12.7 inches︱Weight: 35.2 pounds︱Power Source: Lithium-ion battery︱Ports: 3x AC outlets, USB-C Power Delivery, USB-A Quick Charge 3.0, USB-A, 12V car
Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station
The Westinghouse iGen160s is a basic little portable power station capable of keeping your electronics charged during a brief power outage or camping trip. It’s extremely portable, weighing in at under 4 pounds, and it has enough power to provide two or three laptop charges, up to 14 total smartphone charges, or power your AC devices that draw less than 100 watts. For example, you could plug in a 25-watt mini projector for a four- or five-hour movie marathon in the backyard and still have power left over.
This portable power station is a good option if you’re working on a tight budget because it provides more power than the competition does at the same price point. It does have limitations, though, including a modified sine wave inverter. That means you can’t use it with some devices, like CPAP machines.
Price at time of publish: 140
Dimensions: 8.14 x x 3.77 x 7 inches︱Weight: 3.75 pounds︱Power Source: Lithium-ion battery︱Ports: 2x AC outlets, 3x USB-A, USB-C, 3x DC output
EcoFlow Delta Mini Portable Power Station
- Compact and lightweight
- Good battery capacity for the size
- Fast charge option
- Great app
The EcoFlow Delta Mini packs a lot of power into a relatively small and lightweight unit, which is why it’s our favorite compact portable power station. There are smaller and more powerful options, but the Delta Mini does a great job providing a large continuous output, big battery capacity, and a great selection of input and output ports. It manages all of that in a package that’s small enough to tuck away in your closet for emergencies or toss in your car or RV for a road trip.
Weighing about 23 pounds, the Delta Mini has a big 882-watt-hour battery capable of keeping your phone and laptop charged through an extended power outage or powering your hairdryer, microwave, or even portable air conditioning unit for a short time. If you’re worried about an incoming storm that might knock your power out, this power station has a fast-charge feature that can take it from zero to full in a little over an hour and a half. The only problem with this power station is that it lacks creature comforts, like wireless charging for your phone, and there’s no built-in emergency light.
Price at time of publish: 550
Dimensions: 14.9 x 7.2 x 9.4 inches︱Weight: 23.6 pounds︱Power Source: Lithium-ion battery︱Ports: 5x AC outlets, 3x USB-A, USB-C, 12V car, 2x 12V DC barrel
Best for Phones
Nimble Champ Portable Charger
- Efficient and compact GaN battery
- Fast charging
- Made with recycled plastic and aluminum
If the only thing you need to keep powered up is your phone, the Nimble Champ is the best option. This compact little power bank doesn’t have any of the features found in bigger portable power stations, but it’s tremendously small, easy to carry, and is made from recycled materials—including sustainable packaging. This portable device has enough juice to keep your phone running through about three days of heavy use and supports both 18-watt power delivery and Quick Charge 4.0 for Rapid charging. It also has two USB ports, so you can charge two devices at once or charge one device with the USB port plugged into a wall outlet to charge the Nimble Champ simultaneously.
The Nimble Champ uses a gallium nitride battery that provides more power than you’d get from lithium-ion, but the catch is that it’s also heavy. While this diminutive power bank is smaller than a pack of cards, it weighs more than an iPhone 13. It’s still highly portable, but you’ll feel it in your It also doesn’t come with a wall charger, so you’ll have to supply your own.
Price at time of publish: 50
Dimensions: 2.2 x 0.99 x 3 inches︱Weight: 6.4 ounces︱Power Source: Gallium nitride battery︱Ports: USB-C, USB-A
EcoFlow River Mini Portable Power Station
The EcoFlow River Mini is a flexible little power station with built-in wireless charging. It’s small enough that it’s perfect for desk use, but it’s also easy to take along on a road trip despite a lack of a carrying handle. The top of the power station includes a built-in wireless charging pad with a slightly cupped shape to provide a secure platform for your phone. Unlike many other wireless chargers, there’s no chance of accidentally knocking your phone off this one. However, the case lacks a handle and is shiny, so it collects fingerprints easily.
In addition to providing 210 watt-hours of backup power, the EcoFlow River Mini can also function as a basic uninterruptible power supply (UPS). You can set it on your desk, plug in mission-critical equipment like your modem and router, and the River Mini will automatically switch to battery backup if your power goes out. It also uses the same power inputs as other EcoFlow power stations, so you can charge it via AC power, plug it into your car, or plug in a solar panel.
Price at time of publish: 349
Dimensions: 9.8 x 5.5 x 5.2 inches︱Weight: 6.3 pounds︱Power Source: Lithium-ion battery︱Ports: 2x AC outlets, 3x USB-A, USB-C Power Delivery, 12V car
Best for Emergencies
Blavor Solar Charger with Foldable Panels
The Blavor Solar Charger with Solar Panels is an excellent little power bank to have on hand in case of emergencies. It’s a little bigger and heavier than a typical cellphone, but it has enough power to charge your phone several times before recharging. It also has a built-in Qi wireless charger in addition to USB-C and USB-A ports for wired charging.
It is great for emergencies because it has a built-in flashlight and a fold-out solar panel array. While the foldable solar panel is convenient, the solar charging is a little on the slow side. It’s wise to plan on charging this panel by plugging it into the wall. The solar array is primarily for adding a little extra power if you find yourself in an extended emergency or you’re out camping off the grid.
Price at time of publish: 60
Dimensions: 7 x 3.5 x 1.6 inches︱Weight: 1.54 pounds︱Power Source: Lithium polymer battery︱Ports: USB-C Power Delivery, 2x USB-A Quick Charge 3.0, Micro USB
Jackery Solar Generator 1000
- Good selection of outlets and ports
- Lots of power available
- Panels have built-in USB charging ports
- Light and convenient
- SolarSaga panels are a little awkward to set up
- Needs eight hours of sun to fully charge
The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 is a complete solar-powered portable power station package. It’s Jackery’s second-biggest power station, with a big 1002-watt-hour battery, plenty of outlets, and a relatively light 22-pound weight that’s easy to carry around and place wherever it’s needed. It also comes with two of Jackery’s powerful SolarSaga 100X solar panels that can charge the battery in about eight hours. Each SolarSaga panel generates 100 watts, and you can use them separately or together. You can also use the panels without the Jackery 1500, as each panel includes both USB-C and USB-A outputs to charge your electronics directly without going through the portable power station itself.
This turnkey system can deliver 1000 watts of continuous power, with peak surges of 2000 watts, so it can run most of your devices and electronics in an emergency, on the job site, or during an extended camping trip. For example, it has enough juice to keep a mini-fridge or a CPAP machine running for about 17 hours, even without hooking up the solar panels. If you have plenty of sun available during the day, the solar panels will keep your most crucial gear powered up even longer.
Price at time of publish: 1,649
Dimensions: 13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 inches︱Weight: 22.04 pounds︱Power Source: Lithium-ion battery︱Ports: 3x AC outlets, 2x USB-C Power Delivery, 2x USB-A, 12V car
EcoFlow Delta Pro Portable Power Station
- Lots of battery capacity
- Capable of powering most devices
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Expandable system
Whether you need emergency battery backup for your house, power when camping off the grid, or any other reason, the EcoFlow Delta Pro is more than equal to the task. This big unit weighs nearly 100 pounds, but the built-in wheels make it easy to move around. It weighs so much because of the massive 3.6-kilowatt-hour battery. That’s enough to keep a microwave running for over an hour or even keep a portable air conditioning unit on for an hour or two. You could even plug a fridge and a freezer in during a short power outage and have power to spare.
The thing that sets the Delta Pro apart is its flexibility. You can take it camping or on a road trip, use it under your desk at home as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), or even wire it into your home for a whole-house battery solution. You can use it alone, in conjunction with an optional additional battery, or even in a system with multiple Delta Pro units connected to your home’s electrical panel. You can also monitor it through the EcoFlow app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. There’s no denying that this is an expensive unit, but endless possibilities make it an excellent splurge option.
Price at time of publish: 3,699
Dimensions: 25 x 11.2 x 16.4 inches︱Weight: 99 pounds︱Power Source: Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery︱Ports: 5x AC outlets, 2x USB-A, 2x USB-C, Car, 2x DC5521
Best for Automotive Use
Stanley J5C09 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter
- Great for jump starting cars
- Includes a 120 PSI air pump
- Charges via any extension cord
The Stanley J5C09 is the best option for automotive use because it includes several features that can come in handy on the road. The primary function of this unit is to jump-start cars, which is why the manufacturer specifies its amperage output and amp-hour capacity instead of giving numbers in watts. This unit clamps to the battery terminals of a vehicle that has a dead battery and provides a ton of power at once, allowing the vehicle to start, and it does that job very well.
The other two key features that make the Stanley J5C09 good for automotive use are the light and the air compressor. If you find yourself dealing with a flat tire in the dark, this is the perfect unit to take care of that. You can also use it at the beach to blow up inflatables or anywhere else you need an air compressor. It only has one USB port and one 12-volt car accessory port, though, and it doesn’t include a charging cord. The primary charging method is plugging into an extension cord, which is handy, but could be an annoyance if you don’t own any extension cords.
Price at time of publish: 130
Dimensions: 11.25 x 8.3 x 13.5 inches︱Weight: 18 pounds︱Power Source: Lead-acid battery︱Ports: USB-A, 12V car port
Our current favorite power station is the Issomi Portable Power Station, a versatile choice with seven ports in total, plus a dust-proof and water-resistant design that makes it ideal for camping. The Jackery Explorer 1500 Portable Power Station is another top choice for emergency or travel use based on its large battery capacity, portability, and power. It’s capable of delivering enough juice to power devices like TVs for up to 21 hours.
What to Look For in Portable Power Stations
Portable power stations are all technically portable, but some are decidedly more portable than others. The size of the battery largely dictates size and portability. Portable power stations with large battery capacities will always be physically large, and there isn’t much room for innovation there. Some manufacturers manage to make their portable power stations a little smaller than others or design them in a way as to make them easier to carry or store, but you should always consider battery capacity and output before size. If a power station doesn’t have enough power to keep you going or isn’t capable of running your devices, it doesn’t matter how small, light, or mobile it is.
Battery capacity refers to the amount of power the portable power station can store. Alan Duncan, CEO of Solar Panels Network USA, advises that battery capacity is highly dependent on the scenario in which the power station will be used, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re looking for something to use in an emergency power outage situation, then you’ll want a higher-capacity battery, says Duncan. For job sites or camping, a lower-capacity battery might suffice. It just depends on your needs.
This capacity is measured in watt-hours, as it indicates how many hours you could run a 1-watt device or the maximum wattage you could run for one hour. For example, if you connected a TV that draws 60 watts to a portable power station with a 600-watt capacity, watching the TV for ten hours would completely drain the battery. You’ll lose some power to inefficiency, heat, and other factors, so never expect a portable power station to run exactly as long as the math suggests it would under perfect conditions.
Portable power station output comes in watts, and there are two numbers to look at. Continuous output is the wattage the power station can deliver on an ongoing basis, while peak output is the highest safe wattage it can output for a short time. Some devices, like air conditioning units and refrigerators, use far more power when first turned on than when running, so a high peak wattage rating allows you to connect such a device safely.
In general, it’s best to check the wattage of each device you want to connect to your portable power station and select a power station that can handle them all. If you think you’ll need to have two or more devices plugged in at once, add those wattages and an additional ten to 20 percent for safety, and use that as your baseline.
Charging Speed and Options
The primary methods of charging a portable power station are plugging into a wall outlet, connecting a solar panel, and plugging into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter or 12-volt accessory socket. Charging via a wall outlet is usually the fastest, and it’s also the most ubiquitous. For example, a portable power station that charges in two hours plugged into the wall in your house might take eight hours to charge in your car.
Look for a power station that lets you plug in two 110-volt chargers at once for the fastest charging possible. Charging via the cigarette lighter socket in a car can be a useful option to have, but it’s also very slow.
The speed of charging via solar panels varies depending on the wattage of the solar panel and local conditions, but you can use them anywhere. According to Duncan, solar charging is a great way to keep your portable power station charged up and ready to go. They’re perfect for use in areas where there’s no grid access or where there’s a low-power outlet available. They’re also great for emergencies or when you need to stay off the grid for an extended period. The most powerful solar chargers are faster than plugging into your car but slower than plugging into a 110-volt outlet in your house.
Portable power stations include a variety of ports, including 110-volt outlets, USB-A and USB-C ports, 12-volt accessory ports, and 12-volt barrel connectors. Some include one or more of these options, while others only have USB ports, 110-volt outlets, or various combinations. If you expect to need to plug in two or three 110-volt devices at once, then make sure to select a portable power station that includes at least that many outlets. If you have devices like phones and laptops that can quickly charge over USB-C, make sure your portable power station has at least one USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port.
For this kind of purchase, it’s always a good idea to figure out precisely what you need and then splurge on a little extra if you can afford it. We recommend for you to identify how much reserve capacity and output all of your devices require before purchasing a portable power station, and to then consider those what-if situations, like what if your power needs increase? Or what if you find yourself in an emergency and need more power than you thought? Once you’ve thought through as many scenarios as possible, you’ll have a clearer sense of whether or not a splurge feels right for you and your budget.
Your portable power station should be stored in a cool, dry place whenever it isn’t in use. Don’t store it in any location where it could get hot or become exposed to humid or damp conditions. It’s fine to keep your power station in your car or RV during a trip, but storing it there all the time will shorten the battery’s life. In addition to keeping your portable power station in a climate-controlled space, it’s also a good idea to store it with about 40 to 50 percent charge, as that’s better for battery life than storing it with a full charge. The exception is that if you live in an area that’s prone to power outages from winter storms, hurricane season, or other natural disasters, you’ll be better off keeping the battery charged during those times. It’s more important to have your portable power station ready to go for an emergency than it is to maximize the battery life.
The frequency you can expect to replace a portable power station depends on how much you use it. “Portable power stations typically need to be replaced every few years,” says Duncan. “However, this can vary depending on how often you use it and how well you take care of it. If you use your portable power station regularly, you might need to replace it sooner than if you only use it occasionally.” Every portable power station has a duty cycle rating, which refers to how many times it can be fully discharged and recharged before the battery capacity drops below 80 percent of the original capacity. Most people can use a portable power station for at least two to five years before the capacity drops noticeably, but high use can reduce that drastically.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Jeremy Laukkonen, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. He’s had experience testing and reviewing a variety of portable power stations and power banks throughout his career, including hands-on experience with several of the options featured on this list. In addition to The Spruce, his reviews can be found in other outlets, including Lifewire and Digital Trends.
Laukkonen contacted Alan Duncan, founder and CEO of Solar Panels Network USA, to tap his extensive knowledge of battery storage systems. With Duncan’s expert insights, Laukkonen considered battery size and type, power output, port selection, size and design, and a number of other factors to identify the best possible portable power stations in several categories.
What is the best solar generator for my RV?
In the world of long distance travel, having the best solar generator for your RV can really come in handy. Especially given the fact that RV’s are more likely to break down than cars or houses, it goes without saying that having your own solar powered power source (outside of your RV) is a Smart investment. Today, there are hundreds of gas fuelled generators on the market, but what is the best solar generator for your RV? The best solar generator for your RV has high battery capacity, over 2000 charge cycles, a high watt inverter (pure sine wave), attachable PV panels, is portable, compact, and fully recharges in less than 6 hours.
What is the best solar generator for my RV?
We have already touched base on some of the most important factors for you to consider when buying a solar generator for your RV. In this article we want to break down each point into several different topics and explain to you why each point is worth considering if you travel full time in your RV.
Why does my RV solar generator need a high battery capacity?
Think of it like this, just as your RV needs fuel in order to drive, a solar powered generator needs fully charged battery to work. The bigger or higher capacity your solar generators battery, the longer it is able to power/charge all your electronic devices. A solar generator with a low capacity or bad quality battery is virtually useless. Let me explain the different types of batteries that are most commonly used in solar generators.
- Pros: Cheap, high power output capabilities
- Cons: Very heavy, low discharge rates, low recharge cycles
A prototype lithium ion battery was developed by Akira Yoshino in 1985, this was based on earlier research done by John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, Rachid Yazami and Koichi Mizushima.
Finally, in 1991 a team led by Yoshio Nishi, invented the first commercial use lithium-ion battery.
Lithium-ion batteries have many advantages over lead-acid. Typically they weigh considerably less than lead-acid and have a much higher energy density.
Additionally, lithium-ion can accept a faster rate of current, thus they charge much fatser than lead-acid.
And finally, one of the biggest benefits of using lithium-ion technology in your RV solar generator is the high discharge rate, up to 80%.
This means you get more for less, ideal for a solar generator that needs to be portable.
For many of these reasons Bluetti has chosen to only use the latest lithium-ion technology in their best solar generators for RV’s.
- Pros: Quick charging, lightweight (50-60% less than lead-acid), longest lifespan, more usable capacity.
- Cons: High upfront costs, sensitive to high temperature
Why does my RV solar generator need lots of charge cycles?
First, let us explain what a charge cycle actually is. You have a 2000 Watt hour (Wh) capacity solar generator. You use all that capacity to power the electronic devices around your RV.
Once your battery is flat, you recharge it (using solar energy or mains electricity). This one 100% full recharge counts as a single charge cycle.
Once you have reached and gone over your batteries total amount of charge cycles, you begin to notice a gradual decline in your battery’s ability to hold a charge.
This is not something that will happen overnight, but you will slowly notice over time that your solar generator no longer seems to last as long as it once did.
Therefore, the more charge cycles your solar generator has, the longer it will last. You want to choose a solar generator for your RV that has at least 2000 charge cycles or more.
Bluetti’s AC200P can maintain above 80% capacity after 3500 cycles, making it the best solar generator for your RV.
Inverters are also known as AC Drives, or VFD (variable frequency drive). Their job inside your solar generator is to transform DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current). They are also responsible for controlling the speed and torque for electric motors.
Basically, electricity generated by your solar panels is stored as AC inside your battery. Most of the items inside your RV, if not all of them, need DC in order to work.
This is where your inverter comes in. Inverters are generally rated by a certain amount of watts.
For example, let’s say your solar generator needs to power a DVD player that draws 100 watts and your laptop that draws another 100 watts (at the same time). You will need a solar generator with at least a 300 watt inverter inside.
If you were to power more appliances on your that 300 watt inverter, it would not be able to hold the load and will most likely shut down.
That is why we recommend getting a solar generator with a high wattage rating for your RV, so you do not need to constantly worry about what you power.
However, like most things the higher the rating the more expensive it becomes. So, if you are on a budget it would be best for you to calculate your total energy demands before purchasing your solar generator.
This way, you can make sure to use every single bit of your inverters wattage rating without having too much unnecessary excess.
Pure Sine Waver Inverter
Another important factor is the type of inverter your solar generator has. Make sure you get a solar generator with a pure sine wave inverter.
These types of inverters reduce audible and electrical noises in electronics such as fans, audio amplifiers, fluorescent lights and TV’s fax. It can also prevent random crashes in computers.
Why does my RV solar generator need solar panels?
This point is quite self explanatory, without solar panels your solar generator would simply be, a generator.
Meaning, you would not be able to do all that adventurous off-grid travelling where you rely solely on the sun to recharge your generators batteries.
High quality solar panels with high wattage ratings are essential but not compulsory to power your solar generator. Of course you could bring along your solar generator without it’s solar panels and still recharge it via car socket, or by some campsites electricity mains.
However, buying your RV solar generator with PV panels greatly increases your self sufficiency and ability to travel off-grid with your RV.
We recommend getting 200 watt solar panels and above for large capacity solar generators so that you can recharge them the fastest.
Why does my Rv solar generator need to be portable?
Having a portable solar generator comes very much in handy when you travel by RV.
The reason for this is mainly because of the need for power in various locations that could be outside your RV.
For example, let’s say you would like to sit outside in the sun whilst you work, now it does not help so much to have a fixed source of power inside your RV when it is needed outside.
This is why a solar generator that is lightweight/moveable is paramount to the overall portability.
As we already discussed, lead-acid batteries can be extremely heavy. If you were to carry our AC200P with same equivalent of capacity in lead-acid form, the generator would weigh over 120 pounds!
However, because we use lithium-ion technology our AC200P only weighs 60 pounds.
Why does my RV solar generator need to recharge quickly?
If you rely on your solar generator to charge or power many of the devices in your RV, then it goes without saying that a quick recharge time is a major selling point.
Especially as you travel and live in your RV day to day, you need a solar generator that can recharge to full capacity within a day, or less, ideally.
However, it is important that you remember a solar panel only works at maximum capacity in direct sunlight. On average, this is usually around 6 hours a day, depending on your location.
Weather can sometimes also play a factor in slow recharge times, perhaps it is cloudy or rainy. Having a solar battery with the capability of fast recharge times, like that of lithium-ion technology can sometimes be a major benefit during your RV travels.
The winning combination, would be a solar generator that can recharge via both solar panels and mains electricity at the same time. this would greatly reduce the recharge time of your generator.
Our AC200P can recharge to 100% capacity within 2-2.5 hours via 700W of solar input an 500W AC simultaneously.
Based on all the points we have covered in this article we would recommend the AC200P as the best solar generator for your RV, especially if you haver higher energy demands.
It has the following charge times:
- Refrigerator (800w) 2.1 Hours
- CPAP (60w) 28 Hours
- Laptop (60w) 28 Hours
- Fan (12w) 140 Hours
- Smartphone 180 Hours
- Led lantern light (10w) 170 Hours
- LCD TV (100w) 17 Hours
If you are looking for a smaller generator to power all the electronic devices in your RV or you are just travelling for the weekend, we recommend the new EB70S
Please feel free to email us if you have any questions on which solar generator would be best for your specific RV/energy demands, we are always happy to assist.
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Pioneer of the transformer and alternating current (AC) distribution
William Stanley (1858-1916) was an inventor and engineer. He developed the first practical transformer (which spurred the development of AC power) as well as other developments; like an improved electric meter and the first metal thermos bottle (vacuum flask). He lived most of his life and ran his businesses in Western Massachusetts during the golden age of electric development.
Stanley is one of the most important inventors of AC power, his work puts him on a par with Edison, Westinghouse, Tesla, Elihu Thomson, Charles Brush and other major personalities of the time. Like the other great pioneers of the time he loved to tinker and design, held a disdain for legal quagmires of patent proceedings, and had his own set of friends and rivals in the industry.
Stanley made transformers practical in the way that Edison made the light bulb practical. Tom Blalock, Historian. 2014
Life and contributions
Born in Brooklyn, New York, William Stanley attended private schools before enrolling at Yale University. He began to study law at age 21 but less than a semester later left school to look for a job in the emerging field of electricity. The decision marked the beginning of a productive career whose highlights included the invention of the modern type of transformer, and the creation of the business enterprise that was to become General Electric’s Pittsfield Works.
Stanley’s first job was as an electrician with one of the early manufacturers of telegraph keys and fire alarms. He then worked in a metal-plating establishment before joining Hiram Maxim, inventor of the machine gun and already a pioneer in the electrical industry. As Maxim’s assistant, Stanley directed one of the country’s first electrical installations, in a store on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
Stanley was inspired by Charles F. Brush’s work on batteries which involved study of electromotive force. Stanley developed AC power circuit designs in his notebooks but didn’t yet have a chance to build prototypes. This laid the foundation for his understanding of electromagnetics. the basis of AC circuits and apparatus.
Stanley later wrote of that time: I foresaw at that time, dimly, to be sure, but still with suffient accuracy to realisze soemthing of its value, that alternating currents could be used to produce and electromotive force upon the circuit to be regulated, in place of the battery electromotive forces suggested by Brush and the resistance electromotive forces of Weston and Thomson. I do not mean to imitate that at that time I had complete knowledge of the invention. that came later. but that it was the starting point from which I worked until, in 1885, the completed system was developed.
Stanley said that in the period prior to industry successes in 1885 it took definite self-conviction to keep working on AC power which was experiencing many setbacks in experiements. There were no useful books on the technology and he refers to AC power as a despised and rejected line of work.
Stanley moves to Pittsburgh to work with Westinghouse. He worked on solving problems in AC distribution but had no alternator to work with. He wasted a great deal of time trying to convert DC to AC power for experiments.
Inventor and industrialist George Westinghouse learned of Stanley’s accomplishments and promoted him as chief engineer at his Pittsburgh facility. It was during this time that an AC transformer was developed by Frenchman Lucien Gaulard and Englishman John Gibbs.
Westinghouse instructed Stanley and his assistants, Albert Schmid and Oliver B. Shallenberger, to make tests to determine the commercial value of the Gaulard and Gibbs system. He also arranged to have a number of the transformers and a Siemens alternating-current generator forwarded from England to Pittsburgh.
Stanley, working under the direction of Westinghouse, devised a further improvement, which consisted in securing the enclosure of the coils by making the core of E-shaped plates. the central projections of each successive plate being alternately inserted through rewound coils from opposite sides, thus permitting separate winding and consequently the better insulation of the coils.
Above and below: Stanley’s 1885 prototype transformer at the Berkshire Museum.
William Stanley, Albert Schmid is equipped with knowledge of the European advancements and then develops the first reliable transformer. it uses a soft iron core and adjustable gaps to regulate the amount of Electromagnetic Field in the secondary winding.
Stanley quickly became unhappy with the Siemens generator which he was provided with Starting on November 5th, 1885 he developed his own radial pole type alternator and sent the drawings to Pittsburgh.
The move from the ‘Sooty City’
In 1885, ill health almost cut short his career. some say he worked himself too hard. Stanley had been working in Pittsburgh which was Andrew Carnegie’s steel town and had the worst air quality in the US, it was also known as Sooty City, and this contributed to William Stanley‘s poor health. The move away proved a disguised blessing, because it necessitated a move to his family home, Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In those peaceful surroundings, he was able to develop some ideas he had suggested two years earlier to his employer, George Westinghouse (who helped finance Stanley’s lab) for a new type of transformer.
One of 19 transformers used in the Great Barrington installation. 1886.
This work resulted, on March 20, 1886, in the demonstration of a prototype system of high voltage transmission employing Stanley’s parallel connected transformer. This system was used by him to provide lighting for offices and stores on the town’s Main Street. Read more about it in the link below:
The first full successful AC distribution system in the world! Read more about William Stanley’s work in Great Barrington. Click Here
Stanley received a patent on his transformer: Induction-Coil, Patent No. 349,611.
William Stanley explains to Franklin L. Pope (adviser to Westinghouse and patent lawyer.) that is design was salable and a great improvement. Pope disagrees but Westinghouse decides to trust Stanley anyway.
These various inventions and discoveries led up within a year to commercial production of transformers of high efficiency and excellent regulating qualities.
The development was a fine engineering performance in speed and in quality. The most important single contribution was by Stanley. He brought out the parallel connection in which the transformers are connected in parallel, across the constant-potential alternating-current system, instead of being arranged in series, as in the Gaulard and Gibbs connection. He obtained patents on the method, involving the construction of transformers in which the counter electromotive force generated in the primary coil of the transformer was practically equal to the electromotive force of the supply circuit. This is obvious now, but in 1886, when the principles and characteristics of the alternating current were practically unknown, it was a wonderful invention, and revolutionary in character. On this invention Stanley’s fame largely rests. Of course Stanley did not discover or invent a theory of counter electromotive force before any one else had thought of it. Such fundamental things seldom happen in invention. His claim to great and original merit rests on the discovery of a theory which was new to him and the use of it in making a structure of immense importance in the affairs of men. Briefly, all transformers now made are built upon practically the same principles as those that were developed in these early products of the Westinghouse Company.
William Stanley (photo by Alfred A. Costello) prepared by the Housatonic River Walk, Great Barrington Land Conservancy
Westinghouse’s dysfunctional team
In the 1880s and early 90s George Westinghouse had a team of some of the best engineers in the world: William Stanley, Louis Stillwell, Albert Schmid, Benjamin Lamme, Oliver Shallenberger and Nikola Tesla. Meanwhile JP Morgan was gathering together the best engineers he could find in the AC field, people like Charles E.L. Brown who was one of the earliest proponents of polyphase AC power. Westinghouse had a clear advantage controlling much of the patents in the world’s most lucrative market(North America). However, underneath this appearance of success was a pile of eccentric and oddball personalities. Shallenberger and Stillwell worked together well, but Stanley had differences with some, and Tesla had trouble working with any of them. Whether it was egos, corporate environment or simple anti-social behavior found in geniuses, the eventual result was inventors breaking off to do their own thing while they tried to make as much as possible off of royalties.
We will ruin you! unknown person at Westinghouse Electric
George Westinghouse came up to see the working system at Great Barrington with his entourage and was pleased but with time things began to sour between William Stanley and Westinghouse. Eventually Stanley had a falling out with George over money. It was said that Westinghouse’s lawyer Franklin Pope convinced Westinghouse to drop Stanley’s business. Ironically Pope later was killed by one of Stanley’s transformers while checking on it in his basement in Great Barrington.
Stanley had ambitions of creating his own electric company on a scale to compete with Thomson-Houston, Edison, and Westinghouse. He was not deterred by a threat from someone at Westinghouse that if he left We will ruin you! He set up shop in nearby Pittsfield, MA. Stanley produced high quality large transformers with the help of Cummings C. Chesney and John Forrest Kelly to product the SKC line of transformers. After becoming disillusioned with the electrical business due to the drawn out patent fights he sold to the Roeblings Family. Stanley lost control of his company and it became part of General Electric. Chesney moved to Schenectady to continue his work while Kelly (who was a bit of a loner) preferred to work on his own. SKC transformers from Stanley’s independent years continued to be in use over 100 years later in places like Middle Falls, NY.
General Electric years
Stanley’s genius continued to influence the industry as he produced newer and better power distribution systems for General Electric. The Stanley Works in Pittsfield, MA develops new power distribution systems at the birth of the power grid. Stanley’s air blast transformers are used in the Folsom Powerhouse in 1895 and other GE AC power systems. Stanley’s genius was employed in the making of distribution systems for AC power at Niagara Falls in a project which divided the job between Westinghouse and GE.
The Stanley Works in Pittsfield, MA
Stanley grew tired of the long legal battles required to protect patents. As an engineer he found these proceedings draining and frustrating. He spent the later years of his life (1900-1916) experimenting with other technologies. He developed a better thermos among other things. At times he attended honor ceremonies and photo shoots at General Electric for his lifetime of achievement, but he had already disengaged from the major transformer works in Pittsfield in his final years.
The legacy of Stanley’s transformer works lived on in Pittsfield, MA until 1986 when GE closed the plant. At the time they had been producing some of the largest transformers in the world for clients around the planet. The works were profitable but were closed anyway as part of GE’s restructuring. GE gave Westinghouse’s transformer operation all 100 years of technology. Westinghouse’s operation was in Indiana and some of the workers moved there, but that was shut down a year later. Today the only major transformer manufacturing operation still left in the US is Niagara Transformer Corporation.
We recommend you visit the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA to learn more about Stanley.
Go to the History of the Transformer Web Page
Back to the Engineering Hall of Fame
Article by M.Whelan, Steve Rockwell and Thomas Blalock
Sources: Men and Volts by John Hammond Workshop of Engineers by John Miller The Great Barrington Historical Society Wikipedia www.pittsfield-ma.org/history Photos by Smithsnoian, General Electric company photographers,and the Edison Tech Center The Power Makers: Steam, Electricity, and the Men Who Invented Modern America by Maury Klein. 2009. George Westinghouse: Gentile Genius. by Quentin R. Skrabec Interview with Tom Blalock, Historian. Edison Tech Center. Tech Reflections oral history archives. August 2014
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