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Last update on November 11, 2020 through Scott


A portable generator can be a great tool because that a range of situations.

You are watching: What voltage should a generator put out

Whether utilizing it as an emergency back-up power source, for powering devices in a remote location, or for improving your tailgating or camping experience, it’s essential that your generator is producing the exactly voltage.

How can you tell? A cheap voltmeter is all you need. 

Safety First

When making use of a voltmeter come test your generator’s output, it’s necessary to follow a couple of safety rules.

Ideally, you should stand top top a rubber mat and also wear shoes through non-conductive soles. This is just a precaution, but it is a good idea. Although the is unlikely, you could end up getting seriously injured.

It is likewise imperative that you don’t touch the voltage regulator or various other wires at any point—or you might get a huge shock.

Testing her generator’s calculation is really fairly safe, but an abundance of fist doesn’t hurt.


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1. Begin your generator and turn on the voltmeter

Get the generator running. Revolve on the voltmeter and also make sure it is set to the “AC Voltage” position.

If girlfriend don’t have actually it in this mode, you’ll hazard blowing a fuse.

2. Ground her meter

Using the black lead, ground your voltmeter by attaching it come the generator’s frame.

The lead should have actually an alligator clip you can use to attach it to the frame.

3. Touch the red lead to the output plug

Take the red lead and also touch that to where you would certainly plug in a device or appliance.

Read the voltage displayed.

This is her generator’s present voltage output.

Troubleshooting an AVR

If the voltage wasn’t the number you were expecting, there space a couple of steps you have the right to take to number out wherein the trouble is.

First, if her generator has actually an automatic voltage regulator, or AVR, this is most likely the reason of your absence of voltage.

To check this, locate the AVR and also remove the two leads.

Next, eliminate the red and black leads going from the AVR to the brush set.

Cover the red and also black leads with electrical tape so they cannot touch each various other or the housing.

Grab a 12-Volt DC power resource (like a vehicle battery) and some alligator clips. Hook the alligator clips come the brush set you simply removed the leads from.

Then, hook the confident line you just attached come the brush set to your battery.

The confident line should constantly be toward the bearing. Don’t execute anything with the negative line simply yet.

At this point, begin up the generator.

After the generator has been to run for at the very least 10 seconds, hook the an adverse line native the brush set to her battery.

Now, grab her voltmeter and use that to test those very first two leads that you very first detached indigenous the AVR.

You require it to review at least 60V. Often, this 12-volt battery test actually resolves the problem.

It helps restore the residual magnetism the the generator needs.

If this doesn’t work, you will likely need to change the AVR. If the AVR isn’t the problem and also your generator is tho failing to produce electricity, possibilities are good that another more complex part has actually gone bad.

At this point, you must take the generator in for servicing from a manufacturer-approved technician.

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Ultimately, checking your portable generator’s output is basic and for sure endeavor. A cheap voltmeter is every you need, and the process is quite simple. If you get an unexpected reading on the voltage meter, the basic troubleshooting procedure is a bit more complex but quiet doable and also safe.

Does this guide make feeling to you? execute you have any unanswered questions? carry out you have any type of other questions around portable generators?  Please ask far in the comments!