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Discussion Starter #1
Dad's Powermate 544000 (4k watt) with a Briggs 8hp motor stopped making electricity during the recent northeast blackout. He even connected a light directly to it and it didn't work (engine runs fine however). It is ~20 years old and had had little much use (though was used a few months earlier due to hurricane).

I did some reading from the Powermate manual they sent me and used the trick to connect the brushes to my car battery and got it producing electricity again (I guess is flashed the field). I also checked the brushes and they look fine and are more then 1/2" inch (manual says replace if 1/4").

My questions are:
- Will it last now?
- Could there be other issues (diode, capacitor, etc.)? If so how do i test them (I am a novice but can handle a meter).
- Why would it just stop while he was using it? (I had heard of generators losing the field while sitting a long time.

He had on a radio, a few lights, gas burner, frig, freezer and hot water tank heater. But maybe the toaster oven and microwave overloaded the generator when he put them on?

I just want to be sure it doesn't happen again and wonder if there is anything else I need to test on it to ensure it is ok (is it producing the 4k watts, etc.). I am guessing if the diode and/or cap was bad it wouldn't work.

Thx,
 

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Sounds like it was overloaded with all that on it. Most likely a thermistor opened up an protected the generator wiring, by stopping voltage output. When she cooled down, the thermo closed an she started working again.
 

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yes... its lost residual magnetism according to the manual Powermate sent me. I jump started it from my car battery and then checked diodes and caps.
I guess its so old not to have any breaker :)
thx
 

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In case you need to do this again in the future...

Here is a safer way to excite a generator.

Get yourself a work light, a corded drill, and a cordless drill, and a piece of metal rod long enough to put the two drills together.

Plug the work light into one of the outlets on the generator, the drill into another, then chuck the metal rod into the corded drill and the cordless drill, it can be two corded drills too for that matter if you have another power source, the goal here is to spin the corded drill plugged into the generator with another drill so its like a mini generator.

Start the generator, put the corded drill in reverse, put the cordless drill in forward, now press the trigger on the corded drill and spin it up by pressing the trigger on the cordless drill, watching the light as soon as it starts to light up release both drill triggers. Should be up and running now!

Its a lot safer than shocking it with a car battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the tip. (BTW - the car battery trick was in the manual from Powermate.)

We were also curious as to how to measure the wattage produced by the generator. I think it is from ~1990 and says it is 4k watts.

Is there a safe way i can use a multimeter?
(I'd need some detailed pointers on settings, etc.)

Thx!
 
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