Small Generator Voltage Regulation

exmarFebruary 22, 2013

Hi folks,

Ice storm last night, now 50 degrees and sun is shining, I like it!!

Anyway, was out in the barn and decided to start my portable generator and let it run for a bit. Haven't used it much this winter. As usual, it started right up, then started to "hunt" as in incresing and decreasing speed. I'd noticed this in the past and just plug in a drop light, 60W and it immediately settles down. Curious if anyone else had noticed this behavior in small generators of this price point? I've added a link to the generator at amazon. I think I paid about $349 three or four years ago.

Yes, I know this has one of the "generic 4 cycle engines," read that as Honda Clone from China. However, it's been a bear cat since I got it.

Thanks for your time,


Here is a link that might be useful: Generac 3250

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That is about what we paid for the Coleman 5kw 30 yrs ago. I struggled to keep it running through Nemo. I did manage to take a hot shower and hang out on the inter net. So whatever is regulating it is putting out a decent quality of AC voltage or modern electronics isnt as choosy as I have been led to believe.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:33PM
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So you are saying that you generator settles down and runs at an even speed when under load, and it hunts when it is idling. My Ariens snowblower, with a Tecumseh engine, does the same thing. I think this means that the carburetor is set up to perform well when the engine is loaded, and the mixture is a little lean when the machine is idling with no load. I don't think there is a simple fix for this. You could spend money on a more complex carburetor that would cure the problem. If the generator starts OK and produces power under load, I would say that it is a good generator, as is.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:35AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I have a Honda Clone from China also, a different brand. I can't remember the brand right now.

I have never actually used it, I haven't had a single power outage after I bought it.

It "hunts" also. You can plug in a light, drill, ETC. and it settles out.

I have hooked it up to the house for a test with all electronics unplugged so that I could put a good load on it and hook up my oscilloscope.

I did get some choppy readings, but not very bad. The higher the load the more stable it gets. I think it should be OK for electronics as long as you have something else to load it up.

I wouldn't use it on expensive electronics without a load from lights and stuff being on before plugging it in and turning it on. I would also unplug them before turning off the other loads.

Quote "So whatever is regulating it is putting out a decent quality of AC voltage or modern electronics isnt as choosy as I have been led to believe."

Yes and no. You could have good quality AC voltage and/or good quality electronics. Your electronics will have a step down transformer to power them. Good quality electronics usually have a transformer that will filter out the bad stuff.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:39PM
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