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So, you've brought your generator out of storage, filled the tank, pulled the cord, and nothing.  Hopefully, you are finding this out BEFORE the power outage or camping trip.  This article will help you fix some common problems you may encounter.  Before attempting any repair, remove the spark plug to prevent accidental starting while you are working on the unit.  

If the generator will not start or won't stay started, check the muffler exhaust for an foreign debris.  Once that is clean, check the gas and oil to make sure you have appropriate levels of both.  Finally, make sure the spark plug has a good connection.

If the alternator fails to excite, it may be running at too low of a speed.  Adjust the rpm.  This can also result from a faulty capacitor or windings, which must be replaced and tightened.

If the voltage is running high with no load on the generator, you may need to adjust the rpms to a lower speed or replace the capacitor.  Conversely, if the voltage is running low under no load, you may need to adjust the rpms to a higher speed or replace the capacitor with one with a higher rating.  In addition, for low voltage, you should check your winding resistance and replace your rotary diodes, if needed.

If your voltage is ok with no load, but drops when you add a small load, you may need to increase your rpms or remove some of the load.  You could also need to replace your rotary diodes.

If the voltage drops when you add a high load, you probably need to adjust the rpms or remove some of the load.

Finally, if the voltage fluctuates, it may be the result of loose or dirty connections.  You may also need to regulate the rpms to solve this problem.

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