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Generators & Electric Motors General Discussion

Fix my generator! It broke!


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  #1  
Old 07-29-2009, 03:54:32 PM
pegasuspinto pegasuspinto is offline
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Default Fix my generator! It broke!

It seems to me, that there are a LOT, 5-10 daily, people comeing here now asking for free generator advice. Is it time that issue was somehow addressed directly? Sooner or later (probably sooner, maybe already)the old hands are going to get sick and tired of holding peoples hands. People who can't even be decent enough to either post as complete make, model, etc as possible, or at least take a picture, so we know what kind of generator it is. And a lot of people who probably should never be encouraged to go beyond the panels and guards, into the relm of the shocky, spinny, burning parts. I am not sure what the answer is, but maybe with some discussion, a solution could be had?

Robert
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:52:51 PM
Wayne 440 Wayne 440 is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

I think the problem is already being addressed to some degree. Many of those posts get either "0" replies or one like this http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showth...791#post430791
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:30:37 PM
Isaac-1 Isaac-1 is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

It was not all that long ago that I was one of those clueless people posting questions, 3 generators, who knows how many pages of technical manuals and online messages later and I am far from an expert now, but try to do my part answering some of those simple questions. During this learning curve I have came to appreciate just how little basic generator information is easily available online, either generic or brand specific. Most of the general advice on generator selection is a reprint of the same article provided over and over again by people trying to sell generators. Very little can be found as an introduction on the various excitation systems, voltage regulators, governors, etc. Then when they get here and ask questions in Onan land we start throwing terms around like YD series, or VR-21 voltage regulators, voltage codes 15R, 4X,etc. Or maybe its Decision Maker 1,3, 500.... on Kohlers, or -24 manuals in the MEP section. It is understandable how this can confuse just about anyone. Sure some of these are answered in the FAQ's, but much of the basis and introductions to understand the FAQ's are missing. I think a lot of this could be solved by adding a few more FAQ entries, and maybe a web page or two on the subject. Specificly a basic introduction to the various types of generators, mentioning fixed speed 1800,3600 rpm (maybe even 900/1200), inverter style units as they are getting more popular, fuel types and basic drawbacks/benefits, 1/3 phase, number of leads (2,3,6,12, etc), types of voltage regulation, etc. In the brand specific sections, maybe a history of the basic model lines, level of variation, parts availability, common problems with a given model line (cracked exhaust, water pumps, etc.), and brand specific terms (ie, 15R, VR-21, Decision Maker...).

Ike
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:51:02 PM
armandh armandh is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

on a different forum I have sort of reached the burn out point, only answering those posts that are of interest to me.

60 years of varied experience from [as told by my late mother] age 2 shoving a pin in a wall socket to home made 2.150 GHZ down converters.

some of the questions are just painfully inane
some so complex thus impossible to provide a simple answer

there was a fellow who had a web site with explanations of how "that" works

he had several how to books for the newbies [here is a publishing opportunity]

turn the problem to an $opportunity$
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:56:42 AM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

Also many people who ask question have minimal understanding of engines and ZERO understanding of electrical theory. A lot of what I know comes from the school of Hard Knocks. Yes I have had a education in electronics and wrench a lot on my our and other peoples equipment. The problem as I see it is many people may have some of the need schooling BUT they were also told in that schooling that they do not need to get their hands dirty. I have a saying that a Mechanical engineering friend ask if he could use. The saying is: Experiance can be a WHORE of a teacher but sometimes she is the BEST.

Kent
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:20:05 AM
pegasuspinto pegasuspinto is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

Well, the ones I am talking about, are the ones that come in here, who have been burned or at least sticker shocked when they took their generator in for repair, either at an RV place who ate them alive (and may not of had anyone there who could really work on gensets) or at small engine places, who probably had the unit running like a top, but are completely lost in all things electrical(generally.). They probably change the oil on their lawnmower, but never their car. They may of put up 6 celing fans in their house, but that third one blew out half the houses wiring. It's scary when someone comes in, asks for help, but doesn't own a meter. I am thinking, that maybe new users should be forced to understand, they must own and know how to use a multimeter, have a basic set of tools, and can more or less follow a schematic. The ones who can't are just too scary-i'm sure several have managed to fry something, and someone is going to get hurt, sooner or later.

Robert
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:44:32 PM
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Talking Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

Well, it is an interesting place, and here on "The Stak", we take ALL comers, that register, and can conduct themselves in a civil manner. Now that Goggle is indexing most of the Forums, we are getting a lot more inquiries. As has been pointed out, some don't have the "First Clue", and some actually have even "Clue #2" coming in. Fortunately, we have a group of Resident SmartGuys, that after YEARS of dealing with the Public, have "The Patients of Jobe", and kindly do their best for even the clueless. I myself am a fair Operator, but not much of a "wrench". I have an extensive Engineering Background, in many of those disciplines, and 45 years of Hands-On, Learn by Fixing, or Breaking as the case may be.... SmakStak is for Information Exchange, and we have a lot of different Forums that cover many different aspects of the "Mature" Machine, and Tool, world....
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:37:27 PM
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

I have been at this for forty years. Makes me want to bounce my BEER off the wall. When someone post my genset is broke what is wrong with it. How am I supposed to know what is wrong,if you do not tell me what you have and what the problem is. I am and we are not mind readers helps if we know what you have. Really hate the ones that come back and question the advice that I gave them. Learning is one thing and asking questions is fine. But if I tell you to do something. Don't come back and tell me that it will not solve your problem. If you are so smart why are you asking us for help.. Otherwise glad to help when I can.
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:06:49 PM
Uly The Hermit Uly The Hermit is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

Being a newcomer to this forum I'm not sure which category I fit into but at least I own a meter (several, in fact). I try to find the answers by doing searches and just plain using my brain before I start asking a bunch of questions. For example, I have two generators that are not producing power adequately. I have tested the doides, capacitor, and measured the resistance of the field, exciter, and stator coils. But not being an electrical engineer I'm not always certain of what I'm reading on the meter. I tried looking up the resistance of stator coils etc. and discovered that there is a huge variation of readings between one generator and another. So, basically, what I would like to see is a comprehensive troubleshooting guide that might say something like "if the resistance of the stator coils varies by .X ohms then the stator is no good" or some such thing. If this can even be done. In any case you guys have been great and helped me with my generator problems and now they both are working. Except the one that just ran out of gas.
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:13:17 AM
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

You are one of the ones that has enough brains to admit you don't know. But are willing to learn. I have never seen a set standard for readings on gensets. It all depends on what model you have. Most service manuals have the readings and charts for the units they cover. If you cannot find a manual sometimes you can make a pretty good guess on what they should be,compared with other units of the same size.
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:06:39 PM
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

I love this post!!!!! I have been working on "stuff" for over 50 years. I'm always amazed at the ppl who know nothing about gensets (either electrical or mechanical) but yet think they can fix them. I have $40,000 worth of tools, yet some problems still make me scratch the old head! I'm an old hotroder and adjusting the valves, setting the timing, adjusting the carby are all just routine to me. I always wonder (especially posting) who is on the other end. Maybe I'm posting to my wife. Hum, starting from square #1. James
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Old 07-31-2009, 02:55:35 PM
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

pops I know what you mean. Had a guy onetime ask me about a problem. Told him how to fix it and he turns around and tells me I am wrong. Had to show an ASE engine tech how to install points. Amazing what kids today don't know.
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Old 07-31-2009, 03:57:03 PM
Isaac-1 Isaac-1 is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

Billy, the correct statement is, it is amazing what kids working as professional mechanics, etc. don't know. A couple of years ago I took my car into the local dealership for a recall replacement of the plastic air intake. The did that did the work managed to flood the spark plug holes with coolant, when I went to pick the car up on a Friday afternoon it was missing so bad as to be almost undriveable. (I fixed it myself rather than leaving it the dealer over the weekend for them break some more). Just a couple of months ago I had another recall issue on the truck I now drive for a defective sensor that was known to cause the truck not to start, took it to the same dealer, quick 30 min repair. Drove the truck home, the next morning it would not start, they had broke the retaining clip off the quick disconnect wiring harness and the sensor had came unplugged.

Ike

p.s. did you get any of that bad weather last night, or was that south of you, it came through here around 2 am?
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Old 07-31-2009, 05:42:00 PM
C-Wade7 C-Wade7 is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

As a young man who works at a dealer I can tell you I clean up behind plenty of old men to. It is not your age its the pride you take in your work!
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:36:56 PM
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

Some ppl know how to do a good (correct) job. Some don't give a $hit. Age has no bearing on the work. Thing is, I WANT the work to be correct. I don't want to be married to a problem.
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:43:52 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

. Had to show an ASE engine tech how to install points. Amazing what kids today don't know.[/QUOTE]

I had an old customer come in with his vintage car several years ago. I went to the auto parts and threw a set of points on the counter. A young mechanic, a pretty good one at that, asked me "what's that for", I told him a 1971 Plymouth. His reply "no, what do they do". He had never seen a set of points.
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Old 08-01-2009, 12:25:06 AM
armandh armandh is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

yep it is a segmented world, one wonders what they teach even in tech schools.

the local gas and electric remote meter reeding is on one of those "open" channels subject to interference from a long list of baby monitors and room to room wireless
917.58 mhz also had my fm video barn camera
their tech offered me a pair of directional antennas and mentioned that they mount with the fins [directors reflectors and active element] vertically
I offered to mount mine horizontally

I quickly discovered he had no clue about cross polarization attenuation
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:50:12 PM
C-Wade7 C-Wade7 is offline
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

What they teach in tech school is practical rear world stuff. I in 12yrs at the dealer havent put a set of points in a customer car(but I have in my own). We spent 20 min. talking abiut points in school because every new car we see is EDIS ign. It is tech school not a a full history lesson and to make a living on new cars you spend all your time keeping up w/ the new changes.The main thing is to admit what you dont know and be willing to learn it.
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:59:05 PM
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Talking Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Wade7 View Post
The main thing is to admit what you dont know and be willing to learn it.
and THIS is why SmokStak.com is such a valuable resource for Information Exchange, TO the Old Iron, Old Genset, Heck, OLD ANYTHING, Crowd.... This is one place where we can Pass On, to the next generation, the skills, and Knowledge Base, of a bygone era.
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Old 08-01-2009, 03:36:58 PM
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Default Re: Fix my generator! It broke!

[QUOTE=Isaac-1;432048]Billy, the correct statement is, it is amazing what kids working as professional mechanics, etc. don't know. A couple of years ago I took my car into the local dealership for a recall replacement of the plastic air intake. The kid that did the work managed to flood the spark plug holes with coolant, when I went to pick the car up on a Friday afternoon it was missing so bad as to be almost undriveable.
Ike
QUOTE]

Sad But True.... we have someone on this site that I have known for 20-25+ years that keeps getting on here bragging about having been an ASE certified Automotive Service Technician at the local Olds/Cadillac/GMC/Jeep/Eagle/Renault dealership and at a Chevy dealership, and in conversations can often be heard to say how he always had to fix what other people screwed up. He has picked up some usefull information and some skill on old engines, but most of that was learned by breaking things he shouldn't have been messing with in the first place and having to either figure out how to patch it back together or having someone else show him how to fix what he broke and then going on to explain the process in detail to others because he was suddenly the expert on it. Used to work in a couple small machines too, there again complaining about having to fix everything all the time when "other people" made their parts wrong. I know someone else that worked with him in one of those shops and also has his own tool and die shop, that told me the truth on the subject. The self proclaimed expert on everything was the one making the bad parts all the time that his co-workers had to fix for him.

I guess the point to all of this, is just because someone has a patch on their shirt showing that they're ASE certified (because the shop makes everyone wear the uniform) doesn't neccesarily mean they know what they're doing.

Some people learn by growing up around equipment and are shown how to work on things by their parents, grandparents, uncles, etc. Some people learn how to work on things by tearing down something that doesn't work, finding the problem and fixing it after reading up on the subject or asking for help. And some people learn how to 'fix' things by breaking them first so they have to figure how to fix them. Hey I wonder how far I can move this, Ooops, Hey what does this do, Ooops. Wow the engine sounds neat when I do this, BANG ! Ooops !

I won't mention his name or user ID on here, but the guy set my tactor on fire while he was storing it for me, bent both axles and broke the front bolster on the engine cart under my 5HP monitor, blew the muffler off a 12 HP Stover with the previous owner standing their in shock when he did it, dumped an engine over pulling it down the road too fast on a steel wheel cart that a pin came out of while he was pulling it, and the list goes on and on.... Now he thinks he's an airplane pilot, and bought a bunch of pins and badges on eBay to show everyone how long he's supposedly been at it. Didn't hear the details on what he did there, but he got himself banned from the local airport.
Good things he's a certified expert on everything or he might be dangerous to be around.
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