Frequently Asked Questions
How do I maintain my generator for smooth operation?
To keep your portable generator running smoothly, you need to perform regular maintenance on the machine. Here are the basics of what we recommend for A-iPower portable generators. Remember you should always read your owner’s manual first, and if you are not comfortable with any of the maintenance steps, take your generator to a service center or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t skip on this or your generator will not operate properly.
Keep it clean
General maintenance consists of keeping the unit clean and dry. Operate and store the unit in a environment where it will not be exposed to excessive dust, dirt, moisture or any corrosive vapors. Cooling air slots in the generator must not become clogged with snow, leaves, or any other foreign material. Check the cleanliness of the generator frequently and clean when dust, dirt, oil, moisture or other foreign substances are visible on its exterior surface.
When cleaning, do not use a garden hose as water can enter the engine fuel system, cooling air slots, or other internal workings, causing damage to the generator. Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe exterior surfaces clean. A soft, bristle brush may be used to loosen caked on dirt, oil, etc. and a vacuum cleaner may be used to pick up loose dirt and debris. Low pressure air (not to exceed 25 psi) may be used to blow away dirt.
As part of the cleaning routine, inspect cooling air slots and openings. These openings must be kept clean and unobstructed.
Changing the oil
Change the oil after the first five hours of operation, then every 50 hours thereafter. If running the unit under dirty or dusty conditions, or in extremely hot weather, change the oil more often.
Replace the spark plug
Replace the spark plug once each year. This will help the engine start easier and run better.
When replacing the plug, stop the engine and pull the spark plug wire off of the spark plug. Clean the area around the spark plug and remove it from the cylinder head. Set the spark plug’s gap to 0.70-0.80 mm (0.028-0.031 in.) Install the correctly gapped spark plug into the cylinder and torque to 15 ft./lbs.
Clean the spark arrester
Shut off the generator and allow the engine and muffler to cool completely.
Remove the clamp and spark arrestor screen. Clean the spark arrester screen with a small wire brush. Replace the spark arrester if it is damaged. Installation of the spark arrester screen is the reverse of the removal.
Clean or replace the air filter
The engine will not run properly and may be damaged if using a dirty air filter. Replace the air filter once a year. Clean or replace more often if operating under dusty conditions.
To clean: Remove air filter cover and remove the filter. Wash in soapy water. Squeeze the filter dry in a clean cloth – do not twist. Clean the air filter cover before re-installing it.
Check and adjust valve clearance
After the first 50 hours of operation, check the valve clearance in the engine and adjust if necessary.
Intake valve clearance: should be 0.10-1.15 mm (0.004-0.006 in)
Exhaust clearance: 0.15-0.20 mm (0.006-0.008 in.)
If you are not sure on this procedure, take the generator to a service center to have the valve clearance adjusted or contact us at support@main————-q9wp9.hosts.cx. This is a very important step to ensure longest life for the engine.
Tips for when not in use
The generator should be started at least once every seven days and be allowed to run at least 30 minutes. If the unit must be stored for more than 30 days, then the fuel system should be emptied. Start and run the engine until the engine stops from lack of fuel. While the engine is still warm, drain oil from the crankcase, then refill with recommended grade oil.
Remove spark plugs and put about a half ounce of engine oil into the cylinders. Cover spark plug hole with rag. Pull the recoil starter a couple times to lubricate the piston rings and cylinder bore.
If it is not possible to empty the fuel tank and the unit is to be stored for some time, use a commercially available fuel stabilizer added to the gasoline to increase the life of the gasoline.
Install and tighten spark plug. Do not connect spark plug wires.
Cover the unit with a suitable protective cover that does not retain moisture.
|First 5 Hours|
|Change engine oil|
|Every 8 hours or daily|
|Check engine oil level|
|Every 25 hours or Yearly|
|Clean engine air filter|
|Every 50 hours or yearly|
|Change engine oil|
|Replace engine air filter|
|Service fuel valve|
|Service spark plug|
|Inspect muffler and spark arrester|
|Clean cooling system|
When choosing a portable generator, what features should I look for?
When severe weather strikes and the power goes off for extended periods, a portable generator can keep the lights on, the food cold, water running, and electronics powered. When choosing a portable generator, look for these features.
Enough power: Choose a generator with enough wattage output to power the appliances you’ll need in an emergency. Look for continuous running watts rather than surge wattage ratings when determining the correct generator to buy.
Sufficient electrical outlets: A portable generator should have enough receptacles for the devices a homeowner wants to run. Models that include a multi-outlet cord offer greater convenience.
Long enough run time on a full tank of gas: Look for a generator that will run through the night without refilling.
Portability: Choosing a generator equipped with wheels and handles makes it a lot easier on the user.
How should I choose a portable generator for my RV?
If you’re traveling in an RV, you are traveling with some of the comforts of home – air conditioning, fridge, microwave, television, and other appliances. To enjoy those amenities, you will need a power source. Portable generators provide an effective and economical solution to your power needs.
But what size generator to buy? First you need to understand that generator models are classified by watts – starting watts and running watts.
The more watts your generator has, the more items you can power at the same time. To know how much you will need, calculate all the wattage requirements of all the accessories you plan to operate on generator power. Typically, wattage is listed on the device, on the back or on the bottom. If not, a simple formula for determining watts is multiplying volts x amps. The total will tell you the model of generator you need.
One thing to remember is that some devices have starting wattage requirements that are larger than running watts, like the air-conditioner, which is the biggest power user. So to calculate the minimum number of watts you need, use the starting watts of the air conditioner plus the running watts for all other devices. This is the minimum wattage you will need from a generator.
Let’s make this a bit clearer with this example:
A 13,500 btu air conditioner will take about 2,800 starting watts. After it has powered up, it will run at about 1,800 watts. That leaves you 1,000 watts to power other items. So, if you plan to run more items that will exceed 1,000 watts, you will need a larger generator.
The chart below will give you a better idea of approximate running wattage of some common items used in an RV.
Please note: This is just a guide. Individual appliances may have varying wattages.
|APPLIANCE||RUNNING WATTS (approximate)
|Air-Conditioner 15,000 btu||2,000||3,300-3,500|
|Air Conditioner 13,500 btu||1,800||2,800|
|Keurig Coffee Maker||300||1,500|
|Electric Fry Pan||1,300||0|
|Microwave (650 watts)||1,000||1,000|
|Outdoor Light String||250||0|
|Cell Phone Battery Charger||25||0|
Another important factor to consider is how long you will be running your generator. The generator run time is found on the generator spec sheet and owner’s manual. Run time is determined at 50% load levels and the power used directly impacts the run time. The more power used, the shorter the run time and the sooner you will have to refuel.
Always be aware of safety and the danger of carbon monoxide. Keep the generator in an outside space, far from occupied areas, with its exhaust pointing away from campsites. Never transport your generator in the back of your RV or your SUV if you are towing a camper. The best way to transport your generator is to have a platform built on the back of your RV.
- Many campers and outdoor enthusiasts like to use inverter generators, which are compact, lightweight, and run quieter than portable models. A-iPower inverter generators come equipped with a built-in parallel kit, allowing two generators to connect for nearly double the power. We’ll discuss how to parallel inverters in a future blog.
How do I store my generator?
There are two storage options for your A-iPower Generator.
Short Term Storage (1-6 months):
If you plan to use your generator in unknown intervals over a 1 – 6 month period – we recommend the following:
- Always maintain proper oil level.
- Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent gas from varnishing / forming gum deposits as the fuel begins to evaporate.
- Avoid ethanol-based fuels when possible. Ethanol attracts moisture and can damage fuel systems. Fuel stabilizers also help prevent this by assisting in dispersing moisture.
- Start your generator at least 1 time per month.
- Keep fuel tank as full as possible while not overfilling. This helps prevent condensation in fuel tank.
- Store in a cool, dry environment out of the elements if possible.
Long Term Storage (more than 6 months without use):
- Change oil to remove any contaminates and fill to proper oil level.
- Drain gasoline from the fuel tank, fuel line and carburetor.
- Pour one teaspoon of engine oil through the spark plug hole.
- Pull the recoil starter several times to disperse engine oil in cylinder and replace the spark plug. Pull the starter until you feel the piston on the compression stroke and leave it in this position.
- Cover and store in a dry, well-ventilated area.
If a cover is not available, any sheet or tarp will do. Do not use plastic as it will retain moisture underneath, not allowing air to circulate in and around unit properly.
Make sure unit is completely cooled to room temperature prior to covering.
A-iPower Tech Crew
What is a portable generator?
A portable generator is a gas powered machine that provides you with the power you need anywhere you are.
What is an inverter?
Inverter technology provides cleaner, very stable power similar to the power delivered by a utility. Inverter technology electronically regulates the generator to deliver only the power required by the appliances connected to it. This allows the generator to run at slower speeds when not at full power output, run quieter, and use less fuel.
An inverter uses a special microprocessor to condition the power produced by the generator to create high quality power that is clean enough to power all of your equipment. An inverter generator takes the AC current, converts it into DC current, and then inverts it back to clean AC power.
Inverter technology also provides safe power for sensitive electronic devices: cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.
What is the difference between starting watts and running watts?
Generators[link] have a range of capabilities based on starting watts and running watts.
Running watts refers to the continuous power a generator can supply, and starting watts refers to the momentary boost of power the generator can supply to start a motor.
For example, when a refrigerator or an air conditioner is turned on by a generator, it requires a large amount of power for the start-up process. When the appliance motor reaches full speed, the current declines (running watts).
When choosing a generator, it’s best to focus on rated wattage in order to guarantee it will have enough power required for your equipment.
Do portable generators make a lot of noise?
Every generator receives a noise rating measured in decibels ranging from 55 to 85 dBA. This is measured seven meters from the machine. The lower the decibels the quieter the device, but it is still important for your generator to be effective and reliable for your desired use.
Can I plug the generator into a wall outlet?
Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household protection devices. Either plug appliances directly into the generator with power cords that are in good condition or have an electrician install a certified transfer switch.
What is a transfer switch and do I need one?
While a transfer switch isn’t necessary, it can be incredibly helpful. A transfer switch connects your generator to the circuit box in your house in order to provide a direct supply of electricity. A transfer switch protects your appliances and generator from any damage that may occur when the power comes back. It also eliminates the need for special cables. Only a licensed electrician should install a transfer switch.
What should I check before running a generator that has not been used for a long period of time?
Make sure you inspect all the parts of your generator before starting it to ensure everything is in good working condition. You will first need to check and clean the carburetor in order for your generator to work smoothly. Check the spark plug and the oil before starting as well. Most importantly, take your generator out into a well-ventilated, open space before starting it up again. Regularly running your generator will also help keep it in good condition.
Will I need to replace any of the parts in my portable generator?
It is important to regularly check the fuel filter, air filter, carburetor, and spark plug for any damage and replace them immediately.
Where is a safe place to put my generator?
Generators release exhaust that contains harmful fumes, such as carbon monoxide. That’s why it is important to make sure your generator is placed outdoors while in use. Position your generator away from any doors or windows to prevent exhaust fumes from getting into your home. Never operate your generator inside your home, garage, basement, or any enclosed area.
Also make sure to protect your generator from moisture, rain, and snow as it could produce an electrical shock if it comes in contact with water.
Parts of your generator can become very hot during use, so it is important to keep it away from any flammable materials. Place your generator at least three feet away from any buildings while in use.
Where can I find an A-iPower dealer near me?
Visit our Where to Buy page
I have misplaced my owner’s manual, how can I obtain a new one?
See our Resources tab and you will find manuals.[link to page]