Tips on using a generator
Tip 1: Never operate a generator in or too close to your house
Every year, people die from running their generators in their garage or too close to their house. You can’t run your generator in your garage, even with the door open. And you can’t run it under your eaves either. Yes, it’s a pain to move it away from the house and run longer extension cords. And yes, you’ll have to stand in the rain to refill the unit. But it’s better than burying your family.
Tip 2: Never “backfeed” power into your home
The Internet is filled with articles explaining how to “backfeed” power into your house with a “dual male-ended” extension cord. But that’s horrible advice and you shouldn’t follow it. Backfeeding is illegal—and for good reason. It can (and does) kill family members, neighbors and power company linemen every year. If you really want to get rid of all those extension cords, pony up the few hundred bucks for a transfer switch. Then pay an electrician to install it. That’s the only safe alternative to multiple extension cords.
Tip 3: Let the generator cool down before refilling
Generator fuel tanks are always on top of the engine so they can “gravity-feed” petrol to the carburetor or E.F.I. That setup can quickly turn into a disaster if you spill petrol when refueling a hot generator. Think about it—if you spill fresh petrol onto a hot engine and it ignites, you’ve got about 6 more litres of petrol sitting right above the fire. Talk about an inferno! It’s no wonder generators (and owners) go up in flames every year from that little mistake. Spilling is especially easy if you refill at night without a flashlight. We know you can go without power for a measly 15 minutes, so cool your heels while the sucker cools down.
Tip 4: Pour safely
Similar to Tip number 3, never put petrol into a generator that is running.
Tip 5: Run it on a level surface
Many small generators have “splash” lubrication systems with crankshaft “dippers” that scoop up oil and splash it onto moving parts. That system works well if the unit is on level ground. But if you park the generator on a slope (usually more than 10 degrees), the dippers can’t reach all the oil, and some engine parts run dry. That’s a recipe for catastrophic failure. So always place your generator on a level surface. If you don’t have a level spot, make one. That advice holds true even if you have a E.F.I system.
Tip 6: Keep enough motor oil and filters on hand to get you through an extended outage
Most new generators need their first oil change after just 20 hours. After that, you’ll have to dump the old stuff and refill every 50 or 60 hours. During extended outages, you can easily run your generator long enough to need an oil change. Stock up on the oil you need before the storm hits.
Tip 7: Limit cord length to prevent appliance damage
Generators can be noisy, so most users park them as far away from the house/caravan as possible. That’s OK as long as you use a heavy-duty, 15 amp, outdoor-rated extension cord. But even that type of cord has its limits. Never exceed a total length of 20 metres. from the generator to the appliance. The voltage drop on longer runs can cause premature appliance motor and compressor burnout.
Tip 8: Prevent theft
The only thing worse than the rumbling sound of a petrol engine outside your bedroom window is the sound of silence after someone steals your expensive generator. Combine security and electrical safety by digging a hole and sinking a grounding rod and an eye hook in cement for house use generators. Invest in a good solid padlock and chain for your caravan.
Tip 9: Running out of petrol can cost you
Some low-cost generators with economy voltage regulators will keep putting out power as the generator runs out of petrol. As the generator comes to a stop, the electrical load in your house/caravan can drain the residual magnetic “field” from the generator coils. Sure, it’ll start up once you refill it, but it won’t generate power. You’ll have to haul it into a repair shop and pay a pro to rezap the “field.” That can cost you. But good luck getting it serviced in the aftermath of a big storm. Instead, turn off the electrical load and shut down the generator before it runs out of fuel. Let it cool. Then refill it, restart it and connect the load.
Tip 10: Bad fuel can stop you in your tracks
Stale fuel is the No. 1 cause of starting problems on all petrol-powered small engines. Even with their E.F.I models, iTechworld recommends adding fuel stabilizer to the petrol to minimize fuel breakdown and varnish and gum buildup. But even that is no guarantee against future problems. So, iTechworld recommend emptying the fuel tank and running the carburetor/E.F.I dry (run the engine until it stalls). Read more about bad fuel HERE Read about generator servicing and maintenance HERE
Read more +
Inverter Generator Operation
Running in period: The first maintenance we should do with any iTechworld inverter generator is to take the time to run it in. The same way you would with a car. To start the generator for the first time it is best to use the pull rope. There is a choke lever for the pull rope inside the Oil/ Service/ Air Filter access panel. Once it has started with the pull rope let the inverter generator run for 30 minutes. You can now use the key/remote start function for starting your inverter generator. Do not exceed 75% of the continuous rated output in Watts for the first 20 hours. After 20 hours, do the first service as mentioned in the maintenance schedule. You can now fully load the inverter generator.
1. What grade of fuel should I use?
All iTechworld Inverter Generators run best with 95+ octane fuel. Turn the engine off and let it cool before refuelling. Never refuel while the engine is running.
2. Do I need to check the oil in a brand new inverter generator before starting it?
It is always a good idea to check the engine oil before starting your inverter generator. Some inverter generators may be shipped dry, some may have a small amount of oil that was used to perform a bench test on the unit. Running any engine on a dry oil tank will cause it to seize up and you will end up with a 30kg brick instead of an engine and it won’t be good for much besides a paperweight for the world’s largest desk. Checking and changing your oil should become a regular occurrence of your inverter generator maintenance.
3. Can I have my inverter generator installed in my house?
Yes. You can have inverter generators installed with inverter generator transfer switches if you plan on using it as a back-up power source in the case of a power outage. A licensed electrician should do the installation to make sure that the inverter generator is installed properly and up-to-code.
Back feeding electricity is extremely hazardous. Always trip your service disconnect at your outside meter box to prevent back feeding. If you do not have a service disconnect, you should contact an electrician to add one and the proper receptacle for hooking up a portable inverter generator. Do not plug your inverter generator into your home through a 240v outlet.
4. What type of extension cord should I use with my portable inverter generator?
For emergency power to appliances it is recommended to use a 15 amp. Outdoor extension cord.
5. Is it safe to operate my inverter generator indoors?
No. Engines using petrol produce a deadly gas called carbon monoxide. This gas is odourless and colourless, as well as deadly, so it is highly dangerous.
6. Can you supply inverter generators larger than 2000 watts?
Yes. We have larger inverter generators that run right up to 3600/4000 Watts. Check out our range HERE.
7. Can my inverter generator handle a load as soon as it is turned on?
No. You should have the inverter generator running before a load is applied. Similarly, you should not shut the inverter generator down while it is still pulling a load.
8. How long will my inverter generator run on a full tank of petrol?
This will vary greatly depending on your inverter generator, its capacity, the size of its fuel tank, and the size of the load you are placing on it.
Inverter Generator Troubleshooting
9. Why is my inverter generator having a hard time starting?
When your Inverter Generator has not been used for a long period of time, it may be hard to start. Begin your inverter generator troubleshooting by looking all around your inverter generator to see if it sustained any trauma or has any broken parts that need replacement. Problems with starting are usually because there is old petrol in the tank or fuel filter. The battery may also be flat. Other reasons for not starting are the spark plug needs changed or the fuel has gummed up in the carburetor. Some of our new models have E.F.I which make them much easier to start after long periods of being idle. Even with the E.F.I though fuel can still gum up in other parts of the inverter generator including the fuel filter, fuel bowl and fuel pump. We always recommend removing fuel before long periods of no use. If you have checked all these components and it still will not start, you will need to contact iTechworld.
10. What do I do about an engine that runs erratic?
Inverter Generator troubleshooting for an engine that runs erratically will often come back to the fuel filter. If replacing the fuel filter does not fix the problem, contact iTechworld.
11. What do I do if my inverter generator keeps shutting off?
Inverter generator troubleshooting for an engine that shuts off while running will usually start with checking the air filter. If this is not the culprit, it may be a clogged fuel filter, insufficient petrol, or your load may simply be too much for your inverter generator to handle. We see this issue mainly happening with low grade fuel such as 91 octane or with debris in the fuel.
12. Why is no power available if my motor is running?
First check the device you are trying to power. Plug it into a different source that you know to be running to check if the fault is there. This could also be caused by having poor fuel or a clog in the fuel lines. If your iTechworld inverter generator has a digital display on it, check what the voltage reading is to see if the inverter generator is creating power.
Inverter Generator Maintenance
13. How do I check my oil level?
Locate the dipstick and remove it. Identify the full mark on the dipstick and the oil line indicating the how full the oil tank is. If more oil is needed, fill to the indicated mark on the dipstick, but take care not to overfill. Change the oil per the service guide recommendation to avoid further inverter generator maintenance.
14. What kind of oil should I add to the engine?
All iTechworld 4-stroke inverter generators work best with fully synthetic high quality 10W-30 oil.
15. Should I turn on my inverter generator if I have not used it for a while?
Yes, this is one of the simplest preventive maintenance services you can do for your inverter generator. Running an inverter generator with a load occasionally is a good idea. Running it once a month will prevent petrol from producing a gum on the carburettor/E.F.I.
16. Do I need to remove the petrol before storing my inverter generator?
Yes, removing the petrol is always a good idea when storing your inverter generator for a prolonged period of time this will prevent the fuel from gumming up which can prevent the inverter generator from starting. It s also essential to remove the petrol if you plan on storing it inside. It is never advisable to store combustible materials inside your home.
17. Do I need to use a fuel stabilizer?
As mentioned above, it is not a good idea to store petrol in an inverter generator. If you are storing petrol in a jerry can for your inverter generator, however, a fuel stabilizer is a good idea. Remember; do not store petrol in a confined space such as a car or your house.
18. How do I change a fuel filter?
You will simply close the fuel tap, remove the clamps on either side of the filter and pull the old one off. Look through the filter to ensure you can see light shining through. If you cannot, it is time to replace it. To replace your fuel filter, just do the reverse process, but make sure to keep the inside of the filter clean. If your filter has an arrow on it, point it in the direction of the fuel flow.
19. How do I change old petrol?
Itechworld inverter generator units can simply be drained and primed with new fuel. However, iTechworld also recommend a more complete inverter generator service including replacement of old lines and filters along with a cleaning of the carburettor/E.F.I and fuel tank. A full service can be done by iTechworld.
20. How do I change the oil?
Regular inverter generator service involves changing the oil. A good tip is to run your inverter generator for a few minutes first to get the engine warm as this will help the oil and contaminants to drain easier. When you purchased your inverter generator from iTechworld you will would have received a screw on oil removing pipe that goes onto the sump. Alternatively if you have purchased an iTechworld service kit there is an oil removing syringe device included. Service kits available HERE.
21. How do I change the air filter?
Checking the air filter should be a regular part of your inverter generator maintenance checklist. When an air filter gets dirty and cannot draw the needed amount of clean air (or the engine must work too hard to do so), it is time to replace it. All iTechworld inverter generators have slide out air filters which are easy to change and clean.
22. How do I change the battery?
If your inverter generator troubleshooting process has lead you to the battery, you may be able to fix the problem with a simple cleaning. If you have corrosion on the connections of your battery, shut the engine off and use a solution of baking soda and water, along with a brush, to clean the contacts. It is not a bad idea to clean your contacts periodically as a part of your regular preventive maintenance. If they are clean and you inverter generator still will not start, you might need to replace the battery.
You can use a volt meter to troubleshoot your battery and see if it needs to be replaced. If you are in need of a new battery, be sure to contact iTechworld. To remove your battery:
- Using the provided screwdriver unscrew and remove the battery access panel.
- Find the white connector and unplug the connector by lifting up the locking tab.
- Push the black tab down and pull gently towards you to remove the strap securing the battery.
- Pass the strap through the cables and pull the battery out.
23. When should I change my spark plugs?
The first time you change your spark plug is after the run in period of 20 hours. After that it should be every 100 hours or once a year. You may also need to replace a sparkplug if it is worn and cracked.
With the provided screwdriver, remove the spark plug access panel.
Unplug the spark plug lead, may require some wriggling to remove as it can be tight.
- Using the provided spark plug removal tool, place onto the spark plug
- Using the provided screwdriver insert through a set of holes on the spark plug removal tool then push towards the handle of the generator to loosen the sparkplug. Once loosened by the tool, remove the screwdriver and loosen by hand.
- When reinstalling sparkplug, take care when screwing in the sparkplug with the provided tool by hand, to prevent cross threading, once the sparkplug is hand tight use the screwdriver to tighten by approximately 1/8th of a turn.
Clean the spark plug with a spark plug cleaner and a wire brush. If there are any persistent deposits or cracks in the porcelain, replace it.
24. How do I clean my carburettor/E.F.I?
Cleaning of a carburetor/E.F.I is a more complex procedure and should really be done by a mechanic or service agent. You will have to unhook the fuel line (and maybe even remove the fuel tank) to get it off, and a proper cleaning requires you to take apart the carburettor/E.F.I and use carburettor cleaner to clean the inside of it.
25. How do I add engine oil through the spark plug hole?
Take out the spark plug and pour about a teaspoon of oil down the hole. Replace the plug after pulling the recoil a few times to properly distribute the oil.
26. When do I need to put oil in the spark plug hole?
Again, this is a good idea if you will not be using your inverter generator for a prolonged period of time. Adding a little oil in the sparkplug hole will inhibit the formulation of rust, and save you from further inverter generator maintenance.
27. Where is the best place to store my inverter generator when I do not need it?
The ideal place to store your inverter generator is a place that is sheltered, dry, clean, and not near any sparks or flames. Remember to remove the fuel and oil the spark plug holes before storage.
28. Where can I get inverter generator maintenance parts?
Parts can be sourced from iTechworld. We have all inverter generator engine parts avaialble, contact us for further assistance. Warranty for your inverter generator is available exclusively through iTechworld.
29. Can you provide an inverter generator Maintenance Schedule?
Yes, all Redback RB4 inverter generators will come with a manual, log book and maintenance schedule.
Read more +