Generator Not Getting Spark(7 Troubleshooting Tips)

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A generator needs a spark to run. What happens when the device encounters a ‘No Spark’ situation? The generator won’t work. And unfortunately, no spark situations have various causes. You must troubleshoot the generator slowly and carefully to identify the problem.

7 Reasons Why Generator Is Not Getting A Spark

1). Defective Spark Plug

Spark plugs have limited lifespans. They tend to accumulate carbon on the electrode. This is the most obvious culprit and the first component people check.

If that isn’t the problem, check the porcelain insulator. Is it cracked, burned, or damaged in any way?

You can confirm your suspicions with a spark plug tester. If you can see a spark in the tester, the sparkplug works. But if you can’t see any sparks, it is due to the defective spark plug.

2). Faulty Ignition Coil

When you start the engine, the ignition coil sends the voltage to the spark plug. A faulty ignition coil can prevent the spark plugs from generating a spark. Test the spark plug first. If it works, turn your attention to the ignition coil.

3). Ignition Module Problem

The role of the ignition module is to ignite the air/fuel mixture by creating a strong spark. If you have a car, you can see the ignition module on the distributor housing.

In vehicles, a bad ignition module causes overheating and unexpected stalling. Because the ignition module manipulates the timing of the spark plugs, a faulty ignition module can lead to a ‘No Spark’ state.

Briggs and Stratton blame a defective ignition module on improper wiring.

4). Bad Voltage Regulator

You wouldn’t expect the voltage rectifier to cause a no spark state because the component is primarily concerned with supplying the battery the power it needs to charge. But a faulty voltage regulator will result in a dead battery, and you can’t get a spark in a generator with a dead battery.

5). Cracked Distributor Cap

People typically blame the absence of a spark on lousy spark plugs and wires because they can prevent the voltage from jumping the gap at the end of the spark plug. But a cracked distributor cap can produce the same results.

6). Sheared Flywheel

When you start a generator, the flywheel has magnets that pass the coil to create a spark. The ignition system takes over at this stage, controlling the timing to ensure that the sparks ignite the air/fuel mixture at the right time.

The flywheel continues to rotate even after the engine starts running, allowing the spark plugs to continue firing. A sheared flywheel key can compromise this process, preventing the engine from sparking.

7). Low Oil Level

If your generator has a low oil level switch, do not expect the generator to start. This is for your own good because it prevents engine failure.

If your generator refused to spark after you performed an oil change, the oil level is the most likely cause. If the oil level is satisfactory, you have a faulty oil level sensor.

How Do You Test A Generator For Spark?

1). If a shroud covers the spark plug, remove it. In most cases, it is a simple matter of removing a few screws.

2). Separate the spark plug from the ignition wire. Remove the plugs gently. Yanking on them could ruin the cables. In some cases, you have to rotate the fitting.

3). Connect one end of a spark plug tester to the spark plug. The other end connects to the ignition wire.

4). The spark plug tester has a transparent section. If you start the engine and the ignition system works, you will see a glow or spark in the transparent area. If you don’t see any glow or sparks, something is wrong.

5). If you don’t have a tester, you can try this method following this video.

It involves disconnecting the plug from the ignition wire, removing the plug, reconnecting the top to the ignition wire, and then holding the metal part of the spark plug against any metallic section of the cylinder head.

If the generator can spark, turning the engine over will produce a spark at the tip of the plug. The method Family Handyman has outlined is more convenient because spark plug testers are easy to use. But if you don’t have one, you can improvise.

What Happens If Generator Doesn’t Get Spark?

The spark plugs generate a spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture. Without that spark, the air/fuel mixture won’t ignite, which means the generator won’t run. Therefore, if your generator cannot get a spark, it won’t work.

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How Do I Fix No Spark?

1). Fix Faulty Components

If the problem was caused by a faulty component such as a defective ignition module, ignition wires, or a cracked distributor cap, you have to replace these items. Spark plugs are in the same boat.

If the spark plug is clearly damaged, or if you’ve observed a reduction in the performance and fuel economy, get new spark plugs. They are relatively inexpensive.

2). Adjust The Oil Level

If you don’t have a spark because the oil is not at the proper level, you can solve this problem by simply adjusting the oil level. If the oil is at the appropriate level, test the oil sensor.

This involves using a multimeter to ensure that you have continuity in the 6-pin connector when the oil is removed and no continuity when the oil is at the proper level. If the oil sensor is faulty, replace it.

3). Clean The Spark Plug

You don’t have to replace the spark plug, especially if it has only malfunctioned because of carbon buildup. You can start by cleaning the spark plug.

Take a knife and scrape the deposits off. If the integrity of the spark plug hasn’t been compromised, it should work as expected once you clean it.

Generator Has Spark But Won’t Start – Why?

A faulty ignition system is not the only problem that can prevent a generator from starting. Even with a spark, a generator can fail to start. Common causes of this phenomenon include:

  • No Gas
  • Dead Battery
  • Clogged Air Filter
  • Clogged Carburetor
  • Clogged Fuel Valve
  • Poorly Positioned Choke Lever

If you service the generator regularly and your troubleshooting process has disregarded all these issues, make sure the outlets are free. A generator may fail to start because it has electronic devices and extension cords plugged into its outlets.

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