Every day, power outages happen. While you may not realize it, each time the power goes out, you’re in for a little adventure attempting to get things back up and running.
Your first dilemma is figuring out how to restart your generator to get electricity flowing back into the house. Again when power is restored, you’ll need to repeat the entire process. This back and forth can be inconvenient at best.
However, installing an automatic start on your generator solves all of these problems. Instead of starting your unit manually, it will automatically kick on once power is lost and automatically turn off when utility-supplied power is restored.
The following guide provides step-by-step instructions on installing an automatic start, so you never worry about starting your generator manually.
Safety Precautions to Consider When Installing an Automatic Start
But before we jump right into installing one of these convenient devices, there are several safety precautions you should keep in mind.
1. Check the Use Manual
Before you dive into your project, take some time to look through any manuals that came with your equipment. Many generators come with operation manuals and safety precautions.
Ensure to read them thoroughly before getting started. You may be surprised at how many simple problems and questions are already answered in these documents. And best of all, it gives you a great starting point if you have any questions once everything is done and ready to use.
2. Prepare the Physical Setup
Before you begin, inspect your gas generator or electric start generator. You’ll want to make sure it is functioning properly and isn’t damaged in any way. Contact a professional right away if you notice anything wrong, like loose bolts or leaking fuel lines.
Next, select where you would like your automatic start installed. Generators should be installed outside of living spaces (such as garages or sheds) with plenty of ventilation and away from extreme temperatures or sources of heat such as hot air vents and fireplaces.
If installing your automatic starter near existing electrical wiring, consult with a professional electrician before attempting installation yourself; they will verify any safety issues you need to be aware of before continuing.
3. Remove the Battery
Before touching or working on your generator, remove its battery. This will help prevent any accidental sparks and possible fire hazards. If your generator does not have a start button but has push buttons instead, be sure to turn off all of them before removing batteries.
Ensure that everything is off, such as circuit breakers, fuses, and turning off power switches. If necessary, unplug appliances or lights from electrical outlets if they don’t turn off completely after unplugging them from their wall sockets.
4. Get a Permit If Required
Depending on where you live, you may obtain a permit before installing an automatic start. Talk with your local planning office before moving forward, so you don’t run into any surprises after installation.
If your area doesn’t require permits, check in with your utility company as they may have certain requirements. Ensure that you’re fully aware of all local laws and regulations regarding electrical installations and you are updated.
The last thing you want is for your generator to cause damage or injury because of improperly installed electrical wiring or components.
5. Consult an Electrician
You’re going to need a licensed professional electrician to help you wire and install your automatic generator start. Not only will they make sure everything is wired properly, but they can help you figure out where and how best to place your new starter.
Also, do not attempt any electrical work without consulting one first. Mistakes can be costly and even deadly. And if you uncover faults with your wiring, they will be able to troubleshoot and correct them before they cause damage or injury.
A Step by Step on How to Make Generator Automatic Start
Here are explained steps on installing an automatic start for a portable generator. We know that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of these technical terms, but don’t fret. Anyone with basic electrical knowledge can easily follow these instructions.
Tools and Materials Needed
- An automatic starter unit
- Drilling bait
- Mounting screws
- Mounting templates
Step 1: Disconnect the Power Source
Before performing any work on your generator, read over all safety precautions outlined in your manufacturer’s service manual. Ensure that you have disconnected the power source before beginning work.
Step 2: Mount the Starter Unit
Find a good location to mount your starter unit. The best location is vertically on the wall of your garage.
Using a drilling bit, drill two holes into your wall where you want to install your unit. Attach the mounting screws using the appropriate fasteners and tighten appropriately until the starter unit is fixed in place.
When installing, ensure that you have space above and below to provide adequate clearance during the installation process.
Step 3: Connect the 20-Contact Connector to All Wirings
With all wires set up, insert each inside to the corresponding points on the twenty contact connector according to its color-coding system.
In short, match black wires to black points while white ones are connected to red ones. Every color will correspond with a specific point number depending on their respective line diagrams shown in its user manual package.
As a safety precaution, ensure the 20 contact connectors have these limits. For example, the current limiter is set at 0-5 Amps and not greater than 50Amps. The voltage limiter is set at 30 Volts DC.
Step 4: Connect the Generator to the Start Unit
With all wires already securely attached to their respective points inside of your device, now we need to connect your generator to the unit.
First, you need to identify the start cable arrangement in your remote generator. Match the start, stop and ground wires to those corresponding to the connectors.
Step 5: Attach the Wires to LED to Create the On/Off Switch
The connection is made by attaching wires 9 and 11 to the LED (Light Emitting Diode) control panel situated behind your device housing. As a result, this led to creating a remote visible on/off switch.
Step 6: Connect to the Control Panel and other Network-Enabled Devices
This step involves connecting your generator’s control panel (and other network-enabled devices) to your home network. It can be done wirelessly or with a hardwired connection, but hardwiring is preferred in most circumstances because it poses a lower security risk.
However, wireless can be more convenient than hardwiring as you won’t have to run wires from your generator outside your house.
Final Step: Test for Power and Setting Concerns
It is the final step and ensures that your networking and configuration settings have been successful and that no further action is required. If either power or network indicator lights fail to illuminate, check your network connection and try again until they do.
You can test your generator as well: Insert your generator’s plug into a wall outlet, then flip on its switch. The light should illuminate immediately and be steady, not flashing.
Generator switches often have multiple settings; make sure yours is automatic or equivalent. Alternatively, consult your owner’s manual for details specific to your machine if necessary.
Faqs About How to Make a Generator Automatic Start
1. Can a portable generator start automatically?
No, you’ll need to install an automatic start device if you want your generator to start automatically. Automatic start kits are designed to connect to portable generators, allowing them to start and run in the event of a power loss or other circumstances where electricity is unavailable.
Typically, these kits include sensors that attach to battery terminals and transmit signals back and forth.
2. How do auto-start generators work?
Auto start generators are designed with sensors that pick up when your home power supply goes out. Once it senses a lapse in power, it automatically kicks on and starts producing electricity for your house.
The generator will remain on as long as necessary until power has been restored to your house. This process can happen multiple times during bad weather or utility outages.
3. Do generators automatically shut off?
Generators come in two basic varieties, manual start and automatic start. The automatic variety is as self-explanatory as its name. You turn it on, and it starts automatically.
These generators are typically much more expensive than their manual counterparts. However, this is a viable choice for certain people, especially those who are at home all day or have access to shore power.
4. What is a generator controller?
Generators require an automatic start device, usually called an automatic start controller or generator controller. This device is required by law and protects people, property, and generators from electrical hazards.
The main function of a generator controller is to monitor whether a generator’s voltage meets or exceeds its minimum set level. A generator control also monitors frequency to ensure it doesn’t become unstable, causing damage to either equipment connected directly or indirectly.
5. What is a two-wire auto start?
The two-wire auto-start is an accessory designed to make your generator more convenient and energy-efficient. It is ideal for solar applications. Instead of having a wired transfer switch from another power source, you can use what you already have: batteries.
Auto starts are great ways to reduce fuel consumption by keeping unnecessary power generation at bay.
6. How do you start a generator when the power goes out?
There are three main ways to start your generator when there is no power: pull-start, push-button start, and automatic start. The best option for you depends on your circumstances and which is easiest to use.
You can also purchase one of each of these so that you have all three options available in case of an emergency.
7. Does a pull start generator need a battery?
No, it does not. A pull start generator is simply a manually started generator that doesn’t require any power or external energy source to operate. Since it is started by hand, it does not require an engine battery and will not go dead if not used for long periods.
While it’s true that some generators do include automatic start mechanisms, the majority don’t especially portable generators. So, if you have such a model, don’t panic: our seven steps above provide detailed instructions on making one; follow them diligently.
Furthermore, this is something that anyone with basic electrical knowledge and a few simple tools can make at home. The design won’t take up extra room and will function efficiently during power outages or if your generator’s main switch is accidentally flipped off.
In short, an automatic generator start will save you unneeded worry, trips to the generator shed, and even save you some money as well—a win-win situation.
Check this video out