Generator Starts Then Stops Immediately – Why?

Generator starts then stops immediately?

Here are 8 reasons why a generator may shut down after starting up:

Reason 1

Check if there is water in the radiator

Reason 2

Check for very low engine oil levels

Reason 3

Check the fuel gauge for very low fuel levels in the tank. Look for fuel pipe restrictions, bends or damage that may be preventing sufficient fuel getting through to the engine. Also, sediment in the fuel tank may also be causing the issue.

Reason 4

Check that the fuel pipe to the engine hasn’t broken or is leaking.

Reason 5

Check if the engine is too HOT. Can you see any damage to the radiator vanes? Or is dust/debris blocking the vanes?

Check for coolant sensor failure – the control panel display will show ‘low coolant warning

These can fail at any time. Check the appearance of the coolant pressure sensor and compare it with the photos below. Are the terminals bent or broken?

Example of coolant sensor:
Generator Starts Then Stops Immediately - Coolant Sensor

Example of coolant sensor with bent terminal:
Generator Starts Then Stops Immediately- Coolant Sensor Terminals

Replace the failed sensor and all should be well again. However, if this doesn’t solve the issue of the generator starting and then the shutting down, then the next step will be:

Reason 7

Oil pressure switch failure – control panel display will show ‘low oil pressure warning.’

These can fail at any time. Look at the oil pressure sensor appearance.
Ensure that the terminal connections are tight. Is the thin cable still attached, undamaged, without any breaks in the cable installation? If these are all OK then the next step is to replace the oil pressure sender.

Example of oil sender pressure switch:
Generator Starts Then Stops Immediately- Oil Sender Pressure Switch

Replace the failed oil pressure switch as per the example above and all should be well again.

Following the above seven suggestions should get your generator started again, generally speaking. However, if you have carried out all the above steps and your generator still starts and then immediately stops, your last resort will be to call in a control panel expert.

Reason 8

The generator control panel needs to be reprogrammed in order to accept the new parts that have been fitted.

The control panel may need to acknowledge the coolant sensor and oil pressure switch. You can do this by integrating the control panel e.g. a Deep Sea 7310 control panel, and resetting the parameters for the newly fitted parts. If you will struggle with this task then call your local Deep Sea or CoMap control panel expert, who can send out an engineer with a laptop. He will be able to connect to the controller to reset the necessary parameters.

Now you’re ready to start your generator and it’s happy days again.


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