How To Start A Generator ?

Starting generator manually-2
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    Owning a BISON generator is one of the most intelligent decisions you can make because it guarantees power during storms and other outages. You can choose between an automatic generator that starts automatically during a power outage and a manual generator that you turn on yourself.

    While automatic generators may seem like a great idea, their cost can be prohibitive for many. The time to turn on the electric generator is so short that you won’t be without power for too long. Unless you run very critical equipment like hospital ventilators, life support machines, etc., you don’t need an automatic generator.

    In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps to start your generator for the first time and every other time you start your generator after that.

    Starting generator manually

    Starting the generator for the first time (brand new generator)

    Starting a new generator can be challenging, but the following steps can do the job much easier. Follow the instructions for each operation to avoid accidents or damage to the power generator itself.

    Check the generator manual for assembly

    While the generator starting procedure is the same, assembling the generator concerning the manual (if not already assembled) is a significant consideration. The manual will also help you determine which parts they are when we refer to them in the rest of the guide.

    Check for leaks and damage

    Next, check the diesel generator for any damage to parts during shipping or storage. In particular, check moving parts such as levers and switches. Also, check for possible gas leaks from torn pipes or loose seals.

    If you find any issues that can be fixed quickly, fix them before the next phase. Otherwise, you must contact the seller or manufacturer for a replacement if the alternator is severely damaged, such as broken tie rods or missing parts.

    Move the generator outside

    As a warning, never run any fuel-dependent machinery indoors. They produce a lot of carbon monoxide gas which can quickly kill you within minutes. Being a colorless and odorless gas, you’d better not turn on the generator in your house, shed, or garage. It is recommended that the generator should be at least 15 feet away from home.

    When operating outdoors, always protect the diesel generator from rain and sunlight as they pose a risk to the machine’s components and operation. Water can short out the alternator and even damage the engine. Therefore, you need a generator tent that covers the generator and the surrounding area.

    On the other hand, you may have noticed that the backup generator is stored in a shed with only one wall and a roof, while the rest of the shed is covered with a loose material such as wire mesh. This hood type is safe as long as there is adequate air circulation.

    dragging generators on the road

    Check oil and gas level

    What Kind Of Oil Does A Generator Use

    With a new generator, it probably only has oil or gas if you tried it at the shop. So you must oil it and add the correct fuel type to the recommended level. Always use fresh gas with the generator, as the ethanol that is part of the gas absorbs moisture, and the generator may not start.

    Disconnect the generator wires

    To prevent the risk of electric shock and other types of damage to any electronic equipment connected to the inverter generator, you should disconnect all power cords connected to the generator before attempting to start the generator. This is true even when you start the generator later.

    Open the fuel valve

    Open the fuel valve by flipping the small lever. When you do this, fuel goes into the carburetor, helping to start the generator.

    Open the choke

    If facing the choke, turn the lever from right to left. It will probably be marked ON and OFF; you should ensure the lever is in the ON section.

    Turn on the engine switch (ignition)

    The engine switch, also known as the master or ignition switch, starts the engine. It would help if you turned it on before using the recoil line or the start button to turn on the engine.

    Starting the generator with/without a pull rope

    You can start the alternator with the engine start switch or the recoil cord. If your engine won’t start, your battery is probably low and needs to be charged before trying the process again. The steps for each method are as follows:

    •  With pull cord

    The pull cord is a T-shaped piece of plastic that protrudes from a round hub, usually with the name of the alternator written on the hub. To start the generator with it, you have to pull the cord out until you feel some resistance, then let go. If the engine does not start on the first test, try again.

    If the engine does not start after about three trials, turn the choke to Half run and try again. Make sure to pull the cord in a near-jerk motion, not a slow one.

    • Without a pull cord (or with a switch)

    Turning on the generator with the switch is very simple as it only requires turning the switch half a turn clockwise.

    Move the choke to the run option

    After the generator starts, turn the choke to the run option to keep it running smoothly. From here, it will run without issue until you turn it off.

    Always follow these steps even the next time you start your generator. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to connect the generator to your home’s mains.

    Starting the generator for the first time

    Precautions When Starting a Generator for the First Time

    Starting a new or old gasoline generator requires special care. This guide will help you avoid accidents and ensure long-term use.

    What To Do:

    1. Plan Your Power Needs: Don’t overwork your generator. Ideally, your generator should produce 1.5 times the power you need. Remember, adding a new load stresses the generator to match the new power used.

    2. Keep Extra Fuel: Always have extra fuel for emergencies. Power outages during storms can last longer than expected.

    3. Exercise Caution: Be careful when using a generator. Refuel only after the generator has cooled down and there are no flames nearby.

    4. Maintain Power Cords: Ensure power cords are in good condition. Check their power rating and ensure they’re properly insulated and grounded. Protect them from sun and harsh conditions to extend their lifespan. Check the integrity of the cables before starting the generator.

    5. Keep Manual Handy: If you encounter a problem, refer to the manual. It can save you from unnecessary hassles and costs.

    What Not To Do:

    1. Indoor Usage: Never use a generator indoors. Keep at least 15 feet distance from any home to avoid suffocation from carbon monoxide released by generators. Maintain at least 4 feet of clearance from any covering you use on your generator.

    2. Wet Environments: Avoid using the generator in a wet environment. It increases the possibility of electrocution and damage to the generator. Keep it covered and off the ground.

    3. Power Cord Connection: Don’t start the generator with the power cord connected to the home. It can cause power surges damaging your electronics. Wait for the engine sound to stabilize before plugging in the power cord.

    How to Start a Diesel Generator

    Starting and stopping a diesel generator differs from a gasoline generator. Here are the steps to get your diesel generator running:

    1. Check Water Tank: Ensure the water tank is full. If it’s winter, also check if the antifreeze is topped up.

    2. Check Oil, Fuel, and Radiator Water Levels: These should be at the desired level. If not, top them up with the correct fluid.

    3. Check Switches: All switches, including chokes, should be turned in the desired direction.

    4. Check Diesel Emergency Stop: It should be in the correct position. This is located on the generator’s dashboard.

    5. Check Genset Preheat: If the ambient temperature is 20°C or below, turn on the electric heater to heat the entire generator above this temperature.

    6. Check for Leaks and Debris: This helps eliminate risks of electric shock, fire, and general failures. Check areas such as the exhaust and generator set for debris.

    7. Check Battery and Voltage: They should be in proper condition to start the generator. Also, check the alternator and diesel circuits to ensure they’re working and securely installed.

    8. Check Genset Controller Light: It should be working fine.

    9. Bleed Air from Fuel System: This is important for the generator’s performance.

    10. Bleed Air from Oil Filter: This is equally important for the generator’s operation.

    11. Release Emergency Stop Button: Turn it clockwise and manually switch the control switch to the stop setting.

    These steps are easy to follow with your generator manual and if the generator is in good condition.

    start generator without key

    How to start the generator without the key?

    If you lose your keys, don’t panic. Many generators have a backup recoil start feature, so all you have to do is pull the cord instead of turning the key.

    Starting a generator without a key (by recoil) is a little more complicated in some cases, but the generator manufacturer usually provides information on how to start the generator.

    Once you’ve done what you need, you may want to ask the manufacturer for the key code (or it may be in your documentation or somewhere in the hardware):

    • user manual
    • label on the manual
    • metal plate on the housing
    • on the spare key

    You can then go to any locksmith and get a key. Better get a set of keys and stash them in different places.

    Difficult to pull the rope

    Difficult to pull the rope

    Is your electric generator recoil cord difficult to pull? There could be several reasons behind this. The first problem, in this case, is that the combustion chamber is filled with liquid. There could also be a problem with the recoil assembly itself.

    There is liquid in the combustion chamber

    The piston in the combustion chamber cannot compress liquids, but it can compress gasses. This is sometimes called a “hydro lock”. You can first remove the spark plugs and look in the combustion chamber to check for any signs of fluid.

    If you can see the liquid, find a thin stick, stick a clean cloth to the edge of the stick, and dip it in the liquid. Afterwards, you will need to rinse your cylinder.

    To continue cleaning, move the generator outside and keep your face away from the spark plug hole. Now that you can pull the starter wire and drain the fluid from the spark plug hole, you must do a few quick pulls.

    It’s normal if fluid comes out of a spark plug hole 10 feet up.

    Now you can reinstall the spark plugs and start the generator usually. The problem, in this case, is that you need to know what exactly is causing the hydro lock. Here are some possibilities:

    • If the generator is at a severe angle for an extended period, the oil may seep through the piston rings and sit on top of the piston.
    • Your carburetor has a faulty floating needle valve that won’t stop gasoline from flowing into the carburetor bowl. If this is the case, your carburetor must also be checked and cleaned. You will also need to change the oil before starting the generator.
    • If the generator is left outside and it rains hard enough, the rain can enter the combustion chamber through the exhaust. It can also cause rust if the water is not removed. After the water has been “flushed off” in the manner described above, you will need to change the oil before attempting to start the generator again.

    There is a problem with the recoil starter component

    Since the component comes with a cable, it can get tangled and jammed occasionally. These components are not difficult to repair; here is the complete disassembly procedure:

    If the cord is OK, you should check the flywheel for any damage and the flywheel key. After removing the starter cup and fan tray, you can see a flywheel.

    Check the flywheel for any damage. The flywheel key finds precisely where the flywheel connects to the layshaft. If you end up with a damaged flywheel, seek professional help to fix the problem.


    That’s it! You now know how to start your generator. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask BISON, we will try our best to help you.

    Once you know how to start a generator, it's also essential to understand how much load the generator can handle. It depends on how much electrical power the generator can provide, measured in watts.


    If you have a small generator, it can produce around 3,000 to 4,000 watts. This amount is reasonable for refrigerators, televisions, lights, and fans.


    If you need more power, mid-size generators are more substantial. It can generate around 5,000 to 6,000 watts, powering two air conditioners.


    Larger-sized generators produce around 7,000 to 10,000 watts, making it easy to manage power for everything in a small house.

    Generally, generators can run for up to 8 hours with a full tank, but this will vary depending on the generator's condition, use and size.

    It's best to seek information on how to start a generator and how long it lasts from an expert or the company's customer service to get an accurate idea.

    The automatic backup generator can run in as little as 30 seconds (sometimes even less). In contrast, a gas generator may take several minutes to warm up. These systems require a warm-up period so that the oil can lubricate the engine's components.

    Like your car needs a battery to start the ignition process, a backup generator needs one to start the engine. If your backup generator battery isn't working, your appliance is nothing more than an expensive lawn ornament. A backup generator requires a 12-volt battery, the same type as your car's.

    The generator could keep running as long as it has fuel. However, certain fuels may be more difficult to obtain during natural disasters or other emergencies. Keep the generator running as long as you can get the fuel it needs.

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