Performance Power 1Kva Generator has no output

Performance Power 1Kva Generator

Although this isn't technically a vehicle, there isn't a more appropriate category, and it is basically just a petrol engine and stator, after all.

My Performance Power 1Kva (label reads as Ikva though!) petrol generator failed in service, and I've just got around to stripping it down to look into why and whether it can reasonably be repaired.

This documentation details the process I've followed.

 

The Issue

The generator runs, but the voltage gauge no longer shows any spark juice being generated, and tests at the socket confirm there's nothing actually being generated.

No Volts!

 

Terminology

Although the component at the end of the crankshaft is technically called a generator, to avoid confusion with the system as a whole, I'll refer to it as an alternator (even though the construction is not that of an alternator) to disambiguate when I'm referring to the entire unit as opposed to the generator component.

The process

I went into this on the basis that if I couldn't find the cause, or decided it wasn't repairable, I was going to strip the unit down entirely and break it for parts.

So with that in mind, and to improve access, I started by removing the tank. It's held in place by 4 bolts, so I removed those, and the air filter cover (for access), ensured the tap was off and then clamped the hose

Performance Power 1Kva Petrol Generator Fuel Hose

Before disconnecting the hose from the carb lifting the tank up and away

Performance Power 1Kva Petrol Generator with no tank

I'd do this again, even if I were definitely just repairing

I also drained the oil, in case I did end up stripping the engine down. This isn't strictly necessary for the repair itself, but it is also a good opportunity to do an oil change.

Performance Power 1Kva Petrol Generator oil filler

The next step, is to remove the alternator cover. On that end of the machine is a black cover held in place by two small bolts, these need to be unscrewed and then the cover can simply be lifted away to reveal the components.

Performance Power 1Kva Petrol Generator generator

You can't really see it in that picture, but at this point it was immediately clear that there was at least one issue. The 12uF capacitor (the black box in that image) is pretty badly swollen

12 uF CBB61 running capacitor from PP 1Kva Petrol Generator

Although that's a problem in and of itself, the capacitor exists, in part to protect the windings by smoothing surges. So, I spent a little bit of time looking at what I'd need to do to separate the alternator from the engine to replace the coils before I took this picture.

Capacitor's aren't particularly expensive though, so rather than stripping the generator down, I decided to order a replacement and then see if that resolved the issue. I ordered mine from Generator Guru.

In case the image isn't sufficiently clear, what's required is a 12 micro-Farad CBB61 capacitor with a 2 pin molex connector.


Capacitor Replacement

A few days later.... 

I now have the part I need:

Replacement CBB61 Capacitor

 It's not actually like for like, the old one was rated for up to 450v, but 350 should be more than sufficient (and it seems most generators used 350VAC capacitors anyway).

So the next thing to do is to install it and start re-assembly. I notice that the clip on the generator's lead wire to the generator was a bit loose - probably explains why the old one was cable-tied, so I've cable tied this one shut too. Screw the capacitor in place

Performance Power 1Kva Petrol Generator generator components with new capacitor fitted

Then replace the cover, and tighten down the 2 8mm bolts that secure it (remember to make sure the cabling's rubber gromit is sat cleanly in place before pushing together too firmly)

Performance Power 1Kva Petrol Generator generator end cap

 

Refilling the Oil

You may recall I drained the sump earlier, so before we can give the generator a test run, we need to put some new oil in. Oil changes are a bit of a pain on this model as access to the filler cap is limited.

However, if you pay close attention, you'll notice there's a second oil filler cap on the back of the engine. Access still isn't great but it means you can lie the generator on it's front and get a funnel into the filler

Putting lube into the rear filler

The dipsticks on this model are also a bit crap (very hard to see the level), so I put 1/2 a litre into the empty sump

Performance Power 1Kva Petrol Generator useless dipstick

The front filler sits lower in the sump than the rear one, so if you now sit the generator back up right and unscrew the front filler most of the excess will then pour out

My lube overfloweth

I then just pump some additional out with a pipette until the level looks about right.

Put both filler caps back in once done

 

Final Steps

Now that there's oil in the sump, we need to get the fuel tank back on.

Work the fuel line back over the carb intake and make sure the clip is in place securely

Refitted fuel line

Screw the tank back in place (it's best to position the bolts loosely, then once all are in, tighten)

Loosely fitted fuel tank

Next put the air filter back in place and screw the cover on.

The Test Run

Now, in theory we should be ready to fire it up and see whether the generator now reports any volts. However, one thing I've learned about this model is that it's an absolute shit for air locks after the fuel line has been disturbed. So the first step is to open the tap, and tip the generator up on that end, then shake about a bit to free any air bubbles.

It's worth pulling on the starter in that position to help pull some fuel down too.

Once that's done, it's time to try and start so that we can check whether we're getting any power

It appears to be running as normal and once the engine had warmed up, the output settled. Certainly running well enough to spin my drill.

 
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