Dear Radio World,
The advice that appeared at the end of a March Workbench column about resetting a generator fault remotely is something I discourage strongly.
Besides clearing the fault and possibly the run-time and error logs, cycling the DC power to the controller may also clear the real-time clock and reset the exercise timer, and may leave the generator in an offline state until the clock and timer are manually set.
As stated in the tip, you have no idea why it faulted in the first place. Attempting a restart without an inspection or a person present could result in catastrophic damage to the genset, a fire (if there was a fuel leak), or even harm to a technician who might be working on the unit and could have even been the cause of the fault or shutdown.
If there was a mechanical failure, running the engine without repairing the damage first could make things even worse.
I bet a generator technician reading the tip would cringe. Of course your local generator sales person would love to take this opportunity to sell you a new generator.
My own home standby generator, a Kohler 14RESA, resets just the clock and exercise timer if the battery is disconnected; the run-time and error logs are maintained in nonvolatile memory. But it won’t run until those two items are set. For safety reasons they tell you to disconnect the incoming AC power as well as the battery whenever you service the unit, but I find it more convenient to do neither of those things but just press the OFF button when doing the annual maintenance (oil, spark plugs, and filter changes).
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