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Tips for maintaining low-maintenance generator batteries

in Helpful Generator Tips on .

Leading generator manufacturers like Honda and Yamaha, use low maintenance batteries on there electric start generator models. These batteries require very little maintenance, but they do require periodic charging. To get the longest service life from your battery, keep it fully charged at all times or recharge it each time you consume about a quarter of its capacity. We recommend that you keep the battery fully charged at all times to achieve maximum service life.

What if I don’t use my generator frequently? 

All batteries slowly lose strength when sitting idle; this is called self-discharge. They must be charged periodically, even when not being used, to prevent premature failure. If a battery is allowed to discharge past a certain point, it can never be recharged and must be replaced.  

How do I know when my battery needs to be charged?

Measure the voltage of the battery with a digital voltmeter. If it measures 12.4 volts or less, you need to charge the battery. Check the voltage every three months to be sure the voltage remains above 12.4 volts. Some of the premium models show the voltage output on their digital panel.

Will the battery recharge while the generator is running?

Yes and no. Electric start generators do charge their batteries while the generator is running. Starting the engine discharges the battery somewhat, so the generator must run for some time just to replace the charge used to start the engine. Whether or not running the generator will keep the battery charged depends on:

  • How often you run the generator
  • How long you run the generator each time
  • The charge level of the battery when the generator started
  • The amount of charge required to start the engine
  • The ambient temperature
  • The age of the battery

Unless you plan to run the generator on a regular basis, plan to use an external charger to keep the battery charged. 

How do I recharge the battery? 

You can use a commercially available battery charger designed for 9 Ampere-hour (YTZ10S) or 11 Ampere-hour (YTZ14S) 12 volt batteries. Follow the charger manufacturer’s instructions and the instructions on the battery for connecting, using, and disconnecting the charger. We recommend using an automatic charger/maintainer that you can leave connected to the battery to maintain its charge during storage. 

Is any other maintenance required?

You should check the battery periodically to make sure the connections are tight. Clean any dirt or corrosion from the battery and associated wiring.

Does my warranty cover the cost of replacing a dead battery?

Your battery’s warranty covers manufacturing defects; that is, quality problems from the factory. Allowing your battery to die through lack of use or inadequate attention during storage does not constitute a manufacturing defect. Take care of your battery to avoid an expensive, avoidable repair.

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