How to Fix an Overloaded Generator?

Generator overloaded? This guide covers troubleshooting, resetting safely, and tips to prevent future overloads. Follow the steps to get your generator running optimally again.

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Uh oh. Your generator suddenly shuts down and the overload light is blinking. Frustrating, right? If you want to learn how to fix an overloaded generator, you’ve come to the right place.

Overloading is one of the most common generator issues that owners face. But don’t worry – in most cases, it’s an easy fix. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • The tell-tale signs your generator is overloaded
  • What causes overload conditions
  • How to troubleshoot and reset an overloaded generator
  • Tips to prevent overloads in the future

Let’s get started!

How to Fix an Overloaded Generators

Warning Signs Your Generator is Overloaded

How do you know if your generator is overloaded? Here are some telltale symptoms:

  • The overload indicator light is flashing or continuously on
  • The generator shuts off unexpectedly
  • Circuits keep randomly tripping
  • You notice burning smells from the generator
  • Frequent blown fuses

These are all clear signs your generator is overloaded and not able to supply the demand safely. Overload protection features are designed to automatically shut the generator down before damage occurs when limits are exceeded.

What Causes Generator Overload?

There are a few common reasons your generator may be overloaded:

Exceeding the rated wattage – Adding up appliances and devices plugged in that collectively draw more power than the generator can supply will trip the overload. Always check nameplate wattage ratings.

Electrical short/fault – Damaged wiring or devices that short can instantly spike wattage draw and overload the generator.

Using an undersized generator – If your power demands regularly exceed the generator capacity, it will overload.

Defective components – Issues with stator windings, rotor, etc can prevent proper power output.

Overheating – Lack of ventilation causing the generator to overheat can reduce wattage capacity.

Now that you know why your generator may be overloaded, let’s look at how to go about fixing it.

How to Fix an Overloaded Generator

Here are the steps to safely reset an overloaded generator:

1. Disconnect appliances and devices

Switch off and unplug all connected equipment to remove excess load.

2. Check for faults

Inspect wiring and connected devices to make sure there are no shorts. Also, check fuses.

3. Let the generator cool completely

An overheated generator will need time to cool off before resetting.

4. Press the reset button

Many generators have a red overload reset button. Press it to clear the overload state.

5. Restart the generator

If it stays on without tripping, start gradually reconnecting devices while monitoring power draw.

6. Test for proper operation

Make sure voltage and frequency remain stable under load. Also check if the overload indicator resets.

7. Call an electrician for recurring overloads

If it continues overloading, you likely have an underlying electrical issue needing professional attention.

And that’s it! With this simple process, you can get your overloaded generator up and running again.

Recommended Guide: How to Transport a Generator

Preventing Future Generator Overloads

Here are some tips to help avoid nuisance generator overloads in the future:

  • Carefully calculate the wattage of all connected devices and stay below the generator rating
  • Perform regular inspections and maintenance to identify any wiring issues
  • Install overload protection devices like fuses or circuit breakers
  • Ensure proper ventilation to prevent overheating
  • Use a larger capacity generator if your power needs are increasing

Taking steps to prevent overloading will save you hassle and protect your equipment in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I keep running an overloaded generator?

Continuing to run an overloaded generator can cause permanent damage to the windings and rotor. It may also pose a fire hazard if connections overheat.

Why does my generator show overload with nothing plugged in?

This usually indicates an internal electrical fault. Potential causes include bad stator windings, shorted rotors, and faulty voltage regulators.

How do I check for generator overload?

Monitor the overload light indicator while gradually adding load. Also check voltage and frequency for fluctuations under load. Significant drops often precede overloading.

How can I prevent my generator from overloading?

Always calculate your running watts, provide proper ventilation, perform maintenance, use overload protection devices, and use a larger capacity generator if needed.


Learning to properly troubleshoot and fix an overloaded generator will save you tons of hassle. In most cases, it’s an easy DIY fix, but call an electrician if you have recurring issues.

Taking preventive measures will help avoid nuisance tripping of your generator’s overload protection system while keeping your devices powered.

Let us know if you have any other generator overload questions! We’re always happy to help.

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Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith, with a rich background marked by a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, boasts over 10 years in the power generation sector. Her journey includes a notable 5-year tenure as a Senior Engineer at a reputed energy firm, alongside numerous publications and speaking engagements in industry events, reflecting her deep-rooted expertise in generator design and development.

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