We talk with a lot of people every day from all walks of life. From our service techs visiting customers on-site to phone calls, texts, and social media messaging to our office. These conversations raise many questions about generators, generator service, and repairs.

Maybe you’ve had some of your own but were afraid to ask. It’s silly you think.

You’d be amazed to know other people have had the same concerns. So, we’ve compiled a small list of questions with some answers. We hope you find this information helpful and remember if still have a question you haven’t seen here, please feel free to call or email us.

Choosing a Generator

In this age of consumer freedom, the choice for many items including generators seems endless, buy in confidence that all our generators are from top European, American, or Asian companies. We do not sell inferior quality generators as sold on auction websites. We carry most parts for the Generators we sell. Before you choose a generator, you may wish to consider the following:

All electrical products have a data plate with information regarding their power usage. For most power tools (drills, sanders etc), their listed wattage is all the power they require to run. Household items such as central heating pumps, lights, TV’s, video recorders etc. fall in the same category. Items such as freezers, fridges, washing machines, some lawn mowers are normally different, whilst they can state a wattage rating, due to the type of motor they use can require a much greater requirement on start-up, when started they then require a smaller usage.

If you are unsure as to what power usage a product has it is always advisable to contact the relevant manufacturers sales or technical dept, quoting model number and requesting the START UP wattage & RUNNING wattage of your item. With this information you will be able to determine accurately the size of generator you require.

Generating sets should never be overloaded but are designed to take an overload condition of a very short time during start-up of large element motors. If a set is running for long periods of time with an overload (that is a rating above the maximum rating of the set) there are various things that may occur:

Overheating of the engine
Overheating of the alternator windings & components
Oil viscosity (thickness) breakdown, which results in low oil pressure and most probable costly engine failure
A shortening of the working life of the generator

Diesel generators require careful routine maintenance at regular intervals. This depends on the manufacturer, but the most important item to be serviced typically is the engine. Engines normally require servicing after 250 or 500 hours, but the service interval is defined by the engine manufacturer. If you relate this to a car, driving at 80kph, at 500 hours, that will equate to 40,000km!

Typically, on a routine service you will do a thorough check, change the air filter, oil filter and fuel filter, replace the oil and some of the belts, such as the radiator fan belt and the charging alternator belt. This is something that Alter Generation can arrange to do for you, either on site or at our Workshop.

Maintaining your generator is an important part of ensuring it delivers the electrical power when you need it!

Yes. Alter Generation can provide a quote for your entire generator purchase and installation project. We offer complete generator packages for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Allow us to size the right Emergency Power System for your needs, we can take care of all your needs from start to finish.

Yes, generators can be wired into your electrical system, so when the mains power is cut, the generator automatically kicks in. This is possible with the use of an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS). Wiring a generator must only be done by a qualified and licensed electrician. Manual Transfer Switch (MTS) can also be used, this is where you need to manually start the generator after the mains power has been cut off then switch the power supply from mains to generator supply. The reverse will need to happen when a stable mains power supply has been returned.

Underloading a Diesel Generator

The running of any diesel engine with no load or very-light loads. In the industry this is also known as “wet-stacking”.

This can be due to facility or site managers not wanting to risk interrupting daily business by transferring the true load to the generator, or data centres wanting to protect their UPS battery warranty.

It could also be due to a generator being over specified when purchased, or a company that has downsized their electrical requirements.

A diesel engine needs to operate under substantial load, to reach its optimum operating temperature. If it fails to reach this temperature, then a percentage of the fuel will be unburnt, and a build-up of soot can occur.

Within the engine soot can cause internal glazing of the cylinder bores, sticking of the piston rings, reducing compression and the injectors are likely to have a build-up of carbon causing more unburnt fuel to pass through the combustion chamber into the exhaust.

The first sign of this problem is heavy smoke from the exhaust, eventually, the unburnt fuel will condense in the exhaust and mix with the soot, to create a thick dark liquid that looks like engine oil. This liquid will seep from the exhaust and will appear to be an oil leak. This liquid can build up in the exhaust silencer and there is the risk of it igniting from the increased heat of the exhaust fumes if the generator is subsequently put under full load.

If a generator continues to be operated with no load or very-light load there is a possibility that permanent engine damage can occur.

When specifying a new generator, ensure that the unit is adequate for the requirement, without being too large.

If the machine is future proofed with additional capacity, or the existing installation is over capacity, a load bank testing programme must be implemented.

The load bank should be used to create an artificial demand for between 75% and 100% of prime load and this, in most circumstances, will burn off carbon deposits, prolonging the life of the generator.

Typically, the generator should be run at 75% of prime power for 2 hours in every 100 hours use.

Please call our Technical Sales team, if you need any further clarification concerning generator underloading or misuse.


When we had issues with the remote starting of our backup generators at our resort and we needed someone asap, so that we could make sure that our guests were never inconvenienced with any power loss. Peter and his team arrived quickly and diagnosed the issue. They sourced all the parts and had them fitted promptly.
Sheps (General Manager)
Freedom Shores Resort
We'd been looking to purchase a used generator for backup power for our business We gave the guys at Alter a call and they came out to site to discuss our needs and requirements. After speaking with both Peter and Phil we purchased a 500kVA unit and had them make some modifications to the unit to meet our specific needs. Installation went smoothly and now we feel better knowing that we have a dependable backup power supply for our business.
We run a Dog Boarding business that totally depends on continuity of our electrical supply to care for our resident dogs. Loss of power puts the animals lives at high risk. After we experienced significant storm damage which was then compounded by an incompetent local electrician., we found ourselves in an very difficult position and we needed help quickly and efficiently. Basically we had lost the majority of our electricity supply infrastructure. Another business recommended Peter from Alter Generation who turned out to be a “godsend”. Not only did Peter respond to our cries of help immediately he was on our doorstep after travelling all night to scope the property and work out an action plan. The final outcome involved replacing our standby generator, replacing hundreds of metres of underground cable and rewiring and upgrading our mains board and other subboards. Peter in our experience is an extremely knowledgeable and skilled electrical contractor. His pricing was very reasonable and attention to detail is without fault. He is not happy until every problem has been sorted and his customer is 100% satisfied. I can not rate him highly enough. Also he is just a really nice guy and genuine human being.
Graham & Diane
Kuranda Pet Resort

OMG OMG OMG is all I can say about Alter Generation. Peter is one of the most amazing human beings I've ever delt with. I mean honest, respectful and amazingly helpful. Only a new business in the Townsville and North Queensland region but this guy with his expertise and range of power generation equipment is second to none. If you're in doubt about what you need for your work site or party Peter is the man to talk to. Friendly is an understatement. If he can't help you no one can. I had my wedding in may 2021 and needed power Generation to make it happen. Peter was like a long lost brother and helped me beyond anything imaginable. The thankless acts and generosity of this amazing individual I can never repay. The human spirit is alive and present at Alter Generation. If it's power Generation you need then give Peter a call, you'll thank God after you do!! WORD.....
Steven Anderson

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