How To Troubleshoot An Inverter Generator

Tomahawk Gas Powered Portable Generators are great for recreational use, camping, and construction.


Review this guide for any troubleshooting or operation tips for all Tomahawk Inverter Generator models: 



Before starting the generator, check the following components. If replacement parts or repairs are needed, contact Tomahawk Power or your local dealer. Inspect your generator before every use.

Pre-operation inspection


  • Check fuel level in fuel tank of the generator, add fuel if necessary.


  • Check oil level of the generator, add oil if necessary.
  • Check whether there is any oil leaking.
Issues when running the generator 
  • Check to make sure all breakers and switches are in the correct position. 

  • Verify the connected devices are not overloading the generator. 


Start Up



Engine Will Not Start or Bogging  Down

  • Fuel shutoff valve is in the OFF position.
    • Move the fuel shutoff valve to the ON position. 
  • Generator is out of gasoline.
    • Add gasoline to the generator. 
  • Fuel flow is obstructed.
    • Inspect and clean fuel delivery passages.
  • Unit is over-choked.
    • Move the choke lever halfway between the ON and OFF positions.
  • Starting battery may have insufficient charge (On electric start models only.)
    • Check battery output and charge battery as necessary. 
  • Dirty air filter
    • Check and clean the air filter
  • Low oil level shutdown switch is preventing the unit from starting.
    • Check oil level and add oil if necessary.
  • Spark plug boot is not fully engaged with the spark plug tip.
    • Firmly push down on the spark plug boot to ensure the boot is fully engaged.
  • Spark plug is faulty.
    • Remove and check the spark plug. Replace if faulty
  • Dirty/plugged spark arrestor
    • Check and clean the spark arrestor.
  • Stale fuel
    • Drain fuel and replace with fresh fuel.


Inverter Generator Suddenly Stops Running 

  • Generator is out of fuel.
    • Check fuel level and add fuel if necessary.
  • The low oil shutdown switch has stopped the engine.
    • Check oil level and add oil if necessary
  • Too much load
    • Restart the generator and reduce the load.


Engine runs erratic; does not hold a steady RPM

  • Choke was left in the ON position.
    • Move choke to the OFF position.
  • Dirty air filter
    • Clean the air filter.
  • Applied loads may be cycling on and off
    • As applied loads cycle, changes in engine speed may occur; this is a normal condition.

Engine is running, but no electrical output

  • Circuit breakers are tripped.
    • Reset the circuit breakers and check for overload condition.
  • The power cord’s plug connector is not fully engaged in the generator’s outlet.
    • Verify plug connector is firmly engaged in the generator’s outlet. If using the 240V outlet, make sure plug connector is rotated 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction.
  • Faulty or defective power cord.
    • Replace power cord.
  • Faulty or defective electrical appliance.
    • Try connecting a known good appliance to verify the generator is producing electrical power.
  • GFCI outlet is tripped.
    • Press the reset button on the GFCI outlet.


How To Clean The Carburetor


Storage Maintenance

Proper care should be taken to prepare the generator for any storage.

  1. Clean the generator.
  2. Drain all gasoline from the fuel tank as best as possible.
  3. With the fuel shutoff valve open, start the engine and allow the generator to run until all the remaining gasoline in the fuel lines and carburetor is consumed and the engine shuts off.
  4. Close the fuel shutoff valve.
  5. Change the oil.
  6. Remove the spark plug and place about 1 tablespoon of oil in the spark plug opening. While placing a clean rag over the spark plug opening, slowly pull the recoil handle to allow the engine to turn over several times. This will distribute the oil and protect the cylinder wall from corroding during storage.
  7. Replace the spark plug.
  8. Move the generator to a clean, dry place for storage.


Long Term Storage 

If it the generator is to be stored for a long period, follow these steps.

  1. Turn the three-in-one switch to "OFF".
  2. Open the fuel tank cap, to take out the fuel filter screen. Pump all fuel in fuel tank into special fuel tank, and then reassemble the fuel tank cap back;
  3. Start up the engine to burn off the fuel in the carburetor, and then shut it down;
    1. Tip: Do not connect any electrical equipment.
  4. Remove bolts of right enclosure;
  5. Unscrew fuel drain bolt on the carburetor, and drain fuel in the carburetor into special fuel tank.
  6. Turn three-in-one switch to "OFF";
  7. Tighten fuel drain bolt;
  8. Assemble right enclosure back, and tighten bolts;
  9. After the engine is completely cooled, switch off the ventilation knob
  10. Unscrew the oil dipstick and drain oil in the crankcase. Fill with new oil to the oil limit, and then assemble oil dipstick.
  11. Remove spark plug and pour a bit of clean oil into the combustion chamber. Rotate the crankshaft a few turns, to distribute oil evenly, and then reassemble spark plug;
  12. Gently pull recoil cord until you feel resistance, allowing both the inlet valve and exhaust valve to be closed;
  13. Place the generator set in a clean and dry area.


Transporting Your Inverter Generator

When the generator set is to be transported, it must be ensured that there is no risk of fuel spilling.

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