How Generators Ruin Batteries (Don’t Do This)

When an emergency strikes, it is always nice to have backup power. Generators are excellent sources of energy to charge batteries and power your devices. Generators also use batteries to operate. But with this upside, is there also a downside? Do generators ruin batteries?

Depending on how generators create power, what kind of power they generate, and how safe it is for batteries to use, it is possible to ruin a battery if incorrectly set up.

This article will cover the basics of the relationship between generators and batteries, including key topics like:

  • How long to run a generator
  • Can a generator damage a battery
  • How to keep a generator battery charged
  • Do generators ruin batteries

Are you worried about using a generator with your batteries and sensitive electronics? Keep reading to find out more information.

Gasoline Powered Portable Generator

Do Generators Ruin Batteries?

Yes, a generator can ruin a battery. The reason for potential damage is that generators create power output that can fluctuate more in voltage and can transmit “dirty power,” which can damage sensitive batteries and electronics.

A generator can ruin a battery by overcharging it and spoil its ability to hold electricity.

Suppose you repeatedly charge a battery with a generator. In that case, you will experience slower charging times, and if done often enough, the excessive fluctuations in voltage can start to damage the battery.

To avoid ruined batteries, you will want to invest in specialized equipment like voltage regulators, battery isolation managers, and other tools that allow a battery to charge safely.

Some generators are unable to charge batteries effectively, so pay attention to the voltage and amp demands of the battery and generator to ensure the items will be compatible.

Can a Generator Drain a Battery?

Yes, a generator can drain a battery. Without a way to regulate the voltage the battery is receiving, the item will not receive enough voltage, which can cause it to drain quickly.

Batteries can drain even when the generator is not running because of a voltage leak in the latter’s circuit. People should replace generator batteries periodically to ensure they are still working correctly.

Can a Generator Damage a Battery?

Yes, a generator can damage a battery. Batteries are sensitive to the amount of voltage they need to charge and output, and a standard generator often does not produce a stable currency that is good for batteries.

Some types of generators, known as inverter generators, do their best to provide cleaner power that is better for sensitive electronics.

Using a voltage regulator can also do a lot of good to avoid battery damage in the long term and extend the life of batteries. Thanks to the increasing demand for generators during pandemic times, the voltage regulator market is booming.

How Long Does a Battery Last With a Generator?

Generator batteries will last between two or three years before they start to need replacements.

Corroded battery
connect the old battery from the car

How Long Can a Generator Run Without Damaging a Battery?

People can run generators for extended lengths of time, but they should only run a generator for a maximum of 12-24 hours at a time to avoid permanently damaging a battery.

This amount of time will depend on how much power the generator is drawing and the fuel source that people use to power the generator. Petrol-powered generators should run for the least amount of time, while people can run diesel standby generators for extended periods.

What Does a Generator Do to the Battery?

A generator can charge a battery when it is powered on. The generator’s battery is essential to keep charged because it is responsible for the initial amount of power needed. The generator can start within moments after a power outage occurs.

In cases where the generator harms a battery, the voltage regulator is missing or damaged, which prevents the battery from getting the correct voltage and battery drain.

If this incorrect voltage fluctuation often occurs enough, it can permanently ruin the battery and require it to need replacing.

Battery shortages are becoming a massive problem because of the state of the world economy, so preventing battery ruination will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Does Charging with a Generator Spoil a Phone Battery?

Yes, generators can spoil phone batteries if someone tries to charge their phone with a generator. Phone batteries are sensitive electronics that require specific voltage power to charge safely. 

If you want to charge your phone with a generator, it would be prudent to invest in an inverter generator that can produce cleaner voltage and reduce the risk of power surges that can harm sensitive electronics like computers and cellphones.

How Do You Maintain a Battery From a Generator?

If you have a generator battery, you will want to maintain and take care of it. Here are a few maintenance tips to keep a generator battery in working condition:

  • Keep the contact points between a generator and battery clean
  • Replace batteries periodically
  • Make sure to use the right size and grade of battery

Can You Recharge a Generator Battery?

Yes, it is essential to recharge a generator battery to ensure it is in good condition.

If a generator features an electric start feature, it will have a battery you must recharge. Plug a generator battery into a trickle charge periodically to ensure it is fresh and ready for use.

How Long To Charge Batteries With a Generator

It will typically take around 8-10 hours to charge batteries with a generator, depending on the size of the battery and how much the charge has depleted.

Why Is My Generator Battery Draining So Fast?

If you notice that your generator battery is draining fast, the most likely cause is that the voltage regulator is defective. If a battery doesn’t get a proper amount of voltage when charging, the quality of power will be significantly diminished.

A generator battery can not use this diminished power as effectively as standard power and will drain much quicker.

Generator Not Charging Battery

If you find that your generator is not charging the battery, you may have a defective or damaged battery.

The transfer switch may have a faulty charger, or the generator may have blown a fuse. Sometimes, a battery is just defective from the manufacturer and will eventually fail.

If a battery is not charging, the most effective solution to the problem will be replacing the battery with a new one.

Why Is My Generator Battery Dead?

The most likely reason that a generator battery is dead is a voltage drain somewhere in connection with the generator.

To remedy this problem, you will have to find the drain source by placing an amp meter between the generator circuit and the battery and seeing where the most power is leaking.

How To Keep Generator Battery Charged

You will need to regularly perform a few steps to keep a generator battery charged.

  • Plug the battery into a trickle charger
  • Charge the battery at least once a month
  • If using a full-charger, make sure to unplug the battery, so it does not overcharge

Charging Lithium Batteries With a Generator

Lithium batteries are an alternative solution to generators that can power sensitive devices because they have built-in inverters.

They are also much quieter than generators, making them great for situations where you don’t want to disturb neighbors. When charging a lithium battery with a generator, you will need a battery isolation manager to ensure that the lithium battery can draw enough amps to charge with a generator.


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