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The generator is King Canada Model no. KCG-6500GE, the battery is 12v and is in good condition. When I turn on the key to start it nothing happens, I do have power to the starter connection.

What could be the cause?

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I see you said you have power to the starter connection. Below is a diagram of where the starter is located, with the detail inset showing the solenoid off of the starter (starter motor just above it). I'm going to assume you know this (I made this and then realized you probably know this stuff ... I couldn't let a good graphic go to waste :D)

enter image description here

  • If you haven't done so already, you need to test the solenoid to see if it has power. If you have a multimeter, check the big post (green arrow) on the solenoid to see if there is power going there. There should be power there directly from the battery. (If you don't have a multimeter, get one ... there are inexpensive models out there to be had.)
  • If there is power there, you'll need to check to see if there is power at the energizer wire (red arrow) when you turn the key. If there is power there when you turn the key, the issue might be in the solenoid.
  • You'll need to test it further by taking a long bladed screwdriver and jumping it across the two large posts on the solenoid. You'd only have to do this briefly to see if the starter turns the gennie engine over (you'll know very quickly).
  • If the starter then moves then it is definitely the solenoid.
  • If there wasn't power at the energizer wire when you turn the key, the fault probably lies in the switch. You'll need to do some diagnosis on it to see if it is the issue, or if there is a wiring issue.
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Thanks for the clear analysis. My 7000 McCulloch wouldn't answer the key start, then I remembered '50s and '60s automobile starting problems, so I tapped the big post on the solenoid with a small hammer. Voila! Starts and runs.

  • Just tried the hammer tap fix mentioned above on my Troy Bilt and it woked instantly, – Mark J Traverse Nov 3 '18 at 13:46
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There must be something about solenoids and infrequent use. Cars seldom have problems with starter solenoids, in my experience. Then they are used frequently.

However, diesel tractors, diesel power generators, and other infrequently used engines I have, which are stored outside, seem to be magnets for solenoid problems. Periodic starting, like once a month, has caused these problems to essentially disappear.

My hypothesis is that the copper disc and copper posts in the solenoid may corrode ever so slightly, and periodic use keeps them just a little cleaner. Oxides of metal tend to have more resistance than the base metal. A hammer tap exposes a slightly different area on the copper disc, as it is free to move when the solenoid is not engaged, or at least that is the theory I will advance.

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