Tips on How to Start A Diesel Generator Correctly and Safely

May. 24, 2024

Diesel generator (DG) sets are robust and dependable backup power solutions and can be used across the board through various industries. A home standby diesel genset kicks in automatically to power up the house when the mains power fails. However, the way to start a diesel-powered generator varies depending on the model and manufacturer. Read on and learn how to start a diesel generator properly.

Four most commonly used mode to start a diesel generator:

Manual start mode: This mode requires someone to start the generator manually by turning the key or pulling the cord to start the engine. Typically, it is designed to cater to those who want to control the power supply to different sections of the building and don’t want the diesel generator set to start automatically.

Electric start mode: Electric start DG sets offer a reliable and user-friendly replacement for traditional pull-start generators. Most modern diesel generators are equipped with electric start feature. Unlike the traditional pull-start mechanism, which requires physical effort to start the diesel engine, this mode allows you to start your generator by simply turning a key or pressing a button. It is useful for individuals who may have difficulty using a pull-start system.

Tips on How to Start A Diesel Generator Correctly and Safely

Remote start mode: This mode allows the operator to start the engine remotely using a switch or a mobile app. This is useful for applications where the generator is located far away from the operator or when the operator is not present on the site.

Automatic start mode: Diesel generator sets with an automatic start function can boot up in the absence of electricity automatically. Automatic start mode is great for hospitals, hotels or other places that need an immediate power backup and cannot afford any delay in starting the DG set.


Generally, the mode to start a diesel generator depends on its size, application, and usage. It is essential to choose the right mode of starting the DG set based on your requirements. To choose the best start-up way for your specific needs, it’s suggested that you consult with a reputable generator set manufacturer or supplier.

How to start a diesel engine generator safely?

As mentioned above, there are different modes for starting a DG set. Starting a diesel power generator is not as simple as pressing a button. The following tips help you start the machine properly:

Make early preparations for starting the diesel generator

Before starting the generator, you need to familiarize yourself with the instructions and guidelines in the manufacturer's manual. The manual will contain specific information about your particular model and any unique startup procedures.

Additionally, you need to check the fuel level and make sure that the generator's fuel tank has an adequate level of diesel fuel. Check the oil level and coolant level and ensure they are within the recommended range. Please note that if your battery is dead, the genset electric starter won’t work. So make sure the battery is in good condition before starting the generator. Inspect other relevant components for potential faults and correct them if any is found. If your diesel generator has a preheat feature to warm up the engine before starting, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions to activate it.

Start the generator and observe its working state

When the necessary preparations are completed, you can follow the manufacturer's instructions to start the diesel generator. Typically, starting a diesel generator involves flipping the fuel valve on, turning choke on, turning ignition (or engine switch) on and pulling recoil cord. If your diesel genset has an electric start button, start it by pressing the button. The start-up procedures may vary depending on different types of diesel generators.

Start engine, check for fuel, oil and exhaust leaks. Make sure no engine or generator alarms exist. Once the generator is running, it’s important to observe its working state at any time. Monitor the gauges and indicators on the control panel and pay attention to the water temperature, oil pressure, coolant temperature, and battery voltage, etc. If any anomaly occurs, take remedial actions immediately and make sure that you eliminate the fault as soon as possible.

Safety precautions of starting a diesel generator set:

keep in mind that always follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines when starting a diesel generator set.

Please note that diesel generators are prohibited from starting or stopping under load. Disconnect all cords before starting your DG set and cut off the load one by one before each stop. Let the generator run a 3-5 minutes and you can begin connecting it to the house. Once the load is cut off step by step to no load, turn off the circuit breaker and stop the generator. The diesel engine will run for about 3 minutes at idle speed to let the lubricating oil and cooling water take away the heat from the combustion chamber and other parts before shutdown.

Read also: Why can't stop diesel generator immediately under full load?

Don’t operate your diesel generator unprotected in the rain. Heavy rain can cause electrical shock and damage to the engine. Don't run a generator in the rain, snow, ice, flooding or when the ground is wet, unless it's covered or enclosed.

Be aware of generator backfeeding, which can result in death or injury to yourself or a utility worker, not to mention the destruction of your home. You need to use a UPS (uninterruptible power source) or ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) when using the generator with the grid.

Contact a generator professional: Dingbo Power

Understanding how to start your diesel generator safely is important. Don’t hesitate to reach out for any further information or assistance regarding to generator sets. As a professional manufacturer of diesel generator sets, Dingbo power provide a variety of high-quality generators powered by Cummins, Perkins, Volvo, Yuchai, Shangchai and other reputable brands. At Dingbo Power, our generator experts are standing by with answers to your questions. Contact us at, and we will gladly help you.

Follow Us



Contact Us

Mob.: +86 134 8102 4441

Tel.: +86 771 5805 269

Fax: +86 771 5805 259


WhatsApp: +86 134 8102 4441

Add.: No. 10 Kechuang Road, High tech Zone, Nanning, Guangxi, China

Get in Touch

Enter your email and receive the latest news from us.

Copyright © Guangxi Dingbo Generator Set Manufacturing Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved | Sitemap Update cookies preferences | privacy-policy
Contact Us