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3 Diagnostic Tools You Need for Generator Maintenance

Power generators may malfunction from time to time. This is inevitable, especially as the system ages. For this reason, it is a good idea to always have some necessary diagnostic tools available at hand.

Technicians and engineers use a variety of electrical or electronic diagnostic tools to test and troubleshoot power generation systems anytime or whenever they show signs of problems. Multimeters, clamp-on ammeters, and megohmmeters are some of the most common and functional troubleshooting tools used in diagnosing and repairing generators.

To know more about these essential devices, below are some basic pieces of information about multimeters, clamp-on ammeters, and megohmmeters.


A multimeter is a measuring tool that can measure several electrical properties, such as voltage, resistance, and current. It is one of the most common tools used by power generation technicians and engineers on a regular basis.

This meter is typically used to check for opens, shorts, and grounds in a circuit. These days, multimeters are already built as digital multifunction electronic test tools that come with numerous capabilities.

When troubleshooting a generator using a multimeter – voltage, ohms, and amperes can be measured. Some advanced multimeters can even take more readings, such as frequency and capacitance.

To conduct a resistance test on a generator using a multimeter, conductors and coils are disconnected for the circuit for accurate resistance reading. Generator voltage output tests, on the other hand, are done without isolating the circuit. For amperage tests, the circuit is usually routed through the multimeter.

Clamp-on ammeter

A clamp-on ammeter, more commonly known as clamp meter, is an instrument that uses wide jaws that clamp around the exterior of an electrical conductor to provide non-contact measurements.

It can measure several properties, including resistance, continuity, capacitance, voltage, and many others. Like multimeters, clamp-on ammeters have also undergone several enhancements throughout the years. Today’s digital clamp-on ammeters can already safely perform a diverse range of precise measurements under varying conditions.

Clamp-on ammeters are usually used on industrial equipment, industrial controls, electrical systems, and commercial HVAC. They are typically used as aids in generator overhauling, troubleshooting installation problems, performing final circuit tests, and conducting scheduled and preventive maintenance on other electro-mechanical systems.


A megohmmeter is a special type of ohmmeter that is used to specifically measure the electric resistance of insulators. It is also commonly called as an insulation resistance tester.

Megohmmeters are regularly used by technicians and engineers because they provide a quick and easy way to identify the condition of the insulation on wires, generators, and motor windings.

As a diagnostic tool, the megohmmeter passes high voltage low amperage through a wire or coil. The common rule is that an insulation with anything over 1 mega ohm reading considered acceptable. If the reading indicates degraded or damaged stator winding insulation, alternators must be replaced or maintenance may be needed, such as generator rewinding or replacement.

Multimeter, clamp-on ammeter, and megohmmeter are some of the most basic tools used in troubleshooting generators and other electro-mechanical systems. These instruments always come in handy whenever a generator malfunctions out of nowhere. They are also essential tools in the regular maintenance of equipment.

However, to ensure full repair and recovery of a generator, it is still always best to consult and engage the services of engineers who are knowledgeable and skilled in the field. For quality diagnostic services, MES is a highly trusted partner. From diagnostics and installation to electric motor overhauling, MES provides a wide range of effective engineering solutions that will ensure your equipment is functioning excellently.