When you remove a generator's electronics, you lose the transfer switch, which is an important and code-required part of any compliant generator installation.
I have an 11kw standby generator that is less than three years old with eight hours of runtime, yet the system just had its second controller fail. The manufacturer repaired it the first time, but has refused to replace the second controller under warranty. I don’t want to spend over $600 for yet a third controller that may also fail, so I tried to find a universal controller to replace the OEM controller. My search was unsuccessful. Can I tear out the electronics and just run this generator manually when I need to?
— Ruiz Mango, via email
Brian Walo: When you lose the electronics, you lose the transfer switch, which is an important and code-required part of any compliant generator installation. The main reason behind a transfer switch is to ensure the safe interconnection between commercial power sources (utility companies) and private power sources (your generator). The transfer switch not only ensures that both sources of power cannot power your home simultaneously, but also guarantees that you won’t backfeed your local power grid and potentially electrocute local line workers who believe they’re working on dead wiring. So, while the temptation to “run this generator manually” might be strong, there are a lot of very serious safety considerations and codes you’d be ignoring. Take another run at the manufacturer if it’s still under warranty or get it professionally repaired.