Could electricity from a generator damage the fancy shmancy electronics in a modern router?

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Forum topic by RobynHoodridge posted 10-03-2013 03:39 PM 2949 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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127 posts in 2298 days

10-03-2013 03:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: generator dirty power electronic router electronic power tools

I have a speed controlled, constant rpm, router. And a request to use it on a job where the only available electricity is from a portable (gas / petrol) generator. I’ve heard that trying to use an aftermarket speed control unit on a router that has these electronics built in could ruin the router. And i know that a generator’s power isn’t as pure as the mains supply. So i’m wondering whether there’s also a risk to using my router on the ‘dirty’ generator.

-- Never is longer than forever.

6 replies so far

View Kernal's profile


29 posts in 2246 days

#1 posted 10-03-2013 05:32 PM

The short answer is yes. I unfortunately don’t have the experience to say whether or not you are likely to damage your router in a case like this, but it is possible.

You probably won’t damage the internal electronic controls unless the power is very, very bad. However, many electric motors rely on the quality and frequency of incoming AC power, and can be damaged by “dirty” power out of a generator.

Similarly, tools with electric motors should not be exchanged between the US and the UK because the US uses 60Hz while the UK uses 50Hz, and this difference can affect performance, cooling, and potentially ruin the motor.


-- A new version of the old adage - "Count twice, buy once."

View RobynHoodridge's profile


127 posts in 2298 days

#2 posted 10-03-2013 05:36 PM

Thank you very much Kernal!

-- Never is longer than forever.

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3689 days

#3 posted 10-03-2013 07:43 PM

Anything with micro-chip control (like automobiles, tools, etc.) can go into “unknown logic states”. This can be caused by (1) heat and cold, (2) physical shock, and (3) electromagnetic pulses. The fluctuations of current from a generator could be bad also. I try to avoid micro-chippy stuff.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2255 days

#4 posted 10-03-2013 08:45 PM

While I think it’s possible to damage your controller, I think it has a lot to do with the generator. We had a power failure that lasted several days here. I have a transfer switch in my main panel so I fired up the generator, turned off all the breakers, threw the transfer switch, plugged the generator into the house and then started turning on breakers. I had the sump pump, furnace, refrigerator all on generator. Then I turned on the living room outlets and we had lights, the satellite receiver for TV, .... hmmmm… need internet… turned on the breaker to the wiring closet and got the router, switch, and a few other things up and running. A lot of that stuff has a lot of electronics in it.

My generator runs pretty stable though. Oh and we had computers running, but those are on UPS so the UPS kind of buffers the power and supplies it nicey nice so I don’t think those count :)

Generators CAN run electronics stuff without damaging the electronics IF the generator is stable. And a lot of electronic stuff has built in capability to deal with slightly unstable power.

View MrRon's profile


4720 posts in 3212 days

#5 posted 10-03-2013 10:51 PM

If the generator is big enough (10-15KW), you probably can use the router without problem, but if a heavy load is thrown on without your knowledge and the voltage drops, the router could be affected. Small portable generators don’t have the voltage regulation of units made for house emergency power.

View RobynHoodridge's profile


127 posts in 2298 days

#6 posted 10-04-2013 02:12 PM

Thanks everyone. All good info.
I think i will find another way to do the task.
I might be comfortable trying the electronic tool on generator power if i had to, but until i have to i’ll avoid it.

-- Never is longer than forever.

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