Defective generator caused by a battery that is more than two years old is the most likely answer. Due to their design they develop huge voltage spikes that can destroy the internal diodes and voltage regulator. With one bad diode the generator will only be able to develop one third of its rated output, and the regulator will jump all over trying to respond to the voltage dropouts caused by the excessive "ripple". A professional load-test will identify the reduced maximum output and the excessive ripple.
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Saturday, February 9th, 2013 AT 7:12 AM