How to Wire a 12-Volt Generator With a Regulator

Generators provide convenient, reliable backup power when you lose electricity because of outages and brownouts.

Typically powered by a small engine, generators provide inconsistent voltage that can result in sporadic service to your electrical devices. Resolve this issue by adding an external voltage regulator. The regulator controls the amount of current produced by the generator, changing the fluctuating current into a steady flow. This control protects your appliances and devices powered by the generator as well as the generator itself.

Turn off the generator using the switch located in the front panel.

Attach the regulator's power cable to the 12-volt socket on the general panel of the generator. Confirm you used the correct voltage output. Depending on the manufacturer, the generator may have many multiple sockets designed for different voltage levels. The power from the generator will flow through the regulator to the relevant appliances.

Set the knob on the generator to 12 volts, if necessary. Some generators come with an adjustable knob in the control panel that needs to be set for the regulator to work properly. If you do not set the generator and regulator to the same voltage, you can damage your generator.

Plug the grounded extension cord into the appropriate output socket on your voltage regulator. Run the cord into your home, and plug it into the appropriate appliance or device. Turn the generator on.

Things You Will Need

  • 12-volt regulator
  • Grounded, heavy-duty extension cord

About the Author

Alisa Stevens has been writing articles and business/marketing materials since 1994. She has experience writing for and about a variety of industries, including the legal, transportation, government and education sectors. Stevens holds a B.A. in journalism and an M.B.A. from Arizona State University, as well as a J.D. from Loyola Law School.