Nigeria is full of fake generators: How to identify genuine ones

Nigeria is full of fake generators: How to identify genuine ones

Buying a generator remains one of the most important purchasing decisions for Nigerians. You want to buy a generator that delivers on your expectations e.g. powers all your air conditioners and refrigerators and does so reliably, for many years without frequent need to replace parts or carry out repairs. Unfortunately, the excitement of buying a new generator often too quickly turns into disappointment. For instance, a generator that effortlessly powers two or more air conditioners could, just after six to eight weeks, struggle to power only one air conditioner or none! It soon starts to demand the attention of the neighborhood “generator engineer” every week and parts have to be changed. This is because a significant number of the generators in the open market is fake.

If you are buying your generator from the manufacturer’s representative e.g. purchasing Honda generators from John Holt, then you can rest assured you are buying an original. But to enjoy savings of up to 25%, most Nigerians buy from independent importers in the open market which is replete with fakes, from the Honda with cheap Chinese-made engines to counterfeits of high quality Chinese generators.

So, when buying from the open market, it is advised that you go with an expert to help you identify the original product.

Here are four things to check to avoid buying fake:

1. The coil: All generators have coils which could be copper, aluminum or brass. Top quality generators have coils made with copper. Check a generator’s coil very carefully before buying. The coil should be neatly rolled inside the engine. If it isn’t, then the coil has been tampered with. Rub your hands against the coil. If your hands are stained, this means the coil has been sprayed to make it look like copper. This may also be an indication that the engine has been refurbished; it will “knock” within three months.

Copper Wire Coil

You will notice that the copper wire’s colour is reddish-brown. Although, some sellers might spray the aluminum or brass wire to look like the copper, you will know if it is sprayed because it will stain your hands once you feel it.

Alluminium Wire Coil

As you can see above, the aluminum wire comes in shiny silver colour. This is not as durable as the copper coil.

Brass Wire Coil

The brass wire is gold coloured. It is weakest of the three. In fact, you should never buy a generator that comes with such coil.

  1. The engine block: This is an easy check you can do by yourself. You can identify a fake engine block from an original one at first glance. A fake engine block is very shiny and light weight. Tap the engine, the sound it makes should be muffled if it is original, but if it is fake, it will make a loud resonating noise.

Block Engine

  1. Engraved/crested name on the generator: An original generator should have its name crested/engraved on its parts: tank, engine block, air filter, carburetor, muffler, cylinder head cover, alternator rear frame and AVR. This might not be the case for all generators but ensure the generator you are buying has its name crested (not painted) on at least three to five of the parts mentioned before you pay for it.

Original Firman generator parts with its name engraved on them:

Block engine

Valves cover

Silencer guild

Air filter


Fuel Tank

The Sound of the generator: Don’t just enter a generator store and pick up a generator without asking the seller to test it for you. A generator’s fine package does not mean it is original. Insist that the generator is unpacked and switched on for you to hear its sound. A good generator makes a regular, continuous sound. If the generator’s sound is “rough”, don’t buy.

When you know what you are looking for, the chances of being cheated are drastically reduced.

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