In Project Zomboid, you can initially get a false sense of security about the zombie apocalypse happening around you by simply hanging around a nice house with a good, working television and a fridge that’s already full of food. However, if you want to keep a semblance of modern living, you’ll need to learn how to set up and use generators in Project Zomboid.

Without a working generator, your fledgling survivor will quickly realize the power and other utilities are all starting to shut off as society crumbles in the distance. Soon, your fridge full of scavenged food will shut off and all that food you collected will begin to rot!

Problem is, there are quite a few steps between you and that sweet, sweet methane poisoning you’re looking forward to. So where do we start? Right here!

Understanding How Generators Work in Project Zomboid

The first step to getting a working generator in Project Zomboid is to figure out how to hook them up and keep them maintained once you acquire one. Gas-powered generators are complicated appliances and as such, not every character will know how to use them by default.

Electricians begin the game already knowing how to use them, so if you want to skip this first arduous step, you can spend a few trait points on starting the game as an electrician. This also gives you a huge boost to your XP gain in the electrical category, but otherwise isn’t a very optimal start for a solo game. If you’re playing online with a few friends, having one of you choose an electrician can save you a ton of time though!

Otherwise, you’ll need to get ahold of a magazine called “How to Use Generators”. This magazine can be fairly rare, and as such a large amount of scavenging might become necessary. The best places to start are bookstores, school libraries, and the bookshelves inside homes. Eventually, you should find a copy of the valued magazine, and you can run off into your safe house to give it a read.

Where to Get Fuel for Generators in Project Zomboid

Next, you’re going to want to gather some fuel in order to keep your generator operating. A gas station is the best place to do this. Every town has at least one gas station inside it, and at first, while the electricity in town is still operating, you can use the pumps as much as you’d like.

In the newest version of Project Zomboid, you no longer need gas cans to carry gasoline around as you did in old editions. Now, any bottle can be filled with gas, meaning if you can get ahold of even a water bottle, you can easily transport gas from one spot to another. 

Securing a good source of gas early on will also make it significantly easier to get ahold of a working vehicle as well. Ideally, you obtain something with a high carrying capacity like a truck or a van for hauling heavy items, like the generator you’re planning on picking up soon. You’ll often find working vehicles stalled in the parking lots of gas stations too.

Getting a vehicle working requires keys in the ignition, or you can start the game with the burglar career that allows you to hotwire vehicles right off the bat. Hotwiring otherwise takes three mechanics skill points and two electrical, and can then be performed using the radial menu when in front of a vehicle. If you can’t hotwire, look around on the ground nearby as well as inside nearby houses for the keys to a vehicle.

Where to Find Generators in Project Zomboid

The next step, once you’ve acquired the know-how to get a generator started and the gas to keep it going, is to finally get ahold of an actual generator. Finding one can be a difficult process, but knowing where to look can save you a lot of time. Close to any of the various spawn points, you can generally find suburbs with garages and tool sheds in the back yard of the bigger houses. These garages and sheds are the best places in Project Zomboid to find the first of your generators. 

Usually, you should be able to pop open a window and get into the storage areas that way, but if you can’t, try taking an axe to the sheet metal door of the garage to bust it right open. Be careful, as this will make quite a bit of noise, and you’ll be vulnerable if you do actually find a generator.

Once you do find one, picking it up works a little differently than other items you can carry in the game. It’ll take up both your primary and secondary slots, as it’s unwieldy enough that it takes both hands to carry. It also slows you down significantly, leaving you defenseless.

Having a truck or a van ready to go will help immensely with this part of the process, as you can use the vehicle to help move the machinery all the way to your base instead of having to carry the generator the entire way, potentially exhausting yourself in the process (and being defenseless the entire time).

Best Place to Put a Generator in Project Zomboid

Now it’s time to put your generator right where you want it. There are a lot of small factors to consider here. First off, you can’t place it completely indoors, just like in real life, or it will cause gradual but rapid damage to your character from them suffocating on the fumes it produces. If you absolutely have to place it indoors, make sure it’s in a room you rarely access so that the only time you go in there is to work on the generator while it’s off. 

Secondly, operating the generator is going to produce quite a bit of noise, which can draw nearby zombies your way, so placing it somewhere they can’t easily reach it can help mitigate that problem. Keep in mind that the generator provides power to any electrical objects within a 20 square radius, and up to two floors above or below the generator as well, so a roof is always a viable place to plug in.

Once you’ve settled into a solid location for your generator, drop it where you want it and hit the “Connect Generator” button to hook it up. Once connected, you’ll want to fill it up with gas as well, somewhere around one and a half gas cans worth. Then you can kick it on and relax!

How to Maintenance and Repair Your Generator in Project Zomboid

The last thing you’ll want to be prepared to do is to keep your generator well-maintained. Any time it drops below 50% fuel, the generator takes a small percentage of damage as its motor wears down from powering all of your ice boxes full of apocalyptic ice cream.

It’s important to keep this condition from dropping too low, as the generator runs a risk of bursting into flames and potentially consuming all of your hard-won loot in a fireball. This risk starts when you drop to 20% condition on the generator, and gets worse the lower it gets.

To repair the generator, you’ll need electrical components. You can extract these from various electric equipment, most commonly the digital watches that you can find on zombies. You’ll need a screwdriver for this part, and you will also need to have read the “How to Use Generators” magazine, just like you needed to do in order to connect the generator earlier. The higher your electrical skill, the more condition you’ll be able to repair with each electrical component.

Join the High Ground

With this guide, you know everything you need to know about generators in Project Zomboid, and they’ll open up a huge range of possibilities for you while you rebuild society. With a generator behind you, you can easily take the higher ground.

We hope you found our guide on how generators work in Project Zomboid useful! If you have any more questions or think we should cover another aspect, let us know in the comments below.

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Happy Gaming!