I was recently doing a bunch of computer work at a big lawn mower shop so got to watch the customers roll in with broken equipment. I kept seeing trucks with generators or snow blowers in the back that wouldn’t start. The owner of the shop was like “Oh, another generator.” He went out and you could hear it running in the back of the truck. He came back in and told me that equipment that gets used intermittently like generators and snow blowers often has carb issues from sitting so much with rotten gas. The owner gives up and brings it to him if it doesn’t start on the first pull. Yes, he says that sometimes bad gas has caused problems but usually the owner forgets to turn on the ignition switch or activate the choke. The engine won’t start so they just give up and bring it in. He goes out and has it running in seconds and the owner is all embarrassed. He says it happens all the time.
I saw something similar happen at a local city park. A city mowing crew showed up to mow and there was a guy with a trimmer or blower (I forgot). Anyway, it just stopped running while he was using it and he stood there pulling the start for about 10 minutes with no luck. Someone else from the crew showed up with a gas can and told him it probably needed gas. I figured it couldn’t have been that simple but watched them add gas to the thing and then it started right back up and ran for the remainder of the time I was there.
I see a lot of this with computers as well. I tell the person to restart the computer over the phone for some of the odd problems and that usually fixes them.
The mower guy and I had a discussion about my zero turn that randomly likes to die and let out a backfire like a cannon! It sounds like there is some electronic module that controls all the safety interlocks. It is sealed in resin so not serviceable of course and costs several hundred dollars. It likes to fail and does so by sensing a safety fault when there isn’t one such as getting off the seat while mowing, not having it properly parked, etc. It shuts down the spark but not the fuel so the muffler fills with unburned fuel, then when it decides to kick the ignition back on, you get quite the blast! Sometimes it is a mild poof but the norm seems to be a boom like a shotgun or a sharp crack like a high powered rifle. The first time it did this I was sitting on top of dirt with leaves and it was starting to get dark. There was quite the flash and the blast kicked up a cloud of dust and leaves.
Of course it isn’t something cheap and I don’t know why they put these electronic modules on outdoor equipment. He said they rarely completely fail but the problem will become more annoying until I decide to replace it. There are good days and bad days, depending on its mood. At least it is just a plug and play part although an expensive one. It usually only does it a few times on startup and on shut down but you can mow for hours without trouble so I don’t care at this point.