They probably could, but if its only putting out 12v then its bad. Mine puts out 14.5v at idle. Does the voltage rise at all when you rev the motor? Summit should be able to get you a new one in a day. I think the PowerMaster has a pretty good warranty. You could buy another one, return the bad one and then have an extra on the shelf in case you have this problem again. I'm thinking I should get a spare myself in case mine goes bad.