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In self-excited induction machines, a power generating mode of operation can often be attained only by precharging at least one of the capacitors connected to the windings. The paper shows how a carefully derived state-space model with nonlinear magnetic characteristics enables the assessment of all possible operating regimes including their stability properties. In particular, the analysis reveals the possible existence of an unstable operating regime, which creates a barrier that must be overcome through precharged capacitors. In such case, the analytical results of the paper yield a simple formula that predicts the voltage needed to trigger self-excitation. Close to the boundary, voltages can be generated for extended periods of time before growing to a stable operating regime, or collapsing to zero. Experimental results validate the results of the paper on the transient properties of self-excited induction generators.