Generator run day

Nice day outside. Time to set out the generator and run it for a while to make sure everything is working for when we need it.

20150419_145545I keep a copy of the startup/shutdown instructions attached to the generator so there’s no doubt about doing things the right way. Sure, I commit as much of it to memory as I can but you never know when someone else may be needed to start/stop it and this way they can have all the proper info right there.

In a crisis the only thing I really need the generator for is to keep the freezer/fridge cool and maybe run the furnace blower. In the winter any food can simply go outside and the generator will be mostly for just running the blower and charging batteries.

Household emergency lighting will be mostly LED lights run off a couple deep-cycle batteries. Thats a project I’m kinda working on at the moment.


18 thoughts on “Generator run day

  1. Pro tip: Run the generator under load for testing to make sure the inverter hasn’t failed. A small electric heater (500-1K watts) works well.

      • I don’t know about other brands, but the inverters on the Hondas are susceptible to internal failures from “backfeeding” with a battery charger with poor wave form and/or voltage spikes. I’ve seen EU 3000s with failed inverters from that (FYI, a new inverter is about $1K). I’d suggest if you have a inverter-equipped generator with electric start – meaning it has a battery – and need to charge the battery, disconnect BOTH battery terminals (beginning with the negative terminal) before charging. Haven’t seen it on the bigger ones with alternators, but better safe than sorry. I’ve developed the habit of disconnecting both cables when charging on everything – no way to tell how sensitive the electronics are.

  2. My only suggestion would be to have the instruction sheet laminated. Those page holders allow moisture in, which can lead to surprise ruined pages.

    Of course, that is highly dependent on where you store it…

  3. Have you given any more thought to getting a tri fuel kit for it? I installed one on my EU2k a year or two ago, and it works like a charm. You can’t beat the long term storage capabilities of propane, and in short term situations, if the natural gas doesn’t die, you can run on that too.

    There’s few things better than having options.

  4. Sadly, though I have it on a schedule, we had a fuel line clog. So it will now be time to repair that mess. It is not a top of the line unit but it IS large enough to handle a decent load so it is worth the time. Do you treat the fuel in the unit or run it dry?

      • One of the bad side effects (not the only one) of the ethanol is to make the engine run leaner, which is hotter. Not a good thing with aircooled engines. Performance is degraded, also, so there ends up to be an added hit in that you tend to run the engine harder to try to get it to work right. This produces even more heat.

        I have a turbocharged car, and it runs like crap on that gasohol fuel. Power drops, probably due to the knock sensor backing off the timing, throttle response gets very rough, and fuel mileage drops considerably. IIRC, mileage drops maybe 25% in my car.

  5. I have the same unit and run it monthly. This time it is idling rough on the Eco setting. Going to try some Seafoam. Any thoughts?

    • Seafoam seems to be really good at cleaning. I pulled the fuel injectors out of my Talon recently, and soaked them in a jar of Seafoam. Wow! the difference in running was stunning. Idle and throttle response was like new. (160k miles)
      (I used a low voltage wall-wart to activate the selinoid to make sure the cleaner got inside, and then let them sit overnite, with a cover to limit evaporation, although it turns out it is a very slow evaporating fluid)

  6. Kept a folder at our old place with instructions for the wife on how to operate the house in “off-grid mode”. Generator, boiler, switching from city water to the well pump. Traveled a lot back then. Left it with the house for the new owners (the folder, not the generator). Need to build another…

    Have a 1kW Honda much like yours, it’s the backup for the backup at our new place. Doesn’t get much use. I run it out of gas when I do get it out, and pull the plug and squirt a little oil into the cylinder, then reinstall the plug and pull it a couple times to work the oil around. Always fires right up the next time.

  7. Commander, I have “built” my 12 volt system to be useful in varied situations. 12volt deep cycle batteries can be charged by my generator (4000watt) but I use 2 solar panels with regulators most the time. I have several house style sockets and 12 volt bulbs with a good deal of wire to make a small grid. I also have 12volt emergency style lights (those used in hallways in schools, motels, etc. for power outages) that can be plugged into cigarette style receivers. several male end plugs (wired to the lights) that are inserted into the female end which are clipped to the 12volt batts. I also utilize a portable “jump starter” pack. Mine works very well. I can use the battery clips to hook up or plug my cigarette style plugs directly into a receiver.. I have a 140Watt inverter (12v to 120v) that I can lug in and run fans, portable DVD player, etc. I also have a 400watt inverter that hooks directly to you car battery. The portable DVD player is nice during winter outings when the sun goes away at 430PM. This jump starter can also be charged with my solar panels (one is 12″x16″ and one is 16″x24″). These panels and the jump starter also charge my cell phones, cameras, GPS units, almost anything using a USB port. I have several solar battery chargers and a portable, foldable solar panel (I use backpacking & snowshoeing mostly) for my phones, batteries, GPS units, hand held Ham radio & walkie talkies. My “solar farm” includes the cheap yard, driveway style lights which I stake out in a little square during the day then place them at tent doorways, portable outhouse, trip hazards, etc. I DO have a supply of rechargeable batts (now purchasing eneloops). So far the eneloops are performing excellent. I read your blog daily and always appreciate the info. peace, Shadowfaxhound

  8. I also try to start of the EU2000 monthly. Fire up the chainsaw at the same time. My goal is to make sure they work and run enough fuel through em to avoid carb issues. I use stabalized non ethanol gas for the genny and higher octane stabilized gas for the saw. Have been getting the saw gas in those little 1 quart tins but need to start jut buying it in bulk (like filling a 5 gal can or three).

    For the sake of simplicity I am moving to only storing non ethanol gas.

  9. I am also quite interested in your battery and 12 volt project. I have a small goal 0 setup with a battery, some lights and a solar panel. The power source could get charged by the genny. A more robust setup would be nice.

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