Generator Failure!

It would seem that my engines and I just don’t get along.  Last night my trusty Honda EU2000i generator stopped working, and this morning she continues to be unresponsive.

Actually, I’ve been really impressed with the Honda in general; it’s definitely the quietest model of generator that I’ve heard.  The ‘Eco-Throttle’ feature keeps the engine running at just high enough an idle to provide the needed current, and spins the engine up when the demand increases.  I can always start her on the first pull of the starter cord, and she’s exceptionally good on gasoline.

the manual clearly says "do not operate in the rain or snow"
the manual clearly says "do not operate in the rain or snow"

That being said, she’s been running about six to eight hours or more per day for the past six months.  I’ve changed her oil¹ and installed a new sparkplug², but the guy at the Honda dealership said that he’d never actually heard of anyone using an EU2000i that much.  Apparently you’re supposed to do a bunch more maintenance at regular intervals, like cleaning the air intake and changing the oil at every fifty hours of use, and cleaning the carborator and checking the valves with a set of feeler gauges after every two hundred hours – things that I have absolutely no idea how to do.  He also said that using the generator in the harsh marine environment would probably accelerate the wear-and-tear.  I left the generator with him, and he said he’ll give me a call sometime between noon and 3pm tomorrow.

Perhaps “not working” is a bit vague… last night she was idling a bit roughly, and then she sputtered and coughed, spun up to a higher speed, idled down to normal, sputtered and coughed, spun up to a higher speed, idled down to normal, sputtered and coughed and died.  I can now get her to successfully start, and everything seems perfectly normal – but then she dies again after about ten seconds.

What this means for me, unfortunately, is that I have no electricity on the boat for the next few days.  I have heat, because the diesel furnaces do not rely on electricity to run – but since my laptop soundcard ceased to function a few weeks ago, and I gave away my broken CD player in disgust, the only sources of audio on the boat lately are my voice and my guitar.  I’ve not been able to watch videos on the internet, because without sound they’re somewhat meaningless.  And now I’m back to reading books by flashlight again!

The generator is still under warrantee, but the guy said that this warrantee would only cover failure of parts due to “normal” wear and tear, the details of which would be examined by Honda Canada before any warrantee payments would be made.  I am looking at $116 for the service call as a minimum, with possibly a lot more if the engine is damaged internally.

It remains cold, and today I saw the first snow of the year.

1: first time doing this ever!

2: first time doing this too!