The generator apparently failed because I am an idiot. Worse yet, it’s a failure that has happened to me before, but I had simply forgotten about it.
In order to make the generator more handy for people lugging it around, throwing it in the back of the car, etc, the Honda EU2000i has a vented gas cap with a switch to open and close the vent. If you neglect to open the vent, the gasoline being used up by the engine creates a negative pressure in the tank – and if living on the boat and working with diesel and gasoline engines has taught me anything, it is that any time you create a negative pressure, bad things happen. Nature abhors a vacuum.
So yeah. The generator wasn’t working because I accidentally closed the vent on the gas cap. In my defense, the terminology is a little ambiguous – the manual refers to the cap vent as being “a guard against escaping gas fumes”, and the vent switch itself is labelled “on” and “off”. Furthermore, the cap is labelled with a “0” beside the “off”, and a “1” beside the on – so does “on” mean the vent is open, or that the vent is guarding against escaping fumes?
There’s a silver lining though – with my warrantee, Honda will cover 100% of any needed repairs *if* I can prove that I’ve strictly followed the required maintenance. The manual says that the valves have to be adjusted and the carborator cleaned every year or every 200 hours. I’ve asked that the shop do the work while they’ve got my generator – the fact of the matter is if the generator dies completely in, say, February, I’ll be utterly screwed. Better to make sure that it’s solid inside and out, and that I will have the benefit of a valid and useful warrantee if anything terrible happens. This visit to the dealership will likely cost me a few hundred dollars, but will act as insurance against future problems.
Tonight, the weather station has predicted the biggest snowfall of the season to date; we’re due to get between ten and twenty centimeters of snow. The sky is already cloudy as I write this from a coffee shop near Broadway; having no generator to charge my laptop battery I have to steal electricity whenever I can. If I don’t get a call from the Honda shop in the next hour, I’ll be reading books by candlelight tonight, saving my laptop battery for potential work emergencies.