Honda generator let me down this morning
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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Honda generator let me down this morning

    Woke up pre-dawn to the sound of a UPS beeping. Sure enough, the power is out. Check the temperature... ZERO degrees. Nice! I waited 15-mins or so and then used my phone to report the outage on the power company website.

    Next step - fire up the generator which is a Honda EU6500is.

    It is in an unheated area and I always keep a battery tender attached. I flip the key and it cranks normally.... and cranks....... and cranks. WTF? Over the next 10-15 mins I intermittently crank the engine until the tiny internal battery is near depleted. This beast has a pull starter but it pulls sooo hard that even during the summer pulling the rope just drags the 250 lb generator across the porch. I'm starting to get quite disappointed as this generator has always started although I never tried it when it was quite this cold. I run it every other month, I use non-Ethanol gas, I change the oil and install a new spark plug every November...you know... always ready to go (or so I thought).

    My last resort was to get my Clore JNC660 jump box out of the car and try hooking it to the internal generator battery. The internal battery is equivalent to a small motorcycle battery and luckily I was able to just barely get the large alligator clamps to make contact on the tiny terminals.

    So again... crank... crank... crank... intermittently over the next 30-mins with warm-up breaks in the house. I was just starting to gather up my stuff and get ready for the house to start getting cold when I though I crank one more time and VIOLA.... the b*stard sprang to life. I was never so glad to hear the purr of an engine in my life.

    I must say though that I am quite disappointed in Mr. Honda as it failed to perform when the chips were really down. On the flip-side, Mr. JNC660 jump box proved to be a life saver and performed admirably.

    Thinking about what I can possibly do differently... even though I run it every other month perhaps I should run it every other week as long as this sub-freezing weather continues which is supposed to be for at least another week. They were already calling for daytime highs of 10F and night time lows of 3F for the next few days but we already have that beat.

    It's now 9:40am and I'm just sitting here now waiting for my PowerBack alarm to start tweedle-deedling to let me know the power has returned.

    UPDATE: just received a text message from power company saying repairs are delayed... no ETA on restoration. Nice.
    Last edited by jgayman; 01-03-2018 at 09:50 AM.
    2012 2720 -- 200CX Loader -- 54" Quick Attach Snow Blower -- Frontier LR5060 Rake -- Land Pride RB1660 Blade (Hydraulic Angle) -- Artillian 42" Forks -- Ken's Bolt on Grab Hooks -- Fit Rite Hydraulic top-link -- 2013 X500 for mowing duties

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    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    Does the engine have a Summer/Winter mode?
    Keith

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    Superglidesport's Avatar
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    It almost sounds like your choke wasn't closing completely. I'm not sure whether it's a manual or automatic choke but it might make sense to remove the air filter housing and check it. Possibly a quick & easy adjustment.
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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmo2 View Post
    Does the engine have a Summer/Winter mode?
    Not that I am aware of.
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    2012 2720 -- 200CX Loader -- 54" Quick Attach Snow Blower -- Frontier LR5060 Rake -- Land Pride RB1660 Blade (Hydraulic Angle) -- Artillian 42" Forks -- Ken's Bolt on Grab Hooks -- Fit Rite Hydraulic top-link -- 2013 X500 for mowing duties

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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superglidesport View Post
    It almost sounds like your choke wasn't closing completely. I'm not sure whether it's a manual or automatic choke but it might make sense to remove the air filter housing and check it. Possibly a quick & easy adjustment.
    Could be, it is an automatic choke.

    Doing anything with this generator is a major undertaking. That is the price of QUIET. Even replacing the spark plug is a 30-min job and requires a lot of fiddling, a screw driver and a special spark plug wrench.

    Removing the air filter housing would be a major undertaking in warm weather let alone at 0F.

    These Honda inverter generators are great when they work... pure sinewave power and almost silent operation. But quiet means everything is behind multiple covers and in some cases very difficult to access.
    2012 2720 -- 200CX Loader -- 54" Quick Attach Snow Blower -- Frontier LR5060 Rake -- Land Pride RB1660 Blade (Hydraulic Angle) -- Artillian 42" Forks -- Ken's Bolt on Grab Hooks -- Fit Rite Hydraulic top-link -- 2013 X500 for mowing duties

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    tomd999's Avatar
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    Hiya,

    If you filled it with summer or fall blend gasoline it will be harder to start in cold temps as the fuel does not vaporize well and is not as easily ignited at low temps. A trick to avoid this is to use aircraft "auto gas", it's designed to operate well at all air temps and contains no on-road emission additives or ethanol.

    Did you fire it up after you changed the plug? I've been fooled before with new plugs....

    Also, you want to be using the lightest viscosity oil specified in the manual for winter operation and I recommend a full synthetic that includes zinc in the additive package.
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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomd999 View Post
    If you filled it with summer or fall blend gasoline it will be harder to start in cold temps as the fuel does not vaporize well and is not as easily ignited at low temps. A trick to avoid this is to use aircraft "auto gas", it's designed to operate well at all air temps and contains no on-road emission additives or ethanol.
    I use non-Ethanol 91-octane gas in all my small engines. This gas is probably 45 days old.

    Did you fire it up after you changed the plug? I've been fooled before with new plugs....
    Yes, I always run it after the November maintenance. But more importantly the generator was ran a little over a month ago during a power outage.

    Also, you want to be using the lightest viscosity oil specified in the manual for winter operation and I recommend a full synthetic that includes zinc in the additive package.
    I have been using 10W-30 dino oil. The manual is a bit vague and seems to recommend either straight 30W for temps above 50F or 5W-30/10W-30 for +105F to -5F. But we know that 5W-30 would perform better at colder temperatures.

    Whenever I've used thicker oil in other small engines they've always turned over sluggish in the cold. The generator seemed to crank just fine this morning but showed no signs of trying to start. Maybe a shot of starting fluid would have been in order.

    Maybe a synthetic would be more appropriate regardless. Even though I am in central PA the temperatures we are having now are unusually cold.
    Last edited by jgayman; 01-03-2018 at 10:33 AM.
    2012 2720 -- 200CX Loader -- 54" Quick Attach Snow Blower -- Frontier LR5060 Rake -- Land Pride RB1660 Blade (Hydraulic Angle) -- Artillian 42" Forks -- Ken's Bolt on Grab Hooks -- Fit Rite Hydraulic top-link -- 2013 X500 for mowing duties

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    I'm no expert on this subject. But if your conditions are such that you frequently lose power & maybe your well water too, if you have a well, why do you not invest in something like a Generac (?spelling) system that runs on natural gas or propane & it is self exercising so you have better reliability on the system & you have it tied into a transfer switch system. I'm just asking because many times when I lived in NY our power would go out & so would our well water. Could not flush a toilet or wash or cook. I would go out at times & melt the snow for some water using the BBQ. I feel your pain. Went four days with no power one time in the winter, living in a house at 30 degrees is nasty.
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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maddog View Post
    I'm no expert on this subject. But if your conditions are such that you frequently lose power & maybe your well water too, if you have a well, why do you not invest in something like a Generac (?spelling) system that runs on natural gas or propane & it is self exercising so you have better reliability on the system & you have it tied into a transfer switch system.
    We used to lose power on a regular basis until I bought the generator. :-) Seriously, we lose power maybe twice a year. We have city water. We do not have access to natural gas. A propane/automatic generator would be nice but not really worth it.

    I have this generator tied to a manual transfer switch so it serves as a whole house generator when needed but I also use it for other things like portable welding. I've even thrown it on the trailer and used it elsewhere. Would an automatic generator be nice? Sure. But I kind of like the portability of this unit. I also like that replacing/upgrading it is as simple as going to the store or online, buying a new one, coming home and plugging it in.

    If we lost power more often or if our water was dependent on power than maybe I'd be using a different configuration but for the past 5 years this setup has served me well.
    etcallhome, pcabe5 and Ray_PA like this.
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    J,

    Sounds like you have things covered with the fuel however, I would go with the 5w-30 in a full synthetic to get to cold flow improvement. Engine cranking speed is a large factor in how quickly an engine starts in low temps, the faster you can get it to spin over, the quicker it will fire off.
    etcallhome, pcabe5 and Tomfive like this.
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