Author Topic: Generator care and feeding?  (Read 1990 times)

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Offline MushCreek

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Generator care and feeding?
« on: August 23, 2009, 11:09:23 AM »
I've been looking at portable generators for some time now, and got a great buy at one at an auction yesterday. It's a Honda EB6500, and it looks brand new. It started and ran on the first pull, and the genny is putting out like it should. Like many generators here in FL, it was probably bought in anticipation of a hurricane, and the owner got tired of tripping over it. I of course plan on using it to build on our property, plus as a back-up should we have an ice storm or some such. What do I need to know about generators? I know not to run it indoors, and the engine needs to be taken proper care of. What about the generator head? How long do they last? Is there any maintenance to be done? Anything I should avoid doing, other than overloading it? How often should I fire it up to be sure it will work the day I need it? Any pointers would be much appreciated!

I'm not poor- I'm financially underpowered.

Offline fishing_guy

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Re: Generator care and feeding?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2009, 05:29:11 PM »
Keep an extra supply of oil handy.  They burn through it quicker than you would expect.  Ours uses straight 30 weight.

We use ours maybe 20 weekends a year at 15 hours/weekend.  Haven't had to do much of anything for the 2 years we have had it, other than gas and oil.
A bad day of fishing beats a good day at work any day, but building something with your own hands beats anything.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Generator care and feeding?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2009, 03:34:55 PM »
The engine in that generator has a cast iron sleeve. (Should be the Honda GX series) If it has not been abused it should not be an oil burner. I have a Yamaha with an iron sleeve. It does not use any noticeable amount of oil. I never have to add between changes. I use Mobil 1 synthetic as it will probably make the engine last longer. I use the Yamaha recommended 10W30 grade. I buy the oil in 5 qt jugs to be sure to always have it on hand if it's needed or I decide to change the oil.

If the generator part of that unit uses permanent magnets be warned that if left unused for long periods of time (years) the magnets can lose magnetism and the generator will then likely be uneconomical to repair.

Generators should be exercised once a month at the least. Gasoline should not be left sitting in the carburetor unless the unit is used weekly. If running once a month or less run the carb dry and use a stabilizer in the fuel if leaving fuel in the tank for ready use. 

Exercising the generator means running it under at least half load. Running under no or low load does not count. I used to run the generator in the RV monthly and turned on the A/C unit to load the unit. A heater could be used.

One thought would be to convert it to run on propane. Propane has the advantage of always being ready (if the tank(s) are full) and is non gumming. Propane also has the disadvantage of of producing less power than gasoline, therefore the output is reduced. If converted you can usually easily switch to gasoline if desired.

I also keep an spare spark plug on hand. Cleanchange the air cleaner as recommended by Honda.

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.


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