Spring cleaning, and things my inverter won’t do

A beautiful warm spring day, without damaging wind for once! I couldn’t wait to get outside.

The pear tree is just beginning to bud. So I pulled away its protective fence, cleaned up around it and gave it a light pruning.

Last summer was very wet, which caused the weeds in my normally dirt-paved yard to go nuts. I let them flourish because I like the flowers, expecting the snow to beat them down over the winter. But the winter was very dry. So …

…I’ve got a mess…

Which I’ll gradually be cleaning up over the next few weeks.

Lately I’ve accumulated some scrap that needs to be turned into firewood. In past years I’ve let it pile up in a woodlot and then did it all in one big spasm in the autumn – but all my tools are down at the cabin now and in past years doing all that work all at once has sometimes caused me back problems. So I figured that since it’s only three pallets and some old furniture, I’d just do it in Spring at the cabin.

And I intended to pull my nice Honda generator out of mothballs – but the problem with the generator is that I go months between uses so every time I unmothball it I then have to remothball it. So this afternoon I decided to see what would happen if I tried to use my table saw, previously stored elsewhere, on the Lair’s power.

I took that old bed apart, resulting in this much old lumber…

…and then I set up the saw and started whacking it into stove lengths. I got this far…

…before the electrical system packed up, which didn’t come as a great surprise. Normally when this happens I’ve pulled the battery voltage down below the inverter’s shutoff value, which can happen even on a bright sunny day. But this time…

…my inverter gave me a scare. I stepped inside briefly and looked at the voltage readout, and it seemed surprisingly high. Then when I tried to restart the inverter, it was in no hurry to cooperate. Apparently I didn’t hit its low voltage cutoff, I overheated it. Eventually it did restart and everything seems fine, but clearly I need to make a practice of pairing the power saws with the generator whether I want to or not.

BTW you might notice that I have not one but two identical inverters on the powershed wall: That’s an interesting story. 🙂 Two is one, one is none, especially when they’re free. I haven’t needed the second one for going on seven years now, but for a minute this afternoon I was afraid I might have to see if it still works.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Spring cleaning, and things my inverter won’t do

  1. Paul B says:

    My luck one quits they both do.

  2. Elrod says:

    Perhaps, rather than mothballing the generator a program of a 15 minute monthly run under load, using non-ethanol gasoline, could keep it in trim. The big advantage of a generator is having it available quickly when the need arises, and mothballing impedes that.

    The EU2000s are simple to work on, and I’ve adopted the monthly run practice with mine; I use a quart plastic bottle for fuel rather than putting fuel in the tank. Think “hanging IV for the gennie.”

    Pop the side cover, remove the fuel inlet hose from the carb, connect the “IV hose,” remove the hemostat allowing fuel to flow, turn th emain switch to ON (if the main tank is empty nothing will come out of the fuel line while it’s disconnected), and start it up. Depending on load applied, a little under a pint seems to reliably equate to about 15-20 minutes.

    When the engine dies (Pro Tip: when fuel starvation surging begins, cycling the choke on and off, then completely on, will assure the fuel passages in the carb get sucked dry before it finally stops) loosen the carb bowl drain screw to empty the bowl, retighten, reconnect the main tank fuel line, put the cover back on and you’re done. I use fresh (<3 months old) non-ethanol gas for this, but I don't put gas preservative in that supply and so far it doesn't seem to matter. I do use preservative (Pri-G, recommended by Commander Zero and I'll second the recommendation) in the 5 gallon NATO can I keep on hand for generator fuel because that may sit for 12-18 months before it gets dumped into a vehicle and replaced if no emergency calls for the generator.

  3. Elrod says:

    Forgot to inlcude this:

    That plastic “IV bottle” used as a temporary fuel source? While it’s still hooked to the carb, and after the carb bowl drain screw has been loosened to drain the bowl, if a finger is placed over the vent on the plastic bottle and the bottle slowly and gently squeezed, air will be forced through the (now empty) fuel line, into the carb and out the carb bowl drain line, ensuring the carb bowl is completely empty. Slow and gentle is key, you’re not pumping up a tire, you’re air-flushing the carb bowl and fuel passages.

    Care must be exercised to prevent any liquid fuel that may still be in the plastic IV bottle from being forced through the temporary fuel line – this will refill the carb bowl, the opposite of what is trying to be accomplished.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pear jam, canned pears, fresh pears mmmmmm

  5. Mike says:

    I don’t see what the issue with flashing up the generator is. I have a Yamaha 2600C that goes months, sometimes years between use. All I do is every spring give it an oil change, run it for a few minutes under load then close off the gas line, wait for it to die then put it away. And, after using it, I just close off the gas line and let it die then put it away. I was worries about ethanol gumming up the system but I use an additive to take care of it. The generator is 6 years old and has never failed you work yet.

    Well, at least you got some wood cut.

  6. Nolan Parker says:

    I dunno about you guys, but after rotator cuff problems and back,etc,I try to limit the effort to get an engine lit off. Ether,or brake parts cleaner, and last time I looked, WD40 used propane.
    And if you have propane and your tank has a Wet Line, you can refill small tanks. I found a carburetor conversion for my Craftsman 5600 watt that lets it run on propane. It’s not hard to switch fuel sources while it’s running.

    Probably not even a reasonable response to the OP.
    Nope, but I’m leaving it, because,, someone might get something out of it.

    I, too,was mothballing ours. It was such a hassle to go drag it up out of storage. If we lost power I’d try to figure out why and get an estimate on how long. Good luck with that. Now, I keep it right where I use it. It’s relatively under cover and if I decide the gas needs used, the mower will get the transfusion. I always shut the fuel off and run it out of gas in the carb.
    And running time on propane makes the oil last a lot longer.

    Maybe park yours where you need it and put a dog house around it that you can access it to start and service? Hinges and such?

  7. Joel says:

    For the periods of time the generator goes unused, and considering that I have a good place to store it, there might not be a problem with leaving it fueled and ready to go. But I used to work in a repair shop where a big percentage of my work came from people who left their generator or other small-engine tools with gas in the carb and tank for long periods. It made me … maybe paranoid, perhaps, but certainly cautious. Gotta tell you, that year and a half at the saw shop was an eye opening experience right at the beginning of my hermit career.

    Now, I have a neighbor who manages a small airport. I could probably get some avgas, which is certainly ethanol-free. (Nothing at any local gas station is.) That, combined with carefully putting the Honda back in the powershed when not in use, could possibly keep me trouble-free. But mothballing it between uses almost certainly will.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *