John's Musings

Yeah, Me Neither

Inverter Generator - Honda EU2000i

Well I finally went and lost my mind at 55 years old. After my daughter left to go to college rather than sit at home and have long, deep conversations with myself I bought a camper to hit the open road with. For various reasons, none of which have anything to do with a generator, I bought a Forest River Rockwood A122.

Great little pop up, hard sided camper. Even though I never camped in my life, I'm drawn to that lifestyle like a moth to the flame. Going out, seeing new places, meeting new people, living in the woods, albeit with an air conditioner, and heater and AM/FM Stereo and full kitchen.

Now most campgrounds have 30 amp electrical connectors which is what this trailer requires. You can run all your appliances at the same time easily with that and plug stuff in all over the place.

However, if you want to get away from the campground in what campers refer to as "boondocking" then by golly you need a power source. A lot of people slap a solar panel up on that nice tilted A frame which keeps the camper battery charged. The problem with that is that it is kind of a fair weather solution. If it were winter it might be okay because the onboard furnace is propane. So you're probably in good shape to run a few lights, but wanna charge your phone, watch TV, turn on the heat pump or air conditioner? Not gonna happen.......for long that is.

So plan B is to go get a generator. But there are generators, and there are inverter generators. Inverter generators produce a very clean Sine Wave which means they won’t kill your very sensitive electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, etc. So that is what we want since we don’t want to smoke check the nice thermostat or AM/FM Stereo in the camper along with our iPhones. In addition to clean power, when you are camping you need QUIET power. No point in communing with nature if there is 108 dB of generator sound cranking out 25’ from your bed.

Also realize that you should have some idea of how much power you need. My very small camper with a 10,000 BTU air conditioner / heat pump will not have nearly the demands of an enormous RV. 2000 watts of generator power is all I need if I am smoldering hot in the camper and I probably can just run the AC and charge a few devices and operate an LED light or two. Uhhhhh that’s all I do anyway in the camper. Anyway, don’t run out and buy this generator based on reading my blog and then get mad at me when it doesn’t power your mobile home that is as big as a real home. Use one of many of the internet generator load calculators to decide what you need and seek out the advice on the Internet Forums on the camper THAT YOU HAVE.

So as you begin to do your research on small, quiet, inverter generators the Honda EU2000i has no equal. It’s on the top of every list. On the lists it might not be on top of the reviewer will say something like “I loved it but it has no hour meter.......”. Well Mr. Reviewer didn’t read the manual because when you start the unit and the green power light comes on steady it means it has 0 to 100 hours on it. When it blinks once......100-200 hours, and so on and so forth. So while it isn’t precise..........THERE IS AN ACCOUNTING OF RUN TIME. My point being here is.............DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH IN ADDITION TO READING THAT OF OTHERS.

Here it is:

It goes about 46 lbs or so and it’s not very big. And when you pick it up it isn’t terrifically bulky either. It doesn’t make you walk like you have one leg in a splint as you lurch along with it. At 55 years old I was able to easily lift it up to the tailgate of my SR5 Toyota Tacoma which is up there a bit.

So I get it out of the box and add 13 ozs of 10W-30 oil and then almost a gallon of gas. It takes a couple pulls, probably because there has never been any gas in it before but starts easy. Subsequent starts after that are SUPER easy. You barely have to pull the cord. Operation is VERY quiet. Get more than a few feet away from it and it is barely a distraction, HOWEVER the larger the load, the louder it is. Remember that. Last night as I was giving it some run time I sat a laptop on the edge of my hot tub and watched some Netflix. The generator was about 15’ away and did not drown out the laptop sound.

This is an awesome little generator not just because it delivers clean power also has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. For example with this battery charging cord there is a DC voltage out feature which acts as a battery charger. (Note the DC receptacle in the drawing below). You heard that right. This generator is a battery charger. Also it has parallel wiring ports so that you can hook another one of these together and double your wattage. Tie two together and you have 4000 starting watts of power. Of course these generators aren’t cheap, so two of them is a bit expensive but could be well worth it.

There are a couple of other nice features as well. It also has an "ECO Throttle" switch which reduces the engine speed as the load is reduced or disconnected. Most generators are just running..........same speed, same output. This will throttle down when you aren't pulling a big load which gives you two things:

- Reduced Sound

- Longer run time due to greater fuel efficiency.

Another great thing this generator does is to shut itself down if it sees a low oil condition. Nice.

And while you can tie two of them together the max output on the 110v sockets is 20 amps. Remember that the camper uses 30 amps? Honda sells a generator that is the Companion to this and in fact that is what they call it “EU2000i Companion”. It is almost the same generator except one of the output sockets is an RV ready 30 amp twist lock connector. Oh this just gets better all the time. Just note, however, that the Companion model does NOT have the DC output for charging batteries. To tie the two together you just need this parallel cable kit which costs about $40

Another great thing about having a Honda generator is that Honda generator engines have an almost unrivaled reputation and also Honda Service Centers are all over the place. I live in a very small town and there are 3 near here. Also the warranty on this generator is 3 years. That’s huge.

Now what don't I like about it? Well, not much, but there is one thing. Set a $900 generator down on the ground and it may grow legs and walk away. So you loop a bicycle lock or similar through the handle only to find that the handle is plastic and easily cut through. Honda sells a Theft deterrent kit which basically wraps the handle in a metal sleeve and then you lock it up with chain or cable. That's cool but it costs $40 or more.

So while the generators are awesome as can be if you want to parallel two together, be prepared to shell out $40 for cables, then a DC cable for charging the batteries is $11, then the theft deterrent...............well you get my drift. Dear Honda. This costs $900 if you shop hard and $1099 if you don't. For God's sakes put some accessories in the box. It doesn't even come with a container of oil in the box. Oh, almost forgot the $30 cover.

Still it's the best small inverter generator on planet earth. You are really getting a lot of generator and a lot of features. Also this generator is highly "hackable". People have done all kinds of things with these such as added panel lamps, magnetic oil dipsticks to pick up metal shavings in the pan, and the addition of hour meters. All that and probably a dozen other hacks. Oh, and it will run on propane as well with a (non-Honda) conversion kit.

Lastly here is a video of it in action. You can hear how quiet it is as I back off towards the end.

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