Sunday, June 16, 2019

Necessity is a Mother

Boy howdy! Do we know how to start a country getaway.

Carburetor cleaner straw - Such a wicked apparatus
Two things happened within 12 hours of each other.

  1. Tammy got impatient and killed the lawn mower.
  2. The glorious Sportsman generator verified that you get what you pay for.
We are on a one week vacation that is mostly centered around a relaxing getaway at the cabin. By all estimates, Tammy should have been able to come out here Thursday night, crank up the generator, turn on the AC, let the cabin cool off, and easily mow the lawn.

It didn't go that way. 
First of all, the generator died over the winter. It did it quietly. We didn't know about it until we pulled it out of the shed and tried to use it. If you're in Texas, you know it goes from Christmas to absolute, double digit hell overnight. So when we needed the generator we NEEDED the generator. It was so hot that we thought we killed the dog. Tammy started our vacation a day early to see if she could get the thing started. We knew it was a spark issue, but she is much more patient than me, and she thought she could solve the problem if I wasn't around.

She got it started! I was amazed, and I planned to end my work week by packing up some clothes, cool drinks and dogs, and heading on out to the cabin. In the meantime, something else happened. The cabin lawnmower ran out of gas exactly 5 rows short of completely mowing the yard. Let me back up here and take responsibility for original fuel storage sin. Many years ago, I put diesel in a red gas can. Not a green one (which is the designated color for diesel cans). I wrote "diesel" on the can with a sharpie. The ink faded over the years. Tammy was in a hurry to finish mowing because hell was quickly approaching.

Always use super unleaded gas in a lawnmower. Not diesel

Tammy accidentally put diesel in the lawnmower.
All you good ol' boys are rolling your eyes and laughing right now.
Don't be so judgy.
She went about the same things you boys would do to save the lawn mower.
Empty fuel tank.
Fill with super unleaded.
Run it.
Let it sputter and die.
Put a straw on the carburetor cleaner and spray into carburetor.
At which point, Tammy describes the straw as shooting into the carburetor and way into the engine. 
I took the engine apart and retrieved the straw, but as of this writing, we still have 5 rows of grass that need to be mowed.
I pulled out another straw that actually belonged in the air filter intake. I can't get it back in there.
I'm not giving up, but I'm not naive. I know we're probably doomed.

That's the first thing that happened.
Now, back to the generator.

You get what you pay for

The generator did not keep running. In fact, it blew out 2 spark plugs. Blew them the hell out. Thus stripping the threads of the spark plug hole. I'm going to try to fix this, but I tell you, it was one hot night. 

Tammy got up and went to Home Depot, at 5:30 AM, and bought the most amazing and basically expensive generator ever. But y'all. This little suitcase sized generator is the best!

First of all, its a Honda. Honda is just a better product. The Japanese don't skimp on quality. They don't throw it together, put a label on it, and sell it to some All-American company that loves to sell us on 'Merica.

2200 watts is really only enough to power our AC, but that's fine. We have solar power for everything else. This little guy runs smooth, is very quiet, and here's the crazy part. The power inversion is so consistent that the AC actually runs better. It never got very cool on the Sportsman. That's because the Sportsman has a Chinese knockoff of a Honda engine. It does not invert power consistently; even though it has almost double the wattage output.

The only drawback to the Honda EU 2200i is that it has a tiny fuel tank. It holds .95 gallons. Yep. A gallon minus 5 tenths of a percent. Weird. However, it's so efficient, that it will go for about 4 - 5 hours in extreme heat before refueling. That's fine. It keeps the cabin almost cold. On the converse, it ran 7 hours overnight. I didn't expect that. I though I'd be up at 3 AM to refuel. I woke up at 7 AM, and the thing was still running on one tank of fuel!

Here's my recommendation. Don't cheap out. If you want to go off grid, pay for quality.
I haven't written in the last 6 months, but this little machine inspired me.
More to come, as I attempt to salvage the Sportsman to be used as a barn generator (yep! We're in the process of clearing a few more acres and adding a barn!).

Stay tuned.