Showing posts with label HONDA 2000i GENERATOR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HONDA 2000i GENERATOR. Show all posts

Saturday, August 23, 2014

TOOLS OF AN ELECTRIC SAILOR: Hopkins Measuring Funnel

One of the real nice things about Electric Propulsion and having removed the diesel engine from the boat is not needing to do multi quart oil changes every fifty hours. Indeed my maintenance has just about gone to zero in the seven years since I switched to electric propulsion. The only regular maintenance I have had to do has involved the Honda 2000 generator that serves for providing power for battery charging at anchor and also acts as a poor man's hybrid when doing an extended electro sail. The maintenance on the generator has  been minimal consisting mainly of an annual oil change. The oil change on the Honda 2000 does not
involve a lot of oil compared to the old Westebeke 27 diesel. In fact it's only .42 Quarts. Which is kind of a problem when one is using a plain funnel with a quart container of 30W oil that the Honda requires. It usually results in an overflow situation and some messy clean up.
I came across a very handy solution for oil change overflow problem in the form of the Hopkins FloTool 10704 Spill Saver Measu-Funnel. It is an elegant solution for dealing with oil changes on small capacity engines like the Honda 2000eu generator or an outboard.

It has a graticule on the side calibrated in various liquid measurements. You just fill the container with the appropriate amount of oil you need. It also has a snap on cover that will help avoid any spills should you drop the funnel accidently.

It's operation is pretty simple. Once the funnel is filled with the premeasured amount of oil. You insert the clear hose of the funnel into the oil fill opening: 

Then you turn the blue valve at the bottom of the funnel to start the flow of oil from the container to engine. Since the oil has been  pre measured there is little chance of an overflow.

It even has a cap at the end of the hose to capture any residual oil that may drip down from the container. You can then return the residual oil back into the original quart container and not waste a drop.  In short this ingenious funnel makes oil changing on board or on land a much cleaner operation. That's why it's one of the tools of this electric sailor.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

NOTES OF AN ELECTRIC SAILOR: Late summer cruise 2013

I decided to head out on a late summer/early fall cruise yesterday. Before I did I topped up the 48 volt propulsion bank for the Thoosa 9000 system using the Honda 2000i generator at the mooring. In the morning I used the helm instrumentation panel to read the battery voltages here were the readings:



I left later than I had planned and so had to buck some current while heading out of the harbor. Once I got out to open water I found the winds were light to nonexistent for most of the day. So I motor sailed for most of the eight hours in the light breeze drawing currents from 5 amps to 25 amps. After a trip of 18 miles I picked up a mooring in a nearby harbor and took the following readings of the batteries on the instrumentation panel:



The percent charge as read on the Xantrex XBM battery monitor showed a reading of 83%. I fired up the Honda 2000i generator using the 900 watt ZIVAN NG-1 battery charger until it reached the second stage of charging. I then switched to the Dual Pro 4 charger which topped up each battery individually until fully charged. It took three and a half hours to fully recharge the propulsion bank. During which time I also charged the battery for the 12 volt house bank and the Electric Paddle outboard.

BLOG UPDATE:  I was relaxing in the cockpit enjoying a glass of wine when I suddenly realized that I never took the Amp Hour readings off of the XBM battery monitor after I finished the sail. After six years I guess I'm just too comfortable with the electric propulsion system to keep an eye on all the parameters. :)  Perhaps I'll remember next time.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Before Hurricane Sandy distracted me and ended the sailing season I was going to chronicle a recent cruise I made with BIANKA.  Originally I had planned to do this cruise to New York back in September. But, a little repair snafu with the Honda Generator in September curtailed that plan. I just about gave up on doing the cruise this year but, a nice weather window opened up in late October and I thought why not head out for a fall cruise. So I did.

I headed early out to take advantage of the flooding current into Long Island Sound winds were light for much of the trip so I electro-sailed BIANKA for forty nautical miles. It was after sundown as I sailed into Port Washington and picked up a free town mooring. Before I did  I had a gam with a fellow sailor already on another mooring. He was a 38 year old fellow who quit his job in September bought a 24 foot boat and was heading south for the winter. He wanted to do it now since he was single and the flexibility to do it.  Certainly sounds like a plan. We had a nice discussion about life, getting through Hell Gate and other things sailors might talk about. I wished him fair winds and then  motored off in the dark to find a mooring. One nice thing about fall cruising the mooring fields are pretty empty so it was pretty easy to pick one up. The next day had some nasty weather coming through. It was windy and wet so it was a lay day for me.  Sometime during the following night the other fellow headed off to travel down the East River through Hell Gate in the middle of the night. He wanted to make it to the Sandy Hook area during the day and meet up with friends. I can only wonder if the fellow made it through Hurricane Sandy which would hit the area a little over a week later.

After the weather cleared I headed toward New York.  Upon crossing under the Throgs Neck Bridge BIANKA left Long Island Sound behind and entered the East River which is actually a tidal strait. I made a video of the trip from Port Washington to the Battery via the East River:

I rounded the Battery a little after sunset and headed over to an anchorage a little north of Ellis Island. I had never anchored there before. It was getting dark and the winds were blowing 10 to 20 knots out of the west. I got as close to western shore and dropped anchor for the night. There was a little roll from the harbor traffic at first but, it calmed down later except for a 4 am roll that woke me up for a bit. But, the holding was good plus I had a real nice view of the lights of lower Manhattan:

Though in a little over a week all these lights would be plunged into darkness after Hurricane Sandy hits the area and knocked out power to all of lower Manhattan. Though  this night it was a very pretty scene from on board.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Just when things were getting back to normal. On Monday the lights at the marina where BIANKA was tied up came on. Same for the houses in the hills surrounding the harbor. BIANKA was going to be pulled for the winter so it was my last night on board. But, I will be taking the Honda 2000 generator with me. I'm so glad I did not opt for an inboard marine generator when I converted to electric propulsion. I can move the Honda to where I need it. Because as I leave the boat for the winter NOAA is predicting another Nor'easter to hit the area today. It won't be as bad as Sandy but, coastal flood and high wind warnings have been issued. Though today I take comfort that BIANKA is now safely on land for the coming months and I don't have to worry about her as much with the coming Nor'easter as I did last week when Sandy approached.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


I am noticing a difference at night while living on board BIANKA. The harbor the first night on Tuesday had a different feel to it. Mostly because the lights of the beach parking lot and those houses in the surrounding hills were dark due to the power outages. The nearly full moon rose and played peak a boo in the swirling clouds that were the remnants of Sandy.  It was very calm and somewhat warm enough that I was able to have dinner in the cockpit and enjoy the scene.

On Thursday I drove home to check on the house which was still without power  and did some yard cleanup before returning to BIANKA for the night. It was comforting to return to BIANKA where I had power and food available thanks to solar and wind power which were doing a nice job keeping things topped up. But, I did fire up the generator as the cloud cover during the day did keep the 12 volt house bank a little under charged.  It did not take long to fully charge it and I used the waste heat from the Honda generator to totally dry the portion of the quit on my bunk that got wet from the open over head hatch. I enjoyed the nights dinner which was Pasta with Captain Mike's homemade Bolognese sauce. It was a colder night than the previous ones but, under the down quilt in BIANKA's cabin I did not notice it.

On Friday I bought the boat to the dock as the boatyard boss was getting antsy to pull her and put BIANKA in the special corner where I get a very nice harbor view over the winter as I work on projects. He wants to do this soon so that he can also put in other boats in front of her and fill up the yard. I've finished the water from the 50 gallon tank on board and switched over to the 30 gallon tank so I guess it's time to think about ending the season anyway. I tried grappling for the lost Honda BP-2 outboard but, I was not able to find it. I may try again over the weekend. A gusty wind kept the Marine Air-X wind turbine spinning all day  nicely adding some  amps into the battery bank and we had enough sun that I did not need to use the Honda 2000 generator to top things up. Driving home to check on the house I notice that gas has become an issue with many gas stations closed because of no supply and those that were open had long lines and Police directing traffic. This is not a crucial issue on an electric boat like BIANKA  the solar and wind generation are able to keep up with my demands while I live on board most days. I heard some scuttlebutt in the boatyard about hiring private security to keep an eye on things. As contractors in the area were finding it hard to find fuel for their trucks and a boatyard full of diesel fueled boats was a tempting target. As for me I will be hiding the half gallon of gas I have on board for the Honda generator and sleeping with one eye open.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

HONDA 2000i GENERATOR REPAIR: Pull Cord Replacement

I've mention that my Honda 2000i generator has been very reliable for the past five years. So reliable that when it came time to repair it there was a lot of aggravation involved. The original problem was an expected one. The pull cord that allows one to start the engine broke. A simple problem that will probably befall all generators at some point if they are used often enough. What I did not expect was how seized up the outside screws that hold the 2000i covers on would be.

 The aggravation was in how long it would take to remove them. In addition some of the screws where "special" types of screws which were not even stocked in the local Honda power shop. So there was   additional delay in getting those parts as they had to be ordered from Honda. It took over two weeks after I started the repair for the parts namely the replacement special screws to arrive before I could finally start to repair the pull cord.

First a little more about those screws. To get at the recoil starter of the Honda 2000i I needed to remove the front, back and side covers. This required the removal of about 17 screws. Most of them I was able to remove but about a third of them were tightly seized and had to removed by drilling them out or cutting a slot into the head. Some of the screws are recessed so drilling was the only option. Below is the screws that were destroyed in the removal process:

On the left are one type of the "special" metric screws (PN 90380-GM-740) that Honda uses. It has a special shoulder milled into the screw that is used to secure the front and back covers. The middle screw is also a "special" screw (PN 93891-06020-07) that is used in the handle area to secure the two sides of the generator together. It has a captured washer built into it. One might be able to substitute here but, since I had to order the some of the other special screws I ordered this one as well. The screws on the right are the self tapping (5 x 16) screws (PN 93913-25480). You might be able to find them locally but, I ordered mine from the Honda parts supplier.

So with the replacement screws on hand I proceeded to move on to replace the broken pull cord. It requires quite a bit of tear down of the generator but once the covers have been removed it goes pretty quickly.

One of the major parts that needs to be removed before you can access the recoil assembly is to remove the fuel tank. To do this you need to first remove the fuel from it. I used a small Bulb Siphon Pump.

But I had an annoying problem with it's flexible hose not always staying below the fuel level of the tank and so it would lose suction. The solution was to use a cable tie and attach the hose to one of the fiberglass wire pull rods  I carry on board for running wires.

This allowed me to place the siphon hose in the very bottom of the fuel tank with no further problems. After removing the fuel tank I finally had enough access to remove the recoil assembly. This is how it looked after I had removed the fuel tank and recoil assembly:

There was only three bolts holding the recoil assembly to the engine and they were easily removed. Once I had the recoil assembly off. I removed the broken pull cord and then turned the starter reel five times counter clockwise and used a  Cable Tie to hold it in that position while I installed a new pull cord on to the reel. Then while holding the cord out I cut the  Cable Tie and allowed the starter reel to slowly rewind the cord.

 As I expected is part of the repair only took ten minutes getting to that point took over two weeks. I reassembled the generator making sure all the screws were received a generous coating of Ultra Tef-Gel  before they were screwed back down. Hopefully, the next time I need to replace the pull cord things will go a lot easier and faster.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


After another email was sent I got the good news that the parts for the Honda 2000 generator are on the way and should be arriving sometime next week. So there is hope I might actually be able to get out on at least one more cruise this season. But, first I have to get the remaining seized screws off the Honda 2000:

Once that is done replacing the pull cord and reassembly should go much faster.  At least that's the plan.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Well, It's going into the second week and I'm still waiting for delivery of some replacement screws for the Honda 2000 generator. The good news is I may finish the the Helm Instrumentation project this week. Even came up with an "aha" solution that makes it versatile for use in the off season too. So life is still good because :

 "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." -Kenneth Grahame

Monday, September 17, 2012

RELIABILITY: So much for that!

Reliability can be a double edged sword as I recently found out. I've had a Honda 2000i generator on board for as long as BIANKA has used electric propulsion which is going on five years. It is used for a number of things on board. Because BIANKA no longer has a diesel engine and therefore no alternator the generator comes in useful in assisting the electric windlass in raising the anchor so the 12 volt battery bank is not depleted. It is also useful in charging the 48 volt propulsion bank especially the all important bulk phase for charging before letting the wind and solar take over at anchor or on the mooring. It can also move the boat along nicely at three knots without draining the battery bank as an economical hybrid propulsion system. It also powers some of the 120 volt power tools I sometimes use on board too. For five years the Honda has been a reliable workhorse when needed.

So when I noticed the pull cord was starting to look a little frayed a few weeks ago I bought a replacement. After five years it was to be expected. It was still starting the engine but, I figured it was only a matter of time before I would have to change it. I was about to head out on a two week plus cruise with an extended stay at a dock in New York where I thought I'd replace the pull cord. The boat was fully provisioned up and I motored out to the mooring where I was about use the generator and my electric hookah dive setup to do a quick clean of the hull before catching a favoring current to start the cruise. I grabbed the pull cord and it suddenly broke.

Oh well, I thought no problem I've already got the replacement cord. I had the service manual for the generator which involved taking the covers off and removing the fuel tank to get access to the recoil starter to replace the pull cord. Not too involved I'd just depart a little later than planned or wait until tomorrow. The problem was because the Honda had been so reliable for the past five years I never had any reason to remove the covers before and because it was operating in a marine environment a number of the screws had seized up tightly.

I then spent two days trying to remove them using various methods from PB Blasterscrew extractors  and finally ended up drilling some of them out.

 I also used my Dremel Rotary Tool to  make slots in some of the screws turning some of the phillips head screws into slotted ones:

To make matters worse some of these screws were "special" items according to the service manual. Needless to say I did not start out on that cruise and am currently waiting for parts including some of the "special" screws to arrive.

CAPT. MIKES'S TIP:  If you are using a generator like the Honda 2000 or some other make on board. Take some time when you first get it to coat the cover screws with some of anti corrosion product like Tef-Gel .  It will save a lot of time and aggravation later.  One thing is for sure when I re install the screws each will get a nice coat of Tef-Gel  so in five years when I need to replace the pull cord again it will be a much easier and faster job.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Recently I decided to head off on a little cruise even though Mr. NOAA was only calling for very light winds of under 5 knots for the day. Surely,  I thought with the land temperature in the nineties the usual afternoon sea breeze would kick in. It didn't.
I dropped off the mooring early in the morning and began motoring out of the harbor at about 1.5 knots using around 7 amps from the battery. I use this speed as I work around the boat raising sail etc... before heading out of the harbor. I raised sail and decided to keep the throttle at that position to cancel any prop drag in the light winds expected. As I headed out of the harbor and picked up a favoring current I was soon moving along at about three to four knots. Not bad. I motor sailed or as some with boats using Electric Propulsion systems like to say "electro sailed" for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours in this manner. Interesting thing about electro sailing is that even though I started out in the harbor using about 7 amps as the light breeze filled the sail intermittently the current consumption drop quite a bit as the breeze picked up. When the battery capacity had dropped to 90% I start thinking about firing up the Honda 2000 generator and using the 16 amps from the ZIVAN NG-1 charger to motor along at about 3 knots with very little help from the wind.   I adjust the throttle so there is zero current being drawn from the battery. Since the wind looked like it was not going to be much help at all I moved the generator forward away from the cockpit with the exhaust facing out off the lee side. The Honda 2000 is quieter than my four stroke dingy outboard but, it is not completely silent either but, at 47 pounds is light enough to moved easily. I continued this operation for most of the day for a total of about 37 nautical miles. Finally late in the afternoon about two nautical miles from my destination an afternoon sea breeze finally kicked in and I enjoyed at least some nice sailing up until I was able to drop my anchor. Checking on the battery after the trip I still had 90% capacity left in the bank. All in all it was a fine day for an electro sail.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Honeywell HW2000i 2,100 Watt 125cc 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator (CARB Compliant)

I've been very happy with the HONDA 2000i generator that has been charging both the 12 volt and 48 volt battery banks on board BIANKA for the past three years. It is also able to push BIANKA along at around 3 knots using electric propulsion. All this and the only maintenace I've had to do is an oil change. Color me a happy customer.  Meanwhile, down in the Carribbean Bob at BOAT BITS & Shelia have had their Honda 2000i develop a more serious problem. One that probably involves the inverter module a $650 part on a $1000 generator. Which is in the "ouch" range in terms of repair. Meanwhile when they looked around they came upon a Honda knock off in the Honeywell HW 2000i generator. Which for just a little more cost than the Honda part would mean they would have a brand new generator.  So they bought it. It arrived with a broken plastic bracket that held the carburetor. Well ship(ing) does happen. [BLOG UPDATE: Bob informs me that part that arrived broken was actually the metal elbow that fixes the carb throat.] Doing the economics Bob wisely decided rather than ship the brand new generator back from the Carribbean for repair it would be cheaper to have the part shipped in and install it himself. Which is what he did. But, less than month later a new wrinkle developed as Shelia reports in this post in ALL ABOUT BOATS.   While changing the spark plug does not in my book constitute a major repair and Bob reports the Honeywell is now purring like a kitten though a little noiser than the Honda. It does raise a quality control issue in my mind regarding the Honeywell. Especially since my Honda 2000i generator has been  purring along for three years with the same spark plug. Still, I'm not one to tempt fate for too long. I think I'll be ordering a spark plug or two and a few other spare parts for the Honda just to be on the safe side.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

LESSON LEARNED: Fear and Panic in East Hampton

"I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed."-Hunter S.Thompson

I was thinking about a situation that occurred last year after I rode out Hurricane Earl in East Hampton's Three Mile Harbor . A few days later I decided to leave and head back to BIANKA's home port before the winds shifted in a few days. Looking at the Eldridge Tide and Pilot  book I knew I would have to get an early start to make sure I would make it through Plum Gut with a favoring current. So I awoke at 3:45 am and got ready to head out.  Normally I would start my Honda 2000 generator to power the 12 volt  battery charger. This helps lighten the load on the 12 volt battery bank when using the electric windlass. But, since it was the middle of the night and I did not want to disturb the other boats around me I just used the battery bank and windlass alone to raise the anchor.  After that was done I silently used my electric propulsion system to move the boat to the channel that lead to Gardiners Bay. When I was in the channel I fired up the Honda and  plugged in the 48 volt Zivan charger for the propulsion bank. I watched as the lights  came on that told me it was putting out some amps into the bank. I then turned on my Pro Mariner 12 volt 30 amp charger to help replenish the amps lost from raising the anchor. Everything was fine for a few minutes when all of a sudden I heard the Honda sputter and then rev just a little, It was still running but, I glanced at the indicator light for the 48 volt Zivan charger and it was out. Panic spread over me. I though the charger had died or at the very least a fuse had blown inside. What should I do? Do I continue in the hope that I don't need the charger to help provide the extra power for the propulsion bank. I do have a back up charger that I can use to charge the bank but, it can't be used  to help propel the bank like the ZIVAN NG-1 can. Do I turn around and go back and anchor to work on the problem? If I do I will probably miss the favoring current at Plum Gut.  I had a few fearful moments as I pondered what I should do.  I hated the idea of missing the current at Plum Gut because it might mean I would have to wait out several days until the wind shifted again. On the other hand having a fully operational auxiliary propulsion system was important too and since I was sailing alone it would be hard to work on it while underway. It turns out that my initial fears were entirely misplaced. There was nothing wrong with the 48 volt Zivan Power supply at all. In fact all systems were working fine. It took me a few minutes after my initial panic to figure out what had happened. What had actually happened is the circuit breaker on the Honda Generator had tripped. When that happens the generator does not stop running. The breaker just trips and stops supply power to the outlets. So in my mind when I heard the generator still running and saw that the lights for the 48 volt Zivan power supply were out I assumed there was something wrong with the charger. But, why did the breaker trip? Because I only used battery power to the windlass when raising the anchor I had drawn down the 12 volt battery bank a little more than usual. So when I was using the generator to charge that bank and then also plugged in the 48 volt Zivan charger it was too much current draw for the generator so the breaker tripped. The solution was to reset the breaker and just either charge the 12 volt bank or use the 48 volt Zivan charger but, not both. Which is what I did and happily I made it through Plum Gut before the current change and learned a lesson once again about not panicking when something goes wrong because it may not be as bad as you first think it is.
 "Everthings gonna be alright."- Bob Marley

Friday, January 28, 2011


I've been traveling recently and it seems I missed two snow storms here on the Isle of Long. I just came back and unfortuntely did not miss yesterday's storm too. I've got around 18 inches of snow on top of the previous storms. Looks like Capt. Mike will be spending some time shoveling the driveway and walks. Does not look like I'll be heading to the boatyard anytime soon either. That's ok I've got enough projects and items on my todo list to keep me busy at home anyway. One of the things on the list was to drain the fuel out of the Honda 2000i generator that charges and sometimes powers the electric propulsion system on BIANKA. While flinging snow into big piles I had a Eureka moment. Since I need to drain the fuel tank why not run the Honda until the fuel runs out and use it to help put some heat into the house via the Holmes heater.   Why not indeed:
I sometimes use this Holmes electric heater in the photo above when working in the garage on chilly days. The photo below gives you a little idea of the depth of the snow:

Because I was away during the previous two storms some of the snow from those previous storms became a compacted layer of ice. Meaning it's a lot more work to remove it from the walks. But, happily the Honda 2000i has downward facing louvers and a powerful fan that directs the waste heat downward.  I put this to good use by using this waste heat to help melt the icy bottom layer compacted snow and ice on the walks. This photo shows about ten minutes worth of heat output:

Meanwhile back inside the house the 1100 watt Holmes heater was adding some BTU's into the house:
Ahhhh love the warmth!  Even though I had less than half a tank of fuel in the Honda generator. It ran for over three hours adding heat to the house and helping to melt the ice and snow on the walks using it's waste heat.  Oh yeah, and since I used up all the old fuel in the tank it was one more thing to scratch of the boat todo list. That done it seems like a good time to come inside and listen to WINTER by the Rolling Stones while drinking some nice hot cocoa or maybe a whole bunch of Goats Head Soup.