We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles - Thomas A. Edison
While Edison’s dream of making electricity cheap enough so that it could become an easily disposable commodity never really came to fruition, our dependency on its production has increased exponentially in the last century.
More valuable than gold and as important to our daily existence as oxygen, electricity has become our lifeblood, and an entire industry, and near countless sub-industries, have appeared to support our ever-increasing demand for it.
We are locked into, and part of, a grid that supplies our electricity, one that functions without pause, twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.
But what happens when that grid, as it is sometimes prone to do, unexpectedly malfunctions, or fails.
What do we do for power when there is no power?
When the grid does go down and fails, it’s usually a temporary loss, and the resultant “blackout” is an inconvenience that most of us patiently, and unwillingly endure.
Sometimes though, in the aftermath of severe weather damage and earthquakes, the loss of electricity can last for far longer and it’s those moments of uncertainty that we all need to be prepared for.
And the only way to keep the power flowing when Mother Nature takes it offline is by ensuring that we can make our own.
Making Your Own Electricity - Portable Generators
The portable generator isn’t a new idea. First invented by Michael Faraday in eighteen thirty-two, the portable generator has undergone a rapid, and in most cases, almost unrecognizable evolution since it first became the subject of headlines around the globe.
As with all technologies, as time progressed the machines that we used as emergency back-up power supplies for cities and large buildings became smaller and smaller and increasingly more affordable.
Instead of being merely playthings of the idle rich and incredibly powerful, during the latter half of the twentieth century, portable generators suddenly became an affordable means of backup power generation for the whole of society. The age of the inverter generator had arrived.
What Is An Inverter Generator?
An inverter generator is a small, household electrical generator that uses a petrol engine to create energy which is then transformed into usable, safe, and stable electricity via a two-step process that converts raw AC current into DC current which is then turned back into a more refined and infinitely more usable form of AC current.
In other words, it’s a small household generator that when switched on, makes all of the electricity that you’ll ever need it to when the lights go out.
We’re big believers in the inverter generator and think that every home should have one. True, the chances of the grid failing for long enough for you to need a generator are slim, but they do exist and given the rise of geological events and increasingly violent hurricanes and powerful storms, those chances are increasing all the time.
So, as our Pop was so fond of staying, it’s better to be safe than sorry and prepare for the worst while you can instead of leaving things up to fate. Choosing the right inverter generator though, that’s easier said than done.
And that’s why we’re here, to tell you all about one of our personal favorites that we’re more than happy to put our faith in, and that we rely on to keep our families safe and the juice flowing should the worst ever happen. The inverter generator that we’re talking about is the Honda EU2200i.
We know, Honda isn’t the first name that springs to mind when you think about electricity.
They may be famous the world over for making reliable, secure family sedans and SUVs and motorcycles, but Honda is also a brand that prizes innovation, technology, and forward-thinking above everything else.
And due to the geological instability of Japan and its susceptibility to earthquakes and tsunamis, it was inevitable that Honda would end up designing, engineering, and manufacturing an inverter generator that could be used by, and was affordable, for the masses.
As it’s an inverter generator, the EU220i is designed to run on gasoline and has a one-gallon tank that it uses to fuel and power its one hundred and twenty-one cubic centimeter engine.
Just like a lot of more powerful gas lawn mowers, the EU2200i uses a cord start, and while that can seem a little daunting, it isn’t like kicking a chainsaw into life.
The EU2200i uses an easy-pull system which means that anyone can easily start it up, and once you do it’ll run as long as it has gas in its tank.
When it’s running at absolute peak performance, the EU2200i will make around two thousand two hundred watts of power, which you’ll be able to just about light your house and run everything in it off.
The bad news though, is that if you do crank it all the way up to full power, it’ll only generate around three hours of electricity before its tank runs dry and it automatically shuts off.
However, while it’s in standard running mode, it’ll return around one thousand seven hundred watts of power for eight or so hours before it needs to be refueled.
But those numbers are, at the end of the day just numbers. One of the things that we like most about the Honda, is that thanks to all of its incredible technology, it’ll self-regulate according to how much power you are or aren’t using.
It’ll raise its output if you start using more electricity and lowers it when you use less electricity and will endeavor to remain as efficient as it possibly can while doing so.
You don’t even have to do a thing, you just switch it on, plug whatever you want to into it, and the Honda will do the rest.
That said, as is the case with most modern technology, the EU2200i is fully Bluetooth enabled, and thanks to Honda’s MyGenerator app, you can connect your smartphone or tablet to the generator and control its output from the palm of your hand.
The app and this is the reason we like it, is intuitive, simple, and straightforward to use and you don’t need an engineering degree to figure it out. If you did, it would have left us in the dust, scratching our heads.
It took us an entire afternoon to connect a laptop to our home router, so if we can get to grips with the MyGenerator app in under five minutes, we’re pretty sure that you, and most other people, will be up and running and fully conversant with it in less than sixty seconds.
The EU2200i has also been engineered with safety in mind and has a carbon dioxide shut off, so if it detects even a slight CO2 build up in its proximity, it’ll power down and won’t switch back on until the CO2 has completely dispersed.
It seems like a small thing, but it’s those small things that reassured us that this generator was the right choice for us.
Speaking of shut offs, as we mentioned earlier if the Honda also shuts itself off after it’s completely drained its fuel tank, and will keep on making power right up until the last second.
However, when we say it’ll run until its tank is dry we mean it’ll run until it’s the tank is completely dry. it won’t leave a drop of gas in its carburetors, and that’s by design.
It’s a safety feature that’s been put in place to prevent any stale gasoline from damaging the engine and reducing the efficiency of the generator.
And it’s just another of the many reasons why we’ve got a Honda parked in our garage.
Cranking Up The Power
Much as we love this generator, it’d be remiss of us not to mention that earlier models were recalled because of fuel leaks and the issues those leaks created.
It was a major slap in the face for Honda and they were faced with having to repair, or refund the owners of, around two hundred thousand generators. It was a costly manufacturing error that Honda fixed and that the 2200i is no longer troubled by.
The other thing that you’ll need to be aware of before investing in a EU2200i is that, just like all inverter generators, you’re going to need to run it every now and then, to ensure that it stays in peak operating condition.
Crank it over every couple of weeks and let it run for an hour or so, and when and if you do need to use it in an emergency, you’ll know that it’ll turn over and be ready to power your home as soon as you pull its start-up cord.
We’ve been living with the EU2200i for a couple of years, and even when it’s running at full output as it only makes around fifty decibels of noise, it’s become part of our every background noise and it’s a machine that we couldn’t live without.
It’s more than just a back-up generator, it’s the machine that we use to fuel our backyard cookouts and neighborhood parties. We wouldn’t be without it, and it’s an inverter generator that we don’t think you can afford to be without either.