Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Honda 2000i Generator

Typically while growing our emergency preparedness we evolve to more appropriate equipment or better quality equipment or better storage methods.

The other week I decided that it was time to look at a new generator that's better suited for my back-up emergency power, especially for long black-out periods.

The new generator will be affordable, runs on gasoline, is fuel efficient and has just enough power to run (one at a time) what I feel are important appliances such as:
  • Refrigeration
    • Be able to run it 8 hrs a day for a week to keep the frozen food frozen until we eat all of it.
  • 9500 btu garage window a/c
    • Should we get overheated from outdoor storm repair work we can cool down for a few hours and avoid a heat stroke.
  • 1600 watt microwave.
    • Need it for cooking.
  • Air compressor
    • 1.5hp Craftsman seems like the bike tires always need air. A bicycle may be the only transportation if in a long term grid-down situation.
  • Water well pump (110v)
    • Need water to live.

The generator I chose?
It's the HONDA 2000i because of its brand recognition, reliability, fuel efficiency, light weight, produces a true sine wave current, it's low dB and 3 year warranty.

Needed to do a fuel consumption test of the HONDA 2000i:
To know how many gallons of gas to store I need to confirm what the fuel consumption actually is with different loads. Max rated continuous load for the Honda 2000i is 1600 watts continuous and up to 2000 watts for 30 minutes. This test will target four wattage loads:
  • 1600 watts full load
  • 800 watts 1/2 load
  • 400 watts 1/4 load
  • 200 watts 1/8 load
Eco-Boost was 'on' for all testing. However, in a separate test below it was surprising how much slower the engine runs and still maintains proper voltage/wattage to run the load with the Eco-Boost on.

The test protocol:
  • The run time was verified by using exactly 8 ounces (1 cup) of gas for each wattage load and logging the time it took to use up the 1 cup of fuel.
  • A kitchen timer was used for the timer.
  • The generator was not moved between testing.
  • The very first cup of gas was run until the generator ran out of gas and quit running. This cup was also the new engine break-in run.
  • After that break-in procedure another 1 cup of gas was poured into the tank. The engine was started and the appliances were immediately plugged in and the timer started. The time was noted when the engine ran out of gas. This was repeated for all wattage loads.

Fuel Consumption Actual Test Results:
1599 watt load = 13:30 min on 8 ounces = 3.6 hours run time per 1 gallon of gas.
801 watt load = 23:08 min on 8 ounces = 6.1 hours run time per 1 gallon of gas.
434 watt load = 29:54 min on 8 ounces = 8.0 hours run time per 1 gallon of gas.
221 watt load = 37:30 min on 8 ounces = 10.0 hours run time per 1 gallon of gas.


The Honda also runs anyone of these appliances without issue:
1,633 watt micro-wave
876 watt 1.5 hp Craftsman, 125psi, 3 gallon, air compressor
819 watt load 9,500btu window A/C unit
760 watt George Foreman Grill
500 watt Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
355 watt 25 amp 12volt auto battery charge
300 watt Rice Cooker
122 watt kitchen refrigerator
120 watt 48 inch TV
 22 watt 18 inch TV

Outside temperature of generator enclosure:
84f ambient air in my garage and the case temperature was 88f except at the rear grill where the exhaust exits. There is was a small hot spot/area of 129f at the bottom of the grill. The rest of the grill was 88f-97f.

Does Eco-Boost Really Work???
Testing Eco-Boost comparison on and off using 8 oz of fuel:
  • @434 watt load
  • Eco-Boost off 23:00
  • Eco-Boost on 30:00
  • 7 more minutes or 30% additional run time on 8 oz of fuel.

  • @221 watt load
  • Eco-Boost off 25:00
  • Eco-Boost on 37:30
  • 12:30 more minutes or 50% additional run time on 8 oz of fuel.

During a grid-down I will pick and choose what appliances I will need to use. Most likely I'll be using a battery charger, a TV, Refrigerator if there is still food in it, micro-wave, a couple CFL's for interior lighting and probably the computers if we have DSL working. 

Overall actual average running the Honda for 8 hours a day including my refrigerator and small freezer will burn just 1 gallon of gas. This consumption was verified during our last hurricane when the grid was down.

So to make the math easy that's about 1 gallon a day to live a fairly normal life or 30  gallons per month. In contrast, my Onan burns 1/2 gallon an hour with the same watt load or 4.0 gallons a day or 120 gallons a month!!!

I think the Honda was a good move for my preparedness lifestyle. I normally have 25 gallons of gas in stock and another 27 in the van's tank. Altogether I may be able to last 2 months of generator running 8 hours a day :-)

The actual watts being used during the generator fuel testing.



  1. Very good up grade and 30 to 40 gallons a month is a storable amount. Add in your solar panels and you cover 2 hours a day. Just remember not to standout in the neighborhood .How does it rate against the onan for noise ??

    1. One of the reasons for the Honda is how quiet it is compared to the Onan.
      Honda @ full load 59dB @ 1/4 load 53dB.
      Onan @ full load 91dB @ 1/4 load 78dB.

      When the power goes out here and everyone's a/c goes off it gets really quiet here, surprising how much noise we live with when it comes to a/c and heat pumps. So a quiet generator is a helpful but I'm sure some will be over asking to borrow it, I'll cross that issue then.

  2. Mike, I am a lurker and don't always comment but always enjoy your posts and your tests. Irony of ironies, literally this afternoon, I was online trying to research generators! Before Hurricane season comes, we want to make sure we are prepared (one of the things we put off every season but no more, ha). Thanks so much for this very valuable info!

    1. Hi 1st Man,
      I remember you commenting every once in a while! Thanks for stopping by.
      You are welcome, hope it makes your decision easier.
      If you are looking for a 4000 watt Onan I am going to sell mine. It has less than 30 hours on it and I bought it new so it has been taken care of. Let me know if interested.

  3. 1.5 hp air compressor is more than 876 watts. 746 watts equals one HP with no conversion losses. Typo maybe? or measurement error?

    1. Thanks for the comment. The compressor is labeled 1.5hp who really knows maybe Sears over rates it or has a special conditions it's tested under, although it is a great little compressor and running watts is 876. :-)

  4. We have one of these and love it. It starts up with just one or two pulls every time. We take it with us in the RV, and It is very quiet and efficient. Have occasion to use it a couple of times when power went out. I bought a Honda 4500 watt generator 35+ years ago and still works like new. I was always impressed with the reliability of this brand and will stick with it.

    1. Years back I built a lot of tooling for Honda. They were very high on quality and good engineering.

  5. I would love to get, but the area we live in I would be the only one with power, and I try and keep a low profile. (mobile home park)

    1. That is a problem and I have the same one. As quiet as the Honda is it's not silent and I'm sure I'll sooner or later I'll be faced with people not understanding why I won't let them use it. Not sure what I'll tell them but something like you shouldn't have put your priorities into that new boat and new SUV's :-)

  6. Now this is the information that I was looking for! Thanks for sharing such an informative article. Actually I was planning to invest in Honda eu3000is inverter generator. I like all its features. I will definitely buy that!

    1. Alford, glad to hear you found the post useful. I felt it to be necessary to do the test so I would know how long 'x' number of gallons will run the generator for planning purposes rather than guess at it.
      Let us know how the eu3000 works out for you and its fuel consumption.