MY Grid's Gone Down - now what do I do!?

Andy my understanding is it will bond with the sulphate on the plates and sink to the bottom. You end up with cleaner plates but weak acid. I have never ventured down That road myself though. The stumbling block for me is the next step to give you back capacity should be replacing the acid and I just don’t know what the safe disposal of a lead acid solution is…
David Baillie


I remember when I was I youngster being taught to use two asprin per cell and distilled water to revive a lead acid battery. Not common practice anymore? Apparently the acetylsalicylic acid is supposed to clean the plates?
Now to share my experiences with suitcase generators, Ryobi anyway. I bought two last summer thinking that if one goes out during the winter I’ll have a backup. Well, both of them were brought back to Home Depot 3 weeks ago and one is on its way back. I purchased a third one 3 weeks ago so I could have power because we’ve only seen a glimpse of the sun since I installed solar. The third Ryobi gave out last night. I brought it back to Home Depot to exchange it. As far as size, these units are perfect for my needs. Durability, not so much. Having 3 bad is not just bad luck, either I’m doing something wrong or these machines are the inferior. The reviews I found last night point to both possibilities. Apparently the oil is supposed to be changed every 20 hours of use? Wow, that would be every3-4 days. I am using the oil they are supplying me which is 10w-30 do you think if I use a different grade oil it would increase the longevity of the little engines? Fortunately there is a two year warranty and it will carry me well through the winter. I have a few other options to explore when the snow disappears. Wood gas. :slight_smile:


In my experience ryobi anything is pretty much crap. Maybe ok for homeowner occasional use but not much more.


I believe that’s correct, chemically cleaning the plates will leave a bunch of crud in the bottom of the cells. I would consider it a last resort. The washing procedure would remove the sulphate from the plates, reducing the acid strength when charged. If the plates were in bad enough shape there might be little plate left. It might work to top up the acid strength with new acid. The other thing I have read is that sodium sulfate is far better than Epsom salt, has been used as a commercial additive for high performance batteries, may double battery life by preventing sulfation. May be available as a commercial additive, or in industrial quantities.


Garry Tait, MB

O.K. Bit of freezing rain earlier. Fell down twice. Forgot to take meds. Late start getting to this.

First a couple of good new seniments been put up to add to my Tee-shirts collection:
“To change the world: change your world!” Thanks DougB.
“COLLAPES Now: Avoid the rush!” Thanks DavidB.

TomC my swingblade sawmill is a Peterson made in New Zealand. I did have pictures of it up on the earlier Drupal DOW version. AdminChris can pull back out of the archives maybe. Once my old Apple Power book died I no longer keep a personal photo album. Trialed yahoo, and what I put up got redistributed out. Too many pictures been sent to me from others confidential to risk “the leaky cloud”. Sorry.

OK I did a lot of driving around, looking, asking, hefting in addition to the net searching.
Yes RobertS. I am approaching this from the stand point of supping female relatives and friends with a common unit that they CAN, and will be able to use safely.
Ability to woodgas is not the propriety.
Their ability to actual start up summer/winter AND continuous fuel it is the most important. (re: David Bailie’s, JasonMcB’s comments above.)
Then use safety, acceptability for 30-90 days in their suburban lots environments.
Last MY ability (or anyone else) to be able to repair, restore these ever come the need.

So right off the bat out goes the Harbor freight 2-strokes. Listening too them they have a high pitched 2-cycle ringing sound. With wear, they will smoke. They need religious levels of adherence to the proper oil/fuel mixing ratios with the proper oil.

On the suitcase size-weight of generators/inverters all of the Distributors and Marketers labeled brands seem to be made by just one or two companies in mainland China and built DOWN for lowest price and maximum profit.

Only Honda, Yamaha, and Genrac are building based on their own engines. Generac made to thier specs in China. All three will supply parts. Only Honda and Yamaha have servicing dealers and released out service information.

In the 2000 watt sizes Yamaha’s have a smaller engine (72.3 -> 79 cc) running at a higher 5000 rpm. Two normal common maintenance access ports.
One end case panel comes off. Then the whole sides halves have to be multiple points unscrewed and cracked apart for further opening up repair access.

The Honda EU2000i’s been going through some evolutionary continues improvements. Larger engine. Larger fuel tank. Added oil out draining trough. Auto shut down carb fuel bowl draining w/hose out the bottom. Both end panels com off indnependtly for reapirs access in addition to the one side and top panel maintenance points. Only for further work then do the sides case halves have to be removed.
Honda EU2000i’s engines have parts commonality to the 100.000’s Honda engine mowers been sold and out there in the last decade. Ha! We already have two of these.
Lots and lots of Honda EU2000i inverter/generator user youtubes showing upgrades for add on fuel capacity. Resolve a pull rope wear problem. Open up, clean and/or replace a fuel sock-filter screen.
Couple of fellows adding in additional fuel shut off valves not realizing the later units have a built in shut-off now in the rotatory on/off knob.
The best IMO video is this one:

Shows all the naked beast in all of it’s glory. East of repairabilty. Availability of parts. He’s doing this without a repair manual guys.
Youttube guys of desertduelsport, crazydjhead, Saeid Momtahan II and others are real wrencing gearheads.
OK to look at the, “I just got it” video’s. Look for those aged out 1,2,3,4 years; and then look at that poster’s channel for later use-proof experiences.

Not a Robi, BillS. But a very unhappy 30 hours later fellow with a Hyundia named brand:

He ate crow over his original video mondo load testing, saying, “I could buy two of these over the price of one Honda.” He later realized then both would have failed in the same ways.
BillS if you actually been compression testing you Robi’s you should be aware many rope pull four stokes have a cranking speed camshaft lifter finger to slightly hold open the exhaust valve for easier pulling over.
You have to end shaftnut spin these engine at a higher rpm than cranking to release the lifter finger to get accurate compression’s.

RayM if your Northern is the same as the Harbor freight 2-strokes there are vidios about lock titing the carb/reed valve boxes to prevnet lossening air leaks. Spark plug replaceing. Some how fixing against viberation the exhusts.
Your is a four stoke I hope.

Regards All
Steve Unruh


This: Wood supply


Hi Robert, you asked who can be down for 90 days without power, we could, but would be very stretched if in winter without an external food supply. Lucky we don’t have anyone in the household that needs refrigerated meds or that would be a solid no. From what I’ve seen, you need to go industrial if you want a genset that will run for thirty days straight. One of the things to look for, would be the ability to check and adjust the oil while running.


Here is a link to the kerosene frig someone mentioned earlier on the site. Personally, I think getting a kit that could run on pure solar would be better, though the kerosene frig can work off of waste heat.

I really appreciate the lesson I received this week about suitcase generators, both through DOW and personal experiences. All of your inputs have been very helpful.
I would like add one more experience. Subzero weather is also a big factor with these little machines. I believe the engines are too small to keep the machine warm enough to operate well. I brought it in the warm house overnight due to issues of running continuously last night. I believe my theory is correct because it ran for about a half to one hour and wouldn’t keep running. Used my friend’s 4k generator to finish out the battery charge and it did well. We were lucky today with full sun to keep the batteries charged. Tomorrow I will build a generator box and see if there’s a difference.
A listeroid motor was suggested to me on the Hangout Friday night of which I will eventually do. For now, I don’t have the money and will buy a duel fuel 4k unit from Sears for $500. It has cast iron sleeves and they have a good return policy. The unit I found is an electric start which my wife will appreciate… Unless of course someone knows better.


Hey Bill why not rig up a simple air to air heat exchanger for transferring heat from exhaust to air intake. Maybe something as simple as 3 inch metal flex pipe inside insulated 4 inch flex pipe curled a bit to give it turbulance. Just a thought…


I was thinking building a box over it would do that? Just put a small hole on both sides for the in and out? The problem with these small generators is that the exhaust is really accessible. Plus with all the problems, I hesitate to alter it for returnability. When I buy a different one it’ll be big enough to do something to it.
I am open to thoughts on the above questions.

1 Like

Hmm maybe an oversized box with the exhaust blowing straight out and the air intake vent offset to close to the exhaust end. The idea that it has some dwell time in the box to absorb residual heat off the block. Have to monitor case temperature to get the venting right… Be fun anyways…


that’s why I gave up on small engines they don’t last for that type of work keep an eye open for a 4cyl car like a Honda or something that’s not road worthy "rotted " but still runs hang an extra alternator on it scrap is low I bet you could pick up something for cheep and set at one speed it will last a long time . parts can be picked up at your local store oil and filter change last a lot longer pipe the heater into the house it helps .this setup can be a lot quieter than those generators and if after a while depending on how energetic you are you can pear the unit down so you don’t have a ugly car sitting there key switch can be ran right in to the house for easy operation .


Bill, if you want to take pauls advice, I’ve got just such a great running rust bucket you could have for scrap price. I could bring it to argos for you.


Fellows you are talking at cross-use purposes.
Of course wanting to run 24/7 for 30 days will need an industrial purpose built moderate speed cast iron engine.
Do the math. 24 x 30 = 844 hours. Ok to get what you think you want to keep your honey and kids still energy addited satified that is going to take a system wanting one gallon of propane, diesel, gasoline for each and every one of those hours.

The best woodgas systems that will mean 20 pounds fuel wood a hour.
So . . . really who’s got a full CORD of 128 cubic foot of wood to burn up every 10 days in personal use, eh?
A compound, maybe. A village, maybe. With one fellow as the engine/gasifier operator. Two other fellows as the wood cutters/preppers. FULL TIME.
Takes 3 shifts of opertors, and 2 shifts of wood=preppers to do this 24/7.
No joke net search up “A whole Town Powered By Woodgas.” Australia 1930 thru the 1960’s. Real. Been done.
Then you do need big, heave slow speed cast iron industrial engines.

BillS. you are off grid.
You need ~4 hours battery bank charging a day when without sun input.
You alraedy have a heavy duty medium speed cast iron engine.
Your IHC tractor.
Source/inverst in a pto drivnen gnerator. Off the shelf Northern Equipment.
IF your damn solar/charger converter cannot accept a good heavy external genrator input sell it off for one that can. THEY are out there.
Get tired of gasoline fueling the IHC tractor for four hours a day? Easy.
Up size your battry bank to not have to slow input charge so long and for a longer time in discharging usage.
Cut that gasoline tracor running time down!
You will still hate tha gasoline expense out lay. GOOD.
That will get you really super motivated to get that tractor RonL and WayneK examples converted over to wood gas YOU CAN fuel off of your trees. You will not be self-sufficient energy free until then.

Make real needs now drive you FORWARD.
You ain’t got the time, energy, resources to “experiment” around anymore.
Make damn sure that PTO generator DOES have enough power to all-purpose weld with.

Admin edit as needed. Fuck Lister engine crazyines. Fuck Chineese diesel engine craziness. Fuck well head gas engines running off of FREE well head gas. ALL dry holes that will suck you personal energy and finances and dragging your forward progress down to zero.
I know.
Been there. Done that. Too long.

Thanks for the feed back on the climate sensitivty on the suitcase inverter/gnerators.
These were never meant for off-gridding with. Not even the Honda’s. WHY Honda and others like Kohler Power, Catterpiller, Onan for intended stand-by replacement interrupted power have other much larger gen-sets. We do not see these Honda systems here. Used in remote pacific resorts and such. True made by the crankshaft advanced cycle engines. Expensive.

The closest to to reasonable long life AFFORDABLE To Fuel small sets are in the off-shore marines, unattended rail and telecom sets. Westerbeke and others including Lister-PETTERS. $$,$$$ new. $,$$$ used, well worn, needing quite a bit of work for specific units worn and missing parts.
Old cheap to get 20-30 kW tow behind cast iron inline water cooled six-cylinder Onan,s puts you right back up into fuel hogging territory. Been there. Done that. On woodgas.

Honestly making reasonable, usable amounts of DIY power with any fuel source does not have to be such a big damn deal.

Sincerely, respectfully, with regards to all
Steve Unruh
Steve Unruh


Put it in perspective.
These small suitcase inverter/genrators are at a minimum the mouth blown inflatables you would put on a child learning to swim. Tossed once the kid learns enough to be safe.
At the very best: they are just in case life jacket. You ONLY expect that to keep you alive until saved.
Your boat DID sink.
Next time get/build a better boat. Or stay out of the water. AND still wear the life jacket!

Just leaving the boat choice and your use of it up others is where the Urban/Suburbans are at. Helpless, dependent. Sold out. NOT FREE.
Free means having the opportunity to fail and learn from it.
Bill, you are free now.


Steve, as always, I appreciate your input.
For sure this first year will be a huge learning experience as I expected. Upcoming years as well.
I do have a few generator heads here and a few gas engine options. Time and a garage is what I need.
I do feel free. I am excited of the potential of more freedom as time passes. Still much to learn and experience.


I think you mentioned running the chunker from your tractor at some point. I think you can run off of the other side of the trailer to get the rotation right. Might need to add another shaft to get the speed right.


Good thread and a reminder to me to do some battery maintenance.


Lead acid batteries. . . .oh, yeah. Another thing all us in-the-knowing, love to hate.
My Miller/Kohler 11.5 kW welder/generator would NOT start up for it’s monthly neighbors/wife sound sensitivity training and exercising, First time with a dead battery in 2 years since new.
YES. I did too shut off the switch from the previos use.

I used the running Honda 2000 rental to begin the pulled out battery recharging with my Craftsman 2/10/60 charger.
Initial charging response shows the cell nearest the Pos post has high internal resistance.
I’ll have to watch it for internally discharging.while sitting.

You know of the seven vehicles and pieces of equipment around here with battery starting systems; any given time I can expect at least three to NOT start due to battery issues… The sitting un-daily used the worst of course. The four of those always playing round-robin with one wanting a new battery annually.
Yeah. Yeah. Pull all of those. Bench them. And maintenance charge them. Put back in the just one needed, just before use. Aint gonna happen. That’s going back to horsing around for power and work.
Once a month starting up, Running to warm up, de-condensate oils boil-off is what they will get at best.
Ha! Count the fuel use.

The seven hand crank-er’s equipments here can be started up anytime once the fuels are poured back in.
Carbs ran dry on the gasoline ones for setting aside.

This little sweet Honda 2000 unit in small woman, responsible child start-able. Operable.
NOT possible with even my little 7.5 hp China diesel single hand cranking. Electric starting for them needed.

We are all on the road to better.
Steve Unruh.

1 Like