You have the Power: the Honda EU20i Generator Review
Picture this, you’ve been camping in the bush for a week, you’ve exhausted your batteries and you don’t have a solar panel to recharge….
Well a generator may very well be just what you need. This will come down to how well you are prepared and, of course, if you like your creature comforts when you go bush.
Whilst we at Travel Outback Australia don’t usually go bush with a generator, there are plenty of people who do and have a genuine need.
So when Honda supplied us with a EU20i generator and asked us to put it through its paces, we decided to keep an open mind on their usefulness.
First of all there are many reasons why you could need a generator. I might also add that there are no wrong reasons why you might choose this path.
If you’re one to take everything bush, including the kitchen sink, then you might also have taken the kettle, the microwave or a bigger fridge to keep the beverages cold.
To run all of these appliances and keep batteries charged you would need lots of batteries and an inverter rated high enough to carry the load. With a generator all you need is a cord and a powerboard, although you do still need to check that you’re not going to overload the unit.
Some people feel more secure if they have a well lit camp and power to charge batteries and other appliances they may be using during their stay. Others like to take power tools that they may need on their journey and a small generator can quite happily run these requirements.
There are also those rare occurrences where somebody may need to power some form of medical apparatus and need reliable power.
Taking the Honda Bush
To try the generator out we took it camping with us.
After setting up the genny about 10m away we ran a cord into camp.
After checking all the vitals like fuel and oil it cranked up after only one pull on the zip starter. The hum of the genny could be heard but was not intrusive even though we are used to camping without one.
We used the genny to power a small 12v fridge through an inverter and also to add some light to the camp. It was light use, sorry about the pun, but we wanted to see how it would function as a part of our camping kit.
As it was a cold night we were able to switch off before we went to bed and start it up the next morning. As there was little load it ran happily on Eco mode and used very little fuel.
Let’s look at the Honda EU20i generator and see what makes it work.
The unit is powered by a Honda GX100 4-stroke, overhead camshaft, single cylinder motor.
It runs on unleaded fuel and produces 240v at a rated 1.6 KVA with a maximum output of 2 KVA at around 7 amps. Interestingly it can also produce and use at the same time 12V DC power for charging 12v batteries, providing you don’t go over the rated output.
The Honda also has an Eco mode which returns engine speed to idle when no current is being drawn.
This minimises fuel consumption in stop start use. The “i” in the model name indicates that this is an inverter model so this gives a nice clean power supply for running things like computers or TVs where this is required.
The generator is built solidly like all Honda products and because it is encased by a complete wrap around plastic housing with an efficient muffler it runs without making too much noise. It weighs just a little over 21kg so most adults shouldn’t have a problem moving it around.
I used these generators whilst working as a park ranger in the Northern Territory and they never missed a beat. Whether it was for lighting at overnight meetings or camps or for running small power tools or a few fridges, the Honda was both economical and also easy to carry from the ute to the work site or camp.
To operate the generator it is as simple as checking for fuel, switching on the on/off switch and sliding the choke lever to on. Normally it takes one pull on the zip starter to start and once started the green output light should come on.
Once the machine is running plug in the appliance and turn it on. The output and overload indicator lights will show you what’s happening and if all is good the green light will remain on.
If the red light comes on the current will be disconnected from the appliance and you should check to see what the overload is caused by.
Maintenance Requirements for the Honda EU20i Generator
Even though most people could service the generator as suggested in the manual we suggest you take it to your local Honda shop who can provide the expertise to keep your generator in top notch condition.
- Runs for up to 10 hours on Eco-throttle and for about 3 ½ hours on continuous duty at or near full capacity.
- It’s quiet and produces clean power.
- It’s not that heavy.
- It produces just about all the power you could need on a trip in the outback.
- Unless you have a trailer or a caravan it takes up a bit of space.
- It may offend other camp site users with the little noise it does make.
- If your vehicle runs on diesel you will have to carry extra fuel.
- You may also have to carry extension leads and power boards.
So the choice is yours, if you need a generator for whatever reason I can recommend the Honda EU20i.
It’s up against a lot of others on the market but in my humble opinion, Honda has a product that is well proven, reliable and economical to run.
Thanks again to Honda for supplying the generator for testing, we hope this review has helped you to decide whether or not a generator is right for you.