I've got an EF2000is that I purchased in May of 2014. I've used it sparingly for camping and some stuff around the house. I've got maybe 20 hours on it total. It's been well cared for.
A few weeks ago, I used it to power my sump pump when a storm knocked my power out. It was running outside, elevated off the ground on a 2x10, under a deep eave, covered by a plastic bin perforated all over with 2" holes and the ends knocked out for good airflow on the exhaust and intake sides. It was raining, but I'm pretty sure it didn't get wet.
Halfway through the night, the generator quit producing power. The engine sounds perfect and throttles up and down as expected when I flick the eco switch, but the green "AC" light does not come on and the multimeter shows no activity on either of the AC outlets. I read in the manual that you just need to shut the generator off and restart the motor to reset the AC outlets. I tried that multiple times with no change in the result.
I took the back and the side covers off. Everything inside looks brand new, clean as a whistle. The oil is a little dirty, but not bad. All of the foam looks perfect, not dirty at all. The copper coils (at least the ones that I can see peeking in the end) look fine.
I don't see a fuse or anything that I can replace. I'm not really sure where to go from here.
Any advice? I love this thing and I want to save it!!!
You did not say how heavily the Genny was loaded, indicated by the Eco-On high RPMs or how hot the ambient air temp was. With what you provided I suspect 3 possibilities, with the low numbers the most likely:
1--Lightening strike nearby the house wiring or nearby the powercord (it was raining) damaged the inverter. You do not need a direct hit for fatal electronics damage. The ElectroMagneticPulse (EMP) generated by lightening even a hundred feet away is very powerful, especially if your Genny's (long?) power cord's excess length was wound neatly into a circular coil (!antenna!) lying on the ground.
2--Rainwater shorted an extension cord plug-in terminal.
3--Inverter overheated . . . more likely if the Wattage load was high, sustained, and the air temp was very warm. Since you slept thru it, we may never know.
It is a shame that both the Ef1000iS and EF2000iS have less than great long term reliability for their inverter components. Almost every one of the inverter unit failures we have read about here over the years were seemingly devoid of abusive operating conditions. I have remotely operated a 3 gallon Genie ShopVac with my EF1000iS that draws 645 running Watts to de-sludge leaf pudding in 60 gallon rain barrels, ALWAYS using a plug in surge suppressor to tame the on/off arc-n-spark within the vacuum's toggle switch.
So . . was there lightening during that rainstorm?
Talent, On Loan, From God --Rush Limbaugh--
The ambient air temp was in the high 70's to low 80's.
In regard to the RPM question, I don't know for sure. When the sump cycled, the generator would kick in and the RPMs would peak. To me, the pitch is similar to a 4 cylinder motor of an economy car at 4000-5000 rpm.
I don't know how many HP my sump motor is (it's under a metal plate bolted to the floor - haven't peeked in there yet), but some googling tells me that it could reasonably introduce a ~1000 watt draw on the generator when it kicks on. Two cell phones were charging off of it, too. Seems like the gene should handle that fine, even on eco mode.
Two power cords, one 50' 12/3 cord with three female connectors from the gene, one 50' 14/3 cord running from there to the sump. A power strip was also connected to the 12 gauge cord and the cell phone chargers were connected to it.
Numbers 1 and 2 are definitely possible. I don't remember any lightning close to me, but the storm was strong enough to blow down a birch with a 24" trunk in my neighbors' back yard, and send another tree crashing through my friend's roof into his master bedroom. Strong winds could have driven rain in to the plug and shorted it. However, the plug side was facing the house (under the eave and the plastic cover) and I was very conscious about it staying dry.
Number 3 feels more likely to me. When I removed the plastic cover to try to restart the gene, it was very hot. It didn't melt, but it wasn't comfortable to touch. I've got a bad feeling that the cover restricted airflow enough to cause some damage with overheating. But, wattage load was only high in bursts long enough for the sump to pump out the basket and the air temp wasn't too high.
I can get a picture of the generator with the plastic cover over it if a visual would help.
Any thoughts on this? I'm in way over my head with where to go next...
This post was updated on .
harris11235, You said:
"When I removed the plastic cover to try to restart the gene, it was very hot. It didn't melt, but it wasn't comfortable to touch. I've got a bad feeling that the cover restricted airflow enough to cause some damage with overheating".
That's a big part of it, but so is this:
"Two power cords, one 50' 12/3 cord, one 50' 14/3 cord running from there to the sump".
The 50' 12/3 cord (12 gauge, 3 conductor) is OK and that should be the add-on limit to safely run a sizable electric motor. The 2 cell phones charging do not draw that much to matter. You also did good by connecting the larger 12 gauge cord to the power source -BUT- Adding another 50' of 14/3 cord for 100 feet total, is asking for trouble. The electric motor, with the extra 50' of smaller wire electrical resistance causes the current (Amps) to go up as the resistance induced voltage drop occurs. That creates added heat in the entire circuit. Add on an enclosed rain hood that was pretty hot (!but didn't melt!) and you likely permanently damaged the inverter before it could activate its' electronic circuit breaker.
It's not entirely your fault. In my opinion Yamaha should have better engineered the very expensive inverter electronics to resist and survive overheating, sputtering voltage spikes and sustained high loads (by automatically surge protecting and disconnecting/reconnecting the load). There are MILLIONS of cars with $400--$1,200 ECUs that control EVERYTHING (Engine/Transmission/ABS/ClimateSys/SecuritySys that NEVER EVER FAIL even in the worst cases of blistering desert sun under hood overheating, sloppy sparking jump starting and even nearby lightening strikes.
This should be another, possibly new lesson to everyone to always use at least a 12/3 extension cord no longer than 50 feet . . . the shorter it is the better it is with a 2,000+ Joule surge protector plugged into the Genny. NEVER neatly coil up the excess extension cord on the ground. ALWAYS get or make Genny-dedicated 12/3 cords as short as possible to the usual load connection. Also to always be aware of possible overheating conditions, as simple as a discarded candy bar wrapper tossed around by the wind and then catastrophically held in place by covering the Genny's inverter cooling air intakes.
Talent, On Loan, From God --Rush Limbaugh--
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