Dr Electric's Honda EU2200i Recommended Burning Man Generator Setup (also applicable to Yamaha EF2000iS)
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Instructions
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This is my complete recommended generator setup for playa. You can easily expand it with dual generators if you want. Many tips also apply to other setups.
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I recommend you start by understanding your power requirements. Estimate how much power you'll draw. Will this setup make the cut?
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The heat and altitude of playa makes your generator less efficient. Your 1800w generator can only produce about 1400w or less. See my nifty calculator here!
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ItemPriceImportanceNotes
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Generator Setup
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Generators gets stolen - this has happened to multiple friends. Lock it up!
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Honda EU2200i Generator$999.00Required
As of 2018, the quietest and most powerful 2kw-range generator, highly dependable.
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Honda Power Equipment Conventional Oil, 5W-30$15.51Required
Generator ships dry. For the first 20 hours, use this Honda oil. After that, switch to Mobil One fully synthetic.
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Magnetic Dipstick and Extended Oil Fill Tube$37.49Medium
Catches metal filings in oil. Especially great on a brand-new generator during break-in. Usually metal filings in oil is a bad sign!
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Hour Meter$51.64High
Necessity to maintain your generator, easy to install. Different brands are interchangeable. You can also get a cheap chinese knockoff.
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Adding a second generator
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You can run two (or more) Honda EU2200i generators in parallel to get 4.4KW output.
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Their "companion" model is equivalent except it has a 30 amp RV plug. This is exceptionally useful to draw high current from one socket. I suggest getting the companion model as a second
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Honda EU2200i Companion Generator
Companion has RV rocket
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Honda Parallel Cables
Connect two generators together, will intelligently share the load.
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Burn-in procedure for a new generator.
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Install your hour meter. You need this to know when to perform maintenance. The install is very easy!
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Do your first oil change after 15 hours of runtime. Definitely less than 20.
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Use Honda or equivalent non-synthetic 0W30 or 5W30 for your first 15 hours.
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Switch to fully synthetic 5W30 such as Mobil 1 from here on out.
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Enjoy 9000 hours of generator use or more!
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Theft Deterrant
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We've had our generator stolen. Friends have had the same experience. You need to lock your gennie.
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Theft Deterrant Handle$25.99Medium
Thieves easily break the handles with a hammer. Install this.
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Security Locking Chain$54.99High
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Master Lock Combo Padlock$23.54High
I prefer combo locks. Can't lose your keys.
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Fuel and Fire Safety
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These items are required by BLM!
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Fire Extinguisher, Kiddie, Type ABC, 4lb$39.97Required
Class ABC is important: solids, liquids, and electrical fires. 4lb is a good size. The aerosol spraycans are NOT.
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Kiddie Pool for Fuel Containment.$8.94Required
At least 110% of fuel volume. Fuel Storage Guidelines Here
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"No Smoking - Flammable" sign, aluminum, x2Suggested
Get two, so they are visible from all directions.
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Tools and Parts Bin
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Generators needs periodic servicing. You can easily do this yourself.
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I like to keep a small tools and parts storage bin just for the generator, containing everything to keep the generator working perfectly for many many years.
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You can take your old oil to most auto service stations, they'll recycle it for you
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4 Gallon Storage Tote$3.98High
Keep a small tools-and-parts bin with your generator, where you keep your generator manual, extra spark plugs, oil, and the tools to work on your generator
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Copy of your Honda EU2200i Manualincluded
I like to print the periodic maintenance sheet, laminate it, and keep it in my parts bin.
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1/4" flat blade AND #2 Philips Screwdrivers, Kit$3.97High
For the maintenance screw. Don't need a long one.
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Mobil One Fully Synthetic Oil, 5W-30$7.88High
Change your oil every 100 hours or once a year. Check spark plugs.
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1 Quart Flexible Oil Funnel, Pennzoil$8.11High
You need a funnel to get oil into your generator. This one is great.
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Oil Drain Pan, Flo Tool 7 quart$3.87High
I do not take this to the burn. But you need something to catch your oil when changing oil.
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Spark Plug Socketincluded
Should come with generator.
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Spark Plug Gap Tool$1.88High
Measure and set the spark plug gap correctly.
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CR5HSB Spark Plugs, Spares x2$7.69Medium
Replace every 300 hours. Check when you chage the oil.
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Seafoam Engine Cleaner$6.99Medium
Every 100 hours or so, run seafoam through your generator to clean it.
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Gas CansBetter Suggestion Below!
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There's a better solution that gas cans. Get an extended run fuel kit and a few extra extended run tanks with quick connect fittings.
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This way, you never need to transfer fuel between containers on playa! Just unclip your fuel line from one tank, clip it to the next one. Bask in the glory of being a professional.
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No-Spill 5 Gallon Gas Can$33.99Medium
If you get gas cans, get these. Don't bother with the carb-compliant stuff at gas stations. It doesn't spill, and it stops automatically when full.
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Extended Run Kit
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An extended tank lets you run for 40+ hours without refueling. No more spilling gas or pesky late-night generator fuel-ups.
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You can also purchase multiple extended run fuel tanks rather than gas cans. You never need to transfer fuel on playa - the quickconnect system simply pops off the one tank and onto the other.
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Extended Run Moeller Fuel Tank Kit with Quick Connect$121.95Medium
The quick connects on the gas line is extremely useful! I like this tank since it has a fuel gauge.
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Moeller Tempo Manual Vent Gas Cap$9.99Medium
Today's EPA-mandated gas caps are designed to build up pressue in the tank. This will flood your generator. Replace the caps.
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Additional Tanks
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You only need one roll of pipe thread tape. It'll do many fittings.
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Pipe Thread Tape, Suitable for Gas Lines$2.84Medium
Put this on the quick connect fitting threads, then screw the fitting into the tank. Voila!
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For each multiple of 6 gallons you want to bring, on top of the 6 gallon tank in the above kit, purchase the following:
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Moeller Marine EPA 6 gallon fuel tank, 620049LP$59.50Medium
These tanks are great - fuel gauge, breather port, easy-fill. My only complaint - they don't stand up straight very well.
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Moeller Quick Connect Fitting, 1/4in NPT, (Suzuki/Chrysler)
$6.50Medium
This is a fuel-specific and moeller-specific fitting. This is the fitting used on the above listed extended run kit.
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Alternatively, get a 12 gallon tank. This weighs 100lb when full, quite difficult to move.
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Moeller Marine EPA 12 gallon fuel tank 630012LP$96.51Medium
These tanks are great - fuel gauge, breather port, easy-fill. My only complaint - they don't stand up straight very well.
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Moeller Quick Connect Fitting, 1/4in NPT$6.50Medium
This is a fuel-specific and moeller-specific fitting. This is the fitting used on the above listed extended run kit.
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If you're running two generators in parallel
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Dual Line Moeller Marine Fuel Line with Fittings
This lets you hook two generators to the same tank, with the same fittings as listed above.
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Extention Cords
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10 Gauge 50ft 3-output lighted extention cord (or 100ft)
$67.99Medium
Use this thick cable as your main feed from your generator. Do not a thin long extention cord - those will lose significant power across the wire.
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Baffle Box
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Even the quiet Honda EU2200i (47db!) can get annoying to you and your neighbors.
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I don't have a great solution yet, but here's a guide:
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How to Set Up a Soundproof Enclosure Around Your Power Generator
Medium
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Acoustic Insulating Sound Board
Use this stuff to build yourself a box for your generator. They will cut it for you at Home Depot!
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Useful Accessories
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12V Charging Cable
Charge your dead car battery if necessary.
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Kill A Watt Power MeterLow
I like having a power meter to monitor how much we're drawing from the generator. It's a nice-to-have.
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Total Cost, Brand New$1,707.21
You can find many generators second-hand. It's hard to know the service history, but you can get lucky!
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Pro Tips
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BeforehandRead the manual. It's worth it.
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BeforehandRead the fuel storage guidelines. Be an awesome burner.
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Beforehand Check your generator efficiency using my handy calculator. You're probably losing 20% or more of your power due to altitude and heat!
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Fuel ContainersThose red CARB-compliant fuel cans suck. We all spill fuel using them. Rather go with the extended run fuel tank kit and an extra tank or two. You'll be so happy with this setup! I like 6 gallon tanks, they're easy to carry. You can also get 12 gallon tanks if you're hard-core!
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At Burning ManDon't put your generator right on the playa - it kicks up dust and sucks it right in! Put it on something like a small tarp or the lid off a storage bin you're not using.
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Before Storage, after every event.After an event, start your generator, then turn the fuel switch to off. Let it run until it stops (a few minutes at most). Your carbs are now empty of fuel and won't gum up. Blow out the unit with compressed air. Take your air filter out, and wash it, then lightly soak it in engine oil (moist but not dripping) and replace
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Before Long StorageIf you're storing for multiple months, store with no gas - run until its dry.
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