We have been loving the heck out of our Honda EU2200i generator for the last seven months and have already put about 150 hours on it. We live in our RV off the grid on solar power 24/7, and we rely on the sun for 98% of our power needs. However, in the last few months we have experienced an extraordinary amount of wildfire smoke and rain in our RV travels, and that trusty old orb in the sky was nowhere to be seen for weeks on end.
Why A Honda EU2200i generator?
In the past we have used a generator only for a few days in mid-winter when the days are really short and storms blow in for a week at a time, limiting the amount of power our solar panels could produce, or for just a few days in mid-summer when the interior temp of our trailer shoots into the 90s and we run our air conditioner to cool down.
When we decided to get one of Honda’s new and easily carried 2200 watt generators in early May, we didn’t think we’d put it to use right away. We were headed to the cool mountains for a month or so, and we doubted we’d need our air conditioner.
Ironically, within a few weeks of getting our new 2200 watt Honda generator, wildfire smoke filled the mountain air, obscuring the sun and preventing our solar panels from being as effective as usual.
The wildfire smoke was followed by weeks-long rain storms for the next few months as we traveled from the mountain states to Lake Superior. Oh my, were we happy it was so easy to set up our new little generator to keep our batteries nicely charged despite the dark skies.
At one point we had to ask ourselves if we had inadvertently done a rain dance by getting this new generator!
Just like how one of us always get really sick whenever we put a new bottle of Nyquil in our medicine chest, we wondered if the deluge of smoke and rains came because we now had an easy access generator that could power our lives on a moment’s notice!
The Honda EU2200i is light and easy to Carry!
The Honda EU2200i generator is a new and improved version of the much beloved Honda 2000i generator that has been powering the lives of RVers for many years. If you wander through the desert in Quartzsite, Arizona, in January, you’ll see the popular red generators outside of many RVs.
It weights just 46.5 lbs., holds just under a gallon of gas and delivers 2,200 watts of peak surge power and 1,800 watts of continuous power.
We have had a Yamaha 2400i generator with us since we started full-time RVing eleven years ago, and although it is a great generator, it is unwieldy to store, maneuver and set up. Too often we have looked at each other and said, “We really should get the generator out,” only to decide against it because neither of us felt like going through the hassle.
However, the light little Honda EU2200i generator has proven to be so darn easy to grab and set up that we often end up running it in circumstances where we wouldn’t have before.
For the moment, it is living in the back of our truck right next to the bigger generator. Either one of us can pick it up with one hand and lift it out of the truck, even while gingerly stepping around the fifth wheel hitch and the rest of the obstacle course in the bed of our truck. Not so with its big brother.
Starting the Honda EU2200i generator!
We like to start the Honda EU2200i generator without having it plugged into the RV so it can get a little warmed up before we put any loads on it. The shore power cord is plugged into the trailer, but we don’t plug the other end into the generator until the generator is actually humming along.
Since our trailer is a 50 amp trailer and the generator outlets are 15 amps, we use two adapters plus the shore power cord to get between the 15 amp female outlets on the generator and the male 50 amp outlet on our trailer:
- 15 amp Male to 30 amp Female adapter
- 30 amp Male to 50 amp Female adapter
- 50 amp Male to 50 amp Female (Locking) 25′ Shore Power Cord
We keep these two adapters on hand because it gives us the flexibility to connect the RV’s shorepower outlet to either a 15 amp power source or a 30 amp power source. However, you can also go directly from the 50 amp outlet on the RV to the 15 amp outlet on the generator and skip dragging out the heavy shore power cord by using a 15 amp Male to 50 amp Male adapter.
To start the Honda EU2200i generator there are three easy steps:
- 1. Open the gas cap vent so a vacuum doesn’t build up inside the tank
- 2. Close the choke (move the switch to the right)
- 3. Set the generator switch to ON
Then pull the pull start cable and away you go.
Shortly after the generator roars to life, slowly open the choke (move the switch to the left).
We like to position the generator so the exhaust goes away from the trailer. If there are other people camped in the vicinity, we also like to place it somewhere in our campsite that it is as far from their campsite as possible so we don’t annoy them when we run it.
If it is raining out, we put it under one of the slide-outs so it doesn’t get wet.
Sometimes these locations are not optimal for pulling the start cord and getting the generator going (especially crawling under a slide-out!). But this little Honda generator is so light it is easy to maneuver it to wherever we want to place it, even after it is running.
Using Eco Throttle for Greater Efficiency and Less Noise
One of the really nifty features on the Honda EU2200i generator is the Eco Throttle. This is located on the “business end” of the generator in the upper left corner.
Turning it on lowers the RPMs of the generator so it doesn’t use as much gas and runs more quietly.
If we are going to run the generator for a number of hours primarily to charge the batteries and do other things that put just a small load on the generator like using our laptops, running the lights at night, or watching a movie on TV, we keep the Eco throttle turned on.
We tested the generator to see how long it would run if we filled the 0.95 gallon gas tank before it ran out of gas. We had it in Eco mode and used our laptops and other small things while it was running.
It ran for 9.5 hours!
We don’t usually run the generator for nearly that long.
As I’ve described in our article about what happens when you run solar power and shore power simultaneously, the best time for solar powered RVs to run a generator is in the morning hours. This helps get the batteries sufficiently charged so they can easily reach their charging (Absorb) voltage under solar power alone once the generator is turned off. This gives them more daylight hours to complete the Absorb stage before the sun goes down.
Eco mode is our default with this generator, both to save gas and to hear the generator’s quiet purr instead of its louder roar. In Eco mode it is as quiet as our Yamaha 2400i generator, but when it is not in Eco mode it is a little louder.
If you suddenly place a big load on the generator when it is in Eco mode, it will temporarily go into higher RPMs to provide the required power.
If we turn on the toaster while in Eco mode (our toaster is an 800 watt model), we can hear the generator rev up while the toaster is making toast. As soon as the toast pops up, the generator idles back down. If we do the same thing in non-Eco mode, the generator is already humming along at a fast pace, and it doesn’t need much of a surge to operate the toaster.
If the generator is in Eco mode and we use the microwave (ours is an 1100 watt model), the generator has a slight lag time as it first senses the heavy load and then revs up to provide the necessary power.
There is an audible drop in tone and dimming of the lights on the microwave for a second or two before the generator roars to meet the challenge. We’re not sure this momentary dip in power is good for the microwave, so if we plan to use it we prefer to have the generator running in non-Eco mode first.
Can it power an RV air conditioner?
We have a 15,000 BTU air conditioner on our 36′ fifth wheel trailer. With some coaxing (i.e., warming up the generator, then turning on the Coleman air conditioner’s fan and finally turning on the air conditioner itself), our Yamaha 2400i generator can handle the air conditioner’s initial power surge and run it for hours on end without a hitch.
We were hoping the much lighter and smaller Honda EU2200i might be able to run it too. However, the generator’s 2200 watts max power is not quite enough to handle the surge when the air conditioner starts. It is likely it could power a 13,500 btu air conditioner (standard on smaller RVs) just fine.
The Honda EU2200i generator is designed to work in parallel with a twin generator and connector cables, giving you 4,400 watts of peak power, more than enough to run a 15k BTU air conditioner. You can probably run the microwave at the same time with that kind of juice! The wonderful thing about this setup is that the two generators are a lot smaller than one big 4.4kw generator would be.
Putting Gas in the Honda EU2200i Generator
The hardest part about putting gas in a generator is fiddling with the child-proof, spill-proof, idiot-proof gas can. Government regulators have obviously never used a gas can in their lives, and we’re quite sure a lot more gas has been spilled on our precious environment because of the newfangled user-unfriendly spouts than ever was spilled using the trusty old gas can spouts of days gone by.
We’ve been adding Seafoam Motor Treatment to the gas in the generator. This fuel stabilizer cleans the carburetor, keeps the engine clean, and we find it makes it easier to start.
Honda EU2200i Generator Maintenance Tips – Changing the Oil
Changing the oil on the Honda EU2200i generator is a snap. First find a pleasant place to do it. Mark likes to elevate the generator onto some kind of platform so it is easy to drain the old oil out of the bottom.
As always, Buddy likes to supervise.
You’ll need the following:
- A flat head screwdriver
- A sealable 14 oz. or larger container for the old oil
- A quart of SAE 10W-30 oil
- Rags to clean up drips and wipe your hands
- Optional: Rubber gloves
The first step is to unscrew the single screw that holds the front panel on the front of the generator and remove the panel so you have full access to the heart of the machine.
To check or change the oil, simply unscrew the dipstick in the lower left corner.
If you are just checking the oil, make sure the oil level fills the spout and is clear. Honda recomments changing it every six months or 100 hours of use (keep track of the hours of use in a log book).
When changing the oil, hold a container of some kind below the spout.
Any container that can hold 14 ounces of liquid is fine. Or you can drain the oil into an oil drain pan and then, after the new oil has been put into the generator, pour the old oil into the container that held the new oil.
In the case pictured here, Mark used an old plastic peanut jar with a screw top lid.
To get all the oil out, tip the generator slightly towards you.
Once the old oil is completely drained out, pour the new oil in.
The oil reserve is properly filled when the oil comes right to the edge (with the generator sitting level). Once it’s full, screw the dipstick back in and tidy up any drips with the rags.
The generator takes 14 ounces of oil and, of course, oil is sold in 16 ounce bottles. You can save the last two ounces for other odd jobs around your RV in one of these classic oil cans. Grandpa will be proud!
Honda EU2200i Generator Maintenance Tips – Cleaning / Replacing the Air Filters
Since the front panel of the generator is off, now is a good time to inspect the air filters. To access the air filters, unscrew the screw holding the access panel in place.
There are two small air filters inside. Each one is a small piece of foam. If they’re dusty and dirty you can clean and re-oil them. If they are brittle and have started to fall apart, you can replace them with Honda’s air filter replacement kit.
Honda EU2200i Generator Maintenance Tips – Inspecting / Replacing the Spark Plug
Once the front panel on the generator is buttoned up again, this is a good time to check the spark plug.
The Honda EU2200i generator’s spark plug is located in a small compartment on the top next to the handle. The cover slides off easily.
Inside, the spark plug is covered by a spark plug cap. Simply pull the cap off to reveal the spark plug underneath.
To remove the spark plub, use a 5/8″ spark plug socket and ratchet plus 3/8″ drive extension. The spark plug is quite close to the generator handle, so a 5//8″ spark plug socket with an integral 3/8″ drive on a swivel extension could be very handy.
The spark plug is the NGK CR5HSB.
Inspect it with a spark plug gap tool. The gap should be 0.24 to 0.28 inches which is equivalent to 0.6 to 0.7 mm.
Before placing the spark plug back in the generator, spread a thin layer of high temperature anti-seize lubricant on the spark plug threads.
And that’s it!
If you are looking for a lightweight generator that can run for many hours on end and power all of the appliances in your RV that require less than 2200 watts to operate (in our case, this is everything except our 15k BTU air conditioner), the new Honda EU2200i generator is a great choice.
Hopefully if you buy one, you won’t inadvertently inspire the rain gods to dump weeks of rain on you like we did!!
Note added March 24, 2019 – 200,000 Honda 2200i units have been recalled for a leak in the fuel valve. You can schedule a free repair at a Honda authorized dealer. There is more detailed info from Honda about the specific units affected at this link.
Where to buy the Honda EU2200i generator and accessories:
- Honda EU2200i Generator
- Generator cover or a more stealth version
- Companion Parallel Combo Kit – 4400 watts of easy to maneuver power!
RV Power Adapters and Dogbones:
- 15 amp Male to 30 amp Female adapter
- 30 amp Male to 50 amp Female adapter
- 15 amp Male to 50 amp Female adapter
Generator Maintenance Goodies:
- Honda’s air filter replacement kit
- 5/8″ spark plug socket and ratchet plus 3/8″ drive extension
- NGK CR5HSB spark plug
- Spark plug gap tool
- High temperature anti-seize lubricant
- Seafoam gas stabilizer and treatment
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