One of the things you must consider when planning a camping trip is “darkness.” Yes, you’ve read it right. If you’ve lived in the city long enough, the darkness of the wild at night might shock you.
Your eyes are used to the bright lights of lamp posts, cars, and buildings, so you’re unfamiliar with how dark the rest of the undeveloped world is.
Even designated campgrounds in the countryside are too bright (when all the hanging lightbulbs and tent lanterns are lit) compared to a remote part of the boonies.
This is why lighting is a big deal for campers, particularly those who prefer isolation. And it’s pretty challenging because there’s no electricity out there.
Where to Get Power When Camping
Several alternative power sources can be used when you have no access to shore power—for example, the battery in your car.
You can keep the headlights on or connect an extension cord to the battery. You can also bring a high-capacity power bank for charging phones and laptops.
A generator is also a common alternative power source, but it might be impractical if you only use it for a few light bulbs and gadgets.
It’s different, though, if you’re camping in a trailer or motorhome since this vehicle has more than lightbulbs and electronics that need power. It has air conditioning, a fridge, a microwave, and other power guzzlers.
For this reason, having several different power sources in your motorhome is critical. We all know that a motorhome has two electrical systems powered by AC and DC electricity.
The 120-V AC system gets its power from an external electrical hookup like campground charging stations and solar panels.
On the other hand, the 12-V DC electrical system is powered by batteries. Depending on how long your trip takes and which appliances you need to keep running all the time, your power supply from these sources may not be enough.
Solution—bring a portable generator.
A generator comes in handy when all other power sources suddenly run out of juice or malfunction. Even the smallest unit can power up several equipment for a few hours. So it pays to have one in your motorhome before hitting the road.
Introducing Yamaha EF1000iS
For those unfamiliar with Yamaha EF1000iS, it’s a 450x240x380 mm 230V inverter-silent portable generator. It enables you to run sensitive electronic devices that require clean power, such as laptops, video cameras, and battery charges.Here are its top features:
Weighing only 12.66 kg, it’s one of the lightest and most portable generators you’ll ever own.
It’s also one of the most durable generators out there; Yamaha generators are known for their high durability ratings. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board gave it the longest emission engine durability ratings.
Its engine adjusts to match the load, thanks to Smart Throttle, a feature that senses load changes. It goes faster when you plug in a high-wattage appliance. In case of a power overload, the fuse trips off, shutting the generator down.
It also has a sound reduction system called Noise Block. You will still hear the sound of the motor running, but it is not as loud as other generators, only about 47 dBA to 57 dBA.
As previously mentioned, this generator supplies clean energy, which many electronic devices need to operate smoothly.
Yamaha EF1000iS Problems
To more easily diagnose the malfunctions on your Yamaha EF1000iS, do a quick review of how it operates. This way, you can trace your steps and know what you’ve missed or done wrong. Here’s a quick guide:
- Open the vent on the fuel cap to allow the air to flow into the tank.
- Switch on the motor.
- Switch off the fuel economy.
- Open the fill line.
- Pull the starter.
- If you encounter an overload that trips the circuit breaker, shut the generator off and restart it.
Now, let’s look at some common issues you may encounter when operating a Yamaha EF1000iS.
1. It does not start
Operating the Yamaha EF1000iS generator is easy, and that’s what makes issues worrisome. What if you follow the correct procedure, but it doesn’t start? What would you do?
There’s only one way to go about it, trace your steps and figure out where you messed up. If you can’t find any mistake, check the engine’s condition.
The generator is sold bone dry to avoid leaks during shipment, meaning there’s no oil in the motor and fuel in the tank.
So, one of the likely reasons your Yamaha EF1000iS doesn’t start is that it’s brand new, and you haven’t lubricated its engine yet. The same goes if you forgot to top it off with fuel.
Another possible reason is a power overload, which can happen before the engine runs or is already in operation. If you try to switch it on with your appliances and devices already plugged in, the Smart Throttle might instantly detect an overload and trip off the circuit breaker.
An overload may also happen if the total wattage exceeds the application range. Maybe you hadn’t noticed the generator stop running and thought it didn’t start.
So, you tried to pull the starter again to no avail. All you need to do is shut off the generator first, then restart it before pulling the cord.
2. Devices keep stopping
You’re binge-watching your favorite show when suddenly, your television switches off. Then after a few seconds, it turns back on before you can even stand up to check if the generator is working.
The simplest explanation for this is that your devices aren’t getting clean and consistent power, which is dangerous to your generator and those devices. The most likely culprit is the distance between the generator and your motorhome.
While Yamaha EF1000iS promises reduced noise, you can still hear its motor grinding and it might interfere with your activities, such as watching TV or having a Zoom meeting.
So, there’s a good chance you’d want to put it as far away from the motorhome as possible. The problem is distance makes it hard for voltage and ampere to travel. Add resistance to the blend, and you’ll get a power supply fluctuation.
Always mind your distance when using an extension cord. If you’re using a 1.5 mm-sq extension cord, place the generator less than 60 meters from the motorhome.
If it’s a 2.5 mm-sq extension cord, the distance between your generator and motorhome shouldn’t exceed 100 meters. But let’s be honest, who would want their generator to be that far away from their motorhome?
3. Power surge
If you’ve been using your Yamaha EF1000iS for years, you should expect to encounter problems like a gradual power surge soon. You’ve been plugging in the same appliances, yet now the power seems to keep going up until the circuit breaks.
Unfortunately, this problem requires you to at least take apart your generator’s cover to access the mechanical assembly.
Check the pilot jet beside the carburetor. It’s supposed to be easy to access, but if the path is clogged with dust and grease, you may need to clean it up first.
And most of the time, this clog is what’s causing the power surge. So cleaning the pilot jet is the best way to fix the problem.
A Few Safety Tips
When operating a generator, never forget that you’re dealing with electricity. A 230 V to 240 V power is enough to kill an adult person. So, be extra careful and follow these tips.
- Only operate a generator when your hands and body are dry to avoid electrical shock.
- Only carry the generator by its handle.
- Don’t place the generator around flammable materials.
- Strictly no spills. If you accidentally spill fuel or oil into the engine or muffler, remove excess fluid and let the area dry before using the generator.
- Never tilt the generator when carrying or transporting it to prevent spillage.
- Don’t connect any device until the generator is thoroughly warmed up.
- Don’t smoke near the generator. There’s fuel inside it.
Basic troubleshooting knowledge can be a lifesaver during critical moments in your camping trip. You may not need your Yamaha EF1000iS often, but it’s precisely why you need to learn how to fix it when it acts up.
The longer you don’t use it, the more susceptible it becomes to corrosion and damage. This also means it’s crucial to crank up your generator from time to time so it can warm up for the tough days ahead.
If you encounter an issue beyond your current knowledge, don’t try to fix it. You’ll only risk damaging the generator further. Instead, take it to a technician. But closely observe how they fix the problem so you would know how to deal with it yourself in the future.