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Sometimes my laziness inspires me to come up with clever solutions. In this particular case, checking the oil on the honda generator has, up until now, required me to go find a screw driver to open the housing. The screw (just above the word Honda in the pic below) could be opened by a coin, if you had one of those around, which I never do. My efficiently lazy solution was to tie an appropriately sized washer to the generator so that it can be used as a makeshift screw driver. My thoughts are that if it is easier for me to get the housing off, I’ll be more likely to check the oil in this important piece of kit.

For those who are curious, we have been running the generator for about 3-4 hours every 2-3 days to top up the batteries. When we are able to add some more solar panels, the generator’s usage will no doubt drop.


  1. Good idead Mike….How much gas does the Honda hold….How much does it burn…..

    • Good questions. I am so bad at that kind of thing. People always used to ask what kind of milage our truck got, and now they ask about the yamahas, and I don’t even know. I need to find out though.

      I “think” it holds 1 gallon. It will run for hours on that much gas (depending on the load I assume), but I need to find out for sure.

  2. That’s efficient, Mike, not lazy. Lazy would be if you just leave the thing as-is until the “Out of Oil” light comes on!
    How are you finding the noise levels from the generator? (The unit we use up north is a late ’80s 5 kW Honda- great unit, impeccably reliable, but not exactly quiet.)

  3. I’ve often observed that “efficient” people people are usually better at coming up with innovative solutions than “do-it-by-the-book” types. 🙂

    By the way, how loud is that generator? I ask because we’re trying to determine whether we should get extra solar cells or a generator for our future boat purchase.

  4. I can’t ever figure out how many miles to the gallon my car gets. Too much math involved and it makes my head hurt. All I know is, I can get to work and back for a week on it, as a rule.

  5. Niiice. We will have to steal that idea. We only broke out our Honda for the last 1.5 weeks of the trip (low sun angle, fog, rain…fall here). We love those panels.

  6. I think that’s a good, practical solution. It’s too easy to let little things, like forgetting a screwdriver, make you miss important maintainence tasks. If someone asks what it’s doing there, just tell them it’s your memory tweak!

  7. You are not lazy, you are resourceful. It’s a pity everyone doesn’t think like this.

  8. Thanks all.

    For those who asked about the noise of the generator, I had heard over and over that the Hondas are exceptionally quiet. Not having anything to compare it to, I will actually say that it is actually a bit louder than I thought it would be. That’s what happens when you have your expectations set too high I guess!

    With that said, it isn’t really all that loud, especially when it is run in Eco mode and the load isn’t too high (it is louder when it is charging our batteries when it is first turned on but gets progressively more quiet as the charger asks for less and less amps). If we run it on our stern while motoring we can hardly hear it over the sound of one of our yamaha engines.

  9. Great idea! I was glad to hear that you only run the generator a few hours every few days. That doesn’t sound bad at all! A Honda generator is on our “must have” list, along with those solar panels.

    • I should probably mention that we have a pretty large battery bank. We have 8 – 6V golf cart batteries hooked in series/parallel giving us (I think) 720 Amp Hours.

  10. Efficient and resourceful!!
    I will add that to my list of great ideas I have picked up from you 🙂

  11. I know this generator post was written a long time ago, but I thought I’d share an old trick we used in the army. If you find a good hardware store, take in your existing screw. They make bolts with wing nuts built onto the top. If you can find one of the correct size, then you’ll always be able to open the plug even without tools.


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