Thursday, August 11, 2016

New homestead generator issues

I’ve had a small generator for several years. It’s a Buffalo Tools Sportsman, 1500 running watts/2000 watt surge. A couple of years ago I had the carburetor replaced by a mechanic because I had run regular gas in it, which turned the carb all chalky and it wouldn’t work. The genny wouldn’t start. After he fixed it, it ran great and started easily.

Then, we wound up letting it sit for way too long without running it and it got all gummed up inside. We changed out the gas, using our usual gas treatment to help the carb stay good, cleaned the carb the best we could, but still it wouldn’t start. Changed the oil. We even put a new spark plug in it, but no go.

So, I went to Harbor Freight and picked up a little 900 watt generator. It’s a 2-cycle engine and doesn’t get as good run time on fuel at the Sportsman did, but we needed it to backup our solar. However, it still didn’t actually do a very good job and it ran out of gas quickly. Took it back for a refund and they charged me a $25 restocking fee. (I really think those are a rip-off.) Otherwise, they refunded me the purchase price plus the extended warranty I’d bought.

Headed over to Tractor Supply, where they had a 1400 watt/1600 watt surge generator in stock. We brought it home and it did a pretty good job, but it started leaking gas badly, so we boxed it up and headed back to TSC. They gave us a full refund including the extended warranty.

But now, we’re sitting with no generator as backup power. So, we started looking online and found we could get a new carburetor for the old generator for about $12 with free shipping if you have Amazon Prime. I signed up for Prime, ordered the new carb with 2 day free shipping, and headed home. Sure enough, ordering the part on Sunday meant I got it on Tuesday. We changed out the carbs, did some fine tuning (we are NOT mechanics but did the best we could) and now it’s running like a dream.

I was able to use it to run my little portable washing machine and do 4 loads of laundry, plus we can run the regular fans with it to cool the cabin a bit. Another awesome thing is that we can run our little chest freezer now and then to keep food cold but not frozen and thereby the chest freezer becomes a chest fridge!

We also use it once a day to charge up any batteries and electronic devices that need charging. I bought a small battery charger in case the solar batteries need topping up after a few days of clouds plus we can charge the truck battery with it and the battery that powers our 12volt well pump. The battery charger can plug straight into the generator or we can use a power strip and plug the charger into that.


  1. Hi Ann. I'm glad to find your blog and see you're all right. I first noticed you posting on the Canning page on Facebook and your Mini Homestead FB page. I've watched a good number of your videos on youtube, some of them a couple of times. Anyway, I look forward to more of your adventurous updates and recipes through your blog, FB pages and videos. Be well. Taunia Adams

    1. Hi, Taunia! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. :)