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Date: 12 October 2021. Gasoline Generator Added (starting the wrong way) (#3 in series)


This became a multi-part series on power for an off-grid life afloat. It details the order in which I added power to Seaweed. In the series I cover both the mistakes made, and the choices that were spot on. Feel free to learn from my mistakes.

For those with  slower connections I am splitting the series into smaller portions. It is far easier to download a smaller webpage especially when the connection is iffy at best. This is Part Three.

For those that prefer everything on one page, this is the link you want:
Power from None to Now (the complete series)

Shortly after installing the wind genny described in the
Adding an Air-Breeze Wind Generator article I moved Seaweed to the west coast of Florida. Those winds I was so used to experiencing became virtually nonexistent where I was anchored. Though I could power my necessities, decadence was rather sparse.

For those curious, this is the reason I came to Pensacola:

This is the Original Grand. She is wonderful!



The Original is truly a grand girl.

How wonderful you may ask is the Original? Well, let me tell you she writes letters. There is something incredibly special about receiving illustrated thank you notes. I treasure them.

She is growing up so quickly...


But I digress...
After the Original Grand was born I headed east from Pensacola along the Florida Panhandle.

The FLORIDA PANHANDLE encompasses the region from the
Alabama state line to the "big bend" where Florida curves southward.

Referred to as the panhandle this region is not just coastal. It includes the area further inland too.

Later, while heading east along the panhandle I met a wonderful couple. I told you about Frank and Jewell in the
By the Shipyard article.  One thing I did not share in that article was the blessing they bestowed upon me. First, they allowed me to stay at their dock for a few days so that Baby could mail me a mi-fi device, thus enabling me to surf the internet.

That area was brimming with pelicans.


Jewell was a true gem to take me to a large grocery story so I could provision. It had been more than a month since I had visited a grocery store. My lockers were nearly empty. Alas shopping took longer than I anticipated. All this happened as I cruised along the panhandle of Florida.

Jewell and Frank live just east of PANAMA CITY. It is a beautiful area.

In addition to their hospitality, Frank and Jewell gifted me an 800 watt gasoline powered generator. That became a part of my power solution too. Manually starting the generator was possible though it took a lot of strength.


My friend Irene over on the east coast opted for a Yamaha1000 specifically because she can start it manually. This is an important consideration.

Irene made a cover for her generator

Decisions I make are made after careful consideration. Of course I take into mind what will work today, however that is not all. I MUST believe that any purchases made for such things as power (generators and the like) will work in the long term as well.


Boaters like me on a budget have to be wise with our money. Selecting items that will mesh into my infrastructure takes a great deal of saving in order to afford such luxuries.


Folks with poor upper body or wrist strength need to be aware that pulling a cord to start a generator can be Extremely difficult. It doesn't matter how wonderful the generator is if it cannot be started. This is Exactly why I do not own a Honda2k. I am unable to *cold start it. Now if I could figure out how to install a starter into that unit... but that's a matter for another day.

*Cold Start: A cold start means that the motor has not been run recently. At that point, starting the generator can be difficult. After the genny has run for a few minutes it is considered to be warmed up. Pulling the cord is much easier when the unit is warm.


How-To start a generator (and this is DEFINITELY all wrong and bad for said genny) however I have seen recalcitrant generators started by this method when *all else failed.

*Definition of all else: Pulling the spark plug, cleaning same, then blasting connections with starting fluid. Also, hitting the air intake with ether sometimes works. Replace the plug and pull cord.


I witnessed some former inmates demonstrate this method... apparently in the Big House aka prison, the guards do not allow inmates to use a pull-cord. Instead, this is how they start a generator:


First remove the fan casing and fan blades. There, where the fan blades connect to the unit is a spot where a socket can be inserted to spin the shaft like the pull cord would do. They utilized a 12-volt rechargeable drill with a socket to start the generator. Then they would place a fan blowing at the generator to keep it cool.


WARNING: I am certain you are not supposed to do this with a generator. I found the method curious and share it here with you as an anecdote.  I  DO NOT  recommend this.


Alas, due to my inexperience at the time no doubt, the generator Jewell and Frank gave me eventually would not start despite my best efforts. In retrospect, I suspect a carburetor failure. I would like to believe I am smarter now.

That generator was later passed along to Lynn and Dave, friends of mine introduced to you in the Overnight Guests article. Lynn is a fun gal. I hope to get to see her again before she heads off across the Atlantic ocean aboard her sailboat.

Lynn is known for her fabulous New York sourced home-made apple sauce. Hers is chunky and delicious.

Lynn makes wonderful apple sauce. It is chunky, and tastes almost like eating the good stuff out of an apple pie. I've tried canning my own but thus far mine is not as good as hers. Not yet anyway. I believe next time I will add more sugar.

I am still working on getting sufficient power aboard Seaweed for all of my wants. Needs are met, however wants are another thing entirely. For instance, I cannot run my cube refrigerator... there simply is not enough power to do so. Not yet. The next article will cover yet another step in providing power aboard my home.

Stay tuned, and thank you for reading.

Has anyone else utilized a Harbor Freight type 800 watt generator?.
And, what is your oldest/most treasured Christmas ornament?

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2021, 2023

Categories:  Boat Talk, Characters, Gear, Locations, Wild Things,

Adding an Air-Breeze Wind Generator (#2 in series) ~ Previous Post ...   
Next Post ~ Adding Renogy and Upgrading Solar Regulator (#4 in series)


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