A month ago I posted “Generating Repairs,” and after it was all said and done the generator worked great until, not even, a week later. My wife and I were procrastinating on starting the generator hoping for the next sunny day, but to no avail we were socked in with clouds. While sitting on the couch watching a movie, the house powered down, leaving us in the dark. Yes, even people off grid sometimes have power outages. I moved through the house in the dark for a flashlight I place by the front door. I turned it on and proceeded to the warp reactor, I mean battery room. There on the invertor a red warning light was on with the LED display reading Low Battery.
A low battery cut out is when the invertor shuts down everything drawing power from the battery bank even the DC appliances to prevent the batteries from being completely discharged. This was not a problem; I would head to the pump house and fire up our newly fixed backup generator. However, in my haste I forgot to turn the fuel line back on the generator and pulled about five time questioning why it didn’t immediately start. I checked everything turn the fuel line on and pulled again, but this time the pull rope broke and with the rope severed, I found myself in a real pickle.
I retrieved the broken end of the pull rope in the starter assembly and retied it to the old handle. On the first pull, the rope would no longer retract; the starter assembly spring was done, and now we had no way of starting the generator. Now with frustration beginning to mount, I returned to the house to retrieve tools to remove the starter recoil assembly. I then grabbed a special wrench I had and attempted to hand crank it like a model T Ford. I failed and I am glad I did too, knowing the danger I was facing if the unit did start with that wrench securely in my hands.
So, what to do. I went back to the invertor and changed the low battery cut out setting to a lower setting allowing us to power up the house again, but also realizing we were on a clock that was quickly winding down. I hurriedly began looking for a new starter assembly online that would get us back up and running again. In the next few days, I would borrow a neighbor’s generator, which also failed. I proceeded to purchase a secondary backup generator from the store, but my generator had inflated in price, so I would have to settle for a smaller generator, a 5000 watt. This too failed. Our home’s electrical requirement was barely manageable for it. The new 5000 watt generator couldn’t even run our AC well pump with the rest of the house powered down. We returned that generator.
We finally received the part and it did not take me long to change it. Very easy to replace. However, as you can see in the video, the complete failure of a brand new part, never used before. I was completely devastated after all the effort I put into getting my back up system running again. Currently, we have enough sun to keep us going, but I have sincere doubts the second replacement part will work either. The 1st spring was weak when I pulled it slightly to test the recoil right out of the package. I just wanted to believe my problems would be solved by purchasing a new part and that part was made with quality in mind.
This is incredible; I can’t believe the failure I am seeing with inferior replacement parts for my generator. I just don’t understand how any company would sell inferior quality products when the original last thousands of pulls over the last 6 years and this new part didn’t even survive one pull. Something has gone wrong in our society. This is something that could be expected in communist Russia 30 years ago and would never even be considered in the United States. The company selling such garbage would be out of business and fail because another competitor would fill the need and put them out of business. After looking online, I saw the same part made by the same manufacture sold all over the Internet at various websites some changing as low as $30.00 and others for the same part and manufacturer charging $70.00. I don’t know who to trust. Was it a fluke or is the manufacturer just putting out trash and calling it adequate? Not even one pull, folks.
The next replacement part is coming soon. I also contacted the company brand who sells the generator, RIGID, who has passed me on to the Yamaha engine manufacturer. Perhaps, if this next part is a failure, I can purchase one direct from Yamaha who does not seem to advertise or sell the part, but one thing is for certain their part is better made than what I received.
Even though I am greatly disappointed, I am trying to not be angry at the whole event. I think there is something much worse happening here than one mishap at a factory. It seems our culture is beginning to accept low quality, disgraceful goods as the norm all the while standards are slipping into a void of meaningless profit.
I mentioned preppers in the video, warning them that when things break where will they go to purchase new parts to keep their off grid survival status going if the economy collapses. The answer is really no one can be prepared for that, unless they are prepping to live without any modern conveniences. Interestingly enough, if new products begin to fail right after removing them from the box, we may already be in a failed society.