My first “real” contact with the complete lineup of Yamaha’s portable gasoline generators (also known as inverters) came two days after super storm Sandy, when I could finally get out of my driveway and transit the neighborhood. After waiting on a gas line to fill up some portable fuel tanks, I headed down to Babylon to see my buddy Jim Luttieri, the General Manager of Suffolk Marine, a Yamaha outboard and generator dealer. Jimmy, like most of Babylon and Long Island’s south shore, had it rough with Sandy’s 6-to-8 foot storm surge, totally swamping his store and shop areas and floating more than a few boats off their storage blocks. With the water finally receding back to normal levels and a crane retrieving the boats and slowly putting them back into place, things were starting to get back to normal with one exception…there was no power in the store or the entire neighborhood. With LIPA eventually taking up to 4 weeks to bring everyone back online, this was a universal problem for many residents of Long Island, the Jersey Shore and parts of Connecticut.
As I pulled into the Suffolk Marine parking lot, I heard a welcome sound…it was the sound of progress, with people using power tools and heavy equipment in an effort to try and bring things back to normal. I observed no less than six different sized Yamaha gasoline inverters humming along and making things happen, ranging in size from this week’s focus, the man-portable 2400 watt EF2400iSHC, and all the way up to a heavy duty 5kW unit that was supplying power to the retail store and was plugged directly into the main electrical panel via a special plug and switch. Jimmy took a few minutes to explain the nuances of these Yamaha generators and they definitely came in handy after the devastating storm. Suffolk Marine sold out their entire stock of Yamaha generators the first day after Sandy and the lucky folks that snagged these were able to put them to immediate good use for the basic necessities like light, heat and refrigeration.
Portable Power Rules
I was able to get an EF2400iSHC inverter right after the storm from Yamaha and was amazed at the capability of this portable power package that weighs only 75 pounds. This Yamaha is not your typical industrial strength gasoline generator that you would buy at a local big box retailer. Those units are typically heavy, loud and use a lot of fuel for what they provide. In contrast, the Yamaha is hi-tech, super-quiet, relatively light weight, gets great fuel efficiency (runs almost 9-hours at ¼ load on its 1.6-gallon internal tank) and produces super clean power via Pulse Width Modulation (2.4 kW and 20-amps) that will run all of your micro-processor devices (like PCs, appliances, etc.) with no problems. This Yamaha’s high current output will even power a 13.5K BTU air conditioner and have enough juice at start-up to keep the compressor from imploding. Based on my after-Sandy experiences, moving and running those bulky big-box industrial generators for my neighbors was a real pain, with some weighing over 200-lbs and making a lot of noise. And with gasoline supplies being very short for at least three weeks following the storm, many folks simply ran out of fuel and couldn’t run these big dogs.
In contrast, my Yamaha EF2400iSHC ran like a champ and did so using only about four gallons of fuel a day for 24-hours of continuous use. Plus when my power came back, it was easy to throw this inverter in the back of my Subaru and loan it to less fortunate folks who were still without LIPA juice. With a 2.4kW peak output, this Yamaha will not run the main electrical panel of your house, but it was not meant to. The mission of the EF2400iSHC is to provide you with immediate, easy-start power for your boat, RV, surf buggy, weekend camper…and for critical operations in your house when losing power after a storm. Like most Yamaha outboards, this inverter starts right up on the first pull and the main user features are conveniently located right on the front panel. Just plug an extension cord into one of the two AC outlets and snake it into your house to run your refrigerator, hot water heater, air conditioner, portable lights, hair dryer or whatever. There’s even a dedicated outlet and cord to recharge your 12V batteries.
Cool features on the EF2400iSHC include a gasoline petcock that lets you shut off the gas to run the carb dry for storage; a top-mounted gauge that allows instant fuel level checks; high current output designed specifically to increase motor starting capability; an aluminum die-cast frame, combined with an aluminum TCI rotor to keep weight to a minimum; Yamaha’s Smart Throttle feature that automatically adjusts engine speed to match the load; and an Oil Watch Warning System that helps prevent engine damage from low oil levels. With an MSRP of $1,479 and a street price around $1,325, backed by a 3-year warranty, this Yamaha is not the least expensive solution to portable power, but it just might be one of the best.