Initial Assessment

From GICL Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Back to the Group 1 Homepage


Initial Assessment

This page details the initial pre-dissection assessment conducted by Group 1 of the Honda Honeywell HW7000EH Generator.

Development Profile:

The Honeywell HW7000EH is a fairly new product. It was engineered by Northshore Power Systems LLC and marketing began after exclusive licensing agreements with Honeywell, beginning in the second quarter of 2008 (Northshore Power Systems LLC, 2008). To quote the Northshore Power Systems website, "Introducing Honeywell Home Generators, a complete line of residential portable and standby generators designed specifically for homeowners," (Northshore Power Systems). This product was specifically engineered for portable recreational use and backup power by homeowners. As the manuals and decals are only printed in select languages, they cater to regions that speak English and Spanish, such as the Americas, Europe, and Australia, however, they are for portable use and can be brought anywhere.

Globally, this product recognizes the demand for portable, safe, and easy production of power. The economic goal was to develop an easy to use, powerful and reliable product, at as low a price as possible without compromising functionality. By procuring a licensing agreement with Honeywell, a fortune 100 company employing approximately 122,000 people in 100 different countries, Northshore Power Systems hopes create an air of reliability around there product, and capitalize on the $1.6 billion market increase in 2006 (Honeywell).

Usage Profile:

The Honeywell Generator was developed with the purpose of providing portable, safe, reliable, and easy to use electrical power to the average homeowner. General use involves powering common household appliances in the event of a blackout, and transporting electrical power to remote locations, such as camping grounds, parks, or job sites requiring use of industrial power tools. Although intuitively designed for the average homeowner, it has the power output required for medium to high capacity industrial electronics. Additionally, it has an strong industrial frame, making it robust enough for unforgiving conditions. The primary task of this generator is to quietly and efficiently convert the stored chemical energy of gasoline into usable electrical power.

Energy Profile:

They types of energy used in this product include; chemical energy, thermal energy, kinetic energy and electromagnetic energy. Energy is initially imported into the system by pouring gasoline into the gas tank. Then chemical energy contained within the fuel is imported into the combustion chamber through a fuel line (gravity fed or pumped via motor), where the fuel is ignited via an electrical spark and undergoes a combustion reaction, converting the chemical bond energy into thermal energy. This thermal energy then forces the piston downward due to the expansion of the reaction product. The now kinetic energy moving of the piston is transferred to the connecting rod forcing the drive-shaft to turn. This the rotating drive shaft rotates either: case A (a permanent magnet) or case B (an electromagnet fed by a battery) within a larger coil of conductive wire, called a stator coil and according to Faraday’s Law of Induction the rotating magnetic field induces an electrical current within the stator coil. This electrical current is the desired final state of energy, accessible in the common form of (4)125 Volt 20 Ampere 60Hz, and (1) 250 Volt 30 Ampere 60Hz US electrical outlets.

Complexity Profile:

There are a plethora of components used in the generator. It is hard to estimate the exact number because so many components are covered and not visible. We estimate that there is roughly 150 components including all the valves, tubes, wires, screws, nuts, and bolts, which are used to hold the major components together.

The components vary greatly in complexity. There is a multitude of elementary components which are commonly used and understood, such as the nuts, bolts, screws, and wires. Concurrently, there are more complex singular components exhibiting unique characteristics and designed for specific roles, such as the engine block. Without dissecting the generator, we counted a total of 14 major components within it.

Known major components:

  1. Power Control Center
    1. Electrical Outlets
      • Contains 125VAC 20 Amp Duplex outlets, which 120V appliances can utilize
      • 125/250VAC 30 Amp twist-lock outlets can be used to power appliances using appropriate power cord
    2. Breakers
      • Protects circuits from being damaged by halting the flow of electricity
    3. Hour meter
      • Displays the total run time
    4. Ground terminal
      • Grounds the generator for safety precautions
  2. Battery Tray and Battery
    • Provides power for generator
  3. Oil Fill Dipstick
    • Seals the engine oil hole and provides a way to measure the engine oil level
  4. Oil Drain Screw
    • Provides an easy way to drain oil from generator
  5. Engine Control Switch
    • Button used to operate the generator. The switch has three options:
    • START – Starts the generator engine
    • RUN – Prepares the engine to start manually or indicates generater is currently operating
    • STOP – Stops generator engine
  6. Fuel Shut –off Value
    • Controls the flow of fuel from the fuel tank to the carburetor
  7. Recoil Starter Handle
    • Allows the user to manually start the engine if necessary.
  8. Air Cleaner Assembly
    • Filters dust from the intake air
  9. Choke Control
    • Controls the amount of choke
  10. Fuel Cap
    • Seals the fuel within the fuel tank
  11. Fuel Gage
    • Displays the amount of fuel within the fuel tank
  12. Muffler with Spark Arrestor
    • Prevents sparks from escaping generator
  13. Spark Plug Cap
    • Delivers voltage to the spark plug
  14. Carbon Canister
    • Decreases the hydrocarbon emissions from the generator

There are probably additional significant components to the generator, which we will analyze once we begin to disassemble our product.

Complex interactions are those in which many components operate collectively toward a common task. It is difficult to determine the complexity of the component interactions without dissecting the generator. Drawing on our knowledge of how the machine functions, we believe that the interaction of components varies in complexity from simple complexity, such as a piston translating in a cylinder, to highly complex, such as the valve train components operating synchronously with the undulating piston.

Material Profile:

Visible Materials

These materials comprised the visible parts of the generator:

  • Steel
    • Gas Tank
    • Support Cage
    • Bolts
    • Pull starter case
    • Electric starter case
    • Wire clamp on fuel/oil line

  • Plastic
    • Gas Tank Cover
    • Starter Rope Handle
    • Wire Insulation
    • Cable Wheel

  • Aluminum
    • Air Filter Clasp
    • Engine Block
  • Copper
    • Generator Coil
  • Brass
    • Exhaust Cover
    • Generator Bolts
  • Rubber
    • O-Ring
    • Vibration Dampeners
    • Fuel/Oil Lines
    • Gaskets
  • Nylon Pull Rope
  • Decals
  • Resin impregnated paper filter (carburetor)

Probable Hidden Materials

Although we are unsure, it is believed that these materials comprise the parts of the generator that are invisible without dis-assembly.

  • Lead
    • Acid Battery
  • Foam
    • Air Filter

  • Aluminum
    • Cylinder
    • Piston
  • Steel
    • Cam shaft
  • Rubber
    • Gaskets
  • Permanent Magnet
  • Other parts unidentifiable due to lack of understanding of the inner workings of a 4 stroke motor and a generator

User Interaction Profile:

Figure 1: Components on generator: click to enlarge
Figure 2: Components on generator: click to enlarge
The user interfaces with the product in various manners by way of switching and pulling several different components. These components are located in Figure 1. The interfaces are broken down to a specific task to each interface, for tasks requiring more than one component the necessary components are grouped together in a relatively compact area. The tasks include the two methods of starting, as well as the stopping sequence of the generator, along with utilizing the electricity being generated.

An intuitive process is one in which the task is clearly defined and the components necessary to perform the task are grouped closely. To be more specific, the two possible processes by which the generator is started involve several steps and minor adjustments. These processes can be considered intuitive.

In order to start the generator, the user must first; turn the fuel shut-off valve from the “off” position to the “on” position, and then the user must pull the choke control outward, toward them, into the “on” position. Refer to figure 1 and figure 2 for name-part association. (Northshore Power Systems, LLC, 2010)

To utilize the manual start option, the user must press the engine control switch to the “run” position, then grasp the recoil starter handle and pull until resistance is felt. Once resistance is felt sharply pull on the handle to start the engine. More than one pull may be necessary to start the engine. Once the engine is running, the user must gradually return the choke to the “off” position as the RPMs stabilize and the engine warms up.

To utilize the electrical start option, after performing the initial task mentioned above, the user simply presses the starter switch into the “start” position and holds the switch there until the engine is running. Again once the engine is running, the user must gradually return the choke to the “off” position as the RPMs stabilize and the engine warms up.

The common interface between the two processes however would be considered intuitive. This is because of the relative location of the fuel shut-off valve to the choke control. Both components are also clearly labeled and easily located.

The manual start option is also considered intuitive, again due to the relative close proximity of the starter components. While the switch is not located directly on the same face as the other components it is still located close enough to be easily located and likewise sufficiently labeled.

The electric start option is intuitive in its simplicity as well as its components. Once the initial priming actions have been taken, the user simply presses the switch to the start position and the generator is running, the simplicity of the situation initiates an intuitive human interface. Again the relative location of the components adds to the simplicity and ease of use of the generator.

In order to stop the generator, the user should follow the same basic stopping procedure for normal use of the generator. The steps are clearly laid out in the owner’s manual, for the user to access and read. The steps for shutting down the generator in a normal use condition are as follows.

  1. Turn off any connected appliances and unplug any connected power cords.
  2. Turn the fuel shut-off valve to the off position.
  3. Allow the generator to run until it stops and the gasoline in the fuel line has been consumed.
  4. Press the engine control switch to the stop position.

In the event of an emergency the user can simply press the engine control switch to the stop position.

The process to utilize the electricity produced is simply to take the appliance or extension cord the user needs to power and plug it into one of the appropriately labeled outlets. The outlets are located on the face side of the generator, the same side as the start/run/stop switch.

Reviews of this product are of a limited base due to the relative youth of the distributing company coupled with the fact that generators are not necessarily an every-day household purchase. That being said general reviews seem positive. For example, “Great generator!” (Carson, 2010), and “I am very pleased that I chose this machine. Assembly is very easy- step by step instructions show you how, and how to properly care for your investment.” (Schohn, 2010). I tend to agree with these reviews, based on my observations of the generator thus far. The generator is designed for ease of use and I feel that this generator fulfills this design requirement. The components are conventionally located and visually appealing enough to be noticed. As well, all necessary components are clearly and informatively labeled and along with those labels the components can be researched in the owner’s manual so as to cure any quandary.

This machine does require some sort of necessary maintenance before use as well as after regular use time intervals. Maintenance tasks and frequency of the tasks are shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Maintenance task required vs. frequency of task (Northshore Power Systems, LLC, 2010)
Before Use First month
(20hrs of use)
Every 3 months
(50hrs of use)
Every 6 months
(100hrs of use)
Every year
(300hrs of use)
Inspect for/ clean debris X
Check engine oil X
Change engine oil X
Check air X
Clean air filter X
Replace air filter X
Run Engine X
Check spark plug X
Replace spark plug X
Clean fuel sediment cup X
Clean spark arrestor X
Clean cylinder cooling fins X
Check idle speed X
Check valve clearance X
Clean combustion chamber Every 500 Hours
Check fuel tube Every 2 Years (Replace if Necessary)

Most of the maintenance tasks listed are relatively easy for the average home owner to complete such as, inspection for debris before use checking the air filter, running the engine or cleaning the cylinder cooling fans. Other tasks such as cleaning the air filter and prepping it for reassembly may not be as obvious to the user. The owner’s manual may be consulted to complete a task such as that. For the more intensive tasks such as cleaning the combustion chamber, the user may want to consult an expert in order to provide a knowledgeable input, if not provide the maintenance themselves. Other maintenance points such as adding gasoline are also generally known rudimentary preparatory steps by most users. My opinion on the matter is that the maintenance is overall easily performed in most cases; however there are certain areas of complexity that can be difficult.

Product Alternative Profile:

Alternative Products and Statistics
Honeywell HW7000EH Generac - XG Series XG8000E Yamaha EF2400iSHC
Running Watts 7,000 8,000 2,000
Max. Watts 8750 10,000 2,400
Run Time 8.0 hours @ 50% load 10 hours @ 50% load 8.6 hours @ 25% load
Fuel Tank Size (Gallons) 6.5 9 1.6
Dimensions (L x W x H) 30.0 x 29.0 x 27.0 31 x 25.5 x 28 20.8 x 18.2 x 16.5
Weight (pounds) 210 245 75
Cost $1,399.95 $1,699.00 $1,479

Advantages Vs. Disadvantages
Product Name Honeywell HW7000EH Generac - XG Series XG8000E Yamaha EF2400iSHC
Advantages Cheapest to purchase
High running Watts
High max. Watts
Long run time
Best performance for price
Highest Running Watts
Highest Max. Watts
Highest Run Time
Largest Fuel Tank
Largest dimensionally
Lightest in weight
Smallest dimensionally
Disadvantages Heavy Heaviest in weight
Most Expensive to buy
Lowest Running Watts
Lowest Max. Watts
Smallest Run Time
High price to output ratio
Worst performance for price
Product Image
Honeywell HW7000EH.jpg
Generac - XG Series XG8000E.jpg
Yamaha EF2400iSHC.jpg
Price Per Watt Graph.

There are numerous alternative portable generators available to purchase. The two notable portable generators are the Generac - XG Series XG8000E and the Yamaha EF2400iSHC. The Yamaha EF2400iSHC is a lightweight portable generator. The other two generators are difficult to move alone, but the Yamaha EF2400iSHC can be moved as an individual since it only weights 75 pounds. The trade-off however is a lower power generated, the Yamaha EF2400iSHC only generates 2,000 watts while the other ones can generate over three times that amount.

The Honeywell is the best performance for the cost, it costs $.20 per watt of performance. The Generac is slightly behind the Honeywell generator with only a $0.01 difference in the cost per watt. The Yamaha is over three times cost of the Honeywell and Generac per watt with a cost of $0.71 per watt.


HW7000EH Honeywell Portable Home Generator 7000W. (2010). AP Electric & Generators. Retrieved September 30, 2010, from

8000 Watt Generac Guardian Portable Generator XG Series XG8000E. (2010). AP Electric & Generators. Retrieved September 30, 2010, from

Yamaha EF2400iSHC - 2000 Watt Inverter Generator. (2010). AP Electric & Generators. Retrieved September 30, 2010, from