sevenracer
sevenracer HalfDork
11/26/23 1:25 p.m.

I think I am going to throw in the towel on my finicky old harbor freight 2600watt generator and start over with a new one.

I have a bunch of friends who have predator 3500 generators that seem to work great and they are on sale for cyber Monday. but those things weigh just over 100 lbs. I'd like whatever I buy to be something that I can lift into my truck bed by myself.

I need more than 2000w, and the predator brand doesn't seem to have anything in between 2000 and 3500.

Anyone have experience with the brands on Amazon like Champion and Wen? Decent quality? Are you able to get replacement parts?

My current unit - Energy Storm brand - seems to only have one good source for parts, and their prices are very high, making it uneconomic to do any significant repairs.

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Publisher
11/26/23 2:02 p.m.

I bought a cheap 2200 watt on Amazon a few years ago for about $300. It's a Rainer brand, but I'm pretty sure they're all about the same.

It's been quiet, reliable, and ran my camper's AC without issues. 

ggarrard
ggarrard Reader
11/26/23 2:21 p.m.

I recently replaced the Stator on my son's 2014 Champion 5500 watt generator (bought used 2 years ago) when it stopped generating current.  Tried an automatic voltage regulator, brushes, and circuit breaker  (all available on Amazon) before letting the pros diagnose and repair the problem.  Stator was $380 cdn from Champion, plus $300 for the professional services.

We also a 2021 Champion 10000 watt that have been without issue.  I think it has about 85 hours usage so far.  I purposely bought the Champion instead of a similar sized Honda to run our complete house, reasoning I could buy 4 or 5 Champions from Costco for the cost of one Honda.   Downside is the Champion is noisy (I've thought of hooking up a muffler system).

I still have our original Honda 3000 generator that was purchased just after the big ice storm in 1998 that I keep as backup to run our sump pump if needed.

So generally, my experience with Champion has been good, but still consider Honda (or Yamaha) to be the best.

Gordon

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/26/23 2:44 p.m.

I got a Westinghouse 3700 off Amazon last year during Black Friday, it was super cheap. Has been dead reliable and I've used it a lot. No complaints at all. Not super light but I can lift it into my truck with no issue. 

alphahotel
alphahotel New Reader
11/27/23 9:20 a.m.

I have a Westinghouse 7200DF.  Only about 50 hours on it so far.  No complaints with the generator itself, the control panel seems to be slightly flaky.  It is push button start (you push a button and it cranks itself until it starts).  A couple times it has refused to run the starter even though the battery is charged.  I solved that by adding a push-button switch wired directly to the starter solenoid so I can manually activate the starter.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane UltraDork
11/27/23 9:51 a.m.
ggarrard said:

Downside is the Champion is noisy (I've thought of hooking up a muffler system).

Sorry to burst your bubble, Gordon, but for occasional use the consensus was that there's little value in adding a muffler.  I asked the same thing about 10 hours into a 4 day outage a few years ago: 

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/why-do-generators-need-to-be-so-loud-and-how-bad-w/175526/page1/

 

nocones
nocones PowerDork
11/27/23 9:57 a.m.

I bought the 4000 watt wen inverter one off Amazon about a year ago for under $650.  It's got 40 hours of runtime on it and I am very satisfied.   It's super quiet and will run almost anything except inverter based welders/Plasma cutters.   Apparently you CAN get inverter generators that will do that but the Wen is not one of them.   The two inverters running seem to disagree with each other and the generator will trip on over current.   

I have successfully ran transformer style welders with it.  It actually has probably ran 3-4 hours of its run time pushing wire.  It saved FDat at the challenge, Asphalt Gundam at a GL event and the LMP360.   

Overall I'm pleased but I haven't had to fix anything with it yet.  I anticipate beyond the Engine (which is a Honda clone) I will run into problems with any electrical parts and probably the whole thing will become a throw away if the inverter control dies.  

It is crazy quiet though.  Like quieter then the AC unit on my RV.  It's not "silent" but you can stand next to it at 70% load and have a reasonable conversation.  It's basically Yamaha / Honda $2000 generator quiet.

sevenracer
sevenracer HalfDork
11/27/23 10:15 a.m.

Thanks, all. Anyone know anything about the generac small generators? 

I assume they are just brand labeling a Chinese company designed and built unit. But maybe they have better spare parts availability? 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
11/27/23 10:26 a.m.
sevenracer said:

Thanks, all. Anyone know anything about the generac small generators? 

I assume they are just brand labeling a Chinese company designed and built unit. But maybe they have better spare parts availability? 

Anecdotal evidence- the ones we used at work were dead nuts reliable over hundreds of hours and 0 care. 

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
11/27/23 10:43 a.m.
WonkoTheSane said:
ggarrard said:

Downside is the Champion is noisy (I've thought of hooking up a muffler system).

Sorry to burst your bubble, Gordon, but for occasional use the consensus was that there's little value in adding a muffler.  I asked the same thing about 10 hours into a 4 day outage a few years ago:

I added a muffler to my cheap Chinese generator a few hundred hours ago, maybe more.  It made a HUGE difference. I was reminded what a big difference it made when the weld broke and it fell off recently

mtn
mtn MegaDork
11/27/23 11:58 a.m.
Peabody said:
WonkoTheSane said:
ggarrard said:

Downside is the Champion is noisy (I've thought of hooking up a muffler system).

Sorry to burst your bubble, Gordon, but for occasional use the consensus was that there's little value in adding a muffler.  I asked the same thing about 10 hours into a 4 day outage a few years ago:

I added a muffler to my cheap Chinese generator a few hundred hours ago, maybe more.  It made a HUGE difference. I was reminded what a big difference it made when the weld broke and it fell off recently

Somebody here used a Honda civic exhaust on their generator, IIRC, and said it made a big difference, but the general consensus seems to be that they're just noisy and your best bet is to build an insulated enclosure. I think that is part of why the Honda's are so quiet, they're basically entirely enclosed in foam. 

NY Nick
NY Nick SuperDork
11/27/23 12:11 p.m.

I have a Champion, I would need to check if it is a 3500 or 4500 but it was pretty cheap at Lowe's. It is now 7 years old and has run perfect for both hours that I have put on it. The only time it is ever used is 2x per year to start and verify that it works. Can't really speak to the long term reliability but it is first or second pull start machine every time. 

ggarrard
ggarrard Reader
11/27/23 12:48 p.m.

Wonko...   Thanks for that link...was a good read. I've used the plywood detection panel idea in the past, which does work but looks like crap (maybe I should get a fresh  piece of plywood...).

Gordon 

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
11/27/23 1:57 p.m.

The old Generacs were solid units, can't speak for the latest ones.  My generator is a big old 12000kw V-Twin I was gifted.  Starts every time, enough volts to run my central A/C.  I start it twice a year to make sure I never need to use it.  

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/28/23 10:07 a.m.

I have a Wen and it has been fantastic.  It's a 2350 watt inverter.  Quiet, starts every first pull, cheap on Amazon.

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
11/28/23 11:19 a.m.
mtn said:
Peabody said:
WonkoTheSane said:
ggarrard said:

Downside is the Champion is noisy (I've thought of hooking up a muffler system).

Sorry to burst your bubble, Gordon, but for occasional use the consensus was that there's little value in adding a muffler.  I asked the same thing about 10 hours into a 4 day outage a few years ago:

I added a muffler to my cheap Chinese generator a few hundred hours ago, maybe more.  It made a HUGE difference. I was reminded what a big difference it made when the weld broke and it fell off recently

Somebody here used a Honda civic exhaust on their generator, IIRC, and said it made a big difference, but the general consensus seems to be that they're just noisy and your best bet is to build an insulated enclosure. I think that is part of why the Honda's are so quiet, they're basically entirely enclosed in foam. 

My neighbour has (I think) a Briggs generator the same size as my big one, a 7500W Hyundai. When he runs his, at his house about 400' away, you think to yourself, wow that's irritatingly loud, I wish he'd shut that thing off. When I run mine you can barely hear it at the same distance. The difference? The size of the stock muffler.

sevenracer
sevenracer HalfDork
11/28/23 11:23 p.m.

I wound up ordering a Generac 3300 watt model. Went back and forth between the 3300 and the 2500, but ultimately decided having the extra capacity was worth it.  Looks like it won't be delivered for 3-4 weeks.

I'm hoping that since selling generators is Generac's core business, they wouldn't just slap their name on any old unit. Also, in 10 yrs when it needs parts, I'm hoping I can get them.

I could have spent quite a bit less for a Maxpeedingrods unit, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Antihero
Antihero PowerDork
11/29/23 12:18 a.m.

Years ago we had a general buy us a champion generator because there wasn't any power on site. It was producing nearly 300v.

 

The old skil saw never ran better but the plumbers refused to listen to me and hooked up their microwave for a tasty lasagna meal.

 

It became a cross between a steam bomb and a form of napalm, literally blew the door off and covered the area in molten lasagna 

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane UltraDork
11/29/23 1:47 p.m.
Peabody said:
mtn said:
Peabody said:
WonkoTheSane said:
ggarrard said:

Downside is the Champion is noisy (I've thought of hooking up a muffler system).

Sorry to burst your bubble, Gordon, but for occasional use the consensus was that there's little value in adding a muffler.  I asked the same thing about 10 hours into a 4 day outage a few years ago:

I added a muffler to my cheap Chinese generator a few hundred hours ago, maybe more.  It made a HUGE difference. I was reminded what a big difference it made when the weld broke and it fell off recently

Somebody here used a Honda civic exhaust on their generator, IIRC, and said it made a big difference, but the general consensus seems to be that they're just noisy and your best bet is to build an insulated enclosure. I think that is part of why the Honda's are so quiet, they're basically entirely enclosed in foam. 

My neighbour has (I think) a Briggs generator the same size as my big one, a 7500W Hyundai. When he runs his, at his house about 400' away, you think to yourself, wow that's irritatingly loud, I wish he'd shut that thing off. When I run mine you can barely hear it at the same distance. The difference? The size of the stock muffler.

Huh, so this anecdata counters my previous ask...

Maybe I will grab a muffler!

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
11/29/23 6:00 p.m.

In reply to WonkoTheSane :

Well, if you read through the thread that you linked, nobody said a muffler wouldn't help, and several people have done it said it made a considerable difference.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane UltraDork
11/30/23 3:23 p.m.
Peabody said:

In reply to WonkoTheSane :

Well, if you read through the thread that you linked, nobody said a muffler wouldn't help, and several people have done it said it made a considerable difference.

The take away I read from it was that it was worth a lot less than sound deflection, whether that's digging a pit or at least erecting a plywood (preferably with insulation) barrier.. At least when you're in the cheap seats :)

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