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Old 07-10-2018, 05:00 PM   #15
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This is the bargain, USCarburation Tri-Fuel conversion kit, I snapped up for $110...
Still in the bags...
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:50 PM   #16
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All good, relevant info.

But....
As I stated in the other thread, our family needed a light, portable, 2000w unit, that will be used maybe 3 to 5 times per year, or so, and "Maybe" more in an emergency(We live in CA).
Spending $1000+ or $2000+ did not make sense to us....
A Honda or the like is almost certainly a better built unit, but is it twice as good?
Maybe, or maybe not.

I heard that these Predator units are the best "CHonda" clones out there.

It is purely a personal, usage, or financially based choice, plain and simple.

The point of this thread, as I wrote in the opening post, is to discuss the HF Predator units, and our good, or bad personal experiences.

Listen, I'm a gear head.
I understand that using synthetic oil is better, and that today's gas has Ethanol in it which is the Black Death for the fuel systems of IC engines, especially if they sit more than they are used.

That why I'm "Prepping", this unit to run of propane, or whatever I have to hand!
I'm not sure which post you were referring to, but what you wrote makes perfect sense to me.

That's what I meant when I said:

"My guess is that Champion, Predator, and other Chinese generators will not have the service life of a Yamaha or Honda, or perhaps be as trouble-free over the long run, but that's OK. They don't cost as much and most people will not use them enough to wear them out.

IOW, for many/most people they may be the best choice.

Buying a Honda or Yamaha may be the equivalent of buying a dump truck when a pickup will do just fine."

It sounds to like the Predator (or perhaps Champion) is a perfect choice for your situation.

I truly mean that. Heck, we have a generator that I bought for backup power here at home about 25-30 years ago that has only been used a handful of times -- probably less than 10 hours. Luckily it was a HD special -- a cheap "contractor" style generator. I'd feel a lot worse about it if I had shelled out 2-3x more $$ for a higher quality unit.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:20 PM   #17
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Thumbs up

I purchased the predator 3500 after extensive research. the price was $649
(with coupon) and i tried for TWO months but the store was not recieving but 2 a week because of the hurricanes last year.

i finally got one and immediately started the prep process. My research told me that the Predator 3500 had an air intake issue,meaning it was starving for air. I put in the fuel and oil and started it.It cranked right up but it did seem to have an air issue because it seemed to struggle just a bit. I ran the gennie for 20 hrs
and it seemed to have settled a bit on the air but still seemed off.

I took it to my Honda dealer where my Honda lawn mower is serviced. Shop mgr had not seen one before but was inpressed and stated it just needed more air, so I loosened the door that accesses the oil fill and leaned it open and WALAH! it purred!

I have run the AS on it at full load a/c and all load with microwave. It does kick off when compressor comes on but it might run it as well if I were to get a soft start for the a/c. The unit was pulling 2200 watts when the compressor kicked in. I now have 54 hrs and run it at least and hour under load every month.

I did purchase the 3 yr extended warranty which gives me the opportunity to REALLY but the use to it and if it faulters,drain the gas and oil and go get a new one.

We will be fulltimers next spring and boondocking a lot. My wife is a quilter and she is bringing her things with us inclusive of sewing machine and serger.
I do plan on solar but that is done the road a bit so back to the topic.

I believe one should get what they want whether it be an AS or SOB, Predator or Honda because they have to live with their choice and we don't. I will be burning the gas in the Predator quite a bit here and test it hard and let you really know how it stands up.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:02 PM   #18
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I purchased the predator 3500 after extensive research. the price was $649
(with coupon) and i tried for TWO months but the store was not recieving but 2 a week because of the hurricanes last year.

i finally got one and immediately started the prep process. My research told me that the Predator 3500 had an air intake issue,meaning it was starving for air. I put in the fuel and oil and started it.It cranked right up but it did seem to have an air issue because it seemed to struggle just a bit. I ran the gennie for 20 hrs
and it seemed to have settled a bit on the air but still seemed off.

I took it to my Honda dealer where my Honda lawn mower is serviced. Shop mgr had not seen one before but was inpressed and stated it just needed more air, so I loosened the door that accesses the oil fill and leaned it open and WALAH! it purred!

I have run the AS on it at full load a/c and all load with microwave. It does kick off when compressor comes on but it might run it as well if I were to get a soft start for the a/c. The unit was pulling 2200 watts when the compressor kicked in. I now have 54 hrs and run it at least and hour under load every month.

I did purchase the 3 yr extended warranty which gives me the opportunity to REALLY but the use to it and if it faulters,drain the gas and oil and go get a new one.

We will be fulltimers next spring and boondocking a lot. My wife is a quilter and she is bringing her things with us inclusive of sewing machine and serger.
I do plan on solar but that is done the road a bit so back to the topic.

I believe one should get what they want whether it be an AS or SOB, Predator or Honda because they have to live with their choice and we don't. I will be burning the gas in the Predator quite a bit here and test it hard and let you really know how it stands up.
Good deal!

Just curious:

* So the lack of air is a design flaw? Sounds like it isn't a big deal, but it seems odd that the owner has to leave the oil fill door cracked open for the engine to get enough air.

* Are you saying it will run the A/C and microwave simultaneously, but just won't start the A/C when the microwave is running? That's good performance.

* What was 'pulling 2200 watts when the compressor kicked in'? The microwave + the A/C fan?

* Under the terms of the extended warranty, if you have a problem with it, you can exchange it for a brand new unit, no questions asked? If so, that's unusually generous.

It will be great to get your future reports!
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:46 PM   #19
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Great post!

Ignore the irritating Guy, and watch the test...

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Old 07-11-2018, 07:51 PM   #20
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Same Guy... 3500w starving for air solution...

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Old 07-11-2018, 09:31 PM   #21
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Same Guy... 3500w starving for air solution...

Great videos -- love the intro with the ducks!

That is one of the best things about the Internet -- it allows people to share tips, advice, instructions, etc.

I'm not in the market for a generator, have no connection to any of the mfrs, and do not care what people buy.

That said, as a technician I am interested in generators, inverters, solar panels, batteries, etc. I did notice a few things in this video that I thought I'd point out:

1) All the vacuum testing was done at idle, with no load. Under load, the vacuum would be even greater.

2) Even with six (6) 1" vents and the engine at idle, there was still enough vacuum to keep the door pulled shut. That indicates that there is still not enough airflow.

3) The foam inserts will immediately begin to become obstructed with dust, insects, and debris -- so the airflow will be progressively less over time.

4) This is clearly a Homer Simpson level "D'oh!" design flaw. Owners should not have to a) purchase a replacement door, or b) modify the existing door. It is the mfr's responsibility to make this right. They should provide a replacement door -- or some other solution -- free of charge. End of story. It's bad enough that they made a mistake like this, the least they can do is correct it.

Call me cynical, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that ain't gonna happen.

In that case I would search for other solutions. For example, while I get the appeal of working on a door panel that can be removed and placed on a bench -- is there a reason a vent(s) cannot be installed elsewhere on the case?

One dilemma is the conflicting goals of reducing noise & keeping the interior clean vs allowing air in. Maybe a compact air filter assy, mounted (ideally) inside the case, or externally?
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:55 AM   #22
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I paid an additional $130 for the extended warranty that is hassle free. I called the home office and they said they use to send them to small motor shops for repair, but it is cheaper for them to just replace it with a new one. The CATCH is three years on original purchase date, so if it fails the warranty does not roll over.

Drawing power at 2200 watts was the refrigerator, a/c, two 120v lamps, radio 120v, 2 phone chargers, 2 tv, microwave. I'm going, to do some more testing.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:13 PM   #23
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Glad you created this thread as I'm interested on this alternative to the higher prices ones. I prefer the propane over gas and would love to get updates from folks here that have converted to propane and their experiences.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:12 PM   #24
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Hm. Interesting. There is obviously something going on here with carburetor air flow in these inexpensive inverter generator sets. Just the slight change in engine tone at idle with the door open or shut is interesting.

A handful of additional thoughts:

This is the Predator from Harbor freight, but I bet most of the inexpensive inverter sets are similar. Cooling air for the engine has to come from somewhere. It has to be drawn into the enclosure, circulated over the engine, and has to flow out somewhere. I assume a heavily baffled intake and outlet grill to keep the noise inside. The carburetor air intake and its filter is probably also deep inside the enclosure. So what air the carburetor gets is coming from inside the enclosure. The exhaust discharges outside the enclosure through the muffler assembly. That's the basic air flow for these things.

The oil change door being sucked and held in place, to me, indicates that the engine cooling fan is doing most of the sucking. Its a high volume fan that needs to keep the engine cool. Using the door as an indicator of proper air flow to the carburetor is a bit misleading, because the air flow through the carburetor is very much smaller than the big cooling fan air flow.

A much better way to characterize the engine combustion air starvation problem would be to tap a suitable water column manometer into the air filter assembly on the carburetor intake side of the filter (Manifold vacuum in the carburetor would be even better). Then you can see the carburetor intake air vacuum changes in real time under varying loads and easily determine what is really going on.

I'm not saying adding more air vents is not a good idea. My suspicion is that just the 5-6 added one inch vents may not be anywhere near enough when the engine is running at full speed under heavy load, and trying to suck a much higher volume of air through the baffles in the enclosure. Then you will possibly be seeing real carburetor air starvation. Running this test at idle, without carburetor air intake vacuum instrumentation is not going to prove much. I want to test this at full load, on a hot day, at altitude, running on propane. (grin)

I'm sticking my nose in here because this is a good demonstration of potential problems. I would bet my 3400 watt Champion Dual fuel Inverter will exhibit similar issues, assuming it's engine air intake is from inside the enclosure as the Predator apparently is. So from that point of view, this subject "needs more research" and a bit better instrumentation. I do know that the Champion has a much larger oil change access door, so there is room for a lot more ventilation if I need it. I need to look into the subject when I have time.

Until we get more experience with these generators, and some quantitative measurements, this may also be a nice solution in search of a real problem...

Sorry for the not so brief diversion...from the "Department of Overkill Engineering".
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:03 PM   #25
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This appears to be a problem on the 3500w version.
The 2000w unit does not have the oil door, as the whole side panel comes off, so it would be difficult to assess if there is an issue.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:12 PM   #26
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This appears to be a problem on the 3500w version.
The 2000w unit does not have the oil door, as the whole side panel comes off, so it would be difficult to assess if there is an issue.
Yeah, that situation would only be evaluated with the manometer setup--and looking at difference in carburetor input vacuum with door on or off, assuming one can snake the manometer tube connection into the enclosure in a viable way to get good measurements.

Another suspicion is that the engine cooling fan probabably sucks air OUT of the housing, rather than blowing it in--based on the door being sucked into place. There is potentially a lot of suction possible at high RPM and with potentially increasingly dirty baffles on the inlet side of the case, this may get worse...I suspect a lot of the 'quiet' in these things is a lot of sound suppressing construction, and dirt-trapping foam materials, as well as the obvious soft rubber mounts for the moving parts to keep the noises inside the box. I bet the 2000 is really loud with the side panel off!

It's one of those problems that are "interesting, in the Spockian sense". But, as I always point out, if you can't measure it, you can't really understand what is going on...
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:39 PM   #27
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Agree, the fans on these usually blow air out of the case. The inlets are placed to force incoming air across the various parts that need cooling. By adding a new vent, less air will enter the original inlets and cross the cooling fins and possibly create an over heating issue
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:43 PM   #28
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Agree, the fans on these usually blow air out of the case. The inlets are placed to force incoming air across the various parts that need cooling. By adding a new vent, less air will enter the original inlets and cross the cooling fins and possibly create an over heating issue
Really good point! That's why the need to measure what is really going on at the carburetor air intake, instead of arbitrarily punching extra holes in things...I need to take a close look inside my Champion with a view to airflow, and someone with a HF Predator needs to do the same and report here...time to dig out the borescope camera and poke into the inner recesses...
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