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Old 05-18-2020, 07:51 PM   #61
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Predator 300

I bought a new Predator 3500 from our (somewhat) local Harbor Freight Store, but did not purchase the extended warranty. Very happy with it. My DW is allergic to sound, so I installed the inverter inside a Rigid brand metal toolbox on the bed of my pickup. Got the db down to 54 dB at 10 feet with the lid closed on the toolbox, full throttle. DW was impressed enough such that she let me actually use it.

Two problems:

1) The Predator 3500 does not run well at altitudes greater than about 4000 feet. The carburetor loads up, engine idle roughly, eventually fouls the spark plugs. So, I purchased two carb jet kits, so that I could change them out when traveling to high country National Parks, etc.. One kit for 4000-6000 feet, and another for 6000-1000 feet. It solved the problem, BUT WAS A PAIN IN THE BUTT - since the inverter was inside the toolbox, and too heavy (98#) to lift out. Sigh...

Mainly, I got the 3500 so that we could run the 13500 A/C if we wanted to. Only did this once in 189 days of’ camping’.

2) Despite religious maintenance, documentation, and meticulous care, the Predator died after 84 hours of use. One year old. Still looked new. (Remember, no ‘Extended Warranty’).
Went to Harbor Freight to get it repaired, and found out that ’we don’t do that, but you can order parts on our website, not in the store’. Read the manual, found the part that kept the engine from starting. Ordered it in early June 2019. As of February 2020, parts had not arrived. Bummed, I purchased a Honda 2200 (I plan to purchase an expensive Easy Start someday to support using the A/C). The Honda works well in high elevation without carb jet changes ( although they recommend different jets if you intend to stay put in high elevation). I put the Honda in the same toolbox, and although my dB meter says it measures quieter than the Predator, the difference is negligible.

My advice:

Purchase the Predator if:
a) Money is the most important issue
b) You plan to not travel to high elevations
c) you have the extra money to purchase the ‘Extended Warranty’. I would never purchase anything that has an engine, from HF again unless I also purchased the Extended Warranty’. This is a no- brainer. Big mistake on my part.

Purchase the Honda if you can afford it, but:
if you don’t need the Watts other than to run the A/C, look into the Easy Start thingy.
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:02 PM   #62
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When the stars come out, please have the generator off. Thank you.
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:04 PM   #63
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The stars are always out, you just can't see them during the day or when it's cloudy.
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:08 PM   #64
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I have a Powerhouse 4kW Fuel Injected Generator. Running 4 years now. It is quiet, runs two 15 k AC's under power management on my Heartland Lousiville. I have remote start and 140 hours on it with no problems at all. This is the second one though, in shipping they dropped it and crushed the side, new one sent.

Best part, purchased at a RV show for $1000 CAD which was $2000 less than Honda.
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:36 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Mike134 View Post
Says 108lbs shipping weight, you think about 95lbs when your tossing it into the back of a pickup?
124 loaded with fuel. That said when he was comparing pricing he never considered the Predator is almost always on sale for $699

684 hours now on my Predator with zero issues
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:55 PM   #66
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Let's settle this like RV owners, everyone that thinks, less noise is better than spending less money, chip in a measly $5 for the ones who don't have the extra money. PM me and i will tell you where to send the money that you don't need. Saving our ears, one pair at a time.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:36 PM   #67
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Nice idea, tonys - should solve these back & forth discussions.
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:01 PM   #68
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My Onan 4000 in our toyhauler screams to the point that I believe taking it out and getting one of these others would be a good route.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:31 PM   #69
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And something else is what is the process for measuring as in is there a standard for measurement as in distance away
I've had a yamaha 2800i which didnt have the quietest ratings but was a great generator I was ok with its noise level
Replaced it with a 3000i which was somewhat quieter and around the same power dont always need the 3000i so I bought a new 2200i it will run the ac and is the quietest of the 3 , I've since bought the companion 2200i to paralell it but havent tried or needed the extra power yet
Not alot of difference between the 2200 and the 3000i for noise but alot in weight
I dont believe there is a standardized way of measuring across the brands
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:15 AM   #70
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In 2017 I camped in the Madison campground in Yellowstone NP. Since the campsites had no electricity you needed a generator if you wanted power. There was a sign at the entrance that said no generators above maybe 54 db, might have been 55 db. Not sure the exact number but my Champion 2000 qualified by 1 db. I didn't check but I would guess that they were using manufacturers numbers at some standard power level and distance.

At the time the Champion was 1 or 2 db higher than the industry leader, Honda. At the time I think every other inverter generator was at rated least 1 db higher than Honda. Honda was also the highest price.

It's probably worth checking the rules at your favorite campground before buying a generator.

Another consideration is power output at altitude. Generators lose power at altitude just like your car engine. I had two of the champion generator ganged together and it powered the air conditioner in a test, assuming I could get it started. The sudden ramp up from idle was challenging on startup and would not work in economy mode. Even at normal mode I may have turned on the heater to get the generator motor cranking, and then turned it off just before I turned on the A/C. Altitude was 6800 ft. I did research online and the recommendation was to use a different spark plug at altitude to get maximum power. Never tested that. Both generators were new and had maybe 10-20 hrs on them.
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:38 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
I gotta find my dB meter and see how loud our 3200w Firman is. Didn't seem that bad, especially for the $550 price.
That's the one I've had for about a year. Quiet and the price was the best I could find in the 3K wattage category. I like the fact that it has an RV style recepticale so no need for an adapter.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:04 AM   #72
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The trick to any generator is to run it out of fule when done using it, than put a little VP small engine fuel or trufuel in it than run it for a couple minutes. This type fuel stores for over a year.

There us nothing you can do to make ethonal fuel safe for more than a couple more months (startron).

Non ethonal with staybul is better, butt nothing beats VP small engine fuel for storage (about $20 a gallon an power equipment dealers)
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:45 AM   #73
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Just wanted to tell the group of a generator find I made after extensive search.
I was looking into the HARBOR FREIGHT PREDATOR "3500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator". After reading and researching I found that the NORTHERN TOOL "Powerhorse Inverter Generator — 3500 Surge Watts, Model# LC3500i" was the SAME generator
There are 2 MAJOR DIFFERENCE between the Harbor freight & Northern tool genset.
  • The Northern Tool Product was $699.00 while the Harbor Freight genset was $799.00 (749.00 on sale)
  • "Both Vendors offer an 2 year limited warranty but with on huge difference. Northern Tool offers "in house repair" of the product while Harbor freight does not."
The product is VERY QUIET, I ran the new generator under 75% load and it hums.
This generator is perfect for my adventures dry camping, under the stars in Everglades National Park.
Hope this helps.
The thing you got to think about is how good is the design and quality. I think these guys generators are probably made in China. That should tell you something right there. Purchased a Chinese generator and needed a part and could not find. No support. Purchased a Honda generator and have had another problem! Costs more but worth it.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:49 AM   #74
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124 loaded with fuel. That said when he was comparing pricing he never considered the Predator is almost always on sale for $699

684 hours now on my Predator with zero issues

Forgot about the gas...........Thanks
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:18 AM   #75
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[QUOTE=Mike134;2324324]
Quote:
Originally Posted by TowPro View Post


Try this link for a DB meter -/+2db

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/app.html
Thanks for the link to this app!
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:44 AM   #76
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No one has brought up the middle price point generators with the same noise levels. My two 2000 Watt Inverter Generators have not let me down. I run them in parallel when needed. I have owned them both for going on 4 years. All I have done is oil changes and new spark plugs. Both generators cost me around $1000. I have seen them on sale for less than $400. They are one of the most quiet generators I have heard. One of the other benefits of owning a Champion generator is you can always count on there customer service either through email or by phone they have never let me down.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:54 AM   #77
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Here's the thing about generators. It matters not how loud you think it is. What matters is whether your neighbor thinks it's loud.

Oh, sure, it's quiet to you when it's at the end of its power cord and pointed away from your site, but now whose having to hear it? Are you gonna gamble that that person is above sabotage? The louder the generator, the more sure you can be that your neighbors can't be trusted.

If, when you go to buy a generator, have the salesperson start it up and ask yourself, "Is this gonna be annoying when I try to sleep or whisper sweet nothings in DW's ear?"

I have two Hondas. I'm everyone's friend. I'd own Yamahas, too. I'd own Cummins as well. All amazingly quiet. (Haven't heard a Westinghouse.)

Do everyone a favor, don't buy the Chinese garbage copies that invariably cast you in the roll of social pariah. Also, I've never had a single Chinese electrical product not fail before its time. Now that you have to buy another one, how much are really gonna be saving?

My Hondas are 15 and 20 years old. I hardly, if ever, see anybody else's copy brand generator a second time. I wonder why that is...
Don't be that guy.

Having said that, yeah, the Predator is fairly quiet, but it's not "I'll sleep soundly" quiet. Pun intended.

Keep me awake and I'll be sure to annoy you all day. Respect begets respect.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:29 AM   #78
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I don't know the decibel level. We camped next to a fellow with a harbor freight 3500 invertor, it was quiet but not as quite as my Honda 3000.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:21 AM   #79
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Several questions.

#1. Is the Westinghouse 4500i and the Onan iGen4500 the exact same unit but being marketed under 2 different trade names?

#2. Are either or both of the units listed above capable of starting and running a 15,000 btu RV air conditioner?

#3. What is the constant wattage rating of a gasoline fueled Onan 4000 Genset?

#4. What is the noise level of the gasoline fueled Onan 4000 Genset.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:43 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by orangeminnie View Post
When the stars come out, please have the generator off. Thank you.
That's almost as rude as saying, ""when the generator is on, go inside. Thank you"

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