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Old 03-06-2020, 04:46 PM   #1
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Harbor Freight Predator 3500 watt Inverter Generator

This post is for those of you who own the Harbor Freight brand Predator 3500 watt Inverter Generator. We’re contemplating buying one. Our question is, how many hours of run time do you get on a tank of gas? We’ve got a 28 foot Forrest River Wildwood DBUD Travel Trailer. We would run our 13,000 btu air unit, tv, and several lights on it at night if we need to boon-dock somewhere. It advertises that it has an 11 hour run time on a tank of gas but we know that can vary. My husband doesn’t want to have to get up during the night and refill the tank every few hours. We’ve got a Champion brand 3500 watt (not inverter) but it runs out of gas within two hours. Any suggestions or experience is greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!!!
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Old 03-06-2020, 05:07 PM   #2
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I bought one recently. Did break-in run. Went over 8 hours on first tank and still hasn't emptied. Reminds me... I need to go out and run it some more... :-)
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Old 03-06-2020, 05:10 PM   #3
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Old 03-06-2020, 05:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by plh869 View Post
This post is for those of you who own the Harbor Freight brand Predator 3500 watt Inverter Generator. We’re contemplating buying one. Our question is, how many hours of run time do you get on a tank of gas? We’ve got a 28 foot Forrest River Wildwood DBUD Travel Trailer. We would run our 13,000 btu air unit, tv, and several lights on it at night if we need to boon-dock somewhere. It advertises that it has an 11 hour run time on a tank of gas but we know that can vary. My husband doesn’t want to have to get up during the night and refill the tank every few hours. We’ve got a Champion brand 3500 watt (not inverter) but it runs out of gas within two hours. Any suggestions or experience is greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!!!
Read the fine print. These run times are often stated for generators at ONE QUARTER (25%) load. An A/C unit will be more close to 50% or MORE when other loads are added.

If you want it to run through sleeping hours I'd plan on refueling it just before "nite-nite time". It should make it through your sleep time.

FWIW, running it all night won't disturb me. I have a rule that I don't camp where I need A/C all night (and rarely during the day) so I'll probably be hundreds of miles away.
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Old 03-07-2020, 01:53 PM   #5
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Generator

I have the Generac IQ3500. This is the same generator w/ more steel, fuel gauge, and insulation in the case. Depends on the load you are putting on it. When camping in national campgrounds, we were running approx. 5 hours a day. We where refilling every other day, and still had about 1/4 gallon. If I purchased again, I would go w/ the Northern Tool version, same as Harbour Freight. Other than the weight, very pleased w/ generator.
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Old 03-07-2020, 02:28 PM   #6
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The AC is a load.
Run time is based on "low-speed" light load. When the AC kicks in, the genny will always step up speed, because at start it will pull more amps, but at continuous run, the AC will pull 12 to 15 amps at 120 volts. The genny can handle it in stride, but it must work to produce that much power.
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Old 03-07-2020, 02:37 PM   #7
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Last summer while traveling with my brother, his tow vehicle broke down in a rest area. I dropped my trailer to take him to go get help (no cell service at rest area) it was over 100 degrees and we left our wives and dogs in my trailer with a/c on. Predator ran flawlessly for nearly 8 hours as we sorted out the problem. Never ran out of gas. Just be sure to treat gas with stabilizer and run regularly to keep carb clean. When I first bought it I did break-in and started adding load. 13500 a/c barely brings it off idle so I put a bowl of water in microwave and turned it on. Ran at (my estimate) just over 50%. WAY quieter than my previous 2 Honda 2000 in parallel.
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Old 03-07-2020, 03:40 PM   #8
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I have the powerhorse which is the twin to the predator. I bought it because I had a coupon at the time and I feel the warranty is better. I can share my reasons on that if you would like. To get to the point of run time. I have used mine at the racetrack. Running my 15k Ac in 95 degree weather (never shuts off), fridge and outside kitchen fridge on ac and two or three TVs. It would run between 5 and 6 hours. That was running around 23 to 25 amps which is pretty much all this one can do for an extended period of time. I did this for 3 days straight. Never shut it off. I know you should never refuel while running but.....it was 95 degrees. If it is in cooler or shady and the ac will cycle some you can easily go 7 to 10 hours.
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Old 03-07-2020, 03:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by plh869 View Post
This post is for those of you who own the Harbor Freight brand Predator 3500 watt Inverter Generator. We’re contemplating buying one. Our question is, how many hours of run time do you get on a tank of gas? We’ve got a 28 foot Forrest River Wildwood DBUD Travel Trailer. We would run our 13,000 btu air unit, tv, and several lights on it at night if we need to boon-dock somewhere. It advertises that it has an 11 hour run time on a tank of gas but we know that can vary. My husband doesn’t want to have to get up during the night and refill the tank every few hours. We’ve got a Champion brand 3500 watt (not inverter) but it runs out of gas within two hours. Any suggestions or experience is greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!!!
I have run my Jayco 287BHBE down here in SE Louisiana summer heat and I have never run it out of gas. I filled the tank at about 9PM and ran it overnight in ECO mode with the 13.5kBTU A/C running on low. It was still running just fine after daybreak when I went out to check on it. I could still see some gas down in the tank ... (wish it had a fuel gauge!) I would guesstimate that was somewhere around an average 25% load since the compressor cycles off and on to keep the TT temp a reasonably constant 72deg. and the fan ran continuously for a total of around 10 hours. This is a fine running inverter generator and I am glad I own one. I only wish I would have had it after hurricane Katrina that was over a month without electricity at the sticks and bricks. Swampy
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Old 03-07-2020, 03:53 PM   #10
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My husband doesn’t want to have to get up during the night and refill the tank every few hours. !!

You run a generator throughout the night?
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Old 03-07-2020, 04:41 PM   #11
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I love my Predator, run time though as stated depends on what you are running off it. If you plan on running all night long, just fill it up before you go to bed, get up early and you'll be fine. We never run the A/C at night, just open the bedroom window and if need be, we will run a fan in front of it.
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Old 03-07-2020, 05:01 PM   #12
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I love my Predator, run time though as stated depends on what you are running off it. If you plan on running all night long, just fill it up before you go to bed, get up early and you'll be fine. We never run the A/C at night, just open the bedroom window and if need be, we will run a fan in front of it.
Every public campground I've been to, doesn't allow running generators overnight.
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Old 03-07-2020, 05:27 PM   #13
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You run a generator throughout the night?
When I boondock at Walmart or the like in warm weather, I only fill with 2 gallons of gas at a time. Around 9 or 10PM I look at the fuel gauge and top off to the 1/3 full mark. Genny continues to run until about 2AM, then shuts off so I can get a better rest because both the genny and the A/C vibrate.
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Old 03-07-2020, 06:32 PM   #14
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Duh!!

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You run a generator throughout the night?
Yes! I like to sleep cool, run my oxygen concentrator. (NotCpap)
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Old 03-07-2020, 07:13 PM   #15
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It should run 8 or ten hours or more ! Your compressor on the AC does not run continually ,. If it does run out it will be early in morn and it is time to get up and wake the wife so she can refill the gen and quietly make breakfast !
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Old 03-07-2020, 07:23 PM   #16
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Yes! I like to sleep cool, run my oxygen concentrator. (NotCpap)
What campground allows that?
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Old 03-07-2020, 07:27 PM   #17
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So far my longest run time has been 6 hours and still had almost half thank left. So 11 hours isn't to far off. I have run a/c, microwave and tv all at the same time with no problem. And super quiet.
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Old 03-07-2020, 07:30 PM   #18
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Generator

A lot of variables, in 95 degree weather w/ my 13.5 KW A/C about 6.5 hours on 27.5' Flagstaff. Just using the furnace fan and using the microwave for meals in 5-2 hour sessions, 9.5 to 10 hours. Camped next to someone at Ballon festival w/ a Honda 3000 for a week. He had a 3.5 gallon tank. usage was slightly better. We seemed to be refilling at the same times. The tone on his was lower, sound levels very close to my Predator clone- Generac IQ 3500.
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Old 03-07-2020, 07:59 PM   #19
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Every public campground I've been to, doesn't allow running generators overnight.
Lol, I never said I use a generator overnight at a public campground. Most have electric hook ups. We use ours at a wine festival at Watkins Glen Race track and some run theirs all night. Personally, I never run mine overnight but it was brought up in a previous poster
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Old 03-07-2020, 08:15 PM   #20
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You run a generator throughout the night?

When you are boondocking and it is in the 90's with 100% humidity in August and September around here, you better believe we run it all night! You haven't experienced misery if you haven't tried to sleep in those high heat & humidity conditions in an RV ... without A/C, it doesn't take very long before you're willing to go outside without a shirt and feed the mosquitos!
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