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Predator Generators


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  #1  
Old 09-09-2013, 01:32:59 AM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Predator Generators

I am wondering if anyone has had any experiences good or bad with the Harbor Freight 3200 watt generator? I see they have them on sale right now and could not help but to wonder if it would be a good backup for the fridge and freezer? I have read a lot of information on the web about them being just more china crap. However, I get the feeling a lot of people may not know what the heck they are talking about. There is a lot of bias toward one brand or another.

I am looking for a fair review and or personal experiences?

Robert
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:12:37 AM
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Billy J Shafer Billy J Shafer is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

Some good advice. Find a stranger and just give him the money you were going to spend on the generator. I have three Harbor Freight generators in my shop. All junk. Have a problem with one. Good luck finding parts.
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:50:33 AM
Kevin K Kevin K is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

I don't know anything about this generator. However, three of my friends purchased the little 800 watt Harbor Freight generator when it was on sale. None of them made it over 20 hours of operation before they quit. And then there was the 1,000 pound Harbor Freight garden cart I purchased that bent with 400 pounds on it. I'll buy hand tools at Harbor Freight, but not much else.
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:59:32 AM
Ed Sparks Ed Sparks is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

At the present time there are several factories in Mainland china producing generators under 25 different name brands and colors.

They are all JUNK

made using what ever parts are available today as it goes down the production line. Same parts will not be available tomorrow or next year when you need to replace them.

I knew a guy that imported them by the container load. He figured on 1 in 8 being junk right out of the box. But he bought them cheap enough to not worry about the failed units.
Same guy was giving away Yugo's with the purchase of a motorhome. Same concept buy cheap sell cheap get cheap .

nuff said.

If you want to spend money, at least get something that will give you electricity back in exchange.
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:25:02 AM
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Default Re: Predator Generators

I figure if I buy a 15.00 dollar grinder and it last a little while it may be worth it or a cheap winch to pull stuff around but I wouldn't buy anything too high.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:56:36 AM
Isaac-1 Isaac-1 is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

While the question of repairability is a valid point, the real question is of reliablity since unless you have the parts on hand you will not be repairing any generator during a major outage. If it is a major disaster there is even a good chance that common repair parts (if available) will be back ordered for weeks or months afterward. Also you say here this is to backup a refrigerator and freezer, which I will take to mean you have a separate freezer, if so with today's food costs this means you are likely trying to protect several hundred dollars worth of food. Therefore it makes sense to buy something with a known reliable engine, to me this means a consumer grade Honda at a minimum, Briggs and Straton are ok for some things, Made in China no names may even have their place, but to me Honda while not perfect is a step above and stands a far better chance to still be running after a 5-7 day major power outage, even if you only get a "powered by Honda" unit with someone elses generator end.

Ike
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:04:27 PM
Kpack
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Default Re: Predator Generators

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railroads View Post
I am wondering if anyone has had any experiences good or bad with the Harbor Freight 3200 watt generator? I see they have them on sale right now and could not help but to wonder if it would be a good backup for the fridge and freezer? I have read a lot of information on the web about them being just more china crap. However, I get the feeling a lot of people may not know what the heck they are talking about. There is a lot of bias toward one brand or another.

I am looking for a fair review and or personal experiences?

Robert
Craigslist has good older onans and sometimes other brands a little work on them and tlc I think its the only way to go. 1800 rpms all the way.
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Old 09-16-2013, 10:29:52 PM
jimafm jimafm is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

I picked up a 6KW older Briggs(read that made in America, parts and service available at any mower shop) at a local pawn shop for $200 after a little haggling. Even came with a 30 day right of return. Doesn't get any better than that! With all the referrals to Craigs and eBay, you would think someone would remember the guy down the street. Last time I was in there, they had no less than 6 for sale. And, you get to try it before you buy it, plus most will hold one for 30 days for 10%. Gives you time to sneak it past the wife if you are like me and just can't turn down a good deal on one. I'm going to convert mine to run on the natural gas at our house. Kits are available from an advertiser on this site, and the best I have found.

The biggest problem with any genset on gasoline is they consume far more fuel than you can safely store. During a recent tornado outage of 7 days, I went through over $400 worth of gasoline in my little 6.5KW Honda/Coleman. And I only ran it 12 hours per day. Just try finding gasoline when the power is off. Natural gas usually stays on regardless, but I also have a smaller diesel and a 55 gallon drum of fuel oil.

I once started and ran a 50 year old genset on fuel oil not used for nearly 15 years. It got me through 3 hurricanes in a row over a two week period on less than 40 gallons, running 24/7. The stuff is the cheapest of all fuels for gensets, by far. Plus, they even deliver it to your home for free, so all you need is a clean, used, 55 gallon drum. Even in your way for a few years in the garage, a 55 gallon drum of fuel oil sure beats trying to find a gas station with power when the roads are blocked.

Lacking natural gas, diesel is the only way to go, and still the most reliable of all. Natural gas is a little cleaner, easier, and more compact if you live in the burbs and have the neighbor factor.

Forget LP. A 250 gallon pig will run a 7.5 KW Genrack about a week, and cost you nearly a grand where I live! They don't mention that at Home Depot. Plus, the pig ain't cheap and just as ugly as, well, a pig. As for safety, you would be better off filling it with gasoline, which will usually just burn rather than leveling a city block or two if something goes wrong.

As for China engines, or anything else cheap turning at 3,600RPM for any length of time, they simply can't. The problem is the engines were never designed for running long periods, they were designed for cutting grass. Over time, they don't get enough air, and the overheated parts bind and the whole thing goes bang. Even the Hondas (best I've found) need to be the GX series designed for generators or pumps. You can spot them because they don't have throttles. They have larger air cleaners and better cooling and were designed for long run periods. Even those require oil changes every 2 days, or so, and should be rested 8 to 12 hours per day to last.

While I'm spewing advice, here's a trick I learned riding out Hurricane Hugo in Charleston, SC, for 2 weeks on my 7.5KW, 1945 Onan. When you go to bed, connect your electric hot water heater to the genset, even if it is only 120V and your heater is 240V as in my case. It will take about twice as long (i.e. most of the night), but, with care, you will have hot water all the next day. After a few days of disaster, a hot shower is golden. Note this 120 for a 240 trick is ONLY good on a pure resistive load like a stove oven or water heater. And, I'd stay away from modern, computer-controlled stoves. Anything with a motor like refrigeration, HVAC, dryers and the like will be damaged and may take the genset with them.

Best bet, gas or diesel, is a 30 year old Onan, Kholer, Wisconsin, etc. Cast iron everything, 1,800RPM, uses little fuel, long service interval and is both quiet and too heavy to steal (VERY important and often overlooked). If it is still running after 30 years, you can bet your $400 worth of meat on it.
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  #9  
Old 09-16-2013, 11:27:32 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

Propane liquid fuel consumption is ~ 15% more than gasoline on gal/hr basis, for equal loads.
Eletric water heaters..... if don't rewire things power consumption (as is heating rate, watts) on 120 is 1/4 that of on 240.
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Old 09-16-2013, 11:38:27 PM
Ed Sparks Ed Sparks is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

I just signed my upcoming years propane contract at $1.99/ gallon, so thats a lot less expensive than gasoline [$3.72/gal] or diesel [$4,18/gal] in our area.
Plus they deliver.
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  #11  
Old 09-17-2013, 01:12:16 AM
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Default Re: Predator Generators

Per kilowatt of output you will burn up to twice as much LP as Diesel. My 7.5 Generac LP in the motorhome burns 1.5 to 2 GPH. My Onan Diesel 7.5 under similar load burns .7 to .9 GPH.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:22:36 AM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

Ed, My home is a rental. The water pump line comes above the ground at the end of the house and runs along the outside of the house til it gets to a spot on the side of the building where it enters the service box. I have no darn clue as to why this line comes above ground in this manner. However, The silly thing did get chopped in the mower by accident a couple of years ago. Since then I secured the line to the side of the building and spliced it inside a water resistant box. Cheap fix for a person in my shoes!

Now, I do not have any switch panels or transfers. When I need to use my little genny I just run cords to my loads.

What I am asking is how would you recommend connecting the water pump directly to my generator?

When I loose power I would like to take a 5 foot piece of 12/2 and disconnect the splice in the metal box (after shutting off the breakers) and wire nut a pig tail to the well cable with a plug at the other end. The part of the original well power coming from my service would just be wire lugged and left for reconnection when the lights come back on. Would I use the 240 volt generator recepticle or the two 120 volt plugs?

The only problem I am having is the freakin generator plugs. The 240 appears to be a single phase supply? One hot, One neutral, One ground. Not the split phase wiring of a typical USA setup.


Edit, Right now my water is 120 volts. Assuming I go to the trouble for a conversion to 240 volts. What set of plugs on the 4 KW Coleman would I use? I would assume the two 120 volt plugs feeding a specially made up box that I could just plug the pigtale into and then plug the box in to the generator. The pigtale feeds the pump motor. The 20 amp service to the pump would be disconnected on the side of the building where the splice is hidden in a metal box.

Robert
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:39:25 AM
Horsepoor Horsepoor is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

I purchased two of these 2 strokes last year: One on sale from HF $79 & the other from Home Depot at $99 to get the 12 VDC port. For the money these are well worth it. If you do what I list below, your unit will power a 5,000 BTU window AC also. More on the AC unit later, first you need to conduct the following break in procedures:

#0 – Buy a Kill-a-Watt meter of you don’t have one. $30 investment and you will need it to set the RPM so you can get the proper frequency of 60 hz.

#1 – Clean all the metal shavings and other crap out of the new fuel tank. No quality control, metal shaving left inside both tanks. Clean float bowl on the carburetor while you have the fuel tank off, it is easy.

#2 - Replace the cheap fuel line with a contemporary / decent fuel line. Add a small fuel filter if you are motivated .

#3 – Buy a NGK, Champion, Autolite, or something similar. The spark plug it comes with is junk.

#4 – The most important factor is to follow the break in procedure of at least 20 hours at 50% load (400 watts). Yes, 20 hours or more, this seems to allow the rings to seat and the engine will then make full power.

Now you can load the unit up to 750 to 800 watts. Both of mine will make this level of power but what I really wanted to do was to determine if I could power a window AC. This is how you do it. For about $10 buy a Supco SPP6 two wire hard start kit. Takes about 15 minutes to install in your AC. Make sure it is not the SPP6E.

http://www.amazon.com/SPP6-Capacitor...=pd_sim_misc_3

Use of the SPP6 will allow the little two stroke to overcome the compressor start up surge and run the unit while consuming 540 watts of constant power. This is how you do it. And, in my opion, for the money, these little units are worth $80.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:22:57 AM
Grinderkenny Grinderkenny is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

I have a HF 4000 watt generator. I have never had any problems with mine and I us my every week in our mobile detailing business. There is a few key points to remember. Fist the generator is shipped with no oil in it and is not broken in. First, I have bought a few items for my generator. (All listed bellow):

1. Quart of Mobile 1 full synthetic oil.

2. Hour meter - This is a must for any small engine. This helps keep track of maintenance.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...rch_detailpage

3. Measuring funnel with a long tube - This allows for you to place exactly the right amount of oil and with a long tube means no spills.
http://www.amazon.com/Hopkins-10704-...nnel+with+hose

4. Liquivac - My generator is in a cargo trailer and bolted down, also it weights 126 pounds so its hard to move and there is no way to easily get a funnel under the drain plug. So I suck the oil out through the dip stick port.
http://www.amazon.com/America-2005-L...l+suction+pump

I have followed the maintenance and break in instructions to a tee with a few exceptions. I filled the generator with .6 quarts of mobile 1 oil and ran the generator for its break in for 3 hours with little to no load after that I changed the oil an ran the generator like normal for 17 hours then changed the oil again. After that I have done exactly what the manual says to do on oil changes every 20 hours
I also use Sta-Bil gas stablilizer in every fill-up.

I have had no problems with the generator. It has way over 100 hours on it and it always starts on the first pull. I did buy the extended warranty and because of that I follow the maitance exactly. The only thing I would change is as soon as the warranty is up I may start changing the oil every 40 hours since I am running mobile 1
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:21:12 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

Those little 212cc engines do have plastic cam gear and after about 1000 hours they break.

Thanks to the Gokart folks there is after market parts available now for those engines. Replacment steel camshaft can be found here. http://www.bmikarts.com/Stock-Camsha...gine_p_24.html

User Thaumaturge has some knowledge of clone engines has helped me find the steel cam I mentioned above. Thanks Doc.

Robert
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:28:33 PM
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Default Re: Predator Generators

Could use some help or direction. Sorry couldn't make my own new post so search related thread. If any help would be nice thank you.
So I did some work in exchange for a 7000 watt predator. Was told it ran don't produce power. So got it home looked it over and found brushes were not making contact. I then replaced them new and now I find when fired up I can only get 1.3 ish volts starting coming out of brushed and stays that way all the way thrift the receptacles. That's where I'm at. Researching how to test ohms or checking stator windings. Thanks !
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:06:41 PM
Thaumaturge Thaumaturge is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

Output is not through brushes, rather from stator windings. The brushes feed exciter field in rotor. Should be an aux winding that feeds the AVR, which feeds the exciter field through brushes. But sounds like you may need to flash field winding. Take a 12v battery and with gen running (and avr disconnected from brushes) momentarily connect battery to brushes. Then stop gen and reconnect things. Start again and check output.
Doc

Oh, forgot to mention you can download a manual, usually with wiring diagram from the Harbor Frieght website. Just search on model number.
Gosh, I stand corrected. Just looked at 7000w manual and NO WIRING DIAGRAM. You might have better luck searching on model number, maybe older models still show diagram.

Here is link to a pdf diagram on my gdrive. For 6500W but should be close. Does have diagram.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1p...w?usp=drivesdk
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Last edited by Thaumaturge; 09-30-2017 at 10:46:00 PM.
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Old 09-30-2017, 11:19:43 PM
GenDan GenDan is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

Thank you for taking the time to help me. I thought that might be the issue I read after pulling the stator but got looking and it has two perm magnets along the stator a couple inches so I don't thing exiting will do much but I could still try. And I might have worded it wrong but yes the brushes are a only utput for the avr. I pulled the avr and tested brushes and got that voltage. And I'll look around for the wiring diagram thanks for adivce! Others input would also help clear the waters. Self teaching with others willingness to explain. Thank you!
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Old 01-21-2015, 10:18:42 AM
Stevem Stevem is offline
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Default Re: Predator Generators

I tend to agree that Harbor
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:37:37 PM
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Default Re: Predator Generators

I happened into this discussion after getting a Harbor Freight flyer with much ballyhoo on Predator generators so I thought I'd do a little research. My conclusion after having done so is 'no thanks'. About 10 years ago I had move to an area in Oregon that had very sketchy electrical service, if the weather did anything not good the power went out. I first purchased a Honda 650 suitcase model, it worked very well, one pull start, quiet as you could hope for only it wasn't very much power but it kept the lights on and made coffee. Eventually I started looking for a bigger generator and I was not impressed with what I found at an affordable price. One day I was looking in the penny saver or might have been Craigslist and there was an ad for generators and the like. So I went to this guys house and he had pi;es of generators, pumps and all manner of infernal combustion equipment. Turns out he was retiring from many years of selling and repairing irrigation pumps, generators etc. Anyway he convince me to let him build me a genset from NOS which he did. He welded up a frame and put some all terrain casters on it and mounted a WINCO power head (alternator) and a small diesel engine used for irrigation pumps, the kind that gets dropped into a field and runs for years. This really was my lucky day because I've run that generator many, many times and it runs everything, starts every time and has a hand crank if the battery goes away but I keep a battery manager on it. Oh yeah I paid $350 for it. My point to all this is I have heard more bad reports on more different Asian market generators than is possible to remember. And the consensus is they all suck, sooner or later. What's worse there are a lot of high binders for will fleece unsuspecting buyers and charge ridiculous prices for this Asian junk. Caveat Emptor
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