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Generators, off brand quality

Old 10-03-2020, 07:25 AM
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Default Generators, off brand quality

I have never been a fan of having a generator, as the power is very reliable and we go 10 plus years between the power going out for a few days. So I would have a generator not being used for 10 years. The last power outage has me thinking twice, and am thinking about getting a small generator for lights and the refrigerator. Does anyone have any experience with any of the off brand generators? I am talking about firman, wen, mech marvels, pulsar, and the like? I know I should bite the bullet and get a honda, but at twice the price my cheapness is getting in the way. What is your opinion, or experience on these generators?
Old 10-03-2020, 07:34 AM
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they are fine for what you would do with it. run the carb dry after each use. I have a Champion with a china engine and a ridgid with a yamaha. both are around the same age. I bought the champion because the ridgid was broken after 20 hours of use
Old 10-03-2020, 07:35 AM
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For myself and home, i bought a small genset from harbor freight, just to use in my shop in case of lights out, this dam thing works great, because its so cheap i treat it like shit, regular fuel, left sitting months at a time. but when its called into service, spray some wd40 into carb and it fires right up, 2 cycle so it smokes for a bit but wth. my other gem is a pulsar, same deal, works great. cant bear to get rid of these two old units i have a whole house propane deal, but these two are fantastic
Old 10-03-2020, 07:40 AM
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Crap shoot. Some off brands do just fine, others suck.

I've got a Firman (costco brand I think) in my shop that bud gave to me to fix. Seems well constructed, ran well, but made no power. Found a lead on the rotor had burned out meaning no excitation. The leads were not well secured like you would see on an Onan or other well regarded brands. Just piss-poor Chinese engineering and construction. Will be a devil to fix, if at all possible. Probably not worth fixing.

The Hondas really are better. Worth 2X the cost? Debatable. But buy one at half the cost and have it not work? That money is truly pissed away.

Whatever you get, do not leave it sit with gas in it. Run all the gas out and drain the carb.
Old 10-03-2020, 07:58 AM
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From what I understand, the RV community love the Predator inverter generators.
Old 10-03-2020, 08:09 AM
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I would buy a replacement carb with any generator you buy. 90% of their issues is the carb. Power goes out, thing won’t start replace the carb and you should be back up running.
Old 10-03-2020, 08:50 AM
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Got a Champion 3200 with about 250hrs on it, no issues, starts first pull most times.
Old 10-03-2020, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by bjm9818 View Post
I would buy a replacement carb with any generator you buy. 90% of their issues is the carb. Power goes out, thing won’t start replace the carb and you should be back up running.

In my experience the issue is not technically with the carb, but with not draining the carb when putting into long term storage. Draining by using drain screw or running dry. If gas is left in carb it will evaporate and the residue will plug small jets and passages. If you only use the generator for standby use instead of regular use, you never know if the standby period will be 3 days or 3 years. You probably won’t need a spare carb if you drain it when storing.
Old 10-03-2020, 09:06 AM
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Quite a few brands that are "Made in the USA".....if you feel like helping the US economy and not supporting the polluting source of flus.
Old 10-03-2020, 09:11 AM
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I wouldn't consider a Champion "off brand". Discount maybe when compared to Yamaha and Honda. US company with US customer service and is a pretty large outfit. yes, manufactured in China.

If you are eyeing a particular genny do some online research. A common differentiating factor is noise and electrical components as mentioned. I agree, no reason to spend 2X as much to use it once a year.

Old 10-03-2020, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Koocanusa Sam View Post
In my experience the issue is not technically with the carb, but with not draining the carb when putting into long term storage. Draining by using drain screw or running dry. If gas is left in carb it will evaporate and the residue will plug small jets and passages. If you only use the generator for standby use instead of regular use, you never know if the standby period will be 3 days or 3 years. You probably won’t need a spare carb if you drain it when storing.
Totally agree but sounds like the OP will be using this only in an emergency and have prolonged intervals between usage so spending a couple of bucks on a spare carb isn’t a bad idea in my point of view.

I run a bunch of Honda EU’s 2000/3000/7000is. I’ve been spending the extra money and going with the eu7000is when needing a larger sized unit since it’s fuel injected. These units sit mounted in the back of my trucks and can go a few weeks To several months during the winter without being used.
Old 10-03-2020, 10:00 AM
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I've got a Rigid with a Yamaha engine. Seven years old and no issues. For the record I try to only use non ethanol fuel but in an emergency I will use E-10. After use I shut off the fuel supply and run it until it stops. Remove fuel line and drain the tank in to a can which I put in the car. I then pour a little Sea Foam in to the fuel line and let it sit in the carburetor for a few hours and then drain it. Starts on the first pull 90% of the time and the other 10% on the second pull. Still if severe weather is predicted I will fire it up beforehand just to be sure.
Old 10-03-2020, 10:23 AM
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So, is the champion made in the USA? It seems like you can never be sure where these things are made.
Old 10-03-2020, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by N D H View Post
So, is the champion made in the USA? It seems like you can never be sure where these things are made.
Champion Power Equipment is an American company and its portable generators are engineered in California and made in China for the North American and world markets.
Old 10-03-2020, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat View Post
Quite a few brands that are "Made in the USA".....if you feel like helping the US economy and not supporting the polluting source of flus.
I disagree with this. While some are built here with an american engine most of the time the generator is sourced from China. It's hard to find many examples of generators that are truly made in the USA. Winco comes to mind but they are 3-4x the cost of a Chinese generator.
Old 10-03-2020, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by semperfifishing View Post
Champion Power Equipment is an American company and its portable generators are engineered in California and made in China for the North American and world markets.
Yes, That is what I found also, and most other brands that are USA companies make the generators in other countries, and some have honda engines?
Old 10-03-2020, 11:06 AM
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Firman and WEN aren't really off-brand. Both are priced competitively. I have run the old Chicago generators and the current Predator gens from harbor freight. As long as you don't care about the noise level, those will work just fine. You just need to figure out how much wattage you're going to need
Old 10-03-2020, 11:20 AM
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https://m.northerntool.com/shop/tool...8692_200788692

I have one of these and happy with it. Good price and packaging.
Old 10-03-2020, 01:58 PM
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Champion is highly regarded in the RV community. I have the 3200 inverter and a 8000 open cage. Both excellent units. Ran the smaller one around the clock for 4 days during Michael. Very quiet and as efficient as my Honda 2000
Old 10-03-2020, 02:09 PM
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We recently bit the bullet on a stand-by portable generator. Wanted something to power "most" of the house and based on our needs we ended up buying the Northern Tool house brand - North Star. They use the Honda engines and are really well built. Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. Hoping it will give us years of stand-by service. The one we bought:

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...7366_200467366

This will be servicing our home through the main panel with a 30amp plug and lock-out panel system installed professionally.

More than you want in that model but they do make smaller ones. Good luck!


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