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ar-jedi
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Posted: 10/13/2013 4:24:51 PM
[Last Edit: 10/14/2013 2:20:06 AM by ar-jedi]

for Christmas i bought a generator for my sister, who lives about 15 miles away. she was also affected by Sandy's widespread and long power outages last year, and one of the things i wanted to do for her was make sure she and her kids had a better setup going forward. power for the 10 days she was out last year came via a small, old Coleman 3KW generator, which actually belongs to my mom. nevertheless, after Sandy my mom's house was completely flooded so the generator wasn't going to do anyone much good sitting over there. observant readers will note that it's October, not December, so it's a bit early for a Christmas present. nevertheless i wanted to get this setup fully sorted out before the onset of winter and Nor'Easter season.

my sister can live quite frugally from a power perspective -- at least she found that out with the 3KW generator last year. my goals with her setup were twofold: easy connection to the house, and enough power to make both the fridge and forced-hot-air furnace go. anything on top of that would be gravy. a little math and some testing with my EU2000i indicated that a generator in the neighborhood of 3.5KW would provide plenty of power for the branch circuits servicing the fridge and the furnace blower. there is one small added complication of the "power-vent" for her natural gas-fired water heater, but according to the nameplate it only draws a fraction over 1 amp.

i did some research, here and at RV.net (holy cow are there some long "chinese generator" threads over there!) and folks seemed quite pleased in general with Champion's midrange (3.5KW/4.0KW) products. they seem to have a fairly good reputation, and both the initial quality and post-sale support seem OK given the price point these generators are sold at.

at my sister's house during the summer i installed an OEM backfed breaker kit, and ran some 10/3 w/gnd romex cable to a generator inlet (Reliance model PB30) mounted to the outside of the house. the Reliance PB30 is an L14-30 "male" inlet, and therefore accepts an L14-30-terminated cable which in turn attaches to the generator. the L14-30 is a split-phase, 4 wire, 120Vac/240Vac connector. from L1 to N is 120Vac, and from L2 to N is 120Vac, and from L1 to L2 is 240Vac. the Reliance PB30 is capable of handling up to a 7.2KW generator (that is, 30A split phase, = qty 2 30A 120Vac circuits). 30A x 120Vac x 2 circuits = 7200W = 7.2KW. ergo, down the road if a larger generator is desired, the connectivity is already set up for it.

Champion makes some specific 3.5KW/4.0KW models for certain stores, and other models for general sales. the unit i eventually selected is sold thru Tractor Supply, the Champion model 46598. this unit is equipped with an L14-30 120Vac/240Vac receptacle, which makes interconnection with the split-phase service to the house a snap. there were other options, including getting a 120Vac-only generator and bridging the phases in the cord, but in the end given the way my sister's service panel was set up the split phase approach seemed like the way to go. incidentally, this particular model also includes a 120Vac 30A RV receptacle, so i can always change my mind.

i also purchased a Champion wheel kit, which attaches in a few minutes. once in place, practically anyone (including my sister's 12 year old son) can move the generator from storage to nearby the inlet. i did note that the bolts holding the standard rubber feet to the bottom of the chassis were not securely tightened, so if you have a similar Champion model you might want to check that out. one was finger tight. i checked all other bolts and did not find anything else amiss.

the generator is shipped dry, so 10W-30 oil must be supplied prior to starting. the engine does have low-oil-shutoff and will not run without oil. my plan is to run the generator for about 5 hours total and then dump the initial oil fill in exchange for a good synthetic oil.

fueled, tank valve opened, stop switch set to run, the generator started on the first pull. that's a good sign. i let it warm for about 5 minutes and then presented a variety of (120Vac-only) loads, including a 1200W (10A) commercial hot air gun and a 960W (8A) heavy duty Bosch hammer drill. the note of the engine did change when the hot air gun was turned on, but the voltage held steady. adding the drill as further load did not present any issue either, although i think that the no-load current draw of the drill is probably just a few amps.

acoustically, the unit falls into the "not bad" category. it is certainly noisier than my EU2000i, but that is to be expected. from the front (receptacle panel direction) this generator is in my view actually fairly quiet for a direct-coupled generator. from the rear (side opposite) it is somewhat noisier (mechanically and from the exhaust). while not a camping generator per-se, i could see using this model for that application if your closest neighbors are a bit away.

as you can see from the pictures below, there is a selector switch which determines whether the alternator windings are paralleled for about 30A at 120Vac, or they are center-tapped in series for qty 2 phases (that is, 120Vac circuits) at about 15A each.

next up is in-situ testing at my sister's house, hopefully on a nice sunny day like today.

as of October 2013, cost of the Champion 46598 at Tractor Supply on the east coast is US$329.99 plus tax.
the wheel kit is available from Amazon for US$42.00 including shipping.

ar-jedi






















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Posted: 10/13/2013 4:50:45 PM
[Last Edit: 10/13/2013 4:54:01 PM by PzIvF2s]
Funny, I just re-read your Sandy post, and as usual, Arfcom is getting me itchy to spend more money.

I just (2 months ago) bought a 7.5/9kW generator and installed an inlet in the back yard. We had the power go out for 4 days just before my daughter was born 08/01/2013. My ready-to-pop wife was none to happy with the power outage but I was able to borrow an unaffected neighbor's 5.5/6kW generator.

I've got 25gallons of stablized fuel stored at the house, but after reading your Sandy thread I was thinking, Gee! He's got a PTO genset AND a little Honda eu2000i....Seems old PzIVf2s better look at a smaller less thursty generator too! You know South Eastern Michigan being a hurricane area too!

I was looking at that very same generator as well as this one:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004918MO2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=37I13CIAT0LW1&coliid=I2QX8PNZZCCDFW

Being a Prime member, I normally hunt around Amazon first for the free shipping.

EDIT: FYI: This is the generator I got, and so far it's really nice. I haven't had to use it in an emergency yet, but I test run it (power my electric yard machines) and the wife can't hear it run from inside the house.
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Posted: 10/13/2013 4:54:06 PM
so you have to manually switch it from 240 to 120 ?
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Posted: 10/13/2013 5:14:09 PM
That's what I have, minus the wheel kit. It's not bad.

It won't power my air compressor, but it will run my welder.

I did use it last year to power up my office so I could run payroll and print checks.
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Posted: 10/13/2013 5:59:05 PM
I bought my Champion at Cabela's after having a kid and getting serious about long term power outages (snow in these parts). The model sold at Cabela's is/was the 46516 and only does 120v. It has the 5-30 plug, the 30 amp RV plug, along with a standard 120 household outlets. Right now I'm only set up to drag extension cords through the house, but I hope to someday go the full transfer switch route.

Here's a link to the RV.net 900+ page thread on Champion and similar style generators.
http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/15131645/srt/pa/pging/1/page/1
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Posted: 10/13/2013 6:48:58 PM
I just realized I hadn't cranked mine since April or May. I just pulled it out, turned on the fuel, took about 8 pulls and it started.

I hooked up a vacuum cleaner to it and let it run about 45 minutes while I mowed the lawn. Works fine.

I always turn the fuel off and let it run dry and I always run at least mid-grade fuel with stabilizer. Nothing tactical or tier one about it, it just works.
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Posted: 10/13/2013 6:55:14 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By joemama74:
I just realized I hadn't cranked mine since April or May. I just pulled it out, turned on the fuel, took about 8 pulls and it started.

I hooked up a vacuum cleaner to it and let it run about 45 minutes while I mowed the lawn. Works fine.

I always turn the fuel off and let it run dry and I always run at least mid-grade fuel with stabilizer. Nothing tactical or tier one about it, it just works.


Spray paint it black like i did.. Now it's badass and tactical.
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Posted: 10/13/2013 9:51:14 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By rusteerooster:
so you have to manually switch it from 240 to 120 ?

Originally Posted By ar-jedi:
as you can see from the pictures below, there is a selector switch which determines whether the alternator windings are paralleled for about 30A at 120Vac, or they are center-tapped in series for qty 2 phases (that is, 120Vac circuits) at about 15A each.


ar-jedi
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Posted: 10/13/2013 11:30:24 PM
I have a similar 120VAC-only version. Always starts on the very first pull.

As is very common with Chinese gensets, the plastic fuel cap on mine doesn't vent properly. After running with a heavy load for a few minutes, the engine starts to skip and stumble, and eventually dies.

Rather than fix the problem, I just got in the habit of loosening the fuel cap slightly while running the engine, tightening it back up before storage.
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Posted: 10/14/2013 8:38:10 PM
[Last Edit: 10/14/2013 8:43:18 PM by Mak]
The weekender is on sale again for $319.99. Shipping is $5.00 with 3Fall promo code, if they don't give it to you for free which I got when I bought mine. Looks like an $18.00 heavy shipment fee now. With promo code it comes to $342.99. Not as good as it once was.
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Posted: 10/14/2013 9:28:57 PM
My Champion 3500/4000 is just over a year old with 150 hours on it. I know that is not many hours, but it still starts on the first pull and I haven't found the weak link yet.
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Posted: 10/14/2013 9:33:48 PM
I purchased this generator from Tractor Supply as well. It starts easy and runs well. eBay was the best deal for a outdoor 20' cord.
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Posted: 10/14/2013 11:24:37 PM
GUYS PLEASE READ:

I don't want to poop in the punch bowl here, but being this is SF, good info is worth it's weight in gold.

A co-worker of mine purchase the 120V only version of this genny to run his camper during ATV trips to the dunes. His primary need was to run the A/C, as it gets hot during the day and his wife is pregnant. This first unit arrive and immediately it was apparent that it could not turn over the A/C compressor. In fact it just bogged down until the engine stalled. We checked cords, shortened the cable run to 6ft, etc, still no dice. Engine stalled every time. To be sure it wasn't the A/C unit, we plugged it into a household 15amp circuit on the long extension cord. Fired right up.

A couple of days later, we borrowed a smaller Chinese genny from another co-worker. I was only 3000watts max output, but the A/C fired right up.

Next day we called tech support. They were quick to help and emailed a diagnostic flow chart for the genhead. We checked everything and it was perfect. Then proceeded to do more tests. (I'm a mech engineer, but also have a strong background in electrical and automation.) On light loads, genny was perfect. Held 60Hz and 120V output with no detectable sag up to about 2000-2500 watts, then fell on its face. Acted like there just wasn't enough HP from the engine. We sent the genny home with another engineer who loaded it with two 1500 watt space heaters (pure resistive load) and again it stalled.

Called tech support back with our findings. They eluded to the fact that the engineers were changing the timing on newer models to reduce emissions, but they quietly admitted that they had only succeeded in reducing HP. Then we were connected with their electrical engineer who wanted us to crank the engine speed up until output was around 68-70 Hz. I said "hell no." and with that we demanded a new unit be tested and sent out, to which they complied.

New unit shows up two days later and is even worse than the first one. It can only muster about 2000 watts output before stalling.

In the end, my co-worker received a refund with the issue going unsolved and leaving us severely disappointed in a supposedly name brand generator. Looking at other units, this one has a disproportionally high output for the size of its engine. So my warning to the SF is make sure this unit is producing enough power to run your loads. Don't assume the stated output to be accurate.



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Posted: 10/15/2013 12:07:38 PM
[Last Edit: 10/15/2013 12:08:34 PM by joemama74]
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By Rock_Ranger:
GUYS PLEASE READ:

I don't want to poop in the punch bowl here, but being this is SF, good info is worth it's weight in gold.

A co-worker of mine purchase the 120V only version of this genny to run his camper during ATV trips to the dunes. His primary need was to run the A/C, as it gets hot during the day and his wife is pregnant. This first unit arrive and immediately it was apparent that it could not turn over the A/C compressor. In fact it just bogged down until the engine stalled. We checked cords, shortened the cable run to 6ft, etc, still no dice. Engine stalled every time. To be sure it wasn't the A/C unit, we plugged it into a household 15amp circuit on the long extension cord. Fired right up.

A couple of days later, we borrowed a smaller Chinese genny from another co-worker. I was only 3000watts max output, but the A/C fired right up.

Next day we called tech support. They were quick to help and emailed a diagnostic flow chart for the genhead. We checked everything and it was perfect. Then proceeded to do more tests. (I'm a mech engineer, but also have a strong background in electrical and automation.) On light loads, genny was perfect. Held 60Hz and 120V output with no detectable sag up to about 2000-2500 watts, then fell on its face. Acted like there just wasn't enough HP from the engine. We sent the genny home with another engineer who loaded it with two 1500 watt space heaters (pure resistive load) and again it stalled.

Called tech support back with our findings. They eluded to the fact that the engineers were changing the timing on newer models to reduce emissions, but they quietly admitted that they had only succeeded in reducing HP. Then we were connected with their electrical engineer who wanted us to crank the engine speed up until output was around 68-70 Hz. I said "hell no." and with that we demanded a new unit be tested and sent out, to which they complied.

New unit shows up two days later and is even worse than the first one. It can only muster about 2000 watts output before stalling.

In the end, my co-worker received a refund with the issue going unsolved and leaving us severely disappointed in a supposedly name brand generator. Looking at other units, this one has a disproportionally high output for the size of its engine. So my warning to the SF is make sure this unit is producing enough power to run your loads. Don't assume the stated output to be accurate.



Brand? Model?

I once bought a Honda, Colt, Glock, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and it was a total POS.

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Posted: 10/15/2013 12:14:43 PM
[Last Edit: 10/15/2013 12:23:43 PM by Rock_Ranger]
[Jump To Reply]Brand? Model?

I once bought a Honda, Colt, Glock, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and it was a total POS.



120V only version of Champion Genny OP showed.
If you re-read my post, I didn't call it a POS, but stated two units had serious performance issues and everyone should verify their units max output vs stated output.

I also wanted to clarify that we confirmed engine was at WOT while unable to support the load from the genhead. AND Champion's engineer's recommendation to crank the engine up to 68+Hz should never be done. Even a cheap generator should not sag more than 2-4Hz under full load.
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Posted: 10/15/2013 1:31:19 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By Rock_Ranger:
GUYS PLEASE READ:

I don't want to poop in the punch bowl here, but being this is SF, good info is worth it's weight in gold.

A co-worker of mine purchase the 120V only version of this genny to run his camper during ATV trips to the dunes. His primary need was to run the A/C, as it gets hot during the day and his wife is pregnant. This first unit arrive and immediately it was apparent that it could not turn over the A/C compressor. In fact it just bogged down until the engine stalled. We checked cords, shortened the cable run to 6ft, etc, still no dice. Engine stalled every time. To be sure it wasn't the A/C unit, we plugged it into a household 15amp circuit on the long extension cord. Fired right up.

A couple of days later, we borrowed a smaller Chinese genny from another co-worker. I was only 3000watts max output, but the A/C fired right up.

Next day we called tech support. They were quick to help and emailed a diagnostic flow chart for the genhead. We checked everything and it was perfect. Then proceeded to do more tests. (I'm a mech engineer, but also have a strong background in electrical and automation.) On light loads, genny was perfect. Held 60Hz and 120V output with no detectable sag up to about 2000-2500 watts, then fell on its face. Acted like there just wasn't enough HP from the engine. We sent the genny home with another engineer who loaded it with two 1500 watt space heaters (pure resistive load) and again it stalled.

Called tech support back with our findings. They eluded to the fact that the engineers were changing the timing on newer models to reduce emissions, but they quietly admitted that they had only succeeded in reducing HP. Then we were connected with their electrical engineer who wanted us to crank the engine speed up until output was around 68-70 Hz. I said "hell no." and with that we demanded a new unit be tested and sent out, to which they complied.

New unit shows up two days later and is even worse than the first one. It can only muster about 2000 watts output before stalling.

In the end, my co-worker received a refund with the issue going unsolved and leaving us severely disappointed in a supposedly name brand generator. Looking at other units, this one has a disproportionally high output for the size of its engine. So my warning to the SF is make sure this unit is producing enough power to run your loads. Don't assume the stated output to be accurate.




I read similar reviews on their 2k inverter generator. People liked the generator but there was no headroom. 2k was the max, but on the bright side you can buy 2 and stack them for the price of 1 Honda.
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Posted: 10/15/2013 1:31:22 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By Rock_Ranger:
GUYS PLEASE READ:

I don't want to poop in the punch bowl here, but being this is SF, good info is worth it's weight in gold.

A co-worker of mine purchase the 120V only version of this genny to run his camper during ATV trips to the dunes. His primary need was to run the A/C, as it gets hot during the day and his wife is pregnant. This first unit arrive and immediately it was apparent that it could not turn over the A/C compressor. In fact it just bogged down until the engine stalled. We checked cords, shortened the cable run to 6ft, etc, still no dice. Engine stalled every time. To be sure it wasn't the A/C unit, we plugged it into a household 15amp circuit on the long extension cord. Fired right up.

A couple of days later, we borrowed a smaller Chinese genny from another co-worker. I was only 3000watts max output, but the A/C fired right up.

Next day we called tech support. They were quick to help and emailed a diagnostic flow chart for the genhead. We checked everything and it was perfect. Then proceeded to do more tests. (I'm a mech engineer, but also have a strong background in electrical and automation.) On light loads, genny was perfect. Held 60Hz and 120V output with no detectable sag up to about 2000-2500 watts, then fell on its face. Acted like there just wasn't enough HP from the engine. We sent the genny home with another engineer who loaded it with two 1500 watt space heaters (pure resistive load) and again it stalled.

Called tech support back with our findings. They eluded to the fact that the engineers were changing the timing on newer models to reduce emissions, but they quietly admitted that they had only succeeded in reducing HP. Then we were connected with their electrical engineer who wanted us to crank the engine speed up until output was around 68-70 Hz. I said "hell no." and with that we demanded a new unit be tested and sent out, to which they complied.

New unit shows up two days later and is even worse than the first one. It can only muster about 2000 watts output before stalling.

In the end, my co-worker received a refund with the issue going unsolved and leaving us severely disappointed in a supposedly name brand generator. Looking at other units, this one has a disproportionally high output for the size of its engine. So my warning to the SF is make sure this unit is producing enough power to run your loads. Don't assume the stated output to be accurate.



Starting AC compressors with a generator is a common issue and not a unique one to Champions. Someone smarter than me may chime in, but RV shops sell kits designed just for this issue where an extra capacitor is wired in line to ease the start up burden on the generator.
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Posted: 10/15/2013 1:42:26 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By wvar15:

I read similar reviews on their 2k inverter generator. People liked the generator but there was no headroom. 2k was the max, but on the bright side you can buy 2 and stack them for the price of 1 Honda.



Not being able to squeeze more than 2kW out of a 2kW-rated generator is not a generator problem.

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Posted: 10/15/2013 4:36:42 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By red_on_black:
Originally Posted By wvar15:

I read similar reviews on their 2k inverter generator. People liked the generator but there was no headroom. 2k was the max, but on the bright side you can buy 2 and stack them for the price of 1 Honda.



Not being able to squeeze more than 2kW out of a 2kW-rated generator is not a generator problem.


I know but from what I've read the Honda and Yamaha will go over 2k. Just something to consider. I'm looking to buy a 2k inverter generator now and haven't made my mind up. The Champion is a good deal and 2 with the parallel kit cost about what 1 Honda does. Either way I need one because my 7k generator sucks way too much fuel.
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Posted: 10/15/2013 6:19:27 PM
ar-jedi... good call on breaking in the engine now and putting synthetic oil in.

nothing worse than having to stop mid-crisis or in the dark to change the break-in oil.


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Posted: 10/16/2013 8:24:47 PM
[Last Edit: 10/16/2013 8:28:16 PM by MAGICmaker]
I have owned an earlier model of this generator for two years, Champion 46514. $279.00 at Tractor Supply in 2011. Starts and runs well. I've used Mobil One oil and non-ethanol 91 octane gas treated with PRI-G. Only complaints are the lack of an idle control and the frequency is not consistent. It runs at 65HZ at the powerhead but settles down to 60-62 Hz under load. It's been used thru three power failures at a summer camp and averaged five hours per gallon under a 1500 watt load. Refrigerator, chest freezer, TV, lights, fans, modems and router. Run it dry and fog the motor for winter storage. A cheap alternative.

The Champion 2000W Inverter I bought wouldn't light up a 1500 watt hair dryer....returned to Sam's Club.
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Posted: 10/16/2013 9:06:07 PM
How is noise DB compared to other gens?
Skibane
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Posted: 10/16/2013 10:47:14 PM
[Last Edit: 11/1/2013 11:30:17 AM by Skibane]
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By LOW50S:
How is noise DB compared to other gens?


The OP's model no. 46598 is essentially identical to the model no. 46514 shown on this chart:

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Posted: 10/16/2013 11:16:22 PM
[Last Edit: 10/16/2013 11:22:27 PM by livinfree]
I stated earlier in this post that my Champion 3500/4000 has 150 hours on it (not many hours). I use it on my camper to run the AC, etc. Living in AZ, you can not camp in the summer with out AC. It has never had a problem when the AC kicks on and it runs everything with ease. It also came with a great big tag that said "NOT FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA". I figured that was a good thing.

I ran mine in the summer of 2012 for 10 days straight, at about 12 hours a day in temps over 100 degrees. I didn't think it would make it, but it worked just fine and still does.

I am not throwing a sales pitch for these generators and I know there are many generators that are much better.

I just think for the money, and only using it to its capacity, it is a good deal.

Good luck.

edit # of days.
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Posted: 10/17/2013 6:51:23 AM


I own both the Champion 46514 and Yamaha 2800i. The Champion is a LOT LOUDER than the Yamaha. Yamaha has an idle control and the voltage and frequency is consistently 120 volts and 60 HZ. But there is a $1200.00 price difference.
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Posted: 10/17/2013 7:35:19 AM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By livinfree:
I stated earlier in this post that my Champion 3500/4000 has 150 hours on it (not many hours). I use it on my camper to run the AC, etc. Living in AZ, you can not camp in the summer with out AC. It has never had a problem when the AC kicks on and it runs everything with ease. It also came with a great big tag that said "NOT FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA". I figured that was a good thing.

I ran mine in the summer of 2012 for 10 days straight, at about 12 hours a day in temps over 100 degrees. I didn't think it would make it, but it worked just fine and still does.

I am not throwing a sales pitch for these generators and I know there are many generators that are much better.

I just think for the money, and only using it to its capacity, it is a good deal.

Good luck.

edit # of days.



Do you remember how much fuel the genny used in that time frame?
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