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Intellectually adrift
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Posted: 10/13/2013 11:24:51 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/13/2013 9:20:06 PM EST 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.

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Posted: 10/13/2013 11:50:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/13/2013 11:54:01 AM EST 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 11:54:06 AM EST
so you have to manually switch it from 240 to 120 ?
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Posted: 10/13/2013 12:14:09 PM EST
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 12:59:05 PM EST
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 1:48:58 PM EST
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 1:55:14 PM EST
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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.
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Spray paint it black like i did.. Now it's badass and tactical.
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Posted: 10/13/2013 4:51:14 PM EST
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Originally Posted By rusteerooster:
so you have to manually switch it from 240 to 120 ?
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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.


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Posted: 10/13/2013 6:30:24 PM EST
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 3:38:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/14/2013 3:43:18 PM EST 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 4:28:57 PM EST
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 4:33:48 PM EST
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 6:24:37 PM EST
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 7:07:38 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2013 7:08:34 AM EST by joemama74]
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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.

View Quote


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 7:14:43 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2013 7:23:43 AM EST by Rock_Ranger]
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Brand? Model?

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



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 8:31:19 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
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.



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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 8:31:22 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
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.

View Quote


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 8:42:26 AM EST
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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.
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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 11:36:42 AM EST
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Originally Posted By red_on_black:



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

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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 1:19:27 PM EST
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 3:24:47 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2013 3:28:16 PM EST 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 4:06:07 PM EST
How is noise DB compared to other gens?
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Posted: 10/16/2013 5:47:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/1/2013 6:30:17 AM EST by Skibane]
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Originally Posted By LOW50S:
How is noise DB compared to other gens?
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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 6:16:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2013 6:22:27 PM EST 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 1:51:23 AM EST


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 2:35:19 AM EST
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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.
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Do you remember how much fuel the genny used in that time frame?
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Posted: 10/17/2013 8:47:39 AM EST
I have the champion from tractor supply also and have been very happy with mine. I should add the wheel kit as lugging mine around is a bit of a pain but it runs great and mine has never taken more than 3 or 4 pulls to start up. For the money, they just can't be beat.
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Posted: 10/17/2013 10:32:51 AM EST
Friend of mine recently caught a Generac 3500 watt on sale at MSC under $400 + shipping
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Posted: 10/17/2013 2:06:35 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/17/2013 2:08:16 PM EST by ar-jedi]
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Originally Posted By MAGICmaker:
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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Champion's inexpensive 3.5KW/4KW models (example in OP) are traditional direct-coupled generators -- the engine output shaft is connected directly to the input shaft of a high voltage alternator head. the output of that alternator head directly supplies 120Vac (and sometimes 240Vac) power to the load. regardless of applied load, the engine in a direct-coupled generator must turn at 3600 RPM in order to produce and maintain 60Hz power (typical 2 pole alternator head).

the Yamaha 2800i is an inverter-generator. the engine output shaft is connected to the input shaft of an low voltage alternator, typically 12 to 48Vac. the output of the alternator is rectified (converted to DC) and filtered (using bulk capacitors). that DC is used as the input to an inverter, which in turn synthesizes a 120Vac 60Hz output using electronics. a feedback loop controls the engine governor such that the engine only has to run at an RPM sufficient to power the applied load. in this way, engine RPM is decoupled from the output voltage and frequency. the result is "perfect" output voltage and frequency, and generally reduced acoustic signature -- at the cost of the additional inverter stage.

by definition for a given power output inverter-generators are going to be more expensive than direct-coupled generators, since in the former there are additional electronics. direct-coupled generators are better at one thing, however, and that is motor starting. this is due to the added initial rotational inertia of the engine and alternator rotor constantly turning at 3600 RPM.

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Posted: 10/17/2013 6:25:36 PM EST
Regarding the fuel consumption:

Holds about 4 gallons and with everything on my camper running, AC included in 100+ temps (and 5 girls that leave everything on and go in and out of the camper 10 times a minute) it would take about 13 - 14 hours to empty the fuel tank. I can't speak in technical terms like ar-jedi, but this should give you an idea.

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Posted: 10/19/2013 11:53:32 PM EST
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Originally Posted By livinfree:
Regarding the fuel consumption:

Holds about 4 gallons and with everything on my camper running, AC included in 100+ temps (and 5 girls that leave everything on and go in and out of the camper 10 times a minute) it would take about 13 - 14 hours to empty the fuel tank. I can't speak in technical terms like ar-jedi, but this should give you an idea.

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thanks for the reply I have the same genny and I am trying to figure out how much fuel I'd need for a week. I can store a 55 gallon drum of fuel but I don't want to violate any fire codes so I am looking to store a little less.
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Posted: 10/20/2013 4:38:40 AM EST
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Originally Posted By peligro113:



thanks for the reply I have the same genny and I am trying to figure out how much fuel I'd need for a week. I can store a 55 gallon drum of fuel but I don't want to violate any fire codes so I am looking to store a little less.
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Originally Posted By peligro113:
Originally Posted By livinfree:
Regarding the fuel consumption:

Holds about 4 gallons and with everything on my camper running, AC included in 100+ temps (and 5 girls that leave everything on and go in and out of the camper 10 times a minute) it would take about 13 - 14 hours to empty the fuel tank. I can't speak in technical terms like ar-jedi, but this should give you an idea.




thanks for the reply I have the same genny and I am trying to figure out how much fuel I'd need for a week. I can store a 55 gallon drum of fuel but I don't want to violate any fire codes so I am looking to store a little less.


With modern 4-stroke generators, there really isn't much difference in fuel consumption among different brands or models - they all sip 0.2 to 0.3 gallons of gasoline per hour, per KW of electrical power being produced (assuming you're running the generator with a significant load for its size).
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Posted: 10/20/2013 8:13:17 AM EST
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Originally Posted By ar-jedi:

Champion's inexpensive 3.5KW/4KW models (example in OP) are traditional direct-coupled generators -- the engine output shaft is connected directly to the input shaft of a high voltage alternator head. the output of that alternator head directly supplies 120Vac (and sometimes 240Vac) power to the load. regardless of applied load, the engine in a direct-coupled generator must turn at 3600 RPM in order to produce and maintain 60Hz power (typical 2 pole alternator head).

the Yamaha 2800i is an inverter-generator. the engine output shaft is connected to the input shaft of an low voltage alternator, typically 12 to 48Vac. the output of the alternator is rectified (converted to DC) and filtered (using bulk capacitors). that DC is used as the input to an inverter, which in turn synthesizes a 120Vac 60Hz output using electronics. a feedback loop controls the engine governor such that the engine only has to run at an RPM sufficient to power the applied load. in this way, engine RPM is decoupled from the output voltage and frequency. the result is "perfect" output voltage and frequency, and generally reduced acoustic signature -- at the cost of the additional inverter stage.

by definition for a given power output inverter-generators are going to be more expensive than direct-coupled generators, since in the former there are additional electronics. direct-coupled generators are better at one thing, however, and that is motor starting. this is due to the added initial rotational inertia of the engine and alternator rotor constantly turning at 3600 RPM.

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Originally Posted By ar-jedi:
Originally Posted By MAGICmaker:
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.

Champion's inexpensive 3.5KW/4KW models (example in OP) are traditional direct-coupled generators -- the engine output shaft is connected directly to the input shaft of a high voltage alternator head. the output of that alternator head directly supplies 120Vac (and sometimes 240Vac) power to the load. regardless of applied load, the engine in a direct-coupled generator must turn at 3600 RPM in order to produce and maintain 60Hz power (typical 2 pole alternator head).

the Yamaha 2800i is an inverter-generator. the engine output shaft is connected to the input shaft of an low voltage alternator, typically 12 to 48Vac. the output of the alternator is rectified (converted to DC) and filtered (using bulk capacitors). that DC is used as the input to an inverter, which in turn synthesizes a 120Vac 60Hz output using electronics. a feedback loop controls the engine governor such that the engine only has to run at an RPM sufficient to power the applied load. in this way, engine RPM is decoupled from the output voltage and frequency. the result is "perfect" output voltage and frequency, and generally reduced acoustic signature -- at the cost of the additional inverter stage.

by definition for a given power output inverter-generators are going to be more expensive than direct-coupled generators, since in the former there are additional electronics. direct-coupled generators are better at one thing, however, and that is motor starting. this is due to the added initial rotational inertia of the engine and alternator rotor constantly turning at 3600 RPM.

ar-jedi


+1 This.

Comparing inverter genrators to non-inverters is a bit apple/orangey. Compare the Champion to its direct Honda/Yamaha counterpart and i bet the noise/fuel comparison narrows quite a bit.
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Posted: 10/26/2013 4:02:38 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/26/2013 4:03:28 AM EST by billyjoebob]
So, I've been looking at this exact Tractor Supply version of the Champion 3500/4000 watt generator for a long time. I have a big Generac for home backup, but wanted something much smaller with an L14-30 plug that I could use overnight with my transfer switch in the event of a long term outage.

While visiting my in-laws last weekend, I picked this model up at their local tractor supply. I added oil, a small hour meter, and gas, and it started up right away. After 1/2 hour of running, I hooked up a load and plugged in my multimeter. This is where I got a little concerned:

-With no load, it put out just about a perfect 120 volts (give or take a few fractions) and 62 hz. The tach I hooked up showed it was idling right about 3700.
-With a 750 watt load (resistive heater), the frequency dropped to about 60-61, and the voltage dropped to about 117.
-With a 1500 watt load (same heater), the frequency came down to 59 and voltage dropped to about 115.


Since I really don't want to load it down until I put the 5 break-in hours on it, I don't know how it will respond to a 3000 or higher watt load, but I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't able to hold the voltage with such a relatively small load. I realize the power quality on this will pale in comparison to an inverter, but are these readings cause for concern? They have a tech-bulletin out for adjusting the voltage. Should I consider bumping it up a bit, or are these readings normal for such a small generator?
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Posted: 10/26/2013 6:15:36 AM EST
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Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't able to hold the voltage with such a relatively small load.
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Well, a 5 volt drop when going from zero to 40% of rated load pretty much meets MY definition of "holding the voltage"...

Try doing the same thing with a wall outlet in your house: Plug the heater into one of the two outlets, and your test meter into the other - and then see what happens when you switch the heater on.
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Posted: 10/27/2013 12:49:07 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Skibane:


Well, a 5 volt drop when going from zero to 40% of rated load pretty much meets MY definition of "holding the voltage"...

Try doing the same thing with a wall outlet in your house: Plug the heater into one of the two outlets, and your test meter into the other - and then see what happens when you switch the heater on.
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Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't able to hold the voltage with such a relatively small load.


Well, a 5 volt drop when going from zero to 40% of rated load pretty much meets MY definition of "holding the voltage"...

Try doing the same thing with a wall outlet in your house: Plug the heater into one of the two outlets, and your test meter into the other - and then see what happens when you switch the heater on.

Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't able to hold the voltage with such a relatively small load.


Well, a 5 volt drop when going from zero to 40% of rated load pretty much meets MY definition of "holding the voltage"...

Try doing the same thing with a wall outlet in your house: Plug the heater into one of the two outlets, and your test meter into the other - and then see what happens when you switch the heater on.


OK. I didn't want to respond until I gave the generator a run for it's money.

I finished the 5 hour break in this afternoon and for kicks, I plugged it into my house transfer switch. It held up ok until I hit 3000 watts...than the output went downhill. At around 3100 watts, one leg was right at 120 volts and the other was running at 104 volts. I'm assuming the lower voltage leg was probably running just over the 1750 max running voltage, but I'm getting these readings from a reliance meter so I don't know how accurate it is.

That leads me to my question....why didn't the generator's breaker trip? I would think that if one of the legs was that overtaxed, it would have tripped the breaker instead of going so far under-volt. Am I misunderstanding the way the generator's 240 output works?

The only reason I bought this generator was to power my house overnight, so I could keep heat, light and refrigeration going. I'd hate to under-volt in the middle of the night during an ice storm, and fry my fridge or furnace control board. Is there anything I can do to prevent this, or did I get a bum unit from champion?
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Posted: 10/27/2013 2:59:05 PM EST
How do the CARB CA versions of these pair up?
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Posted: 10/27/2013 5:35:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/27/2013 6:33:17 PM EST by Skibane]
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Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
At around 3100 watts, one leg was right at 120 volts and the other was running at 104 volts.
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Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
At around 3100 watts, one leg was right at 120 volts and the other was running at 104 volts.


If you look at the wiring diagram that ar-jedi posted, you'll note that the AVR (automatic voltage regulator) circuit monitors just one of the two 120 volt main windings (MW1). Consequently, the AVR adjusts the field winding current to ensure that MW1's output voltage is always approx. 120 volts. The output voltage from MW2 will vary some under load, since it isn't directly monitored by the AVR.

If you really need precise voltage regulation when using 120 VAC appliances, you might consider flipping the voltage selector switch to the 120 volts position, and powering all your loads from the 30 amp 120 volt RV outlet. This will put both main windings in parallel (which makes their output voltages identical), thereby allowing the AVR to provide more precise voltage regulation.

why didn't the generator's breaker trip?


The circuit breakers are rated at 20 amps per leg. You weren't drawing anywhere near that much current from either leg.
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Posted: 10/28/2013 5:58:49 AM EST
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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.
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Mine was April too according to my record. I keep a record of when I last test run my generator and the duration of the run. I also note when I changed the oil or gas. I treat the fuel with stabilizer also. I rotate the gas every two years. Every year I check the spark plug, air filter, fuel lines, output voltage, and overall condition of the unit. I get mine started with the first or second pull. I also turn off the fuel and let the carb run dry to prevent build up. I use to test run mine every month and after the 5 hour break in period, I only run it every 4 months at 10-15 min duration. I've had the generator since 2006.
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Posted: 10/29/2013 8:09:05 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Skibane:


If you look at the wiring diagram that ar-jedi posted, you'll note that the AVR (automatic voltage regulator) circuit monitors just one of the two 120 volt main windings (MW1). Consequently, the AVR adjusts the field winding current to ensure that MW1's output voltage is always approx. 120 volts. The output voltage from MW2 will vary some under load, since it isn't directly monitored by the AVR.

If you really need precise voltage regulation when using 120 VAC appliances, you might consider flipping the voltage selector switch to the 120 volts position, and powering all your loads from the 30 amp 120 volt RV outlet. This will put both main windings in parallel (which makes their output voltages identical), thereby allowing the AVR to provide more precise voltage regulation.



The circuit breakers are rated at 20 amps per leg. You weren't drawing anywhere near that much current from either leg.
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Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
At around 3100 watts, one leg was right at 120 volts and the other was running at 104 volts.


If you look at the wiring diagram that ar-jedi posted, you'll note that the AVR (automatic voltage regulator) circuit monitors just one of the two 120 volt main windings (MW1). Consequently, the AVR adjusts the field winding current to ensure that MW1's output voltage is always approx. 120 volts. The output voltage from MW2 will vary some under load, since it isn't directly monitored by the AVR.

If you really need precise voltage regulation when using 120 VAC appliances, you might consider flipping the voltage selector switch to the 120 volts position, and powering all your loads from the 30 amp 120 volt RV outlet. This will put both main windings in parallel (which makes their output voltages identical), thereby allowing the AVR to provide more precise voltage regulation.

why didn't the generator's breaker trip?


The circuit breakers are rated at 20 amps per leg. You weren't drawing anywhere near that much current from either leg.


The generator has two 15 amp breakers on the 240 side, and a single 20 amp breaker on the 120 side. This means that no leg of the 240 can pull more than 1,800 running watts, and the single 120 RV plug would be limited to 2,400 running watts.

I called Champion Customer Service yesterday, and they didn't feel 104 volts at near-max output was anything to be concerned about. He said that a reading in the 90's could cause electrical problems and damage components, but anything on the plus-side of 100 volts should be fine. He also said that the output on the gen head is adjustable and there is a way to bump it up, but he recommended against it since it would probably push the no-load readings over 120.

I'm going to run a few more tests this weekend. I"ll wire my L14-30 plug into 2 powerstrips (one on each hot leg), put a 1500 watt heater on each, and take some readings on each side at 3,000 watts. I'm still not sure of the exact demand I had on each side via my transfer switch, so this will give me a better idea of how well the unit holds voltage under heavy demand.
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Posted: 10/29/2013 10:58:23 AM EST
Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
The generator has two 15 amp breakers on the 240 side, and a single 20 amp breaker on the 120 side. This means that no leg of the 240 can pull more than 1,800 running watts, and the single 120 RV plug would be limited to 2,400 running watts.
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Again, if you look at a-jedi's wiring diagram, you'll notice that the RV receptacle isn't connected through the 20 amp breaker - It's connected directly to the AC voltage selector switch, and is protected by the two 15 amp circuit breakers.

When the selector is set to 120 VAC, the two main windings (and their associated circuit breakers) are connected in parallel. Each winding can contribute up to 15 amps before its breaker trips, which means that they aren't going to trip unless you're drawing at least 30 amps from the 120 volt RV receptacle.

30 amps at 120 volts is 3600 watts.
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Posted: 11/1/2013 5:51:35 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Skibane:


Again, if you look at a-jedi's wiring diagram, you'll notice that the RV receptacle isn't connected through the 20 amp breaker - It's connected directly to the AC voltage selector switch, and is protected by the two 15 amp circuit breakers.

When the selector is set to 120 VAC, the two main windings (and their associated circuit breakers) are connected in parallel. Each winding can contribute up to 15 amps before its breaker trips, which means that they aren't going to trip unless you're drawing at least 30 amps from the 120 volt RV receptacle.

30 amps at 120 volts is 3600 watts.
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Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
The generator has two 15 amp breakers on the 240 side, and a single 20 amp breaker on the 120 side. This means that no leg of the 240 can pull more than 1,800 running watts, and the single 120 RV plug would be limited to 2,400 running watts.


Again, if you look at a-jedi's wiring diagram, you'll notice that the RV receptacle isn't connected through the 20 amp breaker - It's connected directly to the AC voltage selector switch, and is protected by the two 15 amp circuit breakers.

When the selector is set to 120 VAC, the two main windings (and their associated circuit breakers) are connected in parallel. Each winding can contribute up to 15 amps before its breaker trips, which means that they aren't going to trip unless you're drawing at least 30 amps from the 120 volt RV receptacle.

30 amps at 120 volts is 3600 watts.


I didn't realize it was connected through both 15 amp breakers. That's interesting...

With that said, is there any way I can use the RV output to energize my transfer switch via an L1-30 plug? Nothing on my transfer switch is 240, so can I split the single hot output from the RV plug to energize both hot legs of the transfer switch, or is that an electrical no-no?
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Posted: 11/1/2013 10:12:31 AM EST
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Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
With that said, is there any way I can use the RV output to energize my transfer switch via an L1-30 plug? Nothing on my transfer switch is 240, so can I split the single hot output from the RV plug to energize both hot legs of the transfer switch, or is that an electrical no-no?
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see
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/661411_Sandy____12_days_without_power__what_worked__what_didn_t____.html&page=6#i11303530

and

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/661411_Sandy____12_days_without_power__what_worked__what_didn_t____.html&page=6#i11315997

BUT

there is one catch:

read

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/668383_connecting_battery_to_generator_outlet_to_house_.html&page=1#i11423067

and

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/668383_connecting_battery_to_generator_outlet_to_house_.html&page=1#i11424388

and

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/668383_connecting_battery_to_generator_outlet_to_house_.html&page=2#i11424507


ar-jedi


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Posted: 11/1/2013 3:49:46 PM EST
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Originally Posted By ar-jedi:
Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
With that said, is there any way I can use the RV output to energize my transfer switch via an L1-30 plug? Nothing on my transfer switch is 240, so can I split the single hot output from the RV plug to energize both hot legs of the transfer switch, or is that an electrical no-no?

see
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/661411_Sandy____12_days_without_power__what_worked__what_didn_t____.html&page=6#i11303530

and

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/661411_Sandy____12_days_without_power__what_worked__what_didn_t____.html&page=6#i11315997

BUT

there is one catch:

read

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/668383_connecting_battery_to_generator_outlet_to_house_.html&page=1#i11423067

and

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/668383_connecting_battery_to_generator_outlet_to_house_.html&page=1#i11424388

and

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/668383_connecting_battery_to_generator_outlet_to_house_.html&page=2#i11424507


ar-jedi




Thanks AR-Jedi!

That's a lot to digest. I think I'll just stick with the 240 L14-30 supply, and manage the load so that it doesn't go too far under-voltage.
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Posted: 11/1/2013 4:58:14 PM EST
I have the 3000-3500 Champion with wheel kit and it is going on 5 years old. Runs my camper with 13.5K A/C unit and a few other items running just fine. Mine came from Home Depot and is actually the same as the 3500-4000 models. Some retailers had Champion put lower ratings on the units just to help stop any complaints. I have a similar Honda EZ3500 and I much prefer the Champion. Much easier starting and considerably quieter. We have gotten up to 18 hours on a tank of fuel without running dry yet when it was under lighter loads during the evening and night and the A/C wasn't having to run as often. Only problem with mine is a tiny oil leak of about 2 drops after I shut it off leaking from the valve cover gasket.
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Posted: 11/1/2013 5:48:54 PM EST
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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.

<...>

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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I think the advice to load test your generator is wise.

We've got the Champion 7/9K (41532) that we picked up when costco had their sale. We've successfully ran it up to 7200W, but not the 9K surge rating. It'll run at 6700 (28A) happy as a pig in poop for hours.

For us, it's just a big battery charger. Our inverter's charger has a bit of a soft start, so we don't go instantly from 0-7000, which I'm sure helps.


We also have one of the little Honda 2K's, which will succesfully run the A/C in the camper even in eco mode if we start the fan and compressor separately.
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Posted: 11/6/2013 9:29:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/6/2013 10:02:02 AM EST by billyjoebob]
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Originally Posted By billyjoebob:


Thanks AR-Jedi!

That's a lot to digest. I think I'll just stick with the 240 L14-30 supply, and manage the load so that it doesn't go too far under-voltage.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
Originally Posted By ar-jedi:
Originally Posted By billyjoebob:
With that said, is there any way I can use the RV output to energize my transfer switch via an L1-30 plug? Nothing on my transfer switch is 240, so can I split the single hot output from the RV plug to energize both hot legs of the transfer switch, or is that an electrical no-no?


<snip>

ar-jedi




Thanks AR-Jedi!

That's a lot to digest. I think I'll just stick with the 240 L14-30 supply, and manage the load so that it doesn't go too far under-voltage.


Ok,,,I did a bit more scientific load testing (after building my own "generator power analyzer") and need help interpreting my results. Rather than hijack this thread, I'm going to start a new one.

***********************
Edit: new thread here
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