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Author Topic: Need a new generator.  (Read 1853 times)

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Offline Patrick NC

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Need a new generator.
« on: February 20, 2021, 10:05:27 PM »
After many years of making due without, I find myself needing a generator. My mill is too far from the house to run grid power to and it'd pretty inconvenient at times not having electricity. Id like to be able to run lights and basic power tools such as a skilsaw, tablesaw, etc. I have a lot of building to do around here that's too for to run an extension cord to. Also would like to have backup power for the house. Don't need to run everything, just freezers and lights and such. I'm thinking about 6000 watts or so. I've been looking at predator generators from harbor freight. Does anyone have one that can give me an opinion on them? Thanks.  
Norwood HD36, Husky 372xp xtorq, 550xp mk2 , 460 rancher, Kubota l2501, Case 1845 skid steer,

Offline John Mc

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2021, 10:33:58 PM »
Much as I hate to admit it, I've heard good things about them. They're no Honda as far as reliability goes, but they do seem to work well. The best advice I've heard is to run the heck out of them for the first 90 days, or whatever the warranty period is. There are a few that seem to crap out early on. You want to find out if yours is one of them while still under warranty, not leave it sitting doing nothing in your garage all that time.
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Offline Southside

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2021, 10:43:18 PM »
A lot of generators are rated for backup use only, add in Chinese quality control, and you have something that may not last as long as you would like if you use it on a regular basis.  Spent the past 8 days helping several neighbors with issues from running these units, some we were able to come up with creative ways to keep them going, one was KIA and there was nothing I could do.  One even has the fuel tank from my LT35 ratchet strapped to a ladder feeding it fuel at the moment, Macgyver would be proud. 

For a bit more money I would look at something like a Miller generator / welder combo, this way you get a usable tool and something that is 100% duty rated, still not considered primary power, but they will run for extended periods of time without issue.  10KW will keep you comfortable and you won't be running the unit up against the wall all the time which will keep it cooler and living longer.  
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2021, 05:13:47 AM »
Honda, but Generac is a reliable one. Lots of electricians around here recommend Generac because they are cheaper than Honda. I see no other reason. I have a 7000 watt Honda. I have lights, wood furnace fan, water pump, water softener, fridge, freezer, some outlets, internet, washer (not dryer).  Electricians won't hook up an electric range because some folks forget that is not enough juice for the oven, we use a hot plate. I've run table saw (110 V) it does have 220 v outlets but saw is wired 110, drills, and small shop planer off it. I've had plenty of opportunity to use it. Probably 10 times in 3 years. :D

Like Southside says, the bigger the better. Like we say, buy as big as you can afford. But even 10,000 w won't run a 20,000 w electric furnace. ;D Also, don't be like most, that think you have to run a generator all day, in case you want to turn on a light in the basement. A freezer will keep cold for at least 3 days and a fridge at least 24 hrs. Don't stand there with the door open, thinking on what you're going to eat for dinner. :D A well sized water tank will hold enough water and pressure for awhile when you are in 'conserve mode' in your thinking. Common sense. ;D

I take good care of my Honda and it don't sit out in the weather when in use, mine's under the porch when in use and I keep it in basement where I control humidity. Take care of it and it takes care of you, that's my philosophy. ;)
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2021, 07:51:58 AM »
I have a (2) Hondas and (2) Champions which are excellent, but if I were buying today it would be a Predator.  My Son, Marty has a Predator.  We are still "digging out" of last week's ice storm when all 5 of them were supplying power somewhere to homes without power.  There are still one of each running.

The Predator was cheaper and held it's own with the best of them.
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2021, 08:33:48 AM »
I have a (2) Hondas and (2) Champions which are excellent, but if I were buying today it would be a Predator.  My Son, Marty has a Predator.  We are still "digging out" of last week's ice storm when all 5 of them were supplying power somewhere to homes without power.  There are still one of each running.

The Predator was cheaper and held it's own with the best of them.
I've heard good things about the Predator also. That's why I'm considering one. I don't have a huge power need for my house. We heat with a pot burner fuel oil stove that only needs power for the fan. The well pump is 120v /15amp. Other than that it's just refrigerator/ freezers and lights. I'm wanting something that I can easily put in the back of the truck and take wherever I need it. I was initially considering a gen/ welder it even a PTO powered unit, but I think a 6000w portable will do the job for me. 
Norwood HD36, Husky 372xp xtorq, 550xp mk2 , 460 rancher, Kubota l2501, Case 1845 skid steer,

Offline Magicman

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2021, 08:52:07 AM »
Actually from your list of usages, the 3500 should serve you well.  Marty's usage is almost identical you yours and the 3500 did it's job.  Electric start and 2 people can easily load it in the back of the truck.
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Offline DMax82

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2021, 09:06:26 AM »
I have two. One is 4350w and the other is 8000w, I believe. I bought them in a bind because I was getting a house framed and temp power wasn't set up yet. Unboxed them, added oil and no ethanol gas, and they cranked right up. Have started on one or two pulls every time since, often having sat for weeks or months at a time. I have no other generator experience to compare them to, but I love mine. I bought the sizes I did because that's what I had coupons for. Thinking about a 3500w invertor now.

Offline Sedgehammer

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2021, 09:52:21 AM »
I have a predator motor on our troy built horse that had replaced the factory one. runs well. with that said, i typically don't buy anything harbor freight that i am thinking or planning on it being around a long time. typically they don't last. they have gotten better, but. 


On the generator side we have a generac with a subaru motor. 10k. runs wonders.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2021, 10:27:38 AM »
Have 3 portable generators, 2 are 2200 and one is 2500 W. The 25 is a Whacker Newson with Honda engine. The old 22 is from the 70's and has served me well, a Honda. The new 22 is an inverter Honda.  You can buy the same spec. no real name for less then half the $. I just can't do it.  Anyhow in 120 V that 2500 watt will run a worm drive [a big one] off an extension cord while the salamander is running also. A 6000 would be way overkill for me.  The old 22 has run 2 freezers and one refrigerator plus lights for a week or more in power outages here on very little gas.

Offline coalsmok

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2021, 10:32:36 AM »
I have a Honda black max going on 12 yrs old. The only thing it has needed other than gas and oil is the commutator got corrosion on it one time. Light sanding and it was good to go. That was my fault as I left it out in the weather for awhile (year or more) without use.  
 Still starts with the 1st or 2nd pull and will run everything in the house but the dryer, water heater and ac

Offline Magicman

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2021, 10:35:20 AM »
Personally I would not consider anything other than an "inverter" genny.  They adjust the throttle to fit the power demand and sip gas.
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2021, 12:44:47 PM »
And they are QUIET! I have sold and serviced a lot of generators, I strongly recommend the best you can afford not necessarily the largest. The HF specials have their place but don't expect miracles. This past weeks storm is no place to be fighting with them.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2021, 12:54:11 PM »
I have two generators.  One is a 7500 watt Generac with electric start.  I caught it on clearance at Tractor Supply in the spring a few years ago.  It replaced a Coleman with 8hp Tecumseh. That was a piece of junk but we were desperate for a generator when we bought that.  The Generac is a great machine.  The only issue has been my fault by letting gas go bad in it.  The Generac doesn’t charge its own battery when running so it requires periodic charging or a battery tender.  It does have pull start and cranks easily. 

The other is a dual fuel Champion 3600 watts inverter.  We use it mainly for the camper.  It is a very good machine.  I’ve only run it on propane and it does fine.  It is electric start and pull start as well.  They have a remote start Champion of similar size that for a job site might be really convenient.  We have used the Champion more hours than the Generac and it has held up well.

As MM says an inverter generator will idle down when power demand goes down and throttle up to meet demand.  The Champion cost about $200 more than the Generac.  My buddy just bought a dual fuel 7500 watt Champion because it will run on propane.  Of course propane doesn’t have the same problems as gasoline, ethanol etc. and propane is convenient for us anyway.  The only drawback to propane is the reduced power output.  I believe my 3600 w Champion is rated running on gas and is something like 3400 watts on propane.

I have read good reviews on the Predator generators but I my experience with HF stuff hasn’t been very good. I’ve not been able to get parts or repairs on some HF stuff I’ve owned.  Mostly people buy the extended warranty and exchange defective stuff. My experience with HF is dated so maybe they’ve improved their quality.  Others have had good experiences.
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2021, 06:52:56 PM »
 

 Found this on Craigslist really cheap. It will do the job for now. A friend of mine has an old Ingersoll Rand light tower/ generator that has a 3 cylinder diesel engine on it. I think it's 15kw. He said it needs a fuel pump. We are going to try to get it running next time I go over there. I can probably get it for $1500.  
Norwood HD36, Husky 372xp xtorq, 550xp mk2 , 460 rancher, Kubota l2501, Case 1845 skid steer,

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2021, 07:12:20 PM »
for years i used a miller bobcat when the power went out. it worked very well. till someone just had to have one that came on by itself. so she bought a 13k Generac it works fine burns lots of propane. and having the tanks set and plumbed in was pricy. they are not ment to run steady for days on end so says the dealer. was talking to someone today his pal priced a 10k for $13000 over twice what i paid. there is a 6 month waiting list. maybe this dealer tried to make a little extra? so last week we bought stock in generac

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2021, 07:27:24 PM »
   I don't know about the portable ones but I have natural gas here and put in a Generac 17KW standby genset that powers about 2/3 of the house including the essentials like fridges, freezer, pump, lights in the most used area and it also runs the oven and the fan and thermostats on the gas furnace. It ran for 11 days in a big Derecho 8 years ago. ATS for it fires up 10 seconds after prime power goes off and cranks and runs about 10 minutes once a week to keep the battery charged. We usually do not even notice when it cranks as it is very quiet.
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Offline Southside

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2021, 07:35:20 PM »
I bought this last week, need to go get it this week. 35KW, single and three phase, 3 cyl JD diesel with 600 hours on it. 

Not playing around again. 



 

 
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2021, 07:42:40 PM »
No doubt that will keep the lights on!
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Offline Southside

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2021, 08:11:57 PM »
You have seen what I need to keep on. They have a 250 KW unit too, thought about opening my own Power and Light Company.  :D
Franklin buncher and skidder
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2021, 08:50:33 PM »
That should be a winner!!!

For us, all of our power is on and all of our generators are parked in their garage.  :)
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2021, 10:58:10 PM »
Wow. Some serious power in some of the options people are using here. I tend to go small, since we're really just trying to survive and protect things from damage during an extended outage here. I'll admit that going small is easier when you don't have to worry about firing up air conditioning.

We got by for years with a little Generac 4000EXL (4 KW continuous / 6 KW surge). It took some load management, but it really sipped fuel. Our house is wired for the generator to back feed the whole panel when the interlocking switch is thrown. I'd switch all the breakers off, then power up only what was absolutely needed. I'd leave the well pump turned off, since powering up that 240 V pump in a 400 foot deep well took a lot of surge capacity. When the tank pressure dropped, I'd switch off the fridge and freezer before powering up the well pump to re-pressurize. If someone was taking a shower, I'd leave things that way until they were done. I added a propane conversion kit which allowed the generator to run on either gasoline or connect to our 500 gallon propane tank.

That little Generac got zapped by lightning when we were building a tree house (Fortunately, we had left the treehouse as the storm was rolling in. We did not think to unplug the extension cord that was running from the generator on the ground up to the tree house. That cord became the preferred path to ground.) It was replaced by a Honda EM6500 (5500 watts continuous / 6500 surge). I have a propane conversion kit for this generator as well, but have not installed it yet.
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2021, 11:41:46 PM »
Absolutely Southside your not playing around 👍

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2021, 03:10:35 AM »
I said what you could afford, not a whole power plant. :D :D :D
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Offline Wudman

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2021, 11:06:15 AM »
If you have access to a tractor with a 1000 RPM PTO, a PTO driven unit is the best option.  You can get a 60Kv unit relatively cheap and it can sit there unused for years.  We had a horrendous ice storm back in 1979.  We were a major hog operation at the time.  A 100 horse Deutz sat there pulling a 60 Kv unit for 27 days.  It would pull it just off idle and sipped fuel.

I have a 17.5 Kv Generac (propane) standby here at the house.  It is great for those short term outages to keep the wife happy, but I can't afford to feed it for the longer term.  We just came out of a 9 day outage from the last (2) ice storms.  My main tank was getting low prior to the ice storm and I ran out of propane a couple of days in.  I'm still waiting on my delivery.  I keep a hundred pound cylinder on hand for back-up use and used that for my propane logs.  I have a 6700 Watt unit that I bought from Northern after Hurricane Dennis in 1999.  She screamed 24 hours a day for a week and kept the TV, Internet, Cell Phone Booster, refrigerators, well pump, blower on the outdoor wood stove, and a CPAP powered.  @Southside - I borrowed the fuel tank out of the boat)  I plumbed a propane powered camping shower into the hot water line for the house and was able to take a hot bath / shower.  I worked my butt off, but maintained a warm and happy wife.  I certainly felt sorry for the folks that didn't have the equipment to stay warm.  Foresight and redneck ingenuity definitely served me well.

Wudman        
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Offline Runningalucas

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2021, 01:06:48 PM »
Our place has a full transfer switch over to a Kubota genset.  It's nice when the lights go out, which happens yearly, and usually for a few days when it does.  It's not an automatic switch, we like the genset warming up before a load, but it's nice to be able to throw the switch, and have power to the all buildings, and the well.  Besides diesel, I think the only other generator for standby power for me would be an LP, or CNG; I get tired of having to deal with too many small gasoline engines, and gas going bad.
Life is short, tragedy is instant, it's what we do with our time in between that matters.  Always strive to do better, to be better.

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2021, 03:40:15 PM »
I bought this last week, need to go get it this week. 35KW, single and three phase, 3 cyl JD diesel with 600 hours on it.

Not playing around again.


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 
(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

Did you get this beast home yet

Offline Southside

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2021, 07:46:14 PM »
Plan to go Wednesday. Calves keep showing up...
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows

Offline RAYAR

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2021, 12:32:31 AM »
I have a Homelite 3500 (3000) that will run my heat (oil furnace w/soft start blower), water pump (shallow well), fridge and freezer and some lights and computer. I run things on heavy (12g) extension cords. I put plugs on the lines to the furnace and pump, so I just unplug from the grid and plug into extension cords, isolated from the grid and no expensive power transfer switch.

Today, I just purchased an old Homelite 4000 (3600) that hasn't been run in about three years. I have yet to service it and get it running. It came in an enclosed box that opens up on both sides and the top and is built on snowmobile skis with a tow bar. This one has an 8HP B&S w/cast iron cylinder sleeve or cylinder. I figure it's about later '80's.
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2021, 08:37:11 AM »
I'd love to have a big diesel generator like that, but our power has become a lot more reliable in the last 5 years.  It used to go out with every storm and would be out for 6 or 8 hours.  We have had several ice storms and a tornado that had our power out for 6-8 days.  That potential is still there.  I used to have a 7700 watt generac that did pretty well, but about 4 years ago I came across a guy selling a 17,500 generac gas generator.  I bought it for $1500 which was less than half of new and sold my old one for 500.  It does all we need.
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Offline hedgerow

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2021, 09:28:59 AM »
We are lucky here also. We have lived on this farm 18 years and have only loss power a couple times for a few hours. Everything in this area it under ground. One of my other farms over in another county were we lived for 20 years we would lose power for days over there winter and summer. Then updated the lines in that area and they hardly lose power now. I do have a 10,000 Watt gen just in case. A  buddy about 100 miles away loss power two summer ago for a couple weeks so I hauled it down to him and he put some hours on it then. I run it a couple times a year to make sure its ready if needed. I do have disconnect at the meter to just plug it in there and run power to the farm. 

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2021, 07:08:50 PM »
Jim (Southside) came down to the Raleigh area today to pick up his new generator, and he kindly agreed to meet me for lunch.

What a cool guy!  We had lunch at Angies, a well known grill in Garner, NC, and he proceeded to regale me with stories about his farm in VA, and life with lots of critters.

After lunch I showed him the way to Duke Power's recycling center, where we both admired his new generator.  We also took the time to look over some of their other goodies for sale.

In the pic below Jim is holding some type of surplus flanged piece from a nuclear power plant. It was never installed, and get this - that darn flanged pipe (and 5 other just like it) was bought by Duke Power for something like $86,000 new - EACH  :o :o :o.  I'm not sure if it was made from titanium or stainless, but wow...

Jim, it was great to meet you today.  Thanks much for setting aside some time to meet with a fellow FF member.  I hope that your trip home went smoothly.  Best of success to you getting the generator wired up.

Scott



 
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2021, 07:24:46 PM »
Thanks for sharing. That was pretty cool you guys had some good conversation and lunch 👍

Offline Southside

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2021, 07:34:59 PM »
Yup, had an awesome time. Too short, great food and wonderful company. Definitely a place to eat if you are any place close. 

Did a little extra shipping after Scott left, might have gone a little crazy, bought two crates full of fire extinguishers for hardly a penny on the dollar. Still in service, complete with tags, figured where I have one hanging now I may as well have a few, and I can hang a couple in every field we farm in case of a wildfire!! The photos don't show them all but you get the idea. In my defense, the place we went to is sort of a Sam's Club for electrical stuff, it's all in bulk!!



 

 

 
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Offline Skip

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2021, 09:16:45 AM »
Sure glad one didn't dis-charge on you on the way home. Had a big coal mine one go off in a chevy service van in the winter, long time ago :o >:( .Not a pleasant experience .(Post caused some flash backs :) )

Offline aigheadish

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2021, 12:39:14 PM »
About 3 months ago I went and picked up the 9000/7500W (I think) Predator, with similar Harbor Freight concerns. The unit appears nicer/more finished than a lot of HF stuff. I spent about $1k for it, a beefy plug to go into the wall to the breaker, and a wheel assembly to roll it around. I haven't needed it for anything yet so the verdict is still out there but it seems nice and should run most of my house, if needed.
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Offline FairFrank

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2021, 03:13:22 AM »
About 3 months ago I went and picked up the 9000/7500W (I think) Predator, with similar Harbor Freight concerns. The unit appears nicer/more finished than a lot of HF stuff. I spent about $1k for it, a beefy plug to go into the wall to the breaker, and a wheel assembly to roll it around. I haven't needed it for anything yet so the verdict is still out there but it seems nice and should run most of my house, if needed.
Would you recommend it after this time? Trying to figure out what is better for my house, gas, or fuel generator, choosing from this review, probably.

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2021, 03:36:27 PM »
The ultimate system is a ng (if available) or propane unit with an automatic transfer switch, if the power goes off during a storm or when nobody is home nothing to worry about. It is also the most expensive. A gas or diesel drive portable will work with a manual transfer switch but is less than convenient. @Wudman suggested a pto drive but now the tractor is tied up and needs to be frequently refueled, not ideal in a driving rain storm.
Whatever you choose have a proper transfer switch installed so that both sources CANNOT be supplying power at the same time per the NEC. You don't want to burn the house down or electrocute a lineman!
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline aigheadish

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2021, 07:05:27 PM »
I can't say for sure @FairFrank, I fire it up, as suggested in the manual, every 3 months or so to keep the fuel moving through, but I haven't plugged a thing into it yet. It does fire right up every time I've done that. I'm just following the manuals instructions, fire it up occasionally and add Stabil to beat the ethanol. 

I think, if it matters, a few days after I bought the Predator, I saw one at Menard's that I think was a better name brand for comparible money, everything is mostly Chinese nowadays anyway, I don't know if it makes a difference. I'd like to get a 220v welder and try it out with that, but it doesn't seem to be in the cards quite yet. 
New Holland LB75b, Husqvarna 455 Rancher, Husqvarna GTH52XLS, Hammerhead 250, Honda VTX1300 for now and probably for sale (let me know if you are interested!)

Offline SETexan

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Re: Need a new generator.
« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2021, 07:26:26 PM »
 We have the same 9500(surge) HF unit and after 2 years I would definitely recommend it. We lose power regularly and run it 9 days straight after a hurricane last year. I crank it once a month for 30 minutes if we don’t use it that month and haven’t had any issues.
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