Searching for a New Generator

This article appeared a couple of years ago but was lost in the “crash”, I am rebuilding it from notes with some editing.

So I am looking for a higher capacity generator than my Honda U2000i.

Here are some things I am looking for:

  1. Affordable
  2. 4,000 – 5,000 running watts.
  3. Dual fuel (gasoline & propane).
  4. Electric start.
  5. 30a RV plug.
  6. 2 x 110 – 120v household outlet (15a or greater).

Here are some things that I would like:

  1. Quiet run technology.
  2. Inverter power

Here are some things that would be icing on the cake:

  1. 240v outlet
  2. Remote start.

After the house is done the unit will probably sit in a corner of the shop somewhere gathering dust and not used much. Maybe a back-up to my solar system. Or rather, a back-up to my back-up. My Honda will be my first back-up.

I did think about a “companion” to my Honda EU2000i, effectively doubling my power capability. But I decided against it due to other considerations.

I also wasn’t real worried about noise…I have my Honda EU2000i for “stealth” running but I also don’t want to be heard in the next county over…or maybe even at the next property over.

So after a lot of searching and comparing and reading reviews I went with the Champion Model #100302 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter.

The good, bad, & ugly:

  1. Afford it at $565.
  2. 3500 running watts…500 – 1500 watts lower than I was looking for.
  3. Not factory ready for propane, but a conversion kit exists,
  4. Not electric start but all reviewers claim 1 – 2 easy pulls and it starts Evey time.
  5. 30a RV plug
  6. Two 15a 3-prong household style outlets
  7. Quiet run technology
  8. Inverter style
  9. No electric start
  10. No remote start

Here are the specs and info on the unit…

  • Advanced Open Frame Inverter Design – 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a traditional Champion 3500-watt generator, plus our Economy Mode feature saves fuel and extends engine life,
  • No GFCI Outlets
  • Quiet Technology and Extended Run Time – 64 dBA is great for RVs, tailgating, your next project or home backup, with 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts for up to 17 hours run time on gasoline
    Clean electricity for sensitive electronics
  • RV Ready with a 120V 30A RV, plus two 120V 20A household outlets with clean power (less than 3% THD) and 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter
  • Parallel Ready – Increase your power output by connecting up to two 2800-watt or higher inverter or digital hybrid with the optional Parallel Kit
  • Champion Support – Includes 3-year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support from dedicated experts.
  • No Voltmeter.
  • Voltage: 120V AC and 12V DC
  • Start Type: Manual
  • Engine: 224cc Champion OHV
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Quick Touch Panel – all controls on one panel
  • Economy Mode – save fuel, extend engine life

I followed the break-in procedure to the letter. I used a hair dryer for the “load”, using the various wattage settings on the hair dryer to successively increase the load on the generator for each break-in phase. I also changed to the high altitude carburetor jet. The customer service folks were very helpful getting that to me for free.

With the initial addition of the crankcase oil I added a tablespoon of Lucas Oil TB Zinc Plus. Most oil today has zinc processed out of it. But, zinc is a really good oil additive that helps lubricate an engine…especially helpful with small engines to extend their life.

After the initial break-in I used fully synthetic oil. I also use Lucas Oil TB Zinc Plus with every engine oil change.


Update #1 – About a month after the generator purchase…

I wavered on buying the wheel kit or not. I’ve never been a big fan of those cheap, mostly useless, wheels on things like generators, etc. They never seem to be right for what I want to do. But, I had to be able to move the generator around easily since I will be using it at my house-building job site and later when I need to roll it out as a back-up power supply. So I had to do something.

Then I remembered being at a nursery and using a cool cart to move my plants around. So i researched it out and found this…

It cost $127 but I felt it would be worth it. I was right. When I was done mounting the generator to the cart my rig looks like this…

For the first two weeks I used the generator at the job site. It powered everything from air compressors to AC units. I used it from 6 – 12 hours per day, every day.

Here are my findings:

  1. The generator was worth every penny!
  2. It never failed to start on the first pull.
  3. It ran everything I plugged into it.
  4. It is better on gas than I thought.
  5. I would mount the generator in the middle of the cart next time. It is off-balance mounted so far to the rear of the cart.

I am immensely pleased with the generator! I think it is a fantastic unit and will hold up just fine if I do my part to change oil, etc.

Just for the record…I always had been a Honda Guy. I felt nothing was better or could even compete with a Honda. I have to admit…I was wrong. Well, at least so far.

Honda doesn’t make a 4kw inverter generator so I can’t make a comparison. But, I can tell you this…Honda’s 3kw (25% less power) costs about $2300…yup, over 4 times more than my Champion. So I can’t complain. Yes, that means I can own 4 Champions, have more power, and have paid less than a single Honda.

And now here is what I am thinking…I am considering buying a second Champion unit. Champion makes a parallel kit to hook them up and effectively double the output to 8kw of power. Not only would I have massive power generating capability I would have a back-up for my essential needs.

And yes…That means I would have about $1200 or so invested in 7kw of power. And yes…If I went Honda that means I would have spent over $4000.

Final thought…I am pleased with my Champion generator! I think it was a very good investment. It does everything I want it to. I think it was money very well spent. And I would do it again. Actually, I am thinking I will.

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One thought on “Searching for a New Generator

  1. Good call!! We have one similar to yours but we don’t have parallel ability. Ours has powered our travel trailer just fine.
    We have found that 8 hours a tank is the best we could do as far as fuel usage. ours is not a duel fuel. I alsowanted a Honda but it was cost prohibitive. Champion make a good machine..

    Liked by 1 person

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