Update on the Harbor Freight Generator.

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by Thunder5Ranch, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. ochit

    ochit Monkey+

    Well when I was a kid we just put a penny under the fuse screw it in and let er' rip
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I have to wonder how many of the new breed have even seen a screw in fuse.
  3. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Unless your willing to invest in a magnetic starter out side the regular service lines it gets pretty expensive and complicated .
    Though I can run my welder off my 6500 watt diesel , I don't. and it's simple . I invested in a gas engine powered welder so I don't have to do that.
    Run time is wear on all components . I typically run new equipment at least 10 hours or more just after purchase, then pickle them for future service . The initial run time is operating every thing to prove it all works, and work out bugs if any, and deal with problems before a real emergency exists .
    I don't count on warranties, especially in todays economy, companies no matter who they are, go out of business. beyond that , if you happen to live in the middle of no where ,or post SHTF and your may as well be in the middle of no where, what are you going to do with something that has an warranty issue during the middle of a disaster ?
    My parents had an air compressor shop and we were warranty station for almost a dozen products ,often time I was responsible for diagnosing the problem and determining responsibility . In fact many companies I worked for my job entailed quality control .
    Point of fact even expensive tools fail due to workmanship and materials .I invested in good tools for my work ,but I typically use cheap tools to make special access tools on some projects, the idea is to KNOW what it is your working with and the propensity of manufactures to exaggerate the limits of their products .
    I.E. as an example Sears and other falsely advertise /sell small cheap "5" HP air compressors , that don't actually put out 5 HP worth of air when put to the test. Their basis of the HP is by using starting amperage, not running amperage . big difference .
    The compressor pump its self is usually a 2-3 hp at best .They quit putting pertinent information on the motor nomenclature years ago to side step false advertising. Also displacement and out put are two very different things .
    In stead of telling the truth, under horse power they put " SPL " , not something they really want to be clear about.
    If you are serious about learning what's going on get an amp probe and learn how to use it. I recommend one that does AC and one that does DC for all your electrical issues .
    If all you have is nomenclature on your equipment , you don't know any thing about what is really going on .
    ANY thing with a motor is going to pull 3 to 4 times it's running amperage when starting so if the fridge is running and starting on its own keep that in mind when you want to plug in something else .
    Motomom34, Thunder5Ranch and ochit like this.
  4. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I use screw in fuses.

    If you want to run a welder or air compressor off a generator you are probably better off getting a engine driven welder and engine conpressor.
    arleigh and ochit like this.
  5. I'm a retired electrician, and I've posted this before. If you use the correct type and size of fuse IT WILL ALWAYS DO IT'S JOB. Breakers can fail catastrophically, and spectacularly! That said, learn the wheel above. And I don't own any stock in Buss/Fusetron.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Fuses protect Equipment, Breakers protect WIRE, when they work....
    Lancer, Mountainman, 3M-TA3 and 3 others like this.
  7. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    With all due respect, I don't buy the "those of less means" line. Like you, I am also retired and on a "fixed income". People can still set aside x number of dollars each month, in order to purchase better quality products. As I stated, I have. However, if they wish to settle for such things and not truly be prepared, that's totally their decision to make.

    Personally, I have always been quite diligent (I prefer that over anal retentive) when it comes to preventative maintenance on machines I have owned, or have been responsible for while in my care. I'm talking up to and including adding auxiliary oil filter relocation kits, engine and transmission oil coolers, and replacing factory radiators with ones with more rows / cores. I had a 1990 YJ Jeep once, that held a total of 9 quarts of oil, with the oil filter relocation kit I added to the engine. I even installed an oil cooler for the power steering box. That's how bad I was about it. So, I can't say the same, even regarding Honda or Onan generators that I have personally owned.

    I have seen junk units vibrate so badly, they almost literally, came apart while running. This is what I am talking about. Most of what companies like that sell, are not as good as "seconds" you can buy elsewhere.
    ochit likes this.
  8. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

  9. ochit

    ochit Monkey+

    Honda motors and generators have served me well and are fuel economic I would rather have a couple of units running a couple items as stated startup pulls a lot of amps so if one dies die for any reason I can limp along on the second I usually run for a tank allow for the other to take over and run it low on fuel and switch.
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yup, two is one, one is none.
    ochit and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
  11. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    After getting into it this afternoon, it looks like the breaker did not break and the wiring harness is where the fire started, then when the panel plastic got hot enough to start dripping onto the harness just compounded it. The on/off switch was just a plain melted and now hardened blob explaining why pushing the button was useless. I put around 2600-2800 hours on a generator per year and they are generally pretty well ragged out at the end of a year. Best generator on the truck I have had have been generacs the last generac I had when it was active on the truck got 6350 hours on it before it started slowing down. It is a 17,500 watt one that sits in a tin box behind the cabin now days and might be putting out 10,000-11,000 watts and serves as the main back up power. Have 5 down in the barn that are off brand ragged out junk that I keep because they still kind of work. Worst one I ever bought was a Rural King one that RK could not even tell me who the manufacturer was, that worked for a day before it died and they never could get it working in their shop and finally just gave me my money back.

    So I went to town today and just bought a 8000/10000 generac and will stay at around 40 amps of its 64 amp max running rating. They only had one in stock at the shop so ordered a second one that will be here Tuesday. Had to hit lowes for some other stuff and they had the same Generacs that I has just bought $999+tax for $1,199+ tax That made me a little happy to save $400 on the pair over the big box store. Figure I will run one in conjunction with the grid power available on all but one of my markets lots and run the second one on the lot with no power available. Not expecting to get 6300 hours out of these 8000E models but maybe 4,000 hours. The little shop I bought them from is also a authorized generac service and repair shop and wants me to bring Brutus the 17,500 watt monster in and believes a new power head and a engine rebuild that will cost about $1000 will have him as good as new and if I had brought it in when it started losing power he most likely could have got that covered under the warranty as it was still in the 3 year life of the warranty....... LOL about 5 years past that warranty now though :(

    Not my first rodeo running generators :) I power up in stages Freezer and refrigerator first until they are cooled down and slow cycling on the compressors, then the hot water heater, and then the AC comes on. The problem yesterday was the kid did not plug into the grid electric as instructed and plugged in roughly 40-42 more amps of stuff that was all turned on and heated one or two wires up to hot enough to invoke enough heat and flame to get the back inside of the panel burning. Ultimately that is my fault for obviously not teaching him how and where to plug things in stages. Now he knows and I know to do a better job with the new hired help. And well I got two brand new Generacs to play with so it all worked out good in the end.

    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  12. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    And looking at the picture reminds me that I need to clean that truck bed out, cut off those front bolts, grind them smooth, put the front boards back on, and get the canvas back over that covered wagon :) And get that truck back under a trailer and doing markets!
  13. Lancer

    Lancer TANSTAFL! Site Supporter+++

    The vast majority wouldn't know what a breaker is....
    1. a person or thing that breaks.
    2. a wave that breaks or dashes into foam.
    3. Citizens Band Radio Slang. a person who indicates a wish to transmit a message, as by breaking in on a channel.
    Cruisin Sloth and Motomom34 like this.
  14. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    I like shopping Harbor Freight but I do so with the understanding that nothing I buy there is intended to be a lifetime investment. I particularly like them for specialty tools I need for one specific job and will probably seldom if ever use again.

    Let's be honest: Their generators are not awesome. But they're not expected to be. And while I'm not one who often defends junk, I must point out that, junk or not, HF generators aren't horrible considering what they cost.

    HF generators are what I call "construction site grade", meaning they are popular with contractors who know their employees will beat the holy hell out of them if they are not stolen first. A few hundred bucks every 1-3 years is just the cost of doing business. I notice a lot of food trucks and caterers using them too, probably for the same reasons.

    And let's also bring up another obvious point: You can't put 72 amps on a 58 amp generator and then blame the generator when it blows up. As already mentioned, breakers are not true protection.

    I have a lot of misgivings about HF in general, but if you go into it knowing what you're getting it can be worthwhile.

    For the record, I have a 26 year old Honda that was rescued from the junk pile, and a 7000 watt Champion. Both are strong runners. But I ever wanted a cheap, limited-use generator, I'd head right to HF.
    oldawg, Motomom34 and Thunder5Ranch like this.
  15. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Any Generator that turns at 3600 Rpm is a piece of Consumer Crap... if you want Quality, and Longevity, look for a Generator that turns 1800 Rpm... anthing under 10K MTBF when Routine Maintainance is done, is a piece of Consumer Crap... Folks should look for a nice used Onan J Series Genset... 25K Operational Hours is common between InFrame Rebuilds... These come in Air Cooled, Water Cooled, Gasoline, Gasious, and Diesel Fueled, in 3Kw, 6Kw, 12Kw, 15Kw and the Big Daddy 17.5 Kw... and they can be had for WELL under $1kUS clear up to $2-4KUS.. MOST EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK... They have been built for over 5 Decades, and Parts are usually very easy to come by...
  16. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    I would have never figured that out! Thanks ;)
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  17. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    I'm smelling a lot of prepper snobbery in this thread.

    Between the people who insist they buy only the best while those of us with more modest means make do with what we can afford on our regular people incomes (also known as "If you don't buy what I buy, you're buying crap" syndrome), and the guys who think you can get a super deal on an 1800 RPM diesel generator on every street corner, it's getting awful stuffy in here.
  18. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Monkey+++

    saw the newer model of that 8000W Generac on a garage sale yesterday - little used- like brand new - $450 & negotiable too boot
  19. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Best plan is to build one's inventory with equipment that has the best/least wear factor.
    Refrigeration can be done with gas alone in stead of running a generator that runs a refrigeration unit . RVs do it al the time.
    That refer has basically one moving part , the door .
    Battery and solar again have no moving parts though batteries do have a limited life span of a few years .
    Any time I do run a generator I add a battery charger and bump the charge on the bank just for good measure and it takes very little from the generators primary job .
    If all I need is help due to winter months and very low sun and little wind, then a small engine /alternator makes up the difference.
    As a mechanic I didn't make a lot of money but I had people giving me their spent equipment, and I had the know how to rebuild and have my self some good equipment. So if you have the willingness to learn , some one else's junk can be your treasure, and in the long run having to learn something about the equipment you are depending on get's one that much further ahead in the future.
    None of my equipment was all purchased at once ,it all was acquired through the years as were my mechanical skills .
    Now there are newer technologies in generators that intrigue me with inverters, meaning the engine can run at any speed required and not limited to a specific RPM to maintain the proper 60 cycle phase . This is important because engine that are at a fixed speed tend to wear faster and use more fuel obviously .
    Given a few added controls I could accomplish the same thing with my little engine/alternator unit, adding an inverter and throttle control . But I already have inverters on the battery bank . job done ..
    Homer Simpson likes this.
  20. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    I buy the best for the application at hand which is very often "Consumer Crap" Come to think of it most of the people using generators for business run consumer crap for the reasons you listed earlier and a few others. Reasons like weight, ease of getting them serviced, ease of replacing a ragged out unit, WEIGHT when a generator has to be moved on and off the truck or even shifted around those like gas job that weigh 200-400 pounds are a lot easier than a 800 pound industrial diesel unit on steel skids. Space the Onan I have down in the S. barn is great but it takes up 46" long x I believe 29" wide and WEIGHS 864 pounds and yep cost less than $1000 and required $3000 worth of parts and labor to get it up, running and dependable. As a stationary unit it is great on the truck and mobile it takes up around 25% of the truck bed and that just does not fly when space is at a premium. If industrial diesel generators were the best, every caterer and food truck in the country would be running them, we tain't as Stewpid az sum peeple tink we'z iz. LOL we don't invest $80,000-$250,000 in our rigs and then buy consumer crap because it the best quality but because it the best for the application.

    I really have nothing against the Predator Generator from HF it was working great powering the base trailer power needs. Big Warning in the book "Exceeding the maximum load for this unit may cause damage!" No it may not cause damage it WILL cause damage :) I got what 2 years out of it........... and it was probably going to get tossed in the generator grave yard after this market season anyway for parts or to go to the scrap yard. I can't even say I am out the $400 or so I spent on it. As you said throw away generators are just a cost of doing business....... we just keep them running as long as we can, until they die or get stolen. Parked in a rest area to stretch my legs and take a leak and got back to the truck to find the truck tail gate open and the generator somehow walked away all by itself! Now the generator goes up in the nose and is buried under a tarp, tables and tents. But all I had to do to replace it for the show I was heading to was hit the closest Lowes and buy a new $500-$600 consumer crap generator and was up and running again before ever being down.

    LOL Prepper Snobbery I gotta remember that one! SM is not bad in that area but in general there are three kinds of preppers IMO the hide in the bunker everyone is out to get me and the world is going to end tomorrow breed. The just in general want to live their lives and be left alone breed. And the yep the world is turning to crap around around and I am going to hope for the best but prepare for the worst and am not going to exclude myself from the world breed. and a whole lot of inbetweens. Guess there is that fourth main breed that always has that serious air and is a expert in all things and loves to use the military lingo and tends to walk funny cause they got corn cob up their butt sideways and it has been my experience turn into soup sandwiches when things get real. I pretty much fall into the 3 category but due to being a anti social introvert by nature would prefer to be in the second. I kind of like the local militia types being scared of me though and thinking I am insane. They from what I hear believe I am the kind of guy that will kill you with a smile on my face and hum a tune as I roll the corpse into the tractor bucket to dump it over the fence for the hogs, if someone crosses me. Someone who moved onto our road a few years back finally asked how much of what they have heard about me is true, "Enough to keep folks honest" was my reply. I am not going to call what you have or how you do things crap and I am going to assume you are doing the best you can with what you have and improving when and as you can. As a general rule I speak only of myself and for myself and my experiences and what has and has not worked for me and try to find and express the humor in what has not worked. I can only dream of achieving the sheer perfection so many in the various prepper communities on the internet exude :) More than enough XsPuRtS out there to tell you everything you are doing wrong and trying to sell you a better way :)
    duane, 3M-TA3 and Tevin like this.
  1. techsar
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  9. Asia-Off-Grid

    Generator FAQ 2001

    Generator FAQ, By Steve Dunlop. [img]
    Posted By: Asia-Off-Grid, Jul 19, 2018 in category: Energy
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