1. Registration trouble? Please use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom right corner of the page and your issue will be resolved.
    Dismiss Notice

My Predator 3500 Inverter Generator

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by IRQVET, Dec 20, 2018.

?

Was this review helpful

Poll closed Dec 27, 2018.
  1. Yes

    100.0%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Dec 20, 2018
    IRQVET

    IRQVET Member

    Oregon
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    553
    So with the fires back in my home town of Santa Rosa California last year it became obvious to me that having a portable generator was a sound investment. When I went down there last year to try to combat the fire moving toward my mothers house (yes we were able to save it) almost nobody had a generator; and those that did, were living like KINGS compared to everyone else. My mother was without power for I believe 8-9 days. Fast forward a year or so, and my wife's family were effected by the fires up in Redding California. Again, nobody had a generator, and two of the three of her family members lost their house in that blaze.

    So getting a generator has been on my to-do-list since. Well I finally pulled the trigger. After doing the a considerable about of research, youtube, consumer reports, and just by talking to people- I went with the Harbor Freight Predator 3500 Inverter Generator.

    I have to admit I'm extremely pleased with it thus far. The build quality was surprisingly top notch and you can't imagine how smooth and quietly this thing runs. I paid $699.00 with a coupon offer; I know I could have gotten it cheaper by about $50 bucks if I had waited, but I felt the need to get one sooner than later.

    The Good about the Predator 3500 Inverter Generator:

    • Excellent size
    • The Price!!!
    • Build quality is top notch. All the plastics are very robust. If you've owned anything from Harbor Freight, you know anything they tend to make out of plastic is usually very cheap, brittle, and low quality. Not the Predator! Its fit and finish was better than most of the other brands I examined. (WEN, Champion, Honda, Yamaha, and Westinghouse) The Yamaha had the best fit and finish out of all of them in my opinion. The Honda was very nice as well.
    • Its very light, even when fueled up I think its less than 100 lbs.
    • Its quiet, like scary quiet for being what it is.
    • It doesn't bog down when picking up a load. Its very smooth.
    • Its surprisingly great on gas.
    • The digital display is very nice and easy to read
    • Comes with the battery for the electric start (I was surprised the battery was actually included)
    • They engineered an oil drain channel into the body, complete with a rubber grommet that goes underneath to seal everything up. So oil changes are clean and you don't need to worry about oil stains under where you store the generator.
    The Bad about the Predator 3500 Inverter Generator:

    • There is no fuel gauge on this unit (which is stupid in my humble opinion).
    • The plastic wheels on this thing are not the best, unless its going to live on a smooth surface like a garage floor. Taking this thing anywhere else (like camping) would be a real pain unless your strong enough to pick it up and carry it around.
    • Although it has steel carrying handles, there is no tug handle making it awkward to tow around if need be.
    • There are no USB charging ports like on most newer models coming out these days.

    My Opinion/ Best Practices for Break-in:

    The instructions/ owners manual for the Predator is typical HF garbage. One page of the manual says to change the oil at one interval, and the next page contradicts that and cites at different interval. So this is what I did after doing some more research:

    • 30 weight Oil (takes about half a quart)
    • Run the generator for 20 minutes
    • Drain the oil (saw almost no metal flakes in the used oil)
    • However, and this is key . . . with the cap off (obviously) and the drain plug off (obviously), use the other half of that oil in the jug and use it to back flush the crank case. Holly dog spit was I amazed how many metal flakes where hiding in that crankcase that didn't come out when you normally drain the oil under its own ambient pressure.
    • After its flushed out, replace the oil and run it for 8 hours under a 33% load for the break-in.
    • After 8 hours, while the engine is warm, replace the oil and flush the crank case again. (I noticed zero metal flakes after the break-in run)
    • Then go to Amazon or Home Depot and order the magnetic drain plug dipstick for $8.09 + tax.
    • Some people say they have changed out the spark plug and it make a huge difference and make it run smoother. I cannot confirm this as I haven't changed the plug yet.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  2. Dec 21, 2018
    Glenn

    Glenn Kinda grumpy old man Staff Member Sponsor

    Apopka, Fl
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2002
    Messages:
    9,219
    Sounds like a good generator for general home use since it's quiet.
     
  3. Dec 26, 2018
    Keys5a

    Keys5a Sponsor Sponsor

    Florida Keys
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    2,271
    Fuel economy is totally dependant on the load on the generator. I've always had a generator of some sort, mainly for hurricane use. When Irma hit Sept'16, power in my neighborhood was out for 11 days, with temps in the low 90s. My main goal was to keep the fridge cold. I ran a 7.5 kw unit for 8 hours, then off for 6-8 hours. I had fridge, several light circuits, and paddle wheel fans. I tried the A/C with everything else off, but it was too much starting load. The generator grunted and popped the circuit breakers. 8 hours is about 9 gallons gas.
    I have a Generac 13.5 kw up in NC to run the whole house, including A/C (just no oven/stove with A/C running). Unfortunately, all my working generators are 3600 rpm. I need to work on an 1800 rpm Onan 15 kw that needs to be driven by an old VW Rabbit diesel waiting for it.
    My neighbor across the street has an Onan 3.5 kw 1800 rpm driven by a Lister single cylinder, and that thing will run lights, fridge, and 4 small window shakers, all using about 2 1/2 gallons/day diesel. He never shut that generator down until power was restored.
    A quiet generator would be nice, but most of the other neighbors have loud units like mine. We all try to shut the noisy ones down by 9-10 pm.
    -Donny
     
  4. Dec 27, 2018
    Hellion

    Hellion Banned

    Eastern TN
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    521
    Not surprised. These engines are slapped together and sent down the conveyor belt to the boxing operation, leaving all the manufacturing detritus inside.

    The mini bike and go kart guys that buy the stand-alone Predator engines commonly remove the crankcase cover before even starting the engine and remove, wipe and/or blow out the particles and then button it all back up. Aside from that they are great engines with that steel/iron cylinder sleeve and OHV.

    My only suggestion is 100% gasoline should be used, especially in this application. You want it to run when you need it.
     
  5. Dec 27, 2018
    Alan28

    Alan28 Well-Known Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Ch√Ętillon en...
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,656
    I also bought a generator, the Honda 30is. Difficult to find more expansive indeed.
    But... I have a small Honda generator 600W since 1990, still perfect. And a friend gave me an older Honda generator 2200W, I had it repaired, working well. The problem is to have a perfect electricity.
    With electronic everywhere, in heating systems, and of course computers, the components are very sensitive and last time, with the old 2200W, it cost me some money to change the electronic card for central heating, and of course no good temperature in the house, was in winter. Obleiged to heat with the wood stoves.
    So... the Honda is perfect. It stands in a small building at 10m of the house, (was a pig house) electric starter, all perfect. The more poweerful model was too expensive (70 is) and 3000w is enough for my house.
    In case of necessity, I can use the 2 other generators but only on equipment with no electronic, for example a compressor or classic tools.

    I am not a survival guy, but in the country, you help yourself. I also can use the phone model to have a wifi connection if Internet is cut.
    And I can use the well pump to get water! This is important in case of fire around.
    Of course with the CJ5 + 2 awd cars, I can run away if special conditions, but I don't see what could happen. Storm? Tsunami? Volcano?:confused:

    EU30is Inverter Generator | Honda Power Equipment NZ
     
  6. Feb 18, 2019
    IRQVET

    IRQVET Member

    Oregon
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    553
    We had our first power outage so we fired up the Predator 3500 and it ran flawlessly. Powered up the wifi and router, TV, a Costco dish heater, and various lights around the house. Ran everything for 5 hours with no issues whatsoever! Barely used any fuel, maybe 1/8 a gallon.
     
    Glenn likes this.
  7. Feb 19, 2019
    Glenn

    Glenn Kinda grumpy old man Staff Member Sponsor

    Apopka, Fl
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2002
    Messages:
    9,219
    Glad to hear it! :coffee::)
     
  8. Feb 19, 2019
    Howard Eisenhauer

    Howard Eisenhauer Super Moderator Staff Member Sponsor

    Tantallon, Nova...
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    Messages:
    5,888
    I've got a Gererac 15KW with a transfer switch, runs on propane. When needed I make sure all the lights in the house are on to pi$$ off the neighbours :D
     
    Vanguard, IRQVET and mortten like this.
  9. Feb 19, 2019
    PeteL

    PeteL Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Hills of NH
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Messages:
    6,496
    That doesn't even seem possible.
     
  10. Feb 19, 2019
    Cap-n-Cray

    Cap-n-Cray I want to do this again.. Staff Member Sponsor

    Bainbridge...
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Messages:
    202,755
    On the Island we lose power quit a lot. I first had my 5K contractor generator for power. It was hard to start and my wife couldn't start it. So I got a Champion 6K generator from Costco with battery start. I have 50 gallons of gas for it. I had it for two years and everything was good. Wife could start it and knows how to use the transfer switch...

    Then at the end of summer I started it and was going to run it for a 1/2 hour for the winter season ahead. After 5 minute I heard it stop from my shop. I keep it in my carport. So I go to see what had happened. I found the generator setting in a pool of 2 gallons of gas. The carb float had stuck open and emptied the tank...

    Well I call Champion and they said they would replace the carb. I asked them if the problem with the carb had been corrected and they said what problem. Long story short I returned the generator to Costco. They took it back no question asked. So I bought another Champion generator from Costco. Now I have a 7K generator but it is dual fuel and I run it on propane. Runs for about a day on a 20 LBS tank. I have been collecting tanks and have about 10 tanks now...

    I also have a Honda 2000i small inverter for my Rpod trailer and I converted it to run on propane too...

    No more plastic gas containers. I think the propane tanks are a little saver and propane doesn't go bad...

    I keep the outside lights on just for that... :D
     
  11. Feb 19, 2019
    PeteL

    PeteL Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Hills of NH
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Messages:
    6,496
    I like propane too, run a six-cylinder wood-splitter on it. Clean, and always starts.

    But one big drawback is during an extended outage, you can only get refills from a central supplier. They can be overwhelmed, rationing, closed, or out of fuel waiting for a delivery that may take days or weeks. We've seen that here before in ice-storms.

    Gas, kerosene, etc, I figure I can always stash, trade, or transport a few gallons from someplace without requiring the assistance of a third party.
     
  12. Feb 19, 2019
    Cap-n-Cray

    Cap-n-Cray I want to do this again.. Staff Member Sponsor

    Bainbridge...
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Messages:
    202,755
    That's why I like duel fuel. I can run on gas if necessary...
     
  13. Feb 22, 2019
    IRQVET

    IRQVET Member

    Oregon
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    553
    I was just as surprised about that too. I have no idea if running non-ethanol makes any difference as far as consumption is concerned. Or maybe my electronics weren't putting the generator at much of a load . . . :confused: This is my first generator so I wasn't sure what to expect. But after 5 hours it used hardly any fuel.
     
  14. Feb 27, 2019
    Keys5a

    Keys5a Sponsor Sponsor

    Florida Keys
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    2,271
    The fuel consumption is closely related to load. The more you are trying to power up, the more the generator grunts. When I'm on the generator, and the central A/C starts, the generator has a heart attack for about 20 seconds with the starting load. Then it sucks fuel!
    -Donny
     
    Twin2 likes this.
  15. Mar 1, 2019
    IRQVET

    IRQVET Member

    Oregon
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    553
    After I posted last, we had a 4.5 day power outage after the storm that hit the pacific northwest. We ran our generator for about 14-16 hours per day. I checked the draw and on average we were pulling 1,750 watts. When we plugged in a few more space heaters in it put more load on it, averaging about 2,270 watts and it ran well/ smooth. Fuel consumption varied, but still suprisingly low; maybe 6 gallons +/- for the entire 4.5 days. I think that's pretty good . . . :shrug:

    I had several 5 gallon fuel cans on standby since we weren't sure how long we'd be without power. I have a brand new gas stove, but its new in the box and hasn't been installed yet. :banghead:

    On the no bueno side, last Sunday at 10pm we had a tree come down and hit the side of the casa. Seemed to hit the roof and roll off. Still accessing the damage but on face value there doesn't seem to be any. Missed my back slider by inches.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  16. Mar 2, 2019
    Glenn

    Glenn Kinda grumpy old man Staff Member Sponsor

    Apopka, Fl
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2002
    Messages:
    9,219
    That's some real good fuel economy! Hopefully you won't find any damage from the tree falling.
     

Share This Page

New Posts