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Author Topic: Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W  (Read 1171 times)

Steve-White

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Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W
« on: May 17, 2021, 05:21:02 pm »

Anybody have any experience with one of these?:  https://www.harborfreight.com/generators-engines/generators/inverter-generators/9500-watt-super-quiet-inverter-generator-with-co-secure-57080.html

I have a Honda EB2800i:  https://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/models/EB2800i

The Honda EB2800i works great for small jobs.  I have a 9000W spinner and am considering changing that one out to an Inverter type that's quieter.

Seems like whenever Predator Generators come up in a discussion the comments are favorable.  Anyone use any of the HF branded inverter generators?

I've owned/used Northern Tool house branded North Star 13,000W & 28,000W and Powerhorse 4000W & 9000W conventional generators with good results, but don't have any experience with the HF stuff.  The NT Powerhorse 9000W is the one I'm considering replacing.

The power management on the Inverter I've used so far is great - they idle back down when load is reduced which lends itself to audio system applications if for nothing else the noise management aspects.

The HF 9500W Inverter looks to have a L14-30R on it which means it would plug right up to my stuff.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 05:23:15 pm by Steve-White »
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2021, 12:19:37 am »

My experience with HF generators is that they work just long enough to be out of warranty and then something goes wrong with them.  Parts are pretty much non existent, and build in such a way that normal repair is nearly impossible.

Had it happen twice in a row. Will never buy another from them.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2021, 03:22:31 am »

Bennett did an interesting side-by-side recently of a ~3kW HF and a Honda, with a couple bonus clips from the 2kW and 7kW Hondas that was enlightening.  I will echo Brian's comments that the HF seem to work...until they don't.  And enough of those stories floated around that we went with the Honda.

In going through this exercise several years ago, we found we can easily get our hands on the 3kW Honda from numerous places locally if we need a tiny generator, but the mid-size (7kW-12kW) are not nearly as prevalent.  Some back of napkin math on systems that we'd need generator power for put the 7kW as the better option in terms of size/weight/storage space, and if we're truly into a larger system we're likely into a trailer mounted gen set in the 20kW range or above.

All that said:  The 7kW Honda has been absolutely rock solid, and impressive in its function and capacity.  (I borrowed one to run my house a time or two during bad storms, and it did the job admirably)  We bought 3rd party 4-wheel kits for them, but other than that it is simple maintenance, and it just plain works.  Oh yeah - and QUIET.
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Mike Monte

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Re: Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2021, 07:58:56 am »


Seems like whenever Predator Generators come up in a discussion the comments are favorable.  Anyone use any of the HF branded inverter generators?


I purchased a HF 2500 watt inverter generator (on a flash sale for $399.00) about 5 years ago just to see if it was worth it......as it was cheap enough.
Expecting the usual HF run-a-round I ran it - ran it - ran it until the return warranty expired....it kept working....and to this day, it actually works well.
It was the first inverter that Predator came out with thus the model is out of production it seems.

My sound use has been for spoken-word remote use but mostly used for stage lights on remote gigs.  The power is fine for my QU mixers with no issues.

My only gripe is that starting it can be a process as the engine needs to be primed (open gas flow, choke off, pull cord 15 times, then choke on and pull a few times to start) as it doesn't seem to be gravity-fed like my Honda 3000's'.  Once it starts it runs fine.

On one of my annual gigs (in June) the client provides a Predator 4000 (non-inverter) for stage power.
It has worked well for the past 6 years..........although I bring an analog board to that gig.  I have also run analog gear on a Predator 6000-something (don't recall the exact model #) generator and it was fine for a day/evening festival.

From my limited experience (and reading reviews) with HF generators I gather that if one is going to fail it fails sooner rather than later.........

I have zero experience with the new line of Predators from HF..........but I'm happy with my Predator.   
 
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2021, 10:41:09 pm »

I purchased a HF 2500 watt inverter generator (on a flash sale for $399.00) about 5 years ago just to see if it was worth it......as it was cheap enough.
Expecting the usual HF run-a-round I ran it - ran it - ran it until the return warranty expired....it kept working....and to this day, it actually works well.
It was the first inverter that Predator came out with thus the model is out of production it seems.

My sound use has been for spoken-word remote use but mostly used for stage lights on remote gigs.  The power is fine for my QU mixers with no issues.

My only gripe is that starting it can be a process as the engine needs to be primed (open gas flow, choke off, pull cord 15 times, then choke on and pull a few times to start) as it doesn't seem to be gravity-fed like my Honda 3000's'.  Once it starts it runs fine.

On one of my annual gigs (in June) the client provides a Predator 4000 (non-inverter) for stage power.
It has worked well for the past 6 years..........although I bring an analog board to that gig.  I have also run analog gear on a Predator 6000-something (don't recall the exact model #) generator and it was fine for a day/evening festival.

From my limited experience (and reading reviews) with HF generators I gather that if one is going to fail it fails sooner rather than later.........

I have zero experience with the new line of Predators from HF..........but I'm happy with my Predator.   


15 pulls, you have to be kidding.  I would have had the ether out at pull number 3.  Just a squirt will do ya!  Some people claim that is hard on the engine as it dries out the oil in the cylinder, I can't imagine assuming it's at a reasonable temp that it doesn't scavenge oil during the pull.







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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Steve-White

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Re: Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2021, 11:17:49 pm »

^^^  In my generator evolution learning curve, I had two of those little 2KW suitcase type fully enclosed rigs - one from Northern Tool which was their mid-grade house brand Powerhorse, which was battery start and had an automatic choke.  That one was hard to start from the getgo, so back it went and I picked up a Generac version which was manual choke and pull cord to start.  Had that one about 3 months and sold it on eBay.  Next was the Honda EB2800i which is an open frame model with much larger tank on top relative to engine size and capacity, and NO FUEL PUMP.  That one is a keeper.

The little self-contained suitcase types have the fuel tank at one end of the generator sitting beside the engine.  Engine is vertical oriented OHV type which puts the float bowl type carburetor up top.  This means they require a fuel pump.  Therein lies the reliability problem.  If they aren't run on a pretty close schedule monthly, if you skip a month they become a real chore to start.

I started tuning a 3HP Briggs & Stratton flathead on a minibike back in the 60's when I was 11 years old.  Have ran and tuned racing karts, dirt bikes, yard equipment both 4 cycle and 2 cycle.  Tuned gasoline, alcohol, and nitromethane fueled engines, blown alcohol drag boat.  Built engines, tuned for others.

I know how to start an engine - those things are inherently junk.  Yeah yeah yeah break out the ether, run fuel stabilizer additives, etc etc etc.

I have the one open frame inverter, and 3 conventional generators - 9000W, 13000W, 28000W and run the 4 once a year when not in use and that's plenty, they fire right up.  Been on that schedule for the past 7-8 years.  Three of them are electric start, so keep the batteries on a float charger and store them inside the shop with fuel stabilizer in them.

The 13000W Honda V-Twin powered North Star generator has a fuel pump on it and the 28000W PowerHorse rig has a fuel pump on it - no problems with either of them on an annual run basis.  It's the smaller ones that require monthly run time and that's just a painintheass I don't need.
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Steve-White

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Re: Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2021, 11:32:26 pm »

I appreciate all of your feedback and comments.  I guess it was wishful thinking that a $1500 generator would be something worth investing in.

Nope, not going to take a chance.  Over the past 8 years, since the first emergency backup generator I bought which was a Generac GP7500, I've sold 4 of them off for one reason or another.  The GP7500 was emergency backup for the house, I have computers and the entertainment and audio systems all on APC 2200W & 3000W UPS's.  The power from the GP7500 was dirty and UPS's went nuts.  That was where I figured the small 2000W inverters for the electronics.  They were sold off because of reliability and starting issues.  Had a 4000W Powerhorse for a couple of years, it was barely enough to run the house in the winter and under load the UPS's would chatter, so I upgraded it to the 9000W rig when I found a scratch & dent model for a good deal.

Then came the real deal to run the house in the summer with AC.  Upgraded again to the Honda powered North Star 13000W rig, which will run the whole house and start the AC in the summer.  But, it starts the AC a bit more sluggishly than I like which is hard on the compressor.

So, this year I added the 30HP 28000W rig and it starts the AC like it's still on the grid.

My thought is to unload the 9000W for a bit smaller and quieter inverter rig.  Also, probably going to unload the 13000W rig.

For the ~7500W inverter it will either be another Honda or a PowerHorse as I have had a few of them and know they run good.  Since it will be for the business, I'll probably just buy once, cry once and go with the Honda.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200756204_200756204

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200833082_200833082

Here's a picture of the Honda EB2800i that I have - that replaced the 2KW suitcase types.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200833072_200833072
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2021, 12:41:22 am »

I appreciate all of your feedback and comments.  I guess it was wishful thinking that a $1500 generator would be something worth investing in.

Nope, not going to take a chance.  Over the past 8 years, since the first emergency backup generator I bought which was a Generac GP7500, I've sold 4 of them off for one reason or another.  The GP7500 was emergency backup for the house, I have computers and the entertainment and audio systems all on APC 2200W & 3000W UPS's.  The power from the GP7500 was dirty and UPS's went nuts.  That was where I figured the small 2000W inverters for the electronics.  They were sold off because of reliability and starting issues.  Had a 4000W Powerhorse for a couple of years, it was barely enough to run the house in the winter and under load the UPS's would chatter, so I upgraded it to the 9000W rig when I found a scratch & dent model for a good deal.

Then came the real deal to run the house in the summer with AC.  Upgraded again to the Honda powered North Star 13000W rig, which will run the whole house and start the AC in the summer.  But, it starts the AC a bit more sluggishly than I like which is hard on the compressor.

So, this year I added the 30HP 28000W rig and it starts the AC like it's still on the grid.

My thought is to unload the 9000W for a bit smaller and quieter inverter rig.  Also, probably going to unload the 13000W rig.

For the ~7500W inverter it will either be another Honda or a PowerHorse as I have had a few of them and know they run good.  Since it will be for the business, I'll probably just buy once, cry once and go with the Honda.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200756204_200756204

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200833082_200833082

Here's a picture of the Honda EB2800i that I have - that replaced the 2KW suitcase types.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200833072_200833072



Steve ,. I was being humorous about my laziness expecting some ribbing for my liberal use of ether, in no way was I questioning your operating skill.


I am very curious about though, are you familiar with horizontally opposed aircraft engines?  I have a TSIO-540 6 cylinder gas turbocharged engine in my airplane.  You say you are safe starting the gas engines once a year.  If I was not going to fly for over 90 days I would have the engine pickled for storage.  I store it in an insulated, heated hangar.


My understanding is that the oil will run off the cylinders and cam and then moisture will collect causing corrosion.  I have heard of people starting engines under these conditions and spalling the cam.  Worse is some folks start their aircraft but don't fly them.  My mechanic explained that you have to get the engine up to temp long enough to boil off the water so running at climb and cruise settings for an hour a month is critical to keep corrosion away.


I have used the same process with my ground based engines, when I start them I load them up and use them, anything from line trimmers, generators to my zero turn commercial mower.  Do you think corrosion is not as big an issue on ground based engines or is it something I unique to the horizontally opposed design?
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Steve-White

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Re: Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator - 9500W
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2021, 01:33:58 am »

I didn't take it that way at all Scott.  I was foot stomping what you said.  And the "I can start an engine" comment was a reflection on how difficult those little turds are to start when they sit for 60 days or more.

With regard to oil slowly moving off you are probably spot on and I may want to consider running them more often for sure.  My comment on cranking 'em once a year was about them starting up - not it being safe with regard to the oiling condition you mentioned that could occur.  I learned something there, thanks much.  That could shorten an engine's lifespan considerably and makes total sense - for long term storage, probably want to pull spark plugs and give 'em a snort of Marvel Mystery Oil.  I'll look at that or the run them more frequently option.

Aircraft wise, been in the defense aircraft business for 33 years - know it well from many aspects - but power plants isn't an area I have messed with.  Airworthiness is something I am familiar with though, with regard to depot repair and certification of work centers.

I keep the genny's in a climate controlled shop and will probably crank 'em up at least twice a year (or set them up for long term storage) based upon your feedback - very good information.

I have a dislike for the little baby inverters in case you hadn't noticed.....  ROFL!  :)

Like you, about 10 pulls on the cord and it's time to break out the ether.  With the little genny's they would fire off of the ether, but not sustain running.  The fuel system on them is real finicky.  It says in the manual to run them monthly and I tried to extend the time with bad results.  Running fuel stabilizer in everything, I don't know what could be done with one of those to reduce maintenance when not in use.

Something I've become aware of for anything added to the inventory is maintenance.  I've got lots of equipment, machinery, tools to care for these days.  Things I didn't consider in the past, get consideration now - like noise level.  For instance in the shop air filtration system, needs ~800 CFM for good air exchange.  So, I bought a 1400 CFM rig and run it on low where it's quiet.  Same with large 48" fan, started with a $250 Harbor Freight class fan, yeah it moved the air but was noisy as hell.  Outside at night on the patio in the summer, smoke a stogie and watch some TV, had to crank up volume to the point it took away from the setting.  A $750 fan with nice curved blades solve the problem.  Balanced and moves the air quietly.

Ya get what ya pay for - buy once, cry once.

Engines up to temp to boil moisture out of crankcase - yep.  Learned that one with air compressors in the Quincy manual.  Talked to guy at work about that and he said yes it definitely applies to your vehicles too.  He lived 10 minutes from work and said he went through many mufflers on his pickup, when discussing with his mechanic was told it was moisture collecting and not heating enough to burn it off.  So, when taking the short drive to work, I remote start the Jeep to warm it up, so thermostat is open and at least the top end is warmed up when I start the drive.  I doubt the oil or tranny come up to full temp as it's only an 8 minute drive.

With the generators when I run them, after they warm up good they get stressed to full load or as close as I can get - with the big boy, I turn everything in the house on to load it up and some of the shop equipment.

Thanks for your comments.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 01:57:00 am by Steve-White »
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Mike Monte

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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2021, 07:38:50 am »

I purchased a HF 2500 watt inverter generator (on a flash sale for $399.00) about 5 years ago just to see if it was worth it......as it was cheap enough.
Expecting the usual HF run-a-round I ran it - ran it - ran it until the return warranty expired....it kept working....and to this day, it actually works well.
It was the first inverter that Predator came out with thus the model is out of production it seems.

My sound use has been for spoken-word remote use but mostly used for stage lights on remote gigs.  The power is fine for my QU mixers with no issues.

My only gripe is that starting it can be a process as the engine needs to be primed (open gas flow, choke off, pull cord 15 times, then choke on and pull a few times to start) as it doesn't seem to be gravity-fed like my Honda 3000's'.  Once it starts it runs fine.

On one of my annual gigs (in June) the client provides a Predator 4000 (non-inverter) for stage power.
It has worked well for the past 6 years..........although I bring an analog board to that gig.  I have also run analog gear on a Predator 6000-something (don't recall the exact model #) generator and it was fine for a day/evening festival.

From my limited experience (and reading reviews) with HF generators I gather that if one is going to fail it fails sooner rather than later.........

I have zero experience with the new line of Predators from HF..........but I'm happy with my Predator.   

Although my Predator seems to work I always have a back-up in my truck (doesn't everyone?).

For the majority of the remote things that I do I have two Honda eu3000is' that I set up with the appropriate parallel cables.
Each gen's 30A out connects to a side of a distro (one 30A "in" supplies two 20A circuits per side).
That give me 46 amps in total - which is all that I need for what I do.

I did consider going the Honda 6500/7000 route a few years ago but at 260 lbs. I would have a tough time getting it up the ramp plus I could limp through a gig if one of my 3000's decides to fail.


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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2021, 07:38:50 am »


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