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Old 09-01-2018, 07:48 PM   #1
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Predator 3500 Gen Review

Lots of chatter about this little GEM I mean Gen :-)
Every since I heard a Honda 3000 running I was hooked but not so much to spend 2k on a xtra gen.
So I picked up a new Predator 3500 for $679. Unpacked it, comes with 12 volt charging cables that plug into a 12 volt outlet to charge a car battery at 8 amps.
Also included is a small tool kit and a funnel to add engine oil plus a 30 Amp RV style locking plug.
Filled oil which only holds 1/2 Qt Filled fuel tank or close to it, capacity I think is 2.6 Gal.
This unit has electric start battery included but I wanted to pull start it first. Started on the first pull and ran like a Caddy. Unlike the Honda the Predator has a nice LCD readout showing voltage output, Amps,Watts, current run time and total hours. Also warning lights for over load, low oil and such.
To break it in I ran a shop fan and some other light stuff, changed the oil at 2 hrs then 8hrs. Today I hooked it up to my 43ft American Coach to see what it can operate if needed. Yes I have a 10K Onan on board.
It will run any single item on the coach at one time. I have a Res fridge so it is always on and the charger was also keeping the batteries warm but they were mostly topped off.

It will only operate one 15K AC as expected but had about 10 Amps left over for other items. Water heater has about the same usage level. It would operate front and rear electric floors at 19.5 amps. Micro pulled 17.3 Amps. Inductive cook top on high 10.4 Amps
It would operate the A/C and cook top on high at 22.6 Amps.
So far very happy and impressed with this little unit. SUPER QUIET as a Honda.
Its not a Honda but for the money it looks hard to beat.
Just wanted to share my experience with it so far.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:54 AM   #2
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I totally agree with the GEM part of your review. Iíve had mine for just over a year now, and still love it. My mostly rides in my truck unused, but when I do need it Iíve found I can count on it to fire right up, deliver the rated load easily, and itís quieter than my champion 2000 inverters or Honda 2000s. To me it sounds just a tad louder than the Honda 3000, but quite a bit quieter than a Honda 3000 Handi. With my solar I donít need a generator very often for battery charging so I pretty much only use it for high demand uses, primarily AC. Running 1 15k AC unit I get right around 5 hours of run time on a tank.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:36 PM   #3
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Predator 3500 Gen Review

I do truly wish you much luck on this venture, my Honda EU3000 ran for 8 hours today just purring along. Lets compare notes in a decade to see how it fares.

As for electronics display, I would rather keep it simple. If the electronics last past 5 years, one surely will not find a replacement part for them. After that amount of time, an analog hour meter would be nice tho.

Also, changing oil, the Dear park sport water bottle seems to fit perfect on the oil drain. No mess, fast change, start right back up.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:55 PM   #4
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Thanks I have no doubt it will meet my needs which will be very limited.
If my life depended on it I would have bought a Honda also. Honda makes the best !
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:17 PM   #5
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Predator 3500 Gen Review

Honda EU3000 just shut down for quiet time for the 6th day after 8 hours of idle charging/coffee, all energy just purs.

DeWalt 9 amp hr power station X 4 picks up the night load of fans from this heat. But chirps like a bird in the morning for a charge.


I may lead the drive to DeWalt 12 amp hour X 4 = 50 amp hr in power station only because it can be resold. The tech is moving so fast, drop in batts may not resell. The drop in batteries may last ten years. But the same size of energy storage will double again in 3 years,,,
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:24 PM   #6
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I actually think most folks purchasing a Predator 3500 will have a generator that is still functioning 10 years down the road, and they will have had good service from it. It's easy to understand why folks would worry with the name harbor freight, but if you open up the machine and look it over it's actually pretty well built. I bought my two little champion inverters when they first came out and folks were warning they too would die right away. Other than fuel related carb fouling due to neglect on my part they have worked like champs, pun intended.

I just saw a Predator 3500 with 3100 plus hours on it that according to the contractor had had no maintenance other than sparkplug, oil changes and cleaning off the spark arrestor a couple times. It was on a roofing and home remodeling contractors trailer that he had set up with two predator generators, a couple compressors, portajon and assorted other pieces of equipment that enabled him to be completely self sufficient on the job site and not have to plug into anything, while keeping noise down as much as possible. He had to have been keeping pretty busy and running the thing non-stop to have that much time on the generator already being as how they've only been on the market a little over a year.


Finally, you have to remember that if the Predator lasts half as long as a Honda would have you got a great value. More power for well under half the cost, and when they finally start making something practical with fuel injection rather than a carb you won't mind upgrading as much.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:23 PM   #7
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Predator 3500 Gen Review

Well I admire your, praise of short term data. Could I ask for the part number for a replacement digital display. Is the part available right now? Could I order it if it broke?

You canít break the patent on the EFI, your going to have to license it.

Also do you include a wall wart battery charger because the engine has no rectifier to charge the battery that starts it? Honda self charges the battery, another cord we donít need.

Power management, AC was on and off all day today. 20 inch Rockwell fan did not change RPM as Honda EU3000 idle went up and down to load balance.
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:54 PM   #8
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Why would I be worrying about the digital display? What experience have you got that makes you think LCD displays are high fail items? Should it fail, it's just a luxury that you can either repair, or leave. You would still have the same indicators lights that other no LCD generators have.

My experience using the generator is over a year now, first hand as an individual with 40 years of extensive experience in maintenance, high tech product test and development. As such, I still see nothing that concerns me with this generator. Engine is still tight, no oil consumption, starts easily every time, runs well right up to and even in excess to rated capacity in below freezing or above 100 degree temps, and will start and run the air conditioners on my trailer which a similar honda won't do unless I bring the power cable in after my 50 amp progressive EMS system. With a honda the voltage at compressor startup drops enough with either AC unit to cause the EMS contactor to chatter. Works fine with the Predator which has more umph.


Finally, I'm not sure what the battery charger comment is about. The predator comes with DC cables, but they are for charging batteries external to the generator. I've used them many times for my ATV. The battery in the generator itself is charged internally as you would expect. Also, there doesn't appear to be any parasitic drain on the battery. I had some health issues earlier this spring so the generators didn't get started or ran for approximately 5 months. When I got around firing them up, the battery had plenty of umph and the generator fired up immediately. It really is a great value for a good product. In addition, you can take the $1200 or so dollars you save and put 500 to 600 watts or more of solar on your roof so you won't have to bug your neighbors with a generator to do basic battery charging etc.
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:51 PM   #9
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Predator 3500 Gen Review

I apologies if I seem harsh, just always look for parts avalibilitty of new products. So much stuff coming in from China that canít be fixed because of no parts.

Battery charging (internal), got tricked by a Yamaha pressure washer that needed a wall wort to charge the internal battery. Was not brought up here, internal or external, did not know I had to look for that trick now.

May do small solar with lead acid, but not going big 1800 watts or so until rig is powered by lithium storage.

Would like to put our gens side by side and do a true amp test & power management. Would like to know why Predator does not says (amps) on 30 amp plug? Honda states 23.3 amps.
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:49 PM   #10
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The Predator 3500 has a sticker saying 25 amps max, and I've taken it up to 27 without it tripping out. My champions trip out almost immediately if the rated capacity is exceeded. The Predator handles surges much better. The other downside to my Champions is that the engine is marginal in power, slightly insufficient at altitude to where the generators don't deliver full power. So far, the Predator does much better at altitude. I haven't put high altitude jets in either carb, as I sometimes operate down to sea level, but I have put slightly hotter plugs in both the Champ, and my Predator.


Again, for $700 dollars the Predator is quite a bargain, especially for those of us who repair all their own equipment and thus won't be out anything but parts if there are issues. Like anything of this nature, run it hard under warranty to see if there are any problems with it as I've found problems on this sort of thing show up pretty quickly more often than not.
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