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Old 11-20-2010, 07:16 PM   #1
fathergoat
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Default Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

A few weeks ago I purchased an 800w/900w generator from Harbor freight. I wanted something on hand in case the power goes out for a few days in the winter. This little guy should be enough to power the blower on my gas furnace and keep my stones from freezing off. So here's the breakdown.

the good
-cheap, it was on sale for $80 and the cashier accepted my 20% off coupon grand total $64+tax
-quiet for a 2-stroke
-starts easy(once I replaced the spark plug)
-relatively light making it very portable
-800w rating is actually accurate and 800w is actually more than most people realize.
-mixing cup for the oil in the fuel cap, someone was thinking


the bad
-spark plug that came with it is garbage. throw it out and get a CHAMPION N11YC and gap to .025
-had a small leak at the petcock(fuel valve) from a loose nut. Used permatex thread sealant and made sure the nut was tight. it will never leak again.
-while working on the petcock I didn't like the fuel line, it looked thin and weak. replaced it with something more robust to be safe.
-it's a 2-stroke so you have to have oil when fueling or you're SOL


All in all I'm a happy camper. If I had paid a lot I'd complain about the plug and fuel leak a little. But the price makes it really easy to overlook these flaws. Oh and those 20% coupons are in just about every gun magazine.

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Old 11-20-2010, 08:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

I would run at least a couple tanks of gas through it before I trusted it for long term use. Having blown up several of their small air compressors in just a few days time I would be leery of anything Chinese with a piston and crank.

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Old 11-20-2010, 08:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

I'm almost through the second tank breaking it in with a 500w work light. It seems a lot of people have had really good luck with these cheap generators. The compressors on the other hand not so much.

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Old 11-20-2010, 11:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

I have their 21 gallon upright air compressor, the only problem I have had with it was this summer when it was hot as hell out, and I was running it nearly constantly, it overheated a bit and wouldn't pump up past 80. Since the warranty was out on it, I tore it down myself to see if I could repair it. It uses a butterfly valve in the head, not very efficient but for a cheap air compressor, you never get decent valves anyways... I could see that the heat had gotten to it, I took it and flipped it over, made a gasket out of a piece of some packaging I had lying around and put it back together. Works fine, been about three months, I just don't run it longer than I should, I really should have a larger one but... yeah.

I also have their little 2 gallon one, about two year old now, used it for a lot of tires and occasionally for powdercoating, can't complain at all. I always print out one of their 20% off coupons before buying any of the larger stuff.

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Old 11-21-2010, 12:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

I forget the models we had, but they were the small ones normally used for air nailers and such. What we had them for was the waste oil burner furnace in the shop uses air to atomize the heavy used oil as it sprays into the burner chamber, and we don't like leaving the big shop compressor on at night in case a hose blows. So we hooked it up and left for the night. Next morning shop was cold and comp was burnt up. Now with the furnace running about a half hour out of every hour the air useage caused the comp to cycle on maybe 5-6 times an hour to refill. So we get a replacement under warranty, same scenario. Change models thinking they may have a bad batch of pumps, this one lasted 2 nights. New one under warranty, one night. Finally gave up and got a refund. And yes, we were filling them with air comp oil before use.

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Old 11-21-2010, 02:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

900w isnt much for emergency use. im looking at a pair of 8000w for running my house. one for the 220 line and one for the 110 line.

SW

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Old 11-21-2010, 04:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

The trick is, the little unit isn't for running the house, it is just for the heat, or in the summer, it would be for the fridge & freezer.
I keep going back and forth on this, I like my modern electronics...but if I am using a generator, I figure I may have better things to be doing than using watts for anything short of heat and food.

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Old 11-21-2010, 04:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

Quote:
The trick is, the little unit isn't for running the house, it is just for the heat, or in the summer, it would be for the fridge & freezer.
I keep going back and forth on this, I like my modern electronics...but if I am using a generator, I figure I may have better things to be doing than using watts for anything short of heat and food.
900 watts wont even begin to start a full size fridge. the start surge wattage on those is 2k minimum. you might get by with a dorm fridge or cube freezer if thats your line of thought. 900 will turn the fan in a propane furnace but wont operate anything else. not trying to burst your bubble but 900w just isnt enough unless you severly limit what you are doing with it.

SW
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Old 11-21-2010, 06:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

I have to agree with SW. 900 watts isn't even enough for a single 15 amp circuit - maybe only about half that. It would be great for auxiliary lighting and/or small appliances, but I don't think it would be enough for a furnace motor or a frig/freezer.

I've been keeping an eye open for a portable generator too, but I'm thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of 3500 watts minimum. Problem is they start to get pretty heavy starting at 3500 watts & up - and less and less portable.

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Old 11-21-2010, 10:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Harbor Freight 2-stroke generator

I was looking at these , I already have a 4000 watt that does what I want . I was looking at what it would power , and it won't even power my microwave ( it is 1200 watts ).

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