We had just picked up a new camper and needed a generator so we could rough it like cowboys but with the A/C and the TV on. I took a look at the generators at the travel trailer dealer and about had a heart attack after seeing the $2,000 price tags (and up) that were there. Most of those generators basically use a lawnmower engine with an alternator (a big one) and some circuitry to change the generators output to 120V at 60 Hz. I just couldn’t see spending over two grand to get one. Maybe we would be like cowboys, well, cowboys with a travel trailer that is. So I started looking around at the options. What I eventually came across was the Champion line of generators.
The Champion Generators are an import generator but they have support and sales here in the US. That means if you need to call on it for any reason, you get to talk to somebody that knows English and lives within a few time zones from you. This means a lot to me as I have gone through the overseas calls on other stuff and it’s just not worth it.
Anyway, I picked up a Champion Category 5, 3,000 watt generator that boosts up to 3,500 watts. When I received it, I needed to bolt on the handle and also mount up the wheels. That’s didn’t take too long. I then tuned to adding the oil to the engine. Where the engine oil goes is impossibly deep into the generator. I looked back in the box that it came in and say a long thin funnel. This worked perfectly to add in the oil and I didn’t spill a drop. I then put the funnel in a special place that I will never remember again. I threw in a couple of gallons, turned on the fuel switch, gave it a few seconds and it started on the second pull. It proceeded to start on the second pull the rest of the summer.
It’s a little louder than some of the more expensive generators. I say louder than some, as some of the campgrounds we stayed in that summer had generators that were louder and they were the more expensive brand names. So, I would say it was middle of the road. I would put it on the backside of the trailer and with the AC running, you could barely hear it.
Now this generator doesn’t seem to have the auto throttle that the more expensive generators have. What that is, is when the generator doesn’t have a load on it (you not using any power), it just idles at a lower rpm. When a load is detected, it revs the motor up faster so it can produce more power. Out of the box, it did not really want to start our 13.5K BTU AC. If I went out and hit the throttle a bit while my wife turned on the AC it was fine. There is an easy adjustment to turn up the throttle some but I just never got around to doing it.
It seemed to do great on gas also. We spent a week in Yellowstone National Park and I topped it off for the trip (It holds four gallons), took some extra gas and away we went. I ran it for a few hours in the evening to charge the batteries back up from running the heater at night and sometimes for an hour or so in the morning for the heater (it was at freezing every night, we went late fall), and I never put gas into it. It always started and worked great.
We probably used it about 8 times that summer and it never missed a beat. I only had one complaint with it.
for a while. I would just put the pin back in when I needed to move it again.
Now after looking around it seems that this particular generator that I have is no longer made. However there is one with the same engine, same frame and it is billed as a 3,500 watt with a boost to 4,000. After reading through all of the reviews and specs, I think it’s pretty much the same generator that I have and use. Mine came with an electric start but I never used it as the pull start worked great. Looks like the newer model doesn’t have it but you won’t miss it.
So would I buy this again? Oh heck yes. I’m all for buying local stuff but not when you’re getting hosed to death on the price. This generator was about 1/5 the price of the generators with the same wattage from the local travel trailer dealer.
I pulled this review off of Amazon
“The generator was received in good condition with fast delivery. The unit started on the second pull, however the idle seemed slow. When hooked to the trailer it would not run the converter and the micro wave together. Contacted Champion and was connected with problem solver / technician Paul. He took me completely through the generator, one section at a time, checking and confirming that there was not a problem. We concluded the problem to be slow rpms. He advised me as to how to correct the problem and set the unit at the right rpm. Paul did a great job and has a good knowledge of his product.. Great little generator.”
Customer Service is pretty important to me and it looks like Champion Generator has got that taken care of.