I know how everyone loves Honda or Yamaha generators, and I don’t blame you, they are considered some of the best (and most expensive) portables you can buy. Nice and quiet and high quality and all.
HOWEVER – 4 years ago, I purchased an inexpensive generator to be used in the event of an emergency, and also for a ham radio event we call “Field Day”, where we operate for 24hrs using emergency power and attempt to contact as many other amateur operators during that time as possible. This hones our skills, and hopefully prepares us to help assist agencies like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and local, state and federal Emergency Management during disasters.
The model I opted for was a Champion 3500/4000 watt. (model # c40012). It was on sale at Home Depot and to be honest, for less than 200 dollars, I did not expect much. I was pleasantly surprised when I found it has a very stable output, with a sign wave that my sensitive electronics liked. Very little, to zero “hash” (noise that can be heard on audio and raido gear), and fuel consumption of about 8 to 10 hours per tank (4 gallons) depending upon load. The only downside was the volume of the running generator was kind of high, at about 87db, much like a lawn mower.
Another great feature was that it included a “mobility kit”, which consists of some wheels and a handle, so you don’t have to lift and carry it.
Since the day I got it, this generator has always started on the first pull, whether cold, or after refueling during an all night run. (okay, sometimes a 2nd pull was needed if it had not run or completely ran out of fuel)
This weekend is Field Day, and guess what? The generator won’t start. Some idiot left fuel in it since last year, and didn’t let it run dry and shut off the fuel valve, so the carb was filled with debris and stale fuel. I attempted to clean it last night, but the deposits are horrible and it really needs to be dipped and rebuilt.
I called the manufacturer, Champion Power Equipment out on the West Coast, and spoke with tech support. I did not have to wait on hold, the man did not treat me like the idiot I am, he happily looked up the parts I need, and arranged for them to be shipped out today so they would be here on Friday.
More time was spent on the phone telling him what a great generator this has been than on the process of actually ordering the parts. Oh, and the price was affordable!
One thing is for sure – the majority of computer and electronic customer service or tech support calls do not go that smoothly, regardless of the manufacturer or vendor. Many of the computer and server manufacturers could take a lesson from Champion Power Equipment.
Champion did the following right:
- They spoke my language (English), probably better than I do.
- They didn’t leave me on hold or waiting in a queue forEVER.
- They did not give me the runaround after determining that I might actually know what I was talking about.
- They gladly looked up the parts, instead of telling me to refer to this document or that document online.
- They offered to ship in an expedited manner.
- The pricing was reasonable for replacement parts.
- The person on the other end of the phone was personable, it actually sounded as if he wanted to be helping me.
You can bet I will be recommending Champion products, not because they are “better” than another brand, I really don’t know that to be true or false, but because in my time of need, their support was superior.