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After the troublesome past two years, where people had to stay inside their homes for longer than they usually did, some of us might have discovered some activities to help pass the time or to make it more fun. If your recent hobby requires the aid of some extra energy or a separate source altogether, this is the article for you.
From personal projects to powering up your RV, portable generators are a great way to have a clean and easy-to-use electrical source for your power tools or any sort of device that requires electricity on the go. Especially in the current times, you’re going to be using a ton of different modern apparatus that either requires to be connected to an outlet or must be charged regularly.
But are we just talking about any run-off-the-mill generator? Nah. This article reviews a specific type called an “inverter generator”.
What Is an Inverter Generator?
Traditional portable generators, which run on gasoline and propane, use a mechanical alternator that produces AC power straight from the motor of the machine. These are the most common since they tend to be the cheapest and have been in production for a long time. However, inverter generators function differently, by converting the generated AC power to DC power, so they can digitally invert it back to AC power.
But why would you want that? Well, the process of converting and inverting the power makes the resultant AC power much cleaner, meaning that the constant flow of power becomes more stable and smoother, assuring you that it will not damage any sensitive electronics. Inverters are also more fuel-efficient, quieter, and smaller than traditional generators.
Inverters tend to come with an economy mode, that by idling down the engine, reduces fuel consumption, quiets down, and prolongs its running time and engine life.
Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of this specific Champion model, let’s talk a little about the brand itself.
Champion Power Equipment started its operations in 2003 and is headquartered in Santa Fe Springs, California. The company has earned a reputation for designing and producing power equipment, expanding its footprint all over the US and even Canada. Champion is a market leader in power generation equipment thanks to its years of experience providing a variety of durable and dependable products that are designed and engineered in the US. The company leads the market having sold over 2.5 million generators in North America.
The Champion 3400-watt generator offers amazing mobility and ease of use paired with the efficiency and performance that it promises. Thanks to its dual-fuel technology, it allows the engine to run on either gasoline or propane, yet always maintaining a quiet functioning noise of 59 dBA.
It has many interesting features, such as the cold start technology, which ensures that the generator can quickly start even in cold weather thanks to its electric start switch.
Capable of up to 3400 watts, this Champion Inverter Generator serves many purposes and requires no assembly upon arrival. It includes a propane (LPG) hose and an oil funnel to make your refueling easy.
The Champion 3400-Watt Dual-Fuel Generator has 3400 starting watts upon engine ignition and 3100 running watts after it settles if you decide to fuel it with gasoline. For propane fueling, the starting watts are lowered to 3060 and the running watts to 2790, which although can be seen as a downgrade, is countered by the fact that the engine’s running time is increased almost to double the amount.
Because of how electric engines work, whatever device you plug into the generator will need more energy to start functioning than it needs for it to stay on, hence the need for the increased starting wattage. If you notice the engine going through a bit of a struggle shortly after being turned on, don’t worry. It’s entirely normal. Depending on the device that’s drawing the power, the engine will take more or less time to go back to normal.
Tank Capacity and Runtime
The ability to power up your equipment is one thing, but for how long is this generator able to do this? This Champion Inverter has a fuel tank of 1.6 gallons in case you want to go for the gasoline option, which will leave you at up to 7.5 hours of runtime in optimal conditions. The economy mode could certainly help you reach that many constant hours.
If you’re choosing the propane option, that will get you 14.5 hours of runtime on a 20-pound tank. As you can see, the runtime increases, but as mentioned before, the starting and running watts go down, so keep that in mind when making your fueling choice.
Dimensions and Portability
The amount of space it takes is of course an important factor to take into consideration, but fortunately, this is a portable unit we’re talking about. Right out of the box, the Champion 3400-watt inverter generator has a length of 25.1 inches, a width of 17.3 inches, a height of 18.3 inches, and weighs about 95.7 pounds, with an empty tank of course.
The wheels and retractable handle make it easy to carry around. Finding a wheeled unit in this same category can be quite troublesome, so this should be something to consider.
Now, this isn’t an exact science, as units vary their engine life depending on use, maintenance, and general conditions under which it is being stored and kept. You could also be getting malfunctioning pieces and so on.
Therefore, based on some of the reviews found, this Champion inverter seems to last for many hours if properly maintained. Some customers have voiced their problems with specific pieces of the machine, such as the battery charger, spark plug, air filter, regulator, etc., which could be attributed to issues in the manufacturing process.
Nevertheless, these are customer comments, so they don’t apply to every single model. We advise you to take them with a grain of salt.
Believe it or not, this little guy is quite packed, with a 4-stroke 192cc OHV engine that can run on either gasoline or propane thanks to Champion’s dual-fuel technology.
You can start it the old-fashioned way by using the manual recoil starter. If you do not know how it works, the Operator’s Manual has you covered with explicit explanations. In case you’re looking for a more effortless and comfy way to get your generator up and running, just flick the electric start switch, located close to the manual recoil.
Because the Champion 3400 inverter is made for multiple environments, it includes a 120V, 30A RV outlet, two 120V, 20A household outlets, and a 12V DC automotive-style outlet with a dual USB adapter. With these, you probably won’t have any problems plugging in your appliances and devices, although some customers have mentioned the need for adapters specific to some electronics.
Another Notable Feature
Its low oil shutoff system prevents your machine from being damaged from lack of oil, which tends to be a usual mistake some generator owners make. Before automatically shutting down, the inverter will set off a small light in the control panel that lets you know when the oil levels are low.
What Can You Really Power With the Champion 3400 Inverter?
This unit is very versatile and can power most appliances and electronic devices you plug into it, such as mini-refrigerators or power tools. Following the company’s motto, “powering your home, work and play,” the Champion 3400 Dual-Fuel Generator can be a convenient solution for many power-related situations, such as getting an electric kettle up and running on a camping trip or bringing your tools to life at a construction site.
Thanks to its RV Ready Outlet, this generator can also serve as a power source for your road trip transport as it can start and run two 15,000 BTU RV air conditioners, just for a frame of reference. And even if that amount of power isn’t enough for your needs, you can get a Parallel Kit that lets you connect up to two 2800-watt inverters to increase your output. Think of the wonders you can achieve with that.
|Amperage||25.8A @ 120V (Gas), 23.3A @ 120V (Propane)|
|Running Watts||3,100 (Gas), 2,790 (Propane)|
|Peak Watts||3,400 (Gas), 3,060 (Propane)|
|Fuel Type||Dual Fuel|
|Tank Capacity||1.6 gal.|
|Max. Runtime||7.5 hours @ 25% load (Gas), 14.5 hours @ 25% load (Propane)|
|Dimensions||25.1″ x 17.3″ x 18.3″|
|Noise Level||59 dBA|
- Quiet operation
- Compact trolley style design
- RV ready
- No telescopic handle
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Yes, the unit does come with a hose to connect the propane tank to the engine and has a built-in regulator as well. This saves you from the trouble of scouring for a compatible hose and the regulator helps with the pressure that goes into the engine.
As far as essential accessories, the only thing necessary for you to get the machine running will be the propane or gas tank. Some customers have expressed not having received parts that prevented the functioning of the unit, but this can be resolved by contacting customer service
It can be used as such, but not as a backup generator for the entire house. The wattage for the Champion 3400 isn’t high enough to support the full consumption of a standard house. It can work as a generator for a certain section of the house or as an extra outlet, as this is the intended use.
No, it doesn’t. Parallel cables to connect a pair of Champion 3400 inverters can be obtained by buying the Parallel Kit from the same manufacturer, which allows for increased output.
According to the Operator’s Manual, the oil must be changed after the 5-hour break-in period, and after that, the changes must be every 100 hours of functioning. In case that the engine shows signs of distress to startup and while running, the change must happen every 50 hours of functioning to keep proper maintenance.
As you would with any other generator engine, yes, you will have to perform a break-in to the Champion 3400 generator. The instructions for this procedure can be found in the Operator’s Manual.
The Champion 3400 Dual-Fuel Inverter is already a very quiet unit, producing only 59dBA. But hey, maybe you want to get rid of that buzzing sound just a tiny bit more, and there is a way for you to do so.
By flicking the economy mode switch, the generator enters a mode that reduces fuel consumption and running watts, but it also quiets down.
Of course, you’ll have to sacrifice the amount of energy it produces.
This model cannot have a remote start installed. It comes with electric, and recoil starts, but both of those must be done manually, whether by flicking the switch or by pulling the string, but not sitting back and pressing a button.
I know, kind of a bummer. However, Champion does manufacture similar models with the same wattage that can be remotely started, such as the 100261 models.