In 2010 I purchased a Champion Inverter 2000W from Costco. This is now one year later and the following is what I now know...
For the money which is less than half the cost of a Honda EU2000 Inverter this seems like a great deal. I could not justify spending $1200 for a generator that I only use a half dozen times a year.
Our hunting camps typically last up to two weeks in Northern BC in the late fall. This time of year the days are short and the nights are cold and we found that on more than a few occasions the trailer batteries would not take us through the entire trip. This meant connecting the truck and letting it idle for hours trying to top up the batteries with charge. My truck is a diesel and I don't particularly like having a rattling diesel filling my tranquil space with its noise... not to mention its expensive to run and maintain.
By a generator or preferably an inverter because they: burn less fuel, run quieter and offer the ability to supply 'clean' power to serve sensitive electronic equipment.
I looked many places and read lots of reviews then in 2010 I came across a new product, the Champion Inverter 2000W. I searched it online and found that although the product was recently released by Champion the reviews were, so far, positive. I found them at Costco, and figured that I could not go wrong.
One of the things I love about Costco is their no questions asked return policy. I thought that after a period of use if the Champion Inverter 2000W did not perform I could return it for a full refund. Am I ever glad about this too! Read on...
It Did the Job
The Champion Inverter 2000W is rated for 1600W continuous service. Not enough to run AC which we don't have but enough to power other non-essential items such as: electric coffee maker, toaster, microwave and of course my wife's hairdryer. Oh... the hair dryer should be classified as essential... sorry about that. Ha Ha!
Most importantly it will run our battery charger and keep those trailer batteries charged up, while at the same time keep all our other batteries charged, IE: cameras, two way radios etc.
The Big Problem
While on a camping trip in late August the time came to fire up the Champion Inverter 2000W to charge the batteries. My wife and I were making lunch (the generator had been running for about 4 hours) when suddenly the power to the trailer was cut. Simultaneously the engine on the Champion Inverter 2000W abruptly switched out of economy mode and was running at full RPM. "What the ?" I ran from the trailer and quickly assessed the situation. I could see the overload light had come on, the engine was still switched to economy, though it was obviously not running at this setting and the breaker switch had not tripped. I quickly unplugged the trailer and the battery charger fearing that some damage may result from the inverter.
I decided the best thing to do was to shut down the engine and reset it and then re-start it.
Will Not Start
I could tell as soon as I tried pulling the pull-cord... there is a problem here! While pulling the cord the engine felt sluggish, as though the valves were not opening and closing as they should. I tried, but to no avail, the Champion Inverter 2000W would not start. I tried several more times over the coming days but it was becoming increasingly obvious that this generator was never going to run again.
Return To Costco
Remember how I said that I love the 'no questions asked return' policy at Costco... well, yesterday I returned and exchanged the Champion - Inverter 2000W for a new one. We'll have to see if this is a recurring problem or if it was just a mechanical failure that can happen with any equipment. I know I am glad I bought this generator inverter at Costco and not somewhere else. The literature that comes with the Champion Inverter 2000W states that for any problems do not return the inverter to the store where purchased but to return to the repair depot. Well how inconvenient would that be... and expensive no doubt.
I can say this for sure, if we have another failure down the road, it too will be returned to Costco, but I am not so sure that we will buy another. We just may have to buy a Honda EU2000 Inverter.
While we will continue to use the Inverter 2000W, I am keeping in mind to watch for any dealers that may sell the Honda EU2000 Inverter for less.
Overall my recommendation...Buy
a Champion Inverter Generator, somewhere if you have any problems you can
return it, no questions asked!
2012 Update: We made it through another season with the inverter. No problems at all... as a matter of fact, several friends are buying them too.