February 6th, 2009
Good performance, excellent value
We live in Southern Louisiana, smack-dab in the middle of hurricane alley, and decided to purchase a backup generator to deal with power outages in the event of an emergency. I wanted sufficient power capacity to run our refrigerator, a small portable AC, a few lights, a small TV, charge our cell-phones, and occasionally charge laptop batteries. We figured that around 3000 continuous watts and 4000 surge watts would be sufficient for our needs.
There are several generators sold by the hardware chains (Lowe's, Home Depot) that fit this description, but they're priced around $600 - $700. After some research on the internet, we decided that the DuroMax XP4400 would match our needs, and suit our budget. Just before purchasing it, on an impulse I decided to get the model with the battery powered electric starter, instead of the one that has a rip-cord.
The generator was shipped Fedex Ground and took about a week to arrive. The external cardboard box showed signs of rough handling during transportation, but the generator was well packed in foam, and not damaged during shipping. The whole box weighs about 130 lbs, and it helped me considerably that the Fedex driver wheeled it right into our garage. Unpacking took about 20 minutes. There are a couple of shipping braces that support the engine during shipment that take a little while to remove.
The first thing I did was to flip the generator upside-down on a mat to install the wheel-kit. There are tools provided with the generator to get the wheels and handles on. As shipped, the tires were sufficiently inflated to bear the weight of the generator.
After flipping the generator right way up again, I filled it with SAE30 oil. We live in a relatively warm climate, so I chose 10W30. If you use generator oil, make sure you chose oil made for a four-stroke engine. The oil-fill tube is awkwardly placed - I have a funnel with a tube at the end out it, and found that I had to use it to avoid spilling oil. It takes about 20 oz of oil. To condition the engine, I would suggest changing the oil after 6 hours of run-time, then twice after 8 hours, and every 20 - 30 hours beyond that.
After filling it with gas (there is a mesh fuel-filter underneath the gas cap, I turned the fuel valve on, and started the generator. The engine turned right away, but wouldn't start. This turned out to be an error on my part - it dark, and what I thought was the fully-off position for the choke was instead the fully-on position. After moving the choke to the correct position(fully-off), the engine started up. It is pretty smoky and sputters until the choke is opened. After that it runs very smoothly,with no visible smoke in the exhaust. I don't know what the noise level is, but it is sufficiently low that it doesn't bother me when the generator is running outside the house, and I am on the inside.
The control panel has two 120V outlets (20 Amp), and one 30 Amp outlet that is switchable between 120V and 240V. There is also a 12V outlet to charge a car battery. There is a circuit breaker and a voltmeter. During my initial tests, between 60 watts and 2400 watts of load the voltage stayed at 115 volts, and didn't drop. I haven't tested higher loads yet.
So far, we are quite satisfied. The DuroMax XP4400E is built well, works well, and is less polluting that more expensive Honda, Subaru, and Yamaha powered units sold at the hardware chains.
And a little tip - for any small engine that is run infrequently. Make sure you mix the fuel with some anti-oxidant such as Stabil before putting it in the tank. Gas mixed with anti-oxidant should last for about one year.
Six month update (August 2009) - the generator still works like a champ. Some of the bolts worked themselves loose through the vibrations, so I've tightened them. No other major problems.
Eighteen month update (September 2010) - no problems yet. But I finally got around to installing a transfer switch to connect the generator to the main breaker panel in our house. I recommend this highly - it is far better than running cords all over the place, or back-feeding the main panel, which is illegal and very dangerous for linesman working on the utility company's lines. Reliance Controls makes a pre-wired six-circuit transfer switch (31406/30406) that is perfect for this generator and is available from Generator Factory Outlet. Took me about 3 hours to install, 2 of which were spent flush-mounting it in the drywall.
New Orleans, LA United States
January 5th, 2009
Great Buy & No Pull Starting Necessary
It all started when my neighbor bought himself a generator. It got me to thinking too. After going through countless (atleast 15) gens. online info, I came across this one. Ordered, & received in 2 days, As I had read on an earlier review, this thing was packaged perfectly. After following the quick instructions, it was ready to start, the ONLY thing I needed to buy was a quart of oil, (no oil in unit due to shipping restraints). Even without charging the supplied battery it started. So, I wanted to see how it worked just for kicks, just by plugging into an elec. outlet, throwing the breaker, it powered my saws, lights, 1 hp. air compressor, vacuum system & drill press in my barn. I did have to make a double male extension cord. If you are considering this technique, remember cord is powered on exposed plug, be careful. I am pleased with this purchase, Thankyou DuroMax.
December 26th, 2008
Very nice unit
I have many years experience with generators of this type. This one was purchased to replace mine which was stolen.
I purchased this generator mainly as a temporary backup should I experience a power failure. I do not intend to wire it into the house circuit, rather to just power up items like freezer, fridge, etc. as needed to maintain the temps.
I also use this type of generator with my race car activites and it works great to power lights, wrenches, etc. at the track.
A word of caution with any generator of this type and that is to keep fresh fuel in the tank. Also do not let fuel sit in the carburetor for any period of time or it will varnish up and plug the internal passages. I drain the carburetor if it is going to sit for any period. I also run the carbuetor dry when I shut off the unit, simply by closing the fuel valve and letting it run out. However, this does not completely drain the carburetor in my experience. I urge anyone owning a unit like this to start and run it periodically or it will not work well when you need it.
This unit appears to be very well made. It is compact, very quiet and fires right up with the electric battery start.
The large outlet (120/220V) has a four prong connector. Many of the available extension cords are 3 prong so look closely.
This connector provides two 120V outlets which are handy and the 4 prong connector does not pull out of the generator.
I highly recommend storing the unit inside. The wheels and handles make maneuvering very easy. The available cover fits well and offers good protection.
I am extremely pleased with htis unit.
San Antonio, TX USA
September 27th, 2008
Duro Max XP4400E & XP4400 Generator
By Ernie, Retired Journeyman Lineman. The XP4400E is well worth the extra cost over the XP4400, as starter rope must be pulled out at an angle.
This is an excellent generator for the money. The voltage regulation is excellent. Amazing output for it's size along with being very quite for the output that it has. The discription for it is great, so many items are not discribed well enough. There is a couple points I want to share with present owners and would be owners.
(1) The voltage selector switch not only changes the voltage monitor 120 to 240 but it's main function is tap changing, this being the reason it must not be switched unless breaker is off (open) or generator shut down. It parallels the two power windings when set for 120 to the 120 sockets and the 120-240 socket. You can draw full capacity fron the 120 sockets or at the 120-240 socket from terminals Bu & R, the W terminal has no voltage so 240 is not available now. (Refer to owners manual wiring diagram page 23 or 24)
Set for 240 the switch series the two power windings and now the 120 sockets have only one power winding applied and so half capacity is available here, 1750 watts from either one but only 875 watts each if both are used. The 120-240 socket now has both windings in series and now has 240 from terminal W to Terminal R and will have two 120 circuits, one from terminal W to terminal Bu and the other 120 circuit from Bu to R. Full capacity is available with the 240 voltage and half capacity from each of the 120 circuits. (Bu is the common terminal to both sockets)
(2)It isn't specified the engine has a steel cyinder sleeve and I don't think it does as I run it for 6 hrs. and changed oil and the oil in the drain pan was pretty well loaded with aluminum and silicon swirling around. I will change again after 12-14 hrs. and then every 20 then on. A filter would have been a boon for engine life, but be diligent and change oil often and it will run a long time.
I think some have gotten generators and done them in early because they didn't change oil in time. Very, Very important because the cyinder is aluminum and no oil filter. More power to all, Ernie Wireman
Mt. Vernon, Oh. USA
November 9th, 2006
Machine would not produce power.After calling company and recieving instruction to check inside of gen unit to be assured that all wires were connected. After finding one of the legs from the AVR not connected and correcting this, unit has operated top flight, very quiet and handling the load very good We are well pleased with the purchase and hope to experience many years of service
Charles J. Fisher preacher
Western North Carolina