Champion 100519 Review | Quiet Open Frame Inverter Generator

Champion 100519 Review — A unique Open Frame Inverter Generator that straddles the best of both worlds and still affordable. But it’s not a true inverter generator, which we explain in the article.

On the Champion website they call this generator “The Champion 100519 Digital Hybrid 6250-watt DH series open frame inverter with Quiet Technology”. What does that mean? What is a Digital Hybrid Inverter generator and Quiet Technology? Those are valid questions and I will post some answers as we continue. One way of discovering the meaning of those phrases is by breaking them down and examining the meaning of the words.

 

Hybrid and Digital Hybrid Defined

We often use the word hybrid with devices that function both as analog and digital devices. But it is more than that, a hybrid car is one that uses gas and battery power or another power source. You find hybrids in many technologies, and we often use the term digital hybrid in the audio recording and broadcasting field.

Audio equipment is a typical example of traditionally pure analog technology that was invaded by a digital era. The first devices that used analog-to-digital circuits caused a stir in the industry, disliked by most audiophiles. Today it is common, and they use the term digital hybrids to name equipment with digital and analog circuits. The true inverter-generators, such as a Honda EU7000is, are also hybrids because they use digital and analog circuits.

So, the term Digital Hybrid could mean that the generator is a hybrid with digital components, and that is true for an inverter generator. The inverter in an inverter generator is its digital component, and its alternator the analog component.

Open frame inverter — Champion 100519

Champion 100519 review
Easy to start in cold weather. (Buy from Amazon)

We can reason that it is a hybrid because it is an Open Frame inverter-generator. Manufacturers typically enclose their inverter generators with panels to reduce noise and enhance its looks. The Champion 100519 is built into an open frame, but it is an inverter generator too. To add to that Digital Hybrid statement, you may reason that it is an Open Frame Digital Hybrid.

Dual fuel?

Another example of a hybrid generator is one that runs on gas or propane, but the Champion 100519 uses gas only and does not qualify.

Which means…

  • It’s called a “hybrid” because it is an open frame generator with inverter technology
  • It is a Digital Hybrid because it uses digital and analog components

However, a Champion inverter generator of this size is worth inspecting in more detail. In doing so, I will also investigate if its output is from a true inverter and see if it substantiates their Digital Hybrid claim.

I’m reviewing three generators, two low cost open frame inverter generators, and one enclosed inverter generator with all the bells and whistles. The inverter generators under review cover a wide power band, 3500 Watts, 5000 Watts and a 5500 Watt Electric Start model:

  • Champion 100519 : 6250 Starting Watts / 5000 Running Watts
  • Westinghouse iGen4200 : 4200 Starting Watts / 3500 Running Watts
  • Honda EU7000is : 7000 Starting Watts / 5500 Running Watts

How these generator weigh up against each other makes interesting reading. Not only do they represent true heavy duty inverter generators that also weigh more than most humans. The open frame models are very capable but also lightweight and compact.

Champion 100519 | Gas Generator

6250-Watt DH Series Open Frame Inverter

Champion 100519 review
3-year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support.

Features :

  • 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a traditional 5000-watt portable generator
  • The Intelligauge monitors : voltage, frequency and operating hours, and Cold Start Technology ensures a quick start in cold weather.
  • 301cc engine produces 6250 starting watts and 5000 running watts
  • Runs for 12.5 hours at 25% load when the 4-gallon fuel tank is full.
  • From 23 feet, this inverter operates at 69 dBA (as loud as a vacuum cleaner)
  • Holds 1.2-quarts of oil (recommended 10W-30). Low oil shut-off sensor and a Quick Drain oil tube for easy changes.
  • Confidently connect your sensitive electronics since our hybrid produces only Clean Power (less than 3% THD).
  • Economy Mode monitors power consumption in real time to reduce electrical load, providing quieter operation, extended engine life and higher fuel economy.
  • The covered outlets in this inverter include a 120/240V 30A locking outlet (L14-30R), four 120V 20A GFCI protected household outlets (5-20R) and a 12V DC automotive-style outlet with a dual USB adapter and battery-charging cables.
  • Foldaway handle and never-flat tires.
  • Fully assembled EPA certified and CARB compliant.
  • 3-year limited warranty and FREE lifetime technical support.

View or download the MANUAL for the Champion 100519.

Overview

To determine if this digital hybrid is an inverter generator, I looked up the circuit diagram in the owner’s manual. True to their digital hybrid claim it has an Inverter, a 4.8Kw 240V, 60Hz unit. The generator has two three-phase AC coils, DC coil, control coil, and an ignition coil. The AC coils and control coil connects to the inverter, and the inverter supplies the clean power output.

Inverters generate their own 60 Hz frequency so it does not rely on engine speed for frequency control like conventional generators. By monitoring the demand for power, it can slow down the engine to save fuel and reduce noise. The user can switch this function on and off with an Economy Mode switch when the circuit switches in and out too often. The inverter controls the engine speed with the aid of a little stepping motor that opens and closes the butterfly valve. This feature is typical of inverter generators and it is effective in reducing the noise levels and lowering fuel consumption.

Champion 100519 review
Runs for 12.5 hours at 25% load. (Buy from Amazon)

According to Champion, their 100519 inverter generators are 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a conventional Champion 5000-watt generator. It is quite an achievement. The Champion 100496 open frame conventional generator has a noise level of 74 dBA. The Champion 100519 Digital Hybrid reading is 69.0 dBA. If that does not sound like half the noise because there are only 5 decibels difference, I can explain. According to recent research on perceived noise levels, a measured level difference of 6 decibels would be half as noisy. The claim by Champion is therefore reasonable, it should sound close to half as noisy as a conventional generator. Always keep in mind that the Decibel (A) scale is not a linear scale.

They chopped 20% weight off the Champion 100496 models from 152.1 to 121 pounds for this new model. Champion used a more efficient mechanical design and changed the layout of the generator. The new design also resulted in a smaller overall footprint, they reduced the length of the unit by almost 4 inches.

Champion 100519 review
A good enough size to get you through the night. (Amazon)

The Champion 100519 has a metal fuel tank holding 4.2-gallon fuel and it has a fuel gauge fitted on top. The generator runs 12.5 hours at 25% load. Unfortunately, that is not a useful indication of how fuel efficient the generator is. To compare it other generators we calculate its fuel consumption, taking its power output into consideration. I found that its fuel consumption is a disappointing 3.72 kilowatt-hours per gallon. Compare that to the consumption of the Honda EU7000iS which is 6.45 kilowatt-hours per gallon at 100% load and you’ll agree.

When given a run time figure at 25% two things come to mind. First, I will never buy a generator with a plan to only use 25% of the power I pay for. Second, when measured at that level I assume that it is determined at a constant load to achieve a reliable figure. When I look at the figures for an inverter generator, I also assume that they tested it with the economy-mode switch turned on. The reason I make these assumptions is that the manufacturer will want to achieve the best possible run times. Why else would you measure at 25% of rated output?

I appreciate it when a manufacturer quotes at 50%, even 75%, and 100% power. At least then you have some feeling for how long the generator will run. A better way of comparing fuel consumption of generators is to use a figure that also considers the power output of the generator. Therefore, we calculate the kilowatt-hours per gallon figure which I use in reviews. It serves to point out when a generator uses more and even less fuel than the average for generators. To date, it also rubbished many claims of better fuel consumption based on using the economy mode of an inverter generator.

Champion 100519 review
Having this in your garage will give you peace of mind. (Amazon)

At 6250 starting Watts for the Champion 100519, you have 52.1A available at 120V and 26.0A at 240V. The 5000 running Watts at 120V is equal to 41.7A and at 240V it is 20.8A. A 5000-Watt generator with clean power is a useful standby generator during a power outage. You can use it where you need stable power, the clean power output makes it safe with all modern tools and battery chargers. With its less than 3% total harmonic signal distortion it’s safe with all your expensive computers, TV and other entertainment systems too.

The power outlets on the interface panel of the Champion 100519 have neat rubber covers. The two dual 120V 20A GFCI protected household outlets (5-20R) have a 20 Amp circuit breaker that you press to reset. The 41.7A is shared by the two sets of dual household outlets with 20 Amps each. The electronic overload protects the 120/240V 30A locking outlet (L14-30R) and should open at 30 Amp. Champion supplies a dual USB adapter and battery-charging cables with the 12V DC automotive-style outlet. The DC outlet of the Champion 100519 is protected by an 8 Amp trip. However, it is not a regulated supply and therefore only meant for charging batteries, and to use with the USB adapter. The Intelli-Gauge on the control panel of the Champion 100519 displays Frequency (Hz), Volts, and runtime alternately as selected with the button.

The Champion “Cold Start Technology” turns out to be a manually operated choke. To start the Champion 100519, you pull the choke, select power-on and pull the recoil starter. When you switch it off, the fuel solenoid valve closes the fuel flow to the carburetor to prevent flooding. The engine received the necessary EPA certification and it is CARB compliant. CARB is an environmental protection agency; the California Air Resources Board. They focus on small power equipment engine emissions. CARB compliant engines must meet more stringent air quality standards and may be used legally in California.

Champion 100519 review
Layout of all the major components. (Buy from Amazon)

The 301cc 4-stroke engine of the Champion 100519 is manufactured by Champion. It caught me off guard when I read that it does not have an automatic voltage regulator. There’s nothing wrong with the statement, they say this because the inverter regulates the output voltage and frequency automatically. The inverter can also control the engine speed with a stepper motor to regulate the output power. It also monitors a low oil shut-off sensor that’s fitted to the engine. Should the oil level drop too much it will shut down the engine. Clearly, inverter modules in inverter generators do much more than produce clean power, it’s also the control center of the generator.

One of the most annoying tasks when maintaining your generator must be when you drain the oil. It often causes a messy oil spill on the floor that you must mop up. Champion fitted a Quick Drain oil tube to this engine that facilitates spill free oil changes. It is a neat, yet simple solution that will be highly appreciated on all generators.

Many inverter generators can be connected in parallel to another to double the power output. Unfortunately, Champion did not include the feature on this model. A parallel capability can be very useful during a power failure because it could supply close on 1 kW power. I think Champion is missing out on a good opportunity to make this a more desirable generator.

Champion 100519 review
Easy to move around where you need it. (Buy from Amazon)

To move the Champion 100519 around they supply the open frame generator with two solid 8-inch wheels. Also included is a single one-hand fold-down handle. I would prefer to use a wider, more stable handle that I can grab with both hands. It will make a small difference in the weight of the Champion but it will make it more convenient to use.

Champion covers the 100519 model with a 3-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support from accredited experts.

Who is the Champion 100519 generator for?

I did not consider the Champion 100519 Generator an RV compatible generator because it does not have a RV outlet. The mistake I made in this assumption is that you can use it with a 30 amp dog bone connector to power a 50 amp travel trailer. A customer reported that he uses it to power a “15k a/c with everything else except the water heater”. You will find and adapter for most situations that will make use of the 120/240V 30A locking outlet (L14-30R).

Having said that, the generator is good for backing up essential appliances in the home during a power outage. It can be used on a casual work site to power tools and lighting. Champion makes no claim that it is OSHA approved, even though its frame is grounded and it uses GFCI outlets. For camping, vacationing, tailgating, and as backup power for a business it is a good solution.

The price of this Champion 100519 generator is very competitive compared to true inverter generators. It may be your main consideration when you opt to buy an open frame inverter generator. After all it offers the same functionality with some small disadvantages compared to true inverter generators. It’s quieter than a conventional open frame generator but not as quiet as enclosed inverter generators. But it has the same clean and safe power of an inverter generator for much less.

Westinghouse iGen4200 | Inverter Generator

4,200 Peak Watts, 3,500 Running Watts

Westinghouse iGen4200 Review. Best portable inverter generator.
Automatic low oil shut-down and overload protection.

Features:

  • 4,200 Peak Watts, 3,500 Running Watts
  • RV and Camper Ready with 120V 30A Outlet (TT-30R) : The Westinghouse iGen4200 inverter generator is ready to power your travel trailer with its built-in TT30R 30A receptacle.
  • Fuel Efficient – Runs Up to 18 hrs on 2.6 Gallons of Gasoline
    • 18 hrs. Run Time at 25% Load (hrs.)
    • 15 hrs. Run Time at 50% Load (hrs.)
  • Very Quiet – Much Less Noise than Traditional Portable Generators
  • Advanced Inverter Technology – Reliable Power for Computers, Electronics, and Other Sensitive Equipment
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (<3% THD) delivering clean power you can depend on.
  • Weighing 82 pounds
  • Dual USB Charging Ports : Charge electronics such as mobile phones and tablets with built-in USB charging ports.
  • Circuit Protected, Low-Oil Shutoff, and More
  • Safety Features – including overload prevention, and low-oil shutoff.
  • Includes : Comes with Oil, Funnel, Tool Kit, Manual, and Quick Start Guide.
  • 3-Year Warranty : All Westinghouse Portable Generators come with Lifetime Technical Support and a 3-Year / 1000 hours Limited Residential Warranty or 1-Year / 1000 hours Limited Commercial Warranty.

Documents for the Westinghouse iGen4200 :

Overview

The Westinghouse is smaller and lighter than the Champion 100519 but is another example of an open frame inverter generator. This one is RV ready in the sense that it is equipped with a 120 Volt TT-30R outlet. Being a 120 Volt only inverter generator it is not capable of powering 240 Volt appliances and most 50 A RV’s. Peak Amps at startup is 35 Amps and at running Watts it is 29 Amps.

The Westinghouse’s true sinewave 120 V power output is 4200 Starting Watts and its Rated (continuous power) output is 3500 Watts. Its 120 Volt power outlets are grouped together on the control panel and protected by neat rubber covers. The TT-30R outlet has a 30 Amp circuit breaker and its two 20 Amp 5-20R GFCI outlets a 20 Amp circuit breaker. This model also meets some OSHA requirements because it has GFCI outlets but the specifications lists it as not OSHA compliant. In a more casual environment, the clean power output can be used to drive tools and charge batteries and drive management equipment.

Westinghouse iGen4200 Review. Best portable inverter generator.
Plenty of outlets. Includes two USB outlets. (Buy from Amazon)

When camping or vacationing it can be expected to drive an energy star refrigerator and some other necessary food preparation equipment. You will not need phone chargers because it is fitted with two 5 Volt USB type charger ports with rubber covers. The one USB port has a 1 Amp rating and the one below it is rated at 2.1 Amp. The 2.1 Amp port will deliver a faster charge and it should be compatible with most smart phones.

Unfortunately, Westinghouse made the same mistake as Champion by not providing a parallel capability with this inverter generator. I say this as one of the potential customers who may never own two generators. However, the lower price of these open frame generators put them within reach of more consumers interested in clean power.

Professional Model | Westinghouse iPro4200 : See it in Action

The metal fuel tank has a fuel level indicator on top of the tank and an overflow tube is fitted to the throat of the filler. The fuel consumption of the Westinghouse inverter generator is better than the average for generators. Although it is not as impressive as the big Honda EU7000is, it delivers an above average 6.06 kilowatt-hours per gallon. Much better than the Champion 100519 with only 3.72 kilowatt-hours per gallon.

The Westinghouse is light, its dry unit weight is only 82 lbs. But keep in mind that it is not fitted with wheels and no provision is made for wheels. Therefore, it also does not have a handle to push it around with. You pick it up and carry it. Not surprisingly, it does not have an electric starter and battery, you use the recoil starter to fire it up. The manual choke control is not mounted on the control panel but you will find the lever at the carburetor.

Westinghouse iGen4200 Review. Best portable inverter generator.
Inverter generators are much quieter than regular generators. (Amazon)

Westinghouse use their own engines and this one has a displacement of 212cc. It’s a 4 Stroke OHV engine and the maximum speed is 3600 rpm. The inverter module can control the engine speed to meet the load on the generator. The oil is splashed onto the engine components by the motion of the crankshaft. But have you ever wondered how they get the oil onto the overhead valve gear? The pushrods are hollow and their up and down motion as they open the vales causes a pump action. It pumps the oil up from the cam-followers to the top to lubricate the rockers.

Westinghouse do not give formal noise levels but merely states that its Operational Volume is as low as 60 dBA. Once again, to me that means that it was the lowest noise levels determined at very low engine speed and a light load. In all fairness it should be equal to the Champion 100519 noise levels in general use, which is still a lot better than any conventional generator. Both generators use a muffler design that lowers exhaust noise and it’s fitted with a spark arrestor.

VIDEO | See How Quiet it Truly Is!

The control module monitors a low oil sensor in the engine and shut down the engine when the oil level is too low. An oil level warning light will be lit when the engine stops due to a low oil level. It will assist you when you hunt for the reason of the shutdown. A “Data Centre” on the control panel displays the Voltage, frequency and runtime as selected with the mode switch.

The Westinghouse iGen4200 is EPA and CARB Compliant and backed by a 3-year warranty and a nationwide customer service and support network.

Honda EU7000is | Powerful Inverter Generator

I will say that his is the absolute best heavy-duty inverter generator for the money. Period! It’s not cheap but it is exceptional if you can afford it. It’s a true inverter generator that cranks out 7000 starting watts and 5500 running watts. **Read our indepth review of the Honda 7000W inverter generator.

Honda Eu7000is : Best heavy-duty inverter generator. Powerful inverter portable generator.
Powerful, quiet and clean energy. Perfect!

Features:

  • Starting Watts : 7000W / Running Watts : 5500W (120/240V)
  • Engine : Honda GX390 EFI
  • Perfect for home back up power, RVs, outdoor events, and more
  • Super quiet : Operates at 52 to 60 dBA
  • Fuel efficient – Runs up to 18 hours on 5.1 gal of fuel
  • Convenient electric start
  • Inverter – stable power for computers and more
  • Fuel injected – better fuel efficiency and lower maintenance
  • Advanced inverter technology – reliable power for computers and other sensitive equipment
  • handles that can be raised for transport and lowered for more compact storage.
  • i-Monitor provides information on hours of operation, wattage and engine speed, as well as diagnostics for convenient dealer servicing.
  • Outlets : Two GFCI 20 amp, 120 V duplex outlets
  • Meets ETL and NEC standards.
  • 3 year residential and commercial warranty
  • Choose between using both 120 and 240 Volts, or 120 Volts only.
  • Electronic circuit breakers

Overview

The Honda generator is the biggest and most powerful of the three. It is also the only enclosed generator of the three, and a more recognizable inverter generator. What is surprising about the Honda is that it has the best fuel consumption of all the generators I evaluated to date.

The Honda EU7000is generates 7000 starting Watts and 5500 running Watts at 120/240 Volts. Starting the generator cannot be simpler, you turn on the main switch and press the engine start button. There is no need to operate a choke, open valves or pull on a recoil starter. It is all automatic because of the electronic fuel injection, eliminating all those stale fuels and cold starting issues of most small engines. They include a recoil starter for those times when the electric starter fails, which should never happen. The recoil starter will assist but it still needs some voltage in the battery.

Honda Eu7000is : Best heavy-duty inverter generator. Powerful inverter portable generator.
Clear and well-laid out control panel. (Buy from Amazon)

To ensure that the battery is always ready it is charged while the generator is running. For this reason, you should regularly start the generator during storage and let it recharge the battery. It will also circulate the oil in the engine to ensure that rust does not creep in.

Honda uses a Honda GX390 EFI industrial engine of 389cc, renowned for its reliability and easy starting. It is a 4-stroke, overhead valve, single-cylinder engine with Forced air for cooling. The ignition system of the engine is a transistorized unit. The electronic fuel injection system uses a fuel pump to supply fuel to the fuel injector. The fuel line is an enclosed circuit, and it does not expose the fuel to the air as in a carburetor. The engine control unit senses an O2 sensor and Thermosensor to control the combustion of the fuel. A stepping motor controls the engine speed based on information from the inverter and the engine control unit.

As we can expect, the Honda is the quietest of the three generators because silencing panels fully covers it. It’s also heartening to note that Honda is one manufacturer that measures the noise levels at rated load and at 25% load. At rated (5500 Watts) load its noise reading is 58 dB(A), the same as a conversation in a quiet living room. At 25% load it is a mere 52 dB(A), similar to activities in a business office. But do not be tempted to bring it inside when the weather is bad, it may not be noisy, but it still generates noxious gasses.

Honda EU7000iS : best 7000 watt generator.
i-Monitor system tracks hours, RPM, battery volts, & wattage. (Amazon)

According to Honda specifications the generator runs for 6.5 hours at rated load and 18 hours at 25% load. When I calculate the fuel consumption, it generates 7.1 kilowatt-hours per gallon at 100% rated load. At 25% of rated load it generates 4.85 kilowatt-hours per gallon. That means the generator is more fuel efficient at full power than at 25% load but it will run for longer at 25% load.

On the control panel of the Honda EU7000is you will find the power switch and starter button to the left. The iMonitor display is just higher up and it tracks hours, RPM, battery volts and wattage. A set of three LEDs indicate output, overload, and low oil conditions. To the right of that is the outlets for the parallel operation function. You need a Honda parallel cable to connect it to a similar unit and then you have double the power output.

The 30 Amp locking receptacle and the two dual CGFI 120 Volt AC household type outlets have round push button circuit overload protectors. The 120/240 Volt locking receptacle has a 30 Amp circuit breaker which the inverter controls.

This generator has two power generating circuits of 120 Volt each. The voltage selector switch on the control panel controls its function. When it is in the 120 V/240 V position, it supplies the power from circuit one to 3 outputs. The round 30 amp 120V connector, one dual 120V 20A connector and one prong of the 120/240 connector. The second circuit powers the second 120V 20A and the second prong of the 120/240V round connector. You select 120 V ONLY to let the power producing circuits operate in parallel. That will share the total current between one terminal of the 120/240V connector and all the 120V connectors.

Honda Eu7000is : Best heavy-duty inverter generator. Powerful inverter portable generator.
Runs between 6 to 18 hours on a single tank. (Amazon)

The Honda EU7000is is perfect for portable use at home, when camping or vacationing, and much more. However, you must keep in mind the Honda limits the output to 30 Amps for 120 or 240 Volt use. When using it to power the house during an emergency, keep that in mind. The same applies when using it with a 50 Amp RV. It will work on both circuits of the RV but the overall limit is 30 Amps, not 50 Amps. In both cases it means you must select your appliances carefully. But it will run the RV air conditioner and a reasonable-sized Energy Star refrigerator or freezer. It will also support most of the appliances in the RV but not all at the same time.

Two sturdy wheels and two fold-down handles make the Honda portable, and you need them. The total weight of this machine is a whopping 261.5 pounds, more than the average weight for a man. (According to recent research by health organizations the average American man of 20 years old weighs 197.9 pounds).

The consumer warranties cover the generator and the engine for three years. The American Honda Motor Co., Inc. distribute and supports the Honda generators in America.

In summary, I am pleased to see more open frame inverter generators and true inverter generators on the market. The open frame inverters bring the cost of owning one down and brings true sine wave output to all generators. I predict that soon the old conventional generator sitting in your garage will become extinct, a relic of the past.

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