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Thread: Harbor Freight Tools Review Thread

  1. Top | #231
    jgayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmo2 View Post
    Voltage goes down current goes up.
    V (voltage) x I (current) = W (watts)

    I'm really not sure how this works with an inverter generator that uses DC power to make AC power.
    From reading the post from CJadamec I don't think much is different. Even inverter generators start out with AC. So its AC -> DC -> AC. So as the engine slows and the voltage starts to decrease, current will start to increase. One possible advantage to a microprocessor controlled inverter is it could recognize when the engine has lost power and electronically cut off the inverter.

    Here is a good explanation:

    First, the generator's alternator produces high voltage multiphase AC power. The AC power is then converted to DC. Finally the DC power is converted back to AC by the inverter. The inverter also smoothes and cleans the power to make it high quality. A special microprocessor controls the entire process, as well as the speed of the engine.
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  3. Top | #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdforever View Post
    Went to Harbor Freight this past weekend to buy a heat gun and a creeper. Bought a heat gun, but remembered seeing the exact creeper at Rural King. So I went practically next door to Rural King and purchased the creeper for $10 cheaper. While there, the wife said why don't we check their price on heat guns. Bought one as it was $5 cheaper than HF. Back to HF to return the heat gun.

    Disposables can be found many times cheaper at other retailers, but you have to look around. I have nothing against HF, as I own my fair share of their stuff, but just like warehouse/wholesale stores (Costco and Sam's Club), they are not always cheaper. Same with outlet malls.
    Iíve only been in a Rural King once a few years ago. I took my time and went up and down every isle kind of taking a mental inventory.

    I noticed there was a section that looked just like Harbor Freight stuff. Didnít check prices.

    Iíve noticed a small amount of the same at Tractor Supply but not near HF prices.
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  4. Top | #233
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    Iíve only been in a Rural King once a few years ago. I took my time and went up and down every isle kind of taking a mental inventory.

    I noticed there was a section that looked just like Harbor Freight stuff. Didnít check prices.

    Iíve noticed a small amount of the same at Tractor Supply but not near HF prices.
    I have been to Rural King a lot and their prices are good if it's on sale. Wife hates it when I go there because they sell a lot of guns. Its a pretty cheap place for guns and ammo.
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  6. Top | #234

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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    Nice review - thanks! Seriously considering this to replace my Champion generator.

    A question - does it have a fuel shutoff? I think I read somewhere that some of the Hondas do not - an important feature for me.
    As far as I know it does not have a separate fuel shutoff. I do believe the off/run/start switch shuts fuel off to the carb when in the off position though.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJadamec View Post
    Shutting a generator down with a load still connected can do all sorts of weird things to the generator as well as the motor.

    Electrically its very rough on the diodes, windings, and voltage regulator of the generator. They probably won't break right away but you will shorten the life of those parts. Unless you have a very sophisticated meter you won't be able to measure the types of things that are happening during a shut down like that.

    Mechanically by shutting down with a load you are effectively putting a braking force on the motor and generator rather than letting them slow down and stop on their own. That is rough on the shafts and bearings in the motor and the generator.

    The connected loads also suffer greatly due to the brown out conditions they are exposed to. The failing voltage and frequency output of the generator is very rough on electronics.

    On inverter generators its the inverters themselves that take the brunt of the abuse because they are trying to take the bad power output from the generator and convert it to clean AC power.

    It is always best practice to shut off any connected loads before unplugging them from the generator. Allow the generator to idle for a few seconds to stabilize and burn off any extra fuel. Then unplug and shutdown.

    On start up all loads should be disconnected from the generator. The generator started and allowed to get up to speed and choke taken off. Apply loads in a controlled manner one by one if possible.
    I agree on all fronts, especially the impact on electronic loads. Modern electronics are designed to handle a certain level of harmonic distortion. When the generator shuts down with loads connected, parameters such as voltage, frequency, current, harmonics, etc...will all start to fall outside of the acceptable limits of sensitive electronic components. The inverter circuit can only clean this up so much and isn't meant to do it during those types of conditions. It might be for a short time, but it's still enough to cause damage. You'll never be able to see this on a standard DMM. You might see something on oscilloscope, but I would use continuous data acquisition to look at what happens during the shutdown. Resistive loads won't care, but your laptop or TV isn't going to fair so well, at least not long term.

    Just like above, my advice is don't do it. Make sure the loads are off or disconnected before starting up or shutting down the generator.
    Last edited by thecause17; 09-05-2019 at 06:23 PM.
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  7. Top | #235

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    Here is my review on their US General series of tool boxes.

    I searched all the normal sources for tool boxes that fit my needs. I wanted some with full ball bearing drawers, full extension and most importantly, a large number of drawers that were 2-3 inches high. Found a lot that fit the first 2 criteria, but most came up short on the third.

    Checked out the HF boxes in the store, seemed well built, smooth drawer movement. Took the plunge and bought the 26" cabinet and a 30" 4 drawer cart. After getting them home, assembled and loaded, decided this was the route I wanted to go, so I ordered the 26" chest, another 30" cart and a 44" cabinet. Originally, I planned on using the top of the 44" cabinet as a work bench, but after moving all my tools in, I needed just a little more storage capacity, so I got the top unit for that as well.

    Choosing a top for the 44 took a little thinking, wasn't sure if I wanted a 44 or another 26. Both have 8 drawers plus the top area, the 26 came out to 3,032 square inches of storage where as the 44 came in at 3,510 square inches. Notice I said SQUARE INCHES and not cubic inches. To me, extra deep drawers that I cannot fill equal dead air space. In the end I went with the 44.

    Now for the review part of this.

    First off, the 44" cabinet and chest are not 44", they are 42" class. HF must be including the side handle in their measurements. Per their website, the 44" measures 44 3/8", my tape measure says 41 3/4", I did not install the side handle. That also means that the 44" top is not a 44, and for this one they do have the correct size listed on the web: 41 1/8". The 26" units are true to size.

    All of them were well packaged to prevent damage during transit. Each were hauled home in the back of my truck which led to a logistics issue-- How was I going to unload them? The 44 cabinet weighs in at 291 pounds! I decided that drawer removal would be the way to go to lighten the units. Removing the drawers is very easy, press down on a lever on one side and up on the lever on the other to release the drawer. Inserting the drawer back in is just a matter of aligning the glides and pushing in.

    With the drawers fully loaded (each comes with a drawer liner), all operate smoothly to the full extension, with all but the last 1/2 inch being exposed. They also have a "soft lock" when pushing back in the final 1/2 inch. They lock fully mechanically when the lid is closed on the top units or if you key lock the base units. Speaking of locks, each unit came with no less than 4 barrel keys!!

    Moving the fully loaded units is easy thanks to the large casters. The only issue I have with the casters are the swivel ones on the 44. When I went to park the cabinets, I wanted to have the 44 on the left, 26 on the right. Wasn't happening because the swivel casters on the 44 are larger and are too far out to the side. This prevented me from parking the 26 up tight to the 44. If the casters were located just 1 inch more from the side this would not have been a problem.

    Each drawer comes with a white and clear insert for the front handle. I made printed labels with my label maker and placed those in between the inserts. Makes it easy to change for future tool re-alignments.

    The gas shocks work smoothly on the lids, only have to lift the lid a few inches and away it goes. Closing takes very little effort.

    As mentioned, I also picked up 2 of the 30", 4 drawer service carts. I have one set up for auto detailing and the other for maintenance. The overall quality is equal to the tool cabinets, only real complaint I have is that the locking rods for the drawers are noisy when closing the lid, need to get around to trying to lube those somehow. A quick note on assembly of the carts. After you have assembled the frame, the instructions say to set the chest in to the frame, not easy by yourself trying to align everything. For the second one, I placed the chest upside down on a blanket and set the frame down on it, much easier to align all the lips.

    Total list price for all the units I bought is just under $1700. By buying them during Parking Lot sales, regular sales and Super Coupons, my cost was only $1350.

    One other thing I bought were a couple of the Magnetic Parts trays (you see one attached to the lid of the 26). After buying and using these, I do not know how I ever made it through the last several decades without one!! Makes assembly of anything a lot easier, just dump all your parts/nuts/bolts/screws in the tray, they stay there. No more looking for a small box or plastic container to put parts in, and you can attach it anything magnetic.

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  9. Top | #236
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    I went into a new (I think) Harbor Freight yesterday first time I had ever been in one...How often do they have a coupon or sale that applies to the 72" toolbox? I would buy one if it was under $1K...Since at that point its about the same price as a phone.

    Any chance it happens before Xmas?

    I only found 4 things I needed, a 3/8" long Pittsburgh ratchet, a dead blow hammer and the 72" box along with the top for it.

    I have to admit I dreamt of colored toolbox's last night especially a Green one....
    Last edited by chex313; 09-08-2019 at 08:26 AM.
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  10. Top | #237
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    Quote Originally Posted by chex313 View Post
    I went into a new (I think) Harbor Freight yesterday first time I had ever been in one...How often do they have a coupon or sale that applies to the 72" toolbox?
    At least a couple of times per year. I had a coupon from Feb 2019, and I found this today one on a coupon site (not sure whether they will accept 'fuzzy' images, though).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 3561_ITEM_72__X_22__TRIPLE_BANK_EXTRA_DEEP_CABINETS_1563986669.9011.png
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  12. Top | #238
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    Quote Originally Posted by RodW View Post
    At least a couple of times per year. I had a coupon from Feb 2019, and I found this today one on a coupon site (not sure whether they will accept 'fuzzy' images, though).
    At mine even if it wonít scan they will key in the number below the bar code.

    One way to test to see if it works for sure is to put the item in your cart online and enter the coupon number.
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  13. Top | #239
    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    I finally gave in and signed up for email coupons.
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  14. Top | #240
    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmo2 View Post
    I finally gave in and signed up for email coupons.
    Oh man....just wait. I had to put a stop to them.

    I just use our trusty website -

    Harbor Freight Tools Coupon Database - Free coupons, 25 percent off coupons, 20 percent off coupons, No Purchase Required coupons, toolbox coupons
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