Friday, February 24, 2012

Porter-Cable H650IS-W 6,500-Watt Contractor Portable Generator

Porter-Cable H650IS-W 6,500-Watt Contractor Portable Generator Description

The Porter-Cable H650IS-W 6,500-watt Contractor Portable Generator comes with a powerful 13 HP Honda GX390 OHV engine. The engine features a compression release for easy recoil start, a cast-iron cylinder sleeve, and its 7-gallon fuel tank provides 9.4 hours of run time at 1/2-load and six hours at full load. The compressor also features 10-inch pneumatic tires for easy portability.. With circuit breaker protection and an advanced alternator design, this generator has no brushes to replace and comes with rugged all-metal and ball bearing construction for longer life. Rubber isolators are also included to reduce vibration. Other features include an idle control to save fuel and reduce noise, an hour meter for maintenance scheduling, a full power selector switch for maximum 120 VAC motor starting, a fuel gauge, and lift rings. This generator measures 20 x 32-1/2 inches and weighs 219 pounds.

  •     Powerful 13 HP Honda GX390 OHV engine
  •     10-inch pneumatic tires for easy portability
  •     Compression release for easy recoil start
  •     7-gallon fuel tank provides 9.4 hours of run time at 1/2-load and 6 hours at full load
  •     Non-CARB Compliant/Not For Sale In California

Built for long lasting durability, this 6,500-watt generator has a 13-horsepower Honda GX390 engine with cast iron cylinder sleeves and low oil protection. The advanced alternator design is brushless, providing cleaner and more consistent power while eliminating the need for replacing brushes. The alternator also has ball bearings for long lasting smooth operation. The 7-gallon gas tank delivers up to 9.4 hours of run time at 1/2 load and 6.0 hours at full load. An idle control increases run time by idling the engine down when electricity is not being drawn from the generator. Compression release allows easier recoil starting. The control panel features an hour meter, circuit breakers, a full power selector switch, 12-volt DC outlet, 120-volt duplex outlet, 120-volt twistlock outlet, and a 120-240-volt twistlock outlet. The full power selector switch provides maximum power to the 120-volt outlet for maximum motor starting power. For added convenience, a portability kit is included and lift rings are built in for securing at the job site. One-year warranty. Includes generator, engine oil, and operating manual.

This review is from: Porter-Cable H650IS-W 6,500-Watt Contractor Portable Generator

Excellent generator at an excellent price, February 14, 2011 By Terry Crammer (Islip, NY USA)

Have not had to use this generator in an emergency just yet, but am very impressed at the quality and packaging. This machine is head and shoulders above similarly priced gen sets, the paint, welding and fasteners are all first rate. Upon receiving the set off the back of the Fed-Ex truck, it took about 15 minutes before I had it out of the box, wheels and handles installed, gassed up and running. Started first pull!

Solid Value, January 27, 2011 By H. Stratton "cstulsa" (Tulsa, OK United States)

This is an excellent generator built with durability and clean power in mind. The brushless alternator means that harmonic distortion levels (THD) are low. At low load and high load, I measured 6% THD with a Fluke 43B power quality analyzer. Compare this to a very popular brand of portable generator which ran in the 8% to 11% THD range, and a fixed standby generator at my father's home (that same brand) that showed a whopping 22% THD. Voltage of the H650IS-W was stable at 120 volts and line frequency held at 62 Hz. The speed did hunt a bit at low loads, not enough to cause a problem but incandescent lights vary slightly in brightness when it does this. At higher loads engine speed was very stable. This appears to be the same alternator still used in the current Porter-Cable generator line.

The big difference between this generator and the current Porter Cable line is the engine. Here we have the Honda GX390 engine, while the newer generators use a Briggs and Stratton Vanguard. I'm not in a position to evaluate the Briggs engine, but the Honda is a high quality known quantity, and I'm glad to have it. The only caveat is that the Honda carburetors are said to be easily gummed up with bad gasoline. Since I've converted my generator to propane/natural gas (not hard to do) I don't expect to be experiencing this problem, though it can still be run on gasoline.

Sound levels are commensurate with other generators of this size. Not quiet like the Honda inverter generators, but no noisier than other conventional Honda powered generators.

The H650IS-W has a very rugged external frame and robust wheels. The downside is that the whole unit takes up a bit more space than most generators of this size, so if compactness is a consideration there might be better choices.

Nice unit, July 17, 2010 By G. Usher "Big Dog" (Orlando, Fl.)

I purchased this from Amazon Sept. 2004 after a family member destroyed my old generator. Please remember: never leave power equipment running outside in driving rain. Water ingestion results in broken connecting rods and large holes in engine blocks. Generators must be used outdoors. They must also be used in locations where water will not enter the air filter.

This unit has plenty of power. My neighbors always come knocking with extension cords in hand when we have extended power outages. This unit can handle my 2.5 ton a/c, 3 refrigerators & two freezers without blinking. And yes it will run the hot water heater (shut down other appliances first) too. But no, it will not run central electric strip heating.

Honda has been famous for carbs that can't be serviced. Never store this unit with gas. Either run it out after use or start it every month or so. After six years this still starts on first or second pull. Well worth the $1600 purchase price. Next time the power goes out I'll have air conditioning.

Update 2011: Had a tough time getting this unit running recently. It was backfiring thru the carb so bad it knocked the choke butterfly into the air filter. I drained the gas, cleaned the carb, bought a new carb, adjusted valve clearance, still won't run. I've only racked up 16 hours so far. I was ready to pull the head. Turns out the NGK resistor spark plug shipped with this unit is a high failure item. Replace the resistor plug with the non-resistor type before this happens to you. This is probably good advise for any Honda GX motor owner.

Great product, great price!, May 15, 2008 By Steve (Yardley, PA USA)

Bought this mainly because of the Honda engine and the surge power of 12,000 watts. I plan on using it for backup power for the whole house when the power goes out (which seems to happen a lot lately). Starts on the first or second pull every time. Also, doesn't seem too loud considering it's size and output.

Good product
, July 1, 2006 By Allen J. Patenaude (miami, fl)

Works great but note that this generator is not capable of push button starting. my wife can start the generator with no problem using the pull cord (starts by second pull) but if you need the electric start look else where.

update: 2.5 years later and this generator still starts right up. For the past year i've only started it up every couple of months to keep it running. But when i've needed it, it hasn't failed me.

Great Generator for the price, May 31, 2005 By L. Angelo "unlsvc" (Hawaii)

As a remodeling contractor, I've been in the market for a generator that would handle all my power equipment, especially an air compressor, with power to spare, and also something I could count on the recharge my cordless tool batteries. So when I ran into this PC generator at the local building materials supplier and checked it out, it seemed to have everything I was asking for. The one I bought was a reconditioned unit that another contractor had returned, saying that the automatic idle down feature was not working properly. The supplier sent it out for repair, and all it was was a small adjustment in the idle setting and nothing else. I called the repair shop and they confirmed it. I've had it for three months now and have had no problems with it. It starts right up on the first or second pull and goes all day on a tankful. My guys tell me that even with the air compressor, chop saw, recip saw and two wormdrive saws all going, they were getting full power. The manual says 8000 watts of surge power, but the sticker on the generator says that this model has 12,500 watts of surge power, 6500 watts continuous, so I called PC and they told me that 12,500 watts is the correct number for the model currently shipping. My only complaint is how loud this thing runs. They claim 73-76 db, but it seems a lot louder. You'd think that Honda would put a quieter muffler on this 13.0 hp motor, but they didn't. And they don't make a quieter muffler for this motor model. So if you buy this generator and have to work closer than 20 feet from it, put on the ear plugs.

Do your homework - and you might end up with this one!, January 20, 2005 By A. Neilll (Goochland, VA USA)

There are so many things to consider when you shop for a generator, especially if you intend to use it to power your home when the electricity goes out. This generator might be a good choice for you, it is a quality generator for it's size and price range. The Honda GX series engine is tops for this type of generator, the brushless alternator design is a must if you want your generator to last any significant amount of time. Also, a plus in my book is that this generator is a TRUE 6500 continuous watts - be careful because many generators list their SURGE wattage as the primary number.

Of course, that means first consider how much power you will need. I live in the country, I run a well pump, I have electric hot water, I need at least this big a generator... in fact probably bigger since I have electric heat or more. Decide what you want to run before hand and talk with your family to set expectations and requirements... you could save yourself money. I bought a generator with twice the power of this one, and not surprisingly, more than twice as expensive... as power goes up on a generator, price goes up even moreso.

Second, consider quality. If you are prone to prolonged outages, you can run up the hours pretty quickly. For a backup generator used a moderate amount, a Honda gx series engine ( like the one featured on this generator) is just what the doctor ordered. But if you are going to run very very often, or use it as a primary power source, you are going to want a (much more expensive) liquid-cooled model, either diesel, gasoline, propane, etc.

Which leads to another consideration: the fuel. A gasoline generator is great and the easiest to buy because of their predominance on the market, in fact my generator is gasoline powered. But consider where you will get gasoline from if it is a major blackout, since storing large amounts of gasoline is neither safe nor wise, and in many cases not even legal. Knowing a close by gas station that has it's own backup power would come in handy. But consider other fuels that are more easily stored in bulk - diesel, or propane. of course, that makes the generator more expensive, and of course you might also have to add a propane tank - even MORE expense.

Which leads nicely into a discussion of budget. Besides the generator itself, count on more expense for things like plugs/cables for the generator, a battery if it is needed, even in many cases - motor oil! And the most significant expense beside the generator itself - the transfer panel to wire it your house safely, and the cost of hiring an electrician to do the wiring, unless you are VERY comfortable with tapping into your home's power supply and messing about yourself. And note that the more powerful a generator, the more costly the transfer switch and cables to carry the power to your house, and the harder it will be to find the proper components with compatible plugs, etc.

Finally - do NOT forget to read the manual, and to do periodic maintenance and run the generator about once a month to make sure it is in good shape when you need it.


  1. this generator review is so informative . it helps me to maintain a generator .

  2. Really nice article and i liked reading it. I will be thankful to you if you present us with more such articles about other destinations with the same kind of information and links..