I can think of many times while I was camping that I wished I had a remote start on my camping generator like the more expensive RVs and Generators did, but I had a Predator 3500 Generator, which was an economical choice for my needs but with very good performance. Well this article is going to cover my installation of a low cost remote control option I installed on my Predator 3500 generator, but would be same for similar generators like the PowerHouse 3500 from Northern Tool and others. The remote control allows you to operate the start, choke and shut off functions of the generator from a distance or inside the RV.
Being able to remotely start and stop your generator can come in handy in many situations. A few come to mind. While boondocking (Dry camping) we may want to run the microwave or a coffee pot for a few minutes. We could remotely start the generator without having to dress and go outside in any type of inclement weather while we use the appliance and then turn the generator off when finished again without having to go out. Also when we are traveling and overnight while on the road, we can start and stop the generator while it is locked in the back of the truck as we need it once it has been plugged into the camper, again without having to leave our camper. Possibly turn on the generator in the middle of the night from the comfort of your bed to run the A/C if too warm or an electric heater if too cold, or just to charge the batteries.
The remote control system is simple and inexpensive to install. it can easily be installed for under $40, and possibly under $25 if you have some scrap material such as wire and switches laying around your shop, However, in order to install this system on your generator, it needs to already be equipped with electric start.
The remote control system requires very few parts to complete the project. A full list of required parts to complete the installation, a link to our Youtube installation video and a simple wiring diagram will be provided for your educational use at the end of this article.
The operation is simple. The remote system draws very little electric power from the Generator battery, but a power switch for the remote control system is included to disconnect the power to the control board during extended storage periods of non use. The remote control transmitter has 4 channels, but only 3 channels are used on this project. That leaves you with an additional channel for a future generator project, possibly an on and off switch for the generator power receptacle for a remote light or fan. In our project, Channel A is the Start button. Channel B is the Electric Choke button, and Channel C is the Remote Shut off Switch. Typical operation is to turn the Generator selector knob to the On position. Turn the power on to the control board. There is no need to move the knob from that ON position to operate or shut off the generator remotely. You then simultaneously push A and B buttons to start the Generator. You will push Channel C button until the Generator turns off when you desire to turn it off. Range of the remote control is dependent on how you have configured or extended the coiled wire antenna and weather there is a clear line of sight between the remote control and the control board, or if there are structures or trees in between which reduces the effective distance. For our purposes, The generator is not far from our RV, so distance has not been a problem. I have used this same remote control system on other projects and have been able to operate it up to 40 yards away with a clear line of sight.
Below you will find a list of items you will need to complete this project on your Harbor Freight Predator 3500, Powerhorse 3500 or other similar electric start generator.
Basic Wiring Diagram
Happy “Remote” Camping! Leave us a comment and let us know how it worked out for you!