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Old 03-06-2011, 08:42 AM   #1
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Making a generator more quiet

I recently acquired a Honda 2500w generator for the " right price ". It is remarkably quiet by any normal standard but it is NOT one of the super quiet ones that are available. For using it in dry camping where there's noone to bother but me it will be just fine as is. It's a bit heavy to move around too often myself so I think I will plan to run it from the back of my truck. I would like to route the exhaust to the outside of the trucks fiberglass cap while running. That's a related but another issue to discuss. Does anyone out there in Airstream Land have any ideas how to make it a little more quiet in case I wish to run it in proximity to other campers ???? I read here that the most often recommended wattage for our uses, to include AC/microwave is 3000w. Will a 2500w unit be adaquate to handle the AC. Microwave is optional but in a hot climate the AC is not. Otherwise I will just plan stay at the higher / cooler elevations.

Thanks all, the experience and advice given on this site is priceless. For everything else use Visa !!!!!
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:05 AM   #2
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I have seen several attempts at using various types of insulation to deaden the sound of generators. Some ideas have been better than others for sure. But, they all failed due to the same issue...overheating! If you're blocking sound waves, you're also blocking airflow.

Maybe a functional design would come from the same concept as cold air intake for our tow vehicles. Vent the air intake so it's only source of air is from outside the "sound proof" enclosure.

Then of course, you'd have to vent the exhaust out of the enclosure and out of the truck bed enclosure like you mentioned. Overtime, I would think the exhaust venting tube could become a fire hazard. Place any flat service directly in the airflow of the exhaust for about five minutes and you'll see my concern.

Let me know what you come up with.

-Hippie Fish
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:15 AM   #3
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Roger,

I have a 2500 Microlight Onan I have began to install in my new-to-me 2005 30' Classic. My buddy (an Onan Engineer) and I have tested running the air-conditioner with the generator, using an extention cord, and it ran fine. Here's the deal, there is a capacitor (if you conditioner does not have one you will need to get one) that, because of the much higher electical demand on start-up, is needed to assists in the start-up of the conditioner. As long as this capacitor performs as intended, the 2500 watt generator will support a 13,800 air conditioner just fine. But if the capacitor quits working, it will, over a limited amount of time damage the generator.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:24 AM   #4
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If you can close off the genset using baffles that change the direction of both the intake and cooling air flow, but doesnít restrict its movement, that will greatly decrease the noise level. I have an Onan Microquiet 4000 installed in my 2002 ASCL. With the access door open the noise level is a good 3 to 4 times what it is with the door closed. A couple of days ago I posted exterior photos of the installation here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...s-68808-4.html
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:24 AM   #5
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This may sound strange or maybe not. But try searching on youtube.com for this. I seem to remember several how to videos doing the same thing.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:26 AM   #6
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PM happycamper on the forums he might post his nice system or tell you about it. His is in his camper shell with exhaust going out using a fantastic auto fan on the roof.His is nice for larger generators.


Quote:
Originally Posted by polarlyse View Post
I recently acquired a Honda 2500w generator for the " right price ". It is remarkably quiet by any normal standard but it is NOT one of the super quiet ones that are available. For using it in dry camping where there's noone to bother but me it will be just fine as is. It's a bit heavy to move around too often myself so I think I will plan to run it from the back of my truck. I would like to route the exhaust to the outside of the trucks fiberglass cap while running. That's a related but another issue to discuss. Does anyone out there in Airstream Land have any ideas how to make it a little more quiet in case I wish to run it in proximity to other campers ???? I read here that the most often recommended wattage for our uses, to include AC/microwave is 3000w. Will a 2500w unit be adaquate to handle the AC. Microwave is optional but in a hot climate the AC is not. Otherwise I will just plan stay at the higher / cooler elevations.

Thanks all, the experience and advice given on this site is priceless. For everything else use Visa !!!!!
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:36 AM   #7
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Noise from generators, is from the hot expanding exhaust gasses.

Cool the exhaust temperature down, and the noise drops. The longer the tail pipe, the cooler the exhaust, as an example.

That's what they did to reduce jet engine noise.

Andy
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:46 AM   #8
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I had an onan quiet one 2500, wasn't quiet like a honda. I changed the sound out by a baffle on the enclosure but did make sure it had air to circulate with it's own fan, also added an automobile muffler at the output, muffler pipe diameter was greater than onan's so it didn't restrict flow. As long as you have space and have to add an exhaust pipe, you should be able to design an enclosure with venting and a forced air fan to cool it. Mount it on vibration blocks, add an enclosure of dense material and soft surfaces, making sure temperature is under control by incorporating a thermometer, wire it into a fan.
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:51 PM   #9
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I know what you mean about a capacitor Getoutdoors. My outside AC compressor at home has one to aid in startup. Is it something that our AC units on a Airstream would have had installed at the factory ???? Is it simply installed in the incoming power line before the compressor ???? I haven't made any attempt to plug in the trailer yet. I'm on the road at the moment and will begin to take issue with this in a few weeks when I get back home.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:14 PM   #10
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I can offer experience from quieting a gas golf cart. In addition to the advice offered already about the exhaust, a box to enclose will quiet it a great deal. I spoke with an engineer of a company that makes expensive soundproofing foam and he said that you benefit from simply stopping the noise waves from either getting straight out or from them bouncing around until they get out.

Aircraft spruce has a closed cell foam ( soft, different thicknesses, adhesive backing) that I applied to the golf cart seat bottom and it cut the noise in half.

By the way, heat is not an issue with this foam and neither is moisture.

I would try and design a cold air input and auto exhaust outside a solid box and plan make the top an S pattern to allow free flow of heat while placing foam on the walls so the sound waves are absorbed and not allowed to bounce and get out.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarlyse View Post
I know what you mean about a capacitor Getoutdoors. My outside AC compressor at home has one to aid in startup. Is it something that our AC units on a Airstream would have had installed at the factory ???? Is it simply installed in the incoming power line before the compressor ???? I haven't made any attempt to plug in the trailer yet. I'm on the road at the moment and will begin to take issue with this in a few weeks when I get back home.

Thanks for the input.
Start capacitors are already a part of RV airconditioners.

Andy
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:24 PM   #12
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Years ago when I was heavily involved in amateur car racing, many of us had similar issues with noise from generators. One rather creative approach was to add a removable Austin Mini muffler to the generator. These cars originally came with 850cc engines & the exhaust pipe was quite tiny & matched up with the generator size pretty well. These mufflers are inexpensive & available through numerous British Cars restoration parts suppliers.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin H View Post
Years ago when I was heavily involved in amateur car racing, many of us had similar issues with noise from generators. One rather creative approach was to add a removable Austin Mini muffler to the generator. These cars originally came with 850cc engines & the exhaust pipe was quite tiny & matched up with the generator size pretty well. These mufflers are inexpensive & available through numerous British Cars restoration parts suppliers.
Colin
Any muffler with larger diameter pipes will work, u.s. cars have cheaper mufflers and you don't have to worry about impeding the exhaust flow.
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Years ago ... add a removable Austin Mini muffler to the generator...
Colin
I did a similar mod to an old Coleman generator...using a cheap automotive muffler...the exhaust noise went waaayyy down...so the only noise that was left was the Briggs engine rattling like a bucket of bolts!
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