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Old 03-06-2011, 07:42 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, 08:05 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, 08:15 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, 08:24 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, 08:24 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, 08:26 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, 08:36 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, 08:46 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, 12:51 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, 01:14 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, 03:07 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, 03:24 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, 03:39 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, 04:01 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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Old 03-06-2011, 04:36 PM   #15
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I love Colin's idea. Many people try to put the whole thing in a box. The issue with that is that many of these are air cooled, and you can overheat the generator quickly. Even a water cooled generator needs air to go over the coil. Look at the where the sound is coming from. I'll bet some can come from intake, most from exhaust, and some from the actual pistons. I would suggest the muffler idea, or maybe even 2, a S shape for the intake, and some way to isolate the weight from the base - such as floating the entire thing on 8 or 9 layers of carpet insulation.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:14 AM   #16
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Some interesting info here.

http://supersoundproofing.com/forum/...ic,1792.0.html
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:14 AM   #17
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Thanks all, some great ideas here to muddle over. This is after all a Honda unit so there is not a "LOT" of noise to worry about. I like the idea of a small auto muffler and just might give that one a try first and see what happens. In most cases of remote camping I would only see myself running it for a few hours during a day to keep the batteries up to charge. If, perhaps, we were travelling in warm country there may come a time to want to use the generator at night to supply power for AC use. Again, if we're the only ones nearby, who cares. But I want to be respectful to others if they are nearby. I have quite a few ideas to toss about and see just what sticks.

Thanks all, See ya along the highways. ( Only saw one AS the other day southbound in Va on US 81.) Not many of us out on the road. Maybe see a few more this week in Florida.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:57 AM   #18
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I recently bought one of the Boli 3600 generators, and it is relatively quiet, but not as quiet as the little Honda 2000.

On a recent boondocking trip we were parked near several people with Hondas. I ran the Boli in the back of the truck bed which is equipped with a camper cover, and while the generator was running, I left the rear window of the cover open, tailgate up. No need to ever even lift the generator.

Under these circumstances, the Boli was much quieter than the Hondas and with just the back window open, there was no overheating problem.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:39 AM   #19
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I don't know about the exhaust side of things, but in my prior Airstream (Spiffy) I had a fire box made of 20 gauge steel that I then wrapped with dynamat (http://www.b-quiet.com/extreme.html). We were able to have a normal conversation while the generator was running (and I have 80 percent hearing loss). But be warned: it’s not cheap.

Go check my photo's for related pictures.
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