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Old 08-28-2009, 07:06 AM   #1
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Quieting a noisy generator

I did a quick search but didn't find anything here, but did find a few sites on the internet. I bought a pre-owned 3500W Craftsman generator off craigslist for $225. It is loud. And heavy. The heavy part I can deal with 'cause I'm young The loud part annoys me, so based on what I've read elswhere on the internet, I'm going to quiet it. Here's the plan: yesterday I went to AutoZone and bought the cheapest car muffler I could find ($19.99) and some of the flexible exhaust pipe and two couplers. I will weld one coupler directly to the existing muffler on the generator. Once that is done everything else will just slide on. I will take photos and such of my progress and post them here. Once complete I will make a short video of a before and after to give everyone an idea of the sound reduction. I don't have a decible meter but I may invest in one to make this scientific and all Stay tuned.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:39 AM   #2
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Check this out, especially the second half:

Quieten That Generator
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:44 AM   #3
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Unfortunately exhaust isn't the only source of noise from an unenclosed generator. If you can afford a late model Airstream, you can afford a decent Honda or Yamaha generator. Do yourself and your neighbors a favor.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:59 AM   #4
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Any kind of baffle or portable wall will reduce sound for you somewhat. Unfortunately the sound has to go somewhere else.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:01 AM   #5
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Sounds like you have a contractor grade generator instead of an RV generator. I haven't bought one yet myself but have researched enough to know that you have to shell out some $$$ (new)to get a good quiet one.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snake View Post
Unfortunately exhaust isn't the only source of noise from an unenclosed generator. If you can afford a late model Airstream, you can afford a decent Honda or Yamaha generator. Do yourself and your neighbors a favor.
I know, but it is a significant source of the noise.

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Sounds like you have a contractor grade generator instead of an RV generator. I haven't bought one yet myself but have researched enough to know that you have to shell out some $$$ (new)to get a good quiet one.
Yes, about $2k. Not gonna happen.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:43 AM   #7
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Getting back to the original point of this thread;

Seems like the 2 things that could be helpful are the muffler that you are already making and some sort of enclosure. The problems with that are getting the exhaust out and getting enough air in for combustion and for cooling. Since heat rises, this suggests that the top of the enclosure should be open.

This suggestion is probably overkill, but a 4 sided enclosure taller than a standing person would likely do a good job of directing most of the noise straight up and away from people. The material could be rigid foam sheets of 1 1/2 or 2" building insulation. If the panels were hinged together then they could be folded up for transportation or opened for adding fuel.
Cut a port near the bottom and install a cooling fan to blow on the engine. Plug the fan into the generator.

Like I said, suggestion is probably overkill but it should do a really good quieting job.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:55 AM   #8
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The Honda E2000 purrs like a kitten....... and we paid in the high $800's for ours. We ordered ours on line.

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Old 08-28-2009, 09:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstream25 View Post
Getting back to the original point of this thread;

Seems like the 2 things that could be helpful are the muffler that you are already making and some sort of enclosure. The problems with that are getting the exhaust out and getting enough air in for combustion and for cooling. Since heat rises, this suggests that the top of the enclosure should be open.

This suggestion is probably overkill, but a 4 sided enclosure taller than a standing person would likely do a good job of directing most of the noise straight up and away from people. The material could be rigid foam sheets of 1 1/2 or 2" building insulation. If the panels were hinged together then they could be folded up for transportation or opened for adding fuel.
Cut a port near the bottom and install a cooling fan to blow on the engine. Plug the fan into the generator.

Like I said, suggestion is probably overkill but it should do a really good quieting job.
The top of my generator is the fuel tank.I may enclose 2 sides with 3/4" plywood, but I'm going to see how well the muffler quiets it first.

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Originally Posted by Titu & Gail View Post
The Honda E2000 purrs like a kitten....... and we paid in the high $800's for ours. We ordered ours on line.

Gail
Gail, unfortunately, that generator will not run my 13,500 A/C unit. Two of them in parallel would, but then I'm carrying two (expensive) generators. If I can do the job with one (heavy as it may be) generator that is reasonably quiet, that is the route I prefer.
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:56 AM   #10
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generator soundproof box
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:28 AM   #11
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if you look at a commercial tin can (acoustic enclosure) for a large standby genset, you will find the interior is perforated metal with a sound absorbing material underneath-the thicker the pleats or openings in the sound absorbing mat'l the better. The exhaust, of course, is muffled-on a small B&S engine there is a lot of noise coming from the valve train. so, you need to enclose the unit-but ya gotta move some air around the dang thing to cool it. any exposed exhaust pipe between the engine and the muffler will also have a sound resonating from it-so close couple the muffler, and insulate around the pipe. good luck.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:25 PM   #12
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After struggling with this issue of a good and quiet generator...you know, weight vs cost vs power vs loudness...we finally bit the bullet and got a Honda EU2000i Companion after much research and balancing the factors... Boy are we glad we did. We just got back from camping 12 days all dry camping in NF campgrounds and it performed beautifully and is easy to use...and light enough as to not get a a hernia trying to wrangle it around. There were other generators in the campground and we were amazed at how loud some of them were...one fella's near our camp site had one that sounded like a dang chain saw or lawn mower...I almost went over and asked him to turn it off ... just so we could hear ours purring nearby! The Hondas really are the ticket. We figured if we REALLY find we need to have AC we'll do the parallel thing down the pike...

Another thing to consider in using industrial strength genreators is the quality of electricty you get...the Hondas (and equivalent Yamahas) give you clean sine wave power that will not hurt your electronics.
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:22 PM   #13
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Hi, the two easiest ways to make a noisey generator quiet are: A 500 foot power cord, or a 10 lb. sledge hammer smack dab in the middle of it.

One generator that won't break the bank, or your back, and run your A/C is the Yamaha 2400. I know to you it's a challenge, but most of us have already gone down that road [including me] and in the end you just have to spend the bucks and realize that the quiet generators are more than just fancy mufflers.
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Old 08-29-2009, 07:23 AM   #14
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The 1st generator I bought was a 4500 watt Champion (chinese) generator on sale for about $300. Noisy but not as much as some, but still obnoxious. I used it a total of about 6 times and also was trying to figure how to quiet it. I then found a good deal on a used Honda 2000 inverter and never used the Champion again although I held on to it for a while in case I needed to power my AC (never did). I would rather be a little hot than have to listen to that noisy generator so I sold it this summer in a garage sale for $100. I find I only use my Honda once or twice a season. I put in more battery power and can easily get through a long weekend without it. My one compromise with technology is we have a 20" flat panel combination TV/ DVD player. Next project is to put in one or 2 Fantastic fans to help with cooling when away from shore power. I also would like to paint the roof white and put on window awnings.
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Old 08-29-2009, 08:08 AM   #15
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Solar panel at walmart is about $120.Use it to charge a car or deep cell battery.I have a homelite emergency generator for hurricane use which is loud but an emergency is exactly that.Good luck on your project but from where I'm standing ,if I need a generator am I enjoying a camping get away far from modern society or am I in an emergency?
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:23 AM   #16
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Airstram01,

Take it from another Virginian, if you camp up in the Washington/Jefferson National Forest under the trees and by a mountain stream, you probably aren't going to need an air conditioner. I bought a Honda EU-3000is 7 years ago for that very purpose and have only used it once to run the A/C at a rally with no shade. I doubt you need 3500 watts. I bet just about all your needs can be satisfied with one EU-2000i for running small appliances. Recharging your batteries only needs an EU-1000i.
I'm even rethinking my generator needs and will probably get a EU-1000i to carry instead of the EU-3000. I can use the 3000 at home for the next hurricane.

Noisy generators are becoming the exception to the rule in NF/NP campgrounds now that the quiet Hondas and Yamahas are available. For the benefit of the other campers trying to enjoy nature, I hope that will you give the small Hondas/Yamahas some more consideration.
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:29 PM   #17
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Ok, I will try to post video tomorrow. The muffler DID quiet the generator substantially but not enough for my tastes, so I built a plywood "shed" for it. It is closed in on all sides except the bottom and exhaust side. With the shed on it, and the exhaust side facing away from the population, it is nearly as quiet as the famed hondas or yamahas. I'm not happy though, even at 3500 peak watts and 3000 running watts, it doesn't make enough go juice to run the A/C, Tv and fridge and keep the volts above 110v. I will be boondocking a good bit until this race season is over (I run Hare Scrambles) and A/C is a requirement during the day because there is very little shade). Since my off road bike is a Yamaha, I think after the season is over and I'm not broke, I'll invest in a pair of the Yamaha 2000s or 2400s and run them in parallel. I know the hondas are popular to parallel but has anyone done the Yamahas?

Anyway here are a few photos of my setup.

before welding w/ heat shield removed


Parts


after welding


video


typical boondock location(you can see the shed/generator to the right of the tent.)
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:03 PM   #18
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Airstream01...I'll bet you are very happy with your decision to get a Yamaha when it's all said and done...it's just less "labor intense" not to mention more effective, and that leaves you more time to enjoy the camping... Report back once you get your new setup and let us know what you think!
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:14 PM   #19
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I applaud your efforts and resourcefulness. If your efforts pay off, terrific!

I will admit to being skeptical, though. I have been to enough camping sites and tailgating events to see a lot of home-grown generator quieting efforts - none have been successful, even though I suspect the owners might disagree with me.

From my perspective, there are few more annoying camping experiences than a load generator, so like I started, if you are able to tame your beast with that muffler, I think that is very cool!

One of the things that is nice about some of the quiet generators is the fact that they are self contained and fairly easy to transport - and start!

As always, budgets will dictate... good luck in your efforts!
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:22 PM   #20
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Actually, how do I say this in a nice way. After my last post I went back and listened to the video clip. I stand by my last post. Go for the Yamaha or Honda - sell the craftsman to a craftsman.
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