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Old 12-14-2019, 12:37 PM   #1
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Question Onan QG 4k vs 5.5k NOISE Levels

Let me start by saying I have a 5kw inverter, 10kwh lithium bank and 2kw solar. My requirements for a generator are to supplement my system. I donít need a generator specifically rated to run multiple ACs. My requirements are: electric start, remote start, weight, noise level, fuel economy, and reliability.

Both the newer models of Onan QG 4k and 5.5k fall into these specs ... although many with bad experiences might argue reliability.

Currently I have two Honda eu2000iís permanently mounted in my generator bay with exhaust hoods forcing hot air and exhaust out of my toyhaulers generator bay. This has worked well for over two years. However, Iím looking for something I can automate start and stop via my victron inverter. This can be done easily with an onan. Eg, batteries below 40% start and run until 90% ... or load is over 30a for more than 30 seconds start generator until load drops below 10a,etc. I can even program quiet hours. The Hondaís rock. But managing them by pulling a cord when extra power is needed is a task for a younger more vigilant person; not me

So, while shopping for a solution, the two options that meet my requirements are the QG 4k and 5.5k. However, the 5.5k is significantly heavier. Having limited cargo, I prefer to go with the 4k. Iíve heard the 5.5k running and powering two AC (eg, decently over half load). This thing was quite compared to my two Honda purring at 80%+ load levels. Hondaís are quite when idling. But when running near capacity can start to get loud. Especially when running two.

Iíd like to get some feedback from folks who have heard in person newer generation gasoline onan qg 4k and 5.5k generators. Is the 4k comparable in noise level?
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkDB View Post
My requirements for a generator are to supplement my system. I donít need a generator specifically rated to run multiple ACs. My requirements are: electric start, remote start, weight, noise level, fuel economy, and reliability.
Any information you will get is just so much BS. There is just no independent studies for this segment of the generator market.

With 50 years experience making electricity starting in the navy, I would never had a generator in an RV start automatically.

Yes we have emergency generators and pumps start automatically on nuclear ships and nuclear power plants but trained operators come running to make sure things are going right. Too many times things do not go right.

How hard is it to push a start button and monitor the system?

Sometimes I think there is a hidden agenda when asking questions. If more words are used to suggest how much money you spend on gear than telling us what you need to do what is one to think.

For example my $88 Harbor generator and 4 GC2 batteries get the job done just as well as your $10k spending.

If I need air conditioning, then I run my 6500 watt Onan.

I rarely need air conditioning because my MH has wheels to keep in places with nice weather.

A few years back I was looking at a work opportunity at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway during hot weather where I could park the MH for free but I would have to run the generator all week.

Did not do it but I can understand that there may be reasons to not let thrift be your guide.

In other words, tell us what you want to do so any advice can be more helpful.
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:47 PM   #3
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Wow boss. I think you mischaracterized my motives in just about as many words as my original post. Many class A coaches have generators that will come on ... on demand. To answer your question, It’s not difficult at all to push a button. That said there are several reason for and of course against on demand which was not the focal point of my post. My question was specifically about noise between the two models of Onan. I prefaced the information about my system and how I intend to incorporate the generator to support my preference of the 4k over the 5.5k.

Thanks! For the feedback,

Kirk
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:21 PM   #4
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Wow, tough crowd.

My only comparison is between my old Generac 5500 watt and my new Onan 4000 watt.

If running at night, its to run my A/C because its hot. As far as I can say, they both sounded the same. They were both in the rear compartment, just below the bed.

Have you checked the specs on the Honda eu7000 with electric start and electronic fuel injection ?

EFI elemenates the carburator issues if most gas generators.
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:30 PM   #5
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Wow, tough crowd.

My only comparison is between my old Generac 5500 watt and my new Onan 4000 watt.

If running at night, its to run my A/C because its hot. As far as I can say, they both sounded the same. They were both in the rear compartment, just below the bed.

Have you checked the specs on the Honda eu7000 with electric start and electronic fuel injection ?

EFI elemenates the carburator issues if most gas generators.
Being a gadget geek I tend to attract criticism at times

How old is your onan? How,would you characterize the noise level?

Iíve looked at the eu3000is which is about an inch or two too tall for my bay. I prefer to stick with something that can be installed permanently and that is made to be exhausted as well as serviced in place. Iím sounding really lazy arenít I

Thanks, Kirk
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Old 12-14-2019, 07:02 PM   #6
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Being a gadget geek I tend to attract criticism at times

How old is your onan? How,would you characterize the noise level?

...

Thanks, Kirk
Tell me about it! My favorite gadget is a nuclear reactor and that does draw either interest or criticism. Of course I got big bucks for making electricity with 'gadgets'.

The way I think about the noise 'gadgets' make is that it is a tool for knowing how it operates. My 20 year old Onan sounds 'better' with a heavy load and warned up.

The noise level also depends on how and it is mounted. So no one tell you what it will be for you. The noise level inside my MH is less with the HF cheap generator because it outside on the ground.

The noise level for my Onan is less than road noise when going down the road. I have to look at the light on the dash to see if it still running.

Just for the record anything that makes electricity bigger than a 2 watt solar PV path light is a dangerous 'gadget'.
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Old 12-14-2019, 09:19 PM   #7
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Hah. I tried to convince the DW to approve the nuclear reactor but she wisely convinced me to hold out for fusion.

You are right noise is relative to many factors. I hate to make a trip to CW to act like a costumer and ask to listen to each. But, it’s likely the best solution.

I did a lot to isolate vibration and noise with my Honda’s including using butyl type automotive insulation around the aluminum generator enclosure that otherwise rattled. As well plywood under the Honda’s vs sitting on the original steel plate seemed to help out.

I was pretty impressed with the 5.5k and may just eat the extra 100lbs. It was installed in the same brand toyhauler that I have; KZ. In that model the living room was over the generator and you could barely hear it with the 2 ducted ACs on. Seems like a better engine and will easily bring my bank up from empty in just a few hours with a ton of power to spare.

Now if the 4K is equally quiet .... guess I’ll have to hit CW to compare :(
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Old 12-14-2019, 09:25 PM   #8
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Just for the record anything that makes electricity bigger than a 2 watt solar PV path light is a dangerous 'gadget'.
Im equally paranoid. Picked up an iPhone thermal camera. A couple times a year Iíll put a load on my inverter setup, transfer switch, and breaker box to look for hotspots. People donít kill. Bad crimps do.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:00 AM   #9
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I've owned both an Onan 4000 and an Onan 5500. I have also owned a Honda 2000i for about 8-10 years. the 5500 is definitely quieter than the 4000 was. When home, we park the coach beside our house, and with the 4000 running in our previous Itasca we could hear the generator from inside the house. With the 5000 running in the current Mirada, we cannot hear it from either the front or back yards and definitely not from inside the house even if the windows are open.
The 2000i gets used whenever power gets knocked out, like after hurricanes. We use it to power the coffee pot, our refrigerator and sometimes a fan or the TV. It is always run in the back yard and we run an extension inside to the kitchen. Since we cannot run the AC, we can hear the Honda inside the rear of the house, but not in the front rooms. We cannot hear the Honda from the front yard.
As to fuel usage, I do not see much difference between the 4000 and the 5000; about 1/2 to 3/4 gallon per hour. The Honda uses about a gallon of gas for about 8 hours run time.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:48 AM   #10
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As to fuel usage, I do not see much difference between the 4000 and the 5000; about 1/2 to 3/4 gallon per hour. The Honda uses about a gallon of gas for about 8 hours run time.
Great feedback. Thank you. This can definitely fall into the apples to oranges category. As you mentioned you donít put the same load on the Honda. Honda inverter generators are great when you have to run a generator for general use since most of the time it may only be running a tv and some lights. They idle down nicely.

In my case the generator would be charging the battery bank. My eu2000 is full bore when itís running and never idles down. I do get around 4hrs/gal pulling 13a. But a 5.5k I could pull about 3x that for around the same fuel economy.

From a noise perspective a 1500w load makes the Honda hummm a descent amount louder. Equally it would put a descent load on the 4K compared to the 5.5k Onans. I like to charge my 400ah 24v bank around 80-100a. To accomplish this with the eu2000 I need two running in parallel. At that same rate the 4K would be around 75-85% load factoring in loss to conversion. The 5.5k on the other hand would be around 60% load.

To complicate my decision I really need to get a feel for noise based on how they will be used. And based on my aforementioned babbling out loud the 5.5k onan would likely be the quietest of the 3 setups.

Thanks everyone for all the great feedback. Itís always appreciated. Iíll most likely try to hunt down a 4K to listen to but unless itís quieter than what I have with the Hondaís at full load, I may just opt for the 5.5k.
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:23 AM   #11
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I also have owned both. I agree the 5500 seems quieter.

I have also owned LP and gasoline versions. As far as dependability goes, LP is the winner hands down. Less efficient as far as gallons per hour but ZERO fuel pump issues and ZERO bad fuel issues. The gasoline versions need frequent maintenance if you are not running almost daily. I have replaced numerous pumps and had to rebuild or replace carbs due to fouled fuel as well.

My LP gennys never needed anything but oil changes and ALWAYS fired right up and purred. Like I said earlier the trade off is a bit of fuel efficiency.
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:51 AM   #12
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The 5500 watt Onan has a 2400 RPM, 2 cylinder engine with a belt drive system to turn the generator at 3600 RPMs.

The 4000 watt Onan is a single cylinder direct drive engine and turns at 3600 RPMs.

The slower engine speed can reduce the sound level.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:46 AM   #13
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We spent a week at the Tampa rv show last year with a coach with a 5.5 Onan on one side of us and a class B+ with a 4.0 Onan on the other side of us, both had exhaust out the back of the coach. The 5.5 was quiet and we could not hear it while inside our coach when it ran. the 4.0 on the other hand was quite loud and obnoxious, making a loud putt putt sound form the exhaust, we had to turn the tv up to hear it and it would wake us up if it started while we were sleeping. After leaving the show I made the decision to never own a 4.0 Onan generator in an RV.

One other comment I would like to address is about never having a generator auto start in an RV. I worked as a Maintenance Manager at a large power plant my entire career and have been responsible for the safe and dependable operation of hundreds of auto start units. When properly installed and maintained they can operate safely and dependably to provide support and comfort for an RV owner.
I have a 10,000 quiet diesel in my coach and use the auto start feature for battery support and air conditioning whenever I stay without hookups which is extremely often. When I stop during the day and park to enjoy an attraction I use the auto start to run the air conditioning if needed so I can return to a cool coach. When I stay off the grid I never worry about batteries in my all electric coach because the generator dependably takes care of them if they should to be charged.
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:23 PM   #14
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I also have owned both. I agree the 5500 seems quieter.

I have also owned LP and gasoline versions. As far as dependability goes, LP is the winner hands down. Less efficient as far as gallons per hour but ZERO fuel pump issues and ZERO bad fuel issues. The gasoline versions need frequent maintenance if you are not running almost daily. I have replaced numerous pumps and had to rebuild or replace carbs due to fouled fuel as well.

My LP gennys never needed anything but oil changes and ALWAYS fired right up and purred. Like I said earlier the trade off is a bit of fuel efficiency.
I would love to go LP. However, being on a fifth wheel we have limited LP storage capacity. Since our fiver is a toyhauler, we have 60 gal of fuel storage. Unfortunately I don’t see an easy way around that.

Thanks for the feedback on the noise levels. Precisely the feedback I’m looking for.
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