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Old 01-23-2014, 11:35 PM   #1
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Beating the dead horse. Need a cheap, acceptable dB level generator

My wife and I are going to be traveling this summer. We are planning on a good 90% of it to be boondocking.

We need a generator that will power our A/C when we need it (hopefully not too often on the Oregon coast), and to charge our laptops and phones when we need to.

Now, I would love to get a nice Honda or something, but sadly that is not in the cards. We are very tight on budget. I can only afford maybe $600 or so towards a generator, and that is a tight upper limit.

Does anyone know of any generators that won't have the neighbors clamoring at me? Two summers as a camp-host, I've heard all levels of generators (then again, campers are allowed to use chainsaws to gather wood for campfires here, too). I was looking at a Generac 3250 (65dB) or WEN 3500 (67dB) for starters.

I've been on the lookout for a nicer one used, but no luck so far. We technically have until May, but I prefer to plan ahead, and have it now.

Any recommendations on new ones that are under $600, or any decent ones that I might have a chance of finding used for under $600?
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:23 AM   #2
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I've seen some people make enclosures out of ice chests or foam insulation board to reduce noise. A fan (plugged into the generator) built into the box and a vent keeps it cool. Keep watching Craig's List and other sources for a nice used Honda. You might also put the word out to Honda Service Centers and tell them what you are looking for.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:21 AM   #3
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Champion 3000W

We bought a Champion 3000W Generator and found it quite suitable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SyrenSkywolf View Post
My wife and I are going to be traveling this summer. We are planning on a good 90% of it to be boondocking.

We need a generator that will power our A/C when we need it (hopefully not too often on the Oregon coast), and to charge our laptops and phones when we need to.

Now, I would love to get a nice Honda or something, but sadly that is not in the cards. We are very tight on budget. I can only afford maybe $600 or so towards a generator, and that is a tight upper limit.

Does anyone know of any generators that won't have the neighbors clamoring at me? Two summers as a camp-host, I've heard all levels of generators (then again, campers are allowed to use chainsaws to gather wood for campfires here, too). I was looking at a Generac 3250 (65dB) or WEN 3500 (67dB) for starters.

I've been on the lookout for a nicer one used, but no luck so far. We technically have until May, but I prefer to plan ahead, and have it now.

Any recommendations on new ones that are under $600, or any decent ones that I might have a chance of finding used for under $600?
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:25 AM   #4
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oregon coast all for sale / wanted classifieds "generator" - craigslist
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SyrenSkywolf View Post
My wife and I are going to be traveling this summer. We are planning on a good 90% of it to be boondocking. We need a generator that will power our A/C when we need it (hopefully not too often on the Oregon coast), and to charge our laptops and phones when we need to. Now, I would love to get a nice Honda or something, but sadly that is not in the cards. We are very tight on budget. I can only afford maybe $600 or so towards a generator, and that is a tight upper limit. Does anyone know of any generators that won't have the neighbors clamoring at me? Two summers as a camp-host, I've heard all levels of generators (then again, campers are allowed to use chainsaws to gather wood for campfires here, too). I was looking at a Generac 3250 (65dB) or WEN 3500 (67dB) for starters. I've been on the lookout for a nicer one used, but no luck so far. We technically have until May, but I prefer to plan ahead, and have it now. Any recommendations on new ones that are under $600, or any decent ones that I might have a chance of finding used for under $600?
This might be your best bet (unless you find a great deal on a used unit)

The description evens says it will run most 13500 btu RV air-conditioners. Hopefully your a/c is a type that takes low
starting current.
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:40 AM   #6
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Try looking at "Kipor" brand. I've used them in the Bahamas when on our boat. Very good unit. I put ours on a pet crate with Reflectix glued to outside, and a computer fan for air circulation. It was VERY quiet and trouble free.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:33 AM   #7
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CHEAP and low noise are not in the same sentence. If you throw in reliable, it is even more of a stretch.

For each 3 dB increase in sound level, you double the sound power level, so a 6 dB increase is 4 times the sound power level.

A word of caution about trying to stick a generator in a home made sound enclosure. A large portion of the noise is not from the engine exhaust. It comes from mechanical and windage noise of the engine and generator. You have to attenuate the noise from the generator and still allow for cooling.

Two things to diminish the noise from a generator is a hard barrier to reflect the noise away from you and distance. While these approaches will lower the noise level you hear, your neighbors may not think much of you.

Personally, I'd search ad sources for a used Honda EU series or the equivalent Yamaha. I do not like the contractor grade cheap big box store generators due to the noise.

When looking at the generator ratings, look very carefully for the distance the sound ratings are measured. Sometimes it is well hidden in the small print. Some are as short as 7 feet (good) and some are 21 feet (bad and lots of noise).

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Old 01-24-2014, 10:46 AM   #8
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Sorry, but a 3dB increase in SPL is not perceived as twice as loud. A 3dB increase in SPL is perceived as somewhat louder. A 10dB increase in SPL is perceived by most individuals as twice as loud. An increase of just 3dB is twice the sound pressure level. Your ears don't work linearly, so is takes about 10dB to SOUND twice as loud. A 20dB increase in SPL would be perceived as four times as loud.

A generator emitting 68dB at 7 feet is no more loud than one emitting 59dB at 7 meters. 7 meter SPL rating for generators is the EU standard. Honda generator SPL ratings are at 7 meters (about 23 feet).

The Dometic LW3000 looks pretty good for a rebranded Chinese Magna. Rated at 59dB(A) SPL at 7 meters.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackfish View Post
Sorry, but a 3dB increase in SPL is not perceived as twice as loud. A 3dB increase in SPL is perceived as somewhat louder. A 10dB increase in SPL is perceived by most individuals as twice as loud. An increase of just 3dB is twice the sound pressure level. Your ears don't work linearly, so is takes about 10dB to SOUND twice as loud. A 20dB increase in SPL would be perceived as four times as loud. A generator emitting 68dB at 7 feet is no more loud than one emitting 59dB at 7 meters. 7 meter SPL rating for generators is the EU standard. Honda generator SPL ratings are at 7 meters (about 23 feet). The Dometic LW3000 looks pretty good for a rebranded Chinese Magna. Rated at 59dB(A) SPL at 7 meters.
This chart from honda states their sound measurements are made at 9 feet....quite a difference from being 23 feet away!

http://powerequipment.honda.com/cont...rs/dbchart.jpg
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:16 PM   #10
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Manufacturer Noise Level Rating, Eco-Throttle On, at 9 feet recent brochure, at 7 meters previous literature

HONDA EU1000i - 53dBA no load, 59 dBA rated power load

HONDA EU2000i - 53dBA no load, 59 dBA rated power load

Actual Recorded Sound Levels @ 20 Feet

HONDA EU1000i
(Eco-Throttle Switch On)
Exhaust side: 60 dB(A)
Broadside: 56 dB(A)
Exhaust side away: 54 dB(A)
(Eco-Throttle Switch Off)
Exhaust side: 67 dB(A)
Broadside: 63 dB(A)
Exhaust side away: 61 dB(A)

HONDA EU2000i
(Eco-Throttle Switch On)
Exhaust side: 60 dB(A)
Broadside: 57 dB(A)
Exhaust side away: 56 dB(A)
(Eco-Throttle Switch Off)
Exhaust side: 68 dB(A)
Broadside: 64 dB(A)
Exhaust side away: 63 dB(A)

Positioning is important. It can make as much as a 7 dB(A) difference if you turn these generators so the exhaust side faces away from you rather than toward you. The difference between the broadside and exhaust-away position is 1 or 2 dB(A).
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:42 PM   #11
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Good luck. New prices:

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Old 01-26-2014, 03:34 AM   #12
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Well, I expected some comments like these, but damn...

To those who offered actual help in context of my question, thank you.

I had to rework our finances yesterday, because I now need to replace the exhaust manifold on our truck. As a result, I had to just bite the bullet and go for something cheap. $250 + free shipping for a 400KW DuroStar. Not as quiet as I wanted, but it fit for what we need, and was "only" 69dB, which is quieter than a lot of cheap brands out there.

For those of you who have nothing but contempt for people with generators that are louder than you would prefer, just remember, some of them might be poor full-timers who have the same needs as you, but can't afford the luxury of a nice generator and a newer trailer.

Now, if said annoying person with a loud generator has a nice new $30k+ trailer/5er/MH, then I understand completely :P
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:48 AM   #13
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For info most man talk at 69 db level. I listen to my TV at 69 db level.
Most will complain at that level so the generator is no louder.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:30 AM   #14
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I think you made a good choice, don't hate the haters, they deserve our pity, not more hate. You could easily fabricate a foam insulation box to protect it from the weather and reduce sound. I'd make it so it would travel knocked down and latches together when shelter is needed. Enjoy!
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