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Old 11-07-2017, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default Quiet Generator

Hi all,

This subject 'quiet generator' has been started about 10,000 times as we know. Yet, OK, maybe I'm bored, but still there is now a new and maybe real competitor to the quiet generator as we know! Mr. Davydd who really does know his sh*t has explained that more than once, and then there is the so called etrek and.........

Some real dollars have been spent to avoid the LOUD onan thing. Oh, yes I know Davydd did not buy his for exactly this reason as he voids the need for ac for the most part. But it is the need for ac without the LOUD sometimes, for the most part, ...................

For me the need is some ac without the loud for less dollars than an AVR. I use caps because it appears that AVR has earned it - ac without LOUD, and Roadtrek too, just with some, many downsides?

Are there enough dollars available now for a quiet generator in the B marketplace? I've had to walk right up next to a high-end class A to be able to hear a diesel generator running the ac. How much would it cost to have a gas, diesel or propane to be 'satisfactory' concerning sound, noise?

I want my cake and eat it too, guess it is an AVR for now.

Bud
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:28 AM   #2
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I guess the first thing to do is define what "loud" is by decibel measurement. Since sound can be measured but is also subjective it's a really strange thing to try and agree on.
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:00 AM   #3
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I don't know if I know my sh*t as it has been explained to me several times I don't.

On the topic of quiet. Common sense prevails. You are not going into Big Bends NP's Chiso Basin campground where tent campers are interspersed closely with tent campers and not going to run an Onan generator, an air conditioner or even idle a chassis engine without getting dagger eyes. There is no such thing as a quiet generator or air conditioning.

I tent camped for about 40 years before I bought an RV. I'm still conditioned to camping in the wilderness and stay outdoors as much as possible. I lived without air conditioning all that time and got attuned with, if you are enjoying nature plan accordingly. There is no place for Class Bs with continuous air conditioning. If that is your style seek a sardine packing private campground with shore power and enjoy the cacophony. You obviously are going to be oblivious of your surroundings by huddling inside anyway. Then you might envy the comforts of home Class As and 5th Wheelers that surround you.

I got 800ah of lithium ion batteries so I don't have to fire up a generator for several days such as our last trip to Buck's Lake national forest campground in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for 4 days of quiet contemplation. But if I am going to have an RV I don't want to tie one hand behind my back in not using the Keurig coffee maker without firing up noise. The second alternator is for driving not idling. The other reason is transparency. I never have to deliberately seek out shore power so feel I can venture out anywhere with confidence and not worry. Now that's quiet, but the Keurig kind of makes a chant like groan when brewing.
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:50 PM   #4
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I guess I'm the only one that does not know what an AVR is.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbn7hj View Post
I guess I'm the only one that does not know what an AVR is.
Sorry, my error.

AVR is Advanced RV that makes as good as it gets in a Class B RV.

Bruceper, I think that the primary if not the only need for an onan for most is ac. The microwave can use an inverter.

So I mean the generator needs to be quieter than the ac. If the generator were the same volume as the ac, it would only add 3 db.

Virtually all of us would pay more for a generator that meets my definition of quiet. What is different today vs 20, 15 or 10 years ago is that there is more folks willing to pay to Not have an onan, AVR and etrek B's and more on the horizon. A quiet generator is not free as it will weigh more, be larger, and again cost more. The question is how much less than an etrek like B.

The point I am trying to make is that maybe there is a market for one.

If there is, maybe it won't last long with the price of etrek like solutions becoming less expensive.

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Old 11-08-2017, 08:27 PM   #6
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A few years ago, I listed a cutoff saw on Craigslist and the guy that came to buy it lived a couple of miles away and mentioned that he worked in a lab at Onan, on generators. I asked him about quieter options for the 2.8, and things like using a Sterling engine, or whatever. Two very interesting things from him. He is kind of the mad scientist type, and has a working Sterling engine in his home shop and is a big fan of them. Second was that nobody should hold their breath on anything other than minor tweaks to the 2.8 because the market is too small to justify the development. He didn't think it would even eventually be fuel injected because it would be discontinued instead if rules meant it had to be.

We know Onan can make generators quiet if they want to, the big ones often are nearly silent, and quieter than a Sprinter idling from what we have seen, but it doesn't seem to be in the cards for the small ones. Even the high quality inverter generator makers don't want to bother doing the much more minor changes they would need to do a built in small unit, so it is going to need to be something else, from somebody else, I think.
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:26 PM   #7
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.

Has anyone tried FatMat on the Onan shell?
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:34 PM   #8
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A lot of us have looked at taking a Honda 3000i and putting it in the Onan case. The problem is the engine is vertical-too tall. We would need to start with a horizontal engine and only Honda would have the tooling to lay the engine on it's side. The rest of the packaging is probably not too difficult. As the Onan guy said, there isn't enough money in it.

Quiet is not the main driving force for a replacement. Reliability is. Inverter technology gets rid of slip rings, fuel injection would get rid of the carb. Electronics gets rid of the mechanical governor. Water cooled could help with the noise.

My 2.8 has been removed and repaired four times in seven years. Two fuel pumps, one voltage regulator and mechanical governor problems. I'm glad to have it as I've run the generator and A/C from sunset to sunrise on a hot summer night. It could quit at any time.
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Old 11-09-2017, 01:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
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I guess I'm the only one that does not know what an AVR is.
It's ARV not AVR. It's an acronym shorthand for Advanced RV, the company that converts Sprinter vans out of Willoughby, OH.
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Old 11-09-2017, 03:16 AM   #10
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An onan generator is a 4 stroke engine, which will respond decently well to exhaust modifications unlike two strokes.

The issue is space and room to plumb in a larger muffler. This can be attempted but there would be nothing universal due to differences in B builds. Adding a secondary silencer/muffler may assist if the issue is exhaust noise.

Adding sound deadening materials to the generator compartment would help as well. This could be rubber matting or Dynamat/Fatmat (as previously suggested).

Another alternative might be an exhaust hose to run out some noise in a different direction. This may not be a great idea, but it would assist slightly.
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:10 AM   #11
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An onan generator is a 4 stroke engine, which will respond decently well to exhaust modifications unlike two strokes.
The real reason an Onan is called a 4 stroke engine is that the average owner suffers four of them trying to get it to run reliably.
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Old 11-09-2017, 02:21 PM   #12
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"The real reason an Onan is called a 4 stroke engine is that the average owner suffers four of them trying to get it to run reliably."

Now that is funny!

Might as well laugh as we remove it for yet another repair. In fairness it is thought the ethanol fuel we now use has caused the most problems. Carburetor reliability was better on pure gasoline. Maybe it also has something to do with the fuel pump problems.
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Old 11-09-2017, 02:56 PM   #13
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The ethanol fuel is a big issue with them, for sure, but it didn't seem to be as a big a deal before they "emissioned" the carbs in the mid 2000s. Apparently, they did the normal changes which would limit the mixture on the rich end by reducing the fuel passage sizes in the carb, so they are perpetually right at the edge of going lean under the best of circumstances. Then you run fuel that needs to run a bit richer because of the alcohol in it, and is prone to gumming up tiny passages, no wonder you have problems. And of course, you make the carb sealed and non rebuildable on top of it all, so it can't be just cleaned out. It would be nice if someone had a CNC watercutter and made some gaskets for them so folks could clean them out rather than buy a complete new carb.

Another thing the Onan has that causes noise is that it is air cooled, which can really increase noise. Water jackets dampen a lot of noise, and the area around the engine can be insulated better because it requires less air to get to it. The Hondas do a remarkable job of keeping the air cooled generators quiet, as it is not an easy task.
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Old 11-09-2017, 04:43 PM   #14
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The best solution, proposed by Booster a while back, is a thermoelectric generator that burns propane (quiet) and produces 5-10 amps 24/7. I think the thermoelectric generators in satellites and Mars rovers use the thermocouple effect. We can skip the plutonium! Maybe the solid state Peltier effect would be the better technology. Anyhow, why don't one of you geniuses make me one?

Thermocouple power generation has an efficiency rating around 5% which makes it useful only when using waste heat but I still like the idea. It would probably go through a lot of propane.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:37 AM   #15
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The Honda or Yamahas are by far the quietest out there but they are invertor generators and you will pay some big bucks per watt to power a well pump and fridge with them.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:40 AM   #16
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I have an older Generac 5000 watt and it is absolutely the LOUDEST generator ever made!! It will wake the dead from across the state, it is so loud.

I am looking to replace it with a propane-powered generator, and would like an invertor generator so that the engine will vary according to load and reduce noise and increase efficiency. I have not yet found an invertor propane generator. Anybody??

I have been looking at the cheap Chinese propane generators branded by Champion. I have never heard one of them running to see how noisy they are. Anybody have any experience with those? They appear to have pretty good features and decent power output vs. fuel used.
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Old 11-12-2017, 09:00 AM   #17
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I heard several Champion generators running this year at the Reno air races RV area. They are a lot better in noise than your Generac and not quite as good as Honda. None were working on propane but I imagine you can convert them. I have a Honda EU1000i running on propane.

Don't know if you can stuff one into your Generac space or if they have remote start but I must have seen a half dozen of the Honda 3000i size Champions powering vendor tents to travel trailers. They must have some merit beyond price. At Oshkosh the worst were the Harbor Freight red 4000 watt (They aren't really) POS. Those things will get you killed. I wanted to put a bullet in the one near me.

On another forum it was asked how long the Honda 2000 would last. The answer was no one knew because no one had ever worn one out. Buy Honda and convert it to propane. Lifetime cost will probably be better than Champion. The 3000 can have electric start if that is what you want.
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Old 11-12-2017, 04:19 PM   #18
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The Honda or Yamahas are by far the quietest out there but they are invertor generators and you will pay some big bucks per watt to power a well pump and fridge with them.

The Subaru is even better.

But you do not see many of them around
because they are difficult to find.
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:59 AM   #19
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Somewhere I picked up the info that the engine in the latest Onan 2.8 is made by Subaru. Maybe they should just buy the inverter technology, too!
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:18 AM   #20
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