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Author Topic: Your Inverter Generator is Quiet Enough for You, but What About Your Neighbors?  (Read 1435 times)

dzlvs8

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I'm am looking to get one of the quietest inverter generators out (that can run a 15k AC unit) but I am concerned that I wont want to run it most places that I go due to worrying that I will offend the neighbors.  I work in Noise so I know all about dB noise levels but it's still hard to understand how loud a noise like a generator will sound in a rustic, non-electric campground with guests. 
 
For generator owners: Do you try to keep your distance from neighbors if using a generator?  Do you limit your usage throughout the day?  Etc?

For people who have camped next to people running inverter generators:  Do you want to go through their generator in the garbage?  Is it much of an annoyance?


OLDRACER

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Not really useful answer, perhaps, but I was there at Watkins Glen track years ago when a tent owner had a small generator as far from his tent as possible on an extension cord, running a light bulb, late in the evening.

It quit , the light went out, and when he went to investigate he saw the extension cord leading to the outhouse. The little generator was down the hole.

Never did know who  did it, but I could see their reasoning!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Good that you are worried about the noise level, and that your neighbors may have a different threshold of pain that you do.  Of course, if some neighbor is already running a noisy genset, the question becomes more subjective. Does his egregious behavior make it ok for you to do the same?  A moral dilemma, I think!

Given that any noise seems loud in a quiet forest, especially at night, I don't think you should plan on running it all night unless you are confident that there is nobody else within a mile or so. Most people are willing to concede that genset noise in the morning (not too early!) and again late afternoon or early even is an acceptable compromise between the practical and wilderness enjoyment.  Later in the evening or all night?  Not near me, thank you! Even the relatively quiet hum of an inverter genset stands up when all is silent.

A further factor is the power load. An inverter genset is quieter when it throttles back for lighter loads, but if it has to crank out 1200-1400 watts to power an a/c compressor (and whatever else comes on when 120v is active), it has to increase the engine power to deliver it and is not going to be all that quiet.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 03:04:30 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Frank B

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I wish there were more people like you in the world!


We don't often Camp during the hot days of summer, so running the air conditioner has never been an issue for us. Quite honestly, we find that just running the Fantastic fans and leaving a couple of windows open is all that we need to keep the trailer cool in the evening, and we sit out under the awning during the day.


As Gary mentions, most campers will tolerate some generator noise in the mornings, and again later in the evenings, as long as it's done by 10 p.m. or so.


I put 1200 watts of solar on the roof of our 30 foot travel trailer this year to avoid having to run the generator at all. If I had a 400 amp hour lithium battery pack, that would be enough to run our air conditioner. Lots of money, however.


So, thank you so much for thinking about the people that maybe around you! Not everyone is as kind.
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KandT

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I wish there were more people like you in the world!


We don't often Camp during the hot days of summer, so running the air conditioner has never been an issue for us. Quite honestly, we find that just running the Fantastic fans and leaving a couple of windows open is all that we need to keep the trailer cool in the evening, and we sit out under the awning during the day.


As Gary mentions, most campers will tolerate some generator noise in the mornings, and again later in the evenings, as long as it's done by 10 p.m. or so.


I put 1200 watts of solar on the roof of our 30 foot travel trailer this year to avoid having to run the generator at all. If I had a 400 amp hour lithium battery pack, that would be enough to run our air conditioner. Lots of money, however.


So, thank you so much for thinking about the people that maybe around you! Not everyone is as kind.

Agree with the above comments.  Asking people or telling them to please let you know if it is inconvenient sure goes a long way!  I will put up with a lot more if someone is nice enough to say something.  Somehow it just lets me know the other person is aware and gives me a sense they aren't just being rude like the whole place is theirs.
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warsw

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I'm am looking to get one of the quietest inverter generators out (that can run a 15k AC unit) but I am concerned that I wont want to run it most places that I go due to worrying that I will offend the neighbors.  I work in Noise so I know all about dB noise levels but it's still hard to understand how loud a noise like a generator will sound in a rustic, non-electric campground with guests. 
 
For generator owners: Do you try to keep your distance from neighbors if using a generator?  Do you limit your usage throughout the day?  Etc?

For people who have camped next to people running inverter generators:  Do you want to go through their generator in the garbage?  Is it much of an annoyance?
The Honda 3000 is the quietest gen that I have been next to. I think it will run a 15K AC. I know my 3500 watt Champion will. If you are really concerned about noise I think solar would be a good way to go but I think the AC would be out. We have been at many CGs and have run our gen. Most of the others are doing the same. Just be courteous and you won't have any problems.
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dzlvs8

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The Honda 3000 is the quietest gen that I have been next to. I think it will run a 15K AC. I know my 3500 watt Champion will. If you are really concerned about noise I think solar would be a good way to go but I think the AC would be out. We have been at many CGs and have run our gen. Most of the others are doing the same. Just be courteous and you won't have any problems.
Not to get off topic but the 3500 champion is exactly what I am looking at getting because the 3000 honda seems a little iffy on whether or not it will run.  So, is that Champion 3500 a lot more offensive or a lot more noticable than the Honda?  I have no problem spending money on the Honda but I do have a problem buying it and then finding out that it wont start up the AC unit in the hot summer!!!!

Thanks for the comments.  I guess i understand that I will still irritate people if I am 3 or 4 campsites away from someone.  I was thinking that the generator would be difficult to notice from that far away!

Isaac-1

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To give you a ballpark comparison, a Honda inverter generator like the EU3000 will be about as loud as the engine a typical modern car is at idle.  However even that small amount of noise can carry in the wilderness in the middle of the night.
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warsw

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Not to get off topic but the 3500 champion is exactly what I am looking at getting because the 3000 honda seems a little iffy on whether or not it will run.  So, is that Champion 3500 a lot more offensive or a lot more noticable than the Honda?  I have no problem spending money on the Honda but I do have a problem buying it and then finding out that it wont start up the AC unit in the hot summer!!!!

Thanks for the comments.  I guess i understand that I will still irritate people if I am 3 or 4 campsites away from someone.  I was thinking that the generator would be difficult to notice from that far away!
No the Champion 3500 is actually very quiet. It is closer to the noise level of a Honda 2000. At most CGs there is enough of a buffer between the sites that you won't be irritating anyone unless you are running it in the quiet of early morning or late at night. You can even place your generator so your own trailer becomes a buffer. Most CGs have hours that the running of generators are not allowed. Adhere to that and no one will complain. 
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John From Detroit

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Most Campgrounds have "Generator hours" and "Quiet hours" I've only run generator after hours once (By accident I was not watching my watch) someone hollered and I shut it down pronto. Plus my Onan is not all that noisy (I once was talking, normal voice, while demonstrating how hot the Gen-Turi did not get by holding it in my hand generator running).

Even after the hurricane hit I only ran generator days.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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A Honda EU3000is produces 49 dB at 1/4 load, but 58 dB at full load. I would expect that 50% load (one a/c) it would be closer to the full load than the lower end but still under 58 dB. The 3000i "Handi" model is louder at 57 db @ 1/4 load and 65 dB @ full load.  Honda rates their sound levels at 9 ft from the genset.

From what I can glean, the Champion is similar in sound level to the Handi 3000i, so notably noisier than the EU3000is.  The only numbers I can find on the Champion is 68 dB at 28 ft distance, but no load figure is given. That extra distance makes a big difference in the sound level.

This video has a sound level test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O4TEO3vpGM

This is the 3500 description from Amazon.com and it shows the 68 dB number.  dB level changes with load level and distance.
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The Champion Power Equipment 100307 3500-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator is the perfect combination of versatility and convenience. Whether you need power for your home or RV, Champion Power Equipment makes powering your life more convenient than ever. With enough power to start and run a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner, this unit can also power the essential items you need in a power outage, while Championís Cold Start Technology ensures a quick start in cold weather. Operate your Dual-Fuel generator right out of the box on gasoline or propane - our patented fuel selector switch allows for safe switching between fuel sources. Using gasoline, the 224cc Champion engine produces 4375 starting watts and 3500 running watts, and will run for 9 hours at 50% load when the 3.4-gallon fuel tank is full. It produces 3950 starting watts and 3150 running watts, and will run for 10.5 hours at 50% load when using a 20-pound propane tank. Also included is a 3.3-foot propane hose with a built-in regulator. With a noise level of 68 dBA from 23 feet, which is about as loud as a vacuum, this unit features Volt Guard built-in surge protector which prevents overloads and keeps your equipment safe. Easily monitor power output and track maintenance intervals with Intelligauge, which allows you to keep track of voltage, hertz and run-time hours. Designed with a low oil shut-off sensor, this unit has a 0.6-quart oil capacity (recommended 10W-30). Plenty of outlets are available, with a 120V 30A RV (TT-30R), a 120V 30A locking outlet (L5-30R) and two 120V 20A household outlets. Championís thoughtful packaging and clear directions make setup hassle free. Buy this EPA certified and CARB compliant generator with confidence Ė Champion Support and our nationwide network of service centers will back up your purchase with a 3-year limited warranty and FREE lifetime technical support.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 09:17:25 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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warsw

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The Champion 3500 inverter Generator has a rated noise Level of 59 dBa at 23 ft. https://www.championpowerequipment.com/product/100262-3500-watt-wireless-start-inverter/
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 09:04:53 AM by warsw »
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UTTransplant

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I havenít been in primitive campgrounds that donít have established hours for generators. Generally it is either 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening or an all day thing from 7 or 8 until 9 or 10. I have never been in a campground that allowed generators at night. Dispersed camping? That is an entirely different thing. I have been around dispersed camping areas in the summer where folks ran their generators 24/7. In that type of thing, if your neighbor doesnít like it, they move. It is just the established convention. Do I like it when the guy next to me fires up a contractor generator at the start of generator hours? Not much, but I donít complain. As long as he follows the generator hour rules, I manage to survive. I also donít complain about the loud music or kids screaming, as long as they donít do it during quiet hours. If I can manage to survive a contractor generator, I donít think your neighbors will complain about an inverter one. Just donít be that guy who moves the generator to the edge of his site right next to someone else. Own your own noise!

I would recommend you think about the single big generator though. They weigh a lot! My next door neighbor (35 years old and in good shape) has a single big generator, and it takes him and his wife to get it moved to and from the bed of their truck. He told me he regrets it, and he should have gone with two smaller generators instead. Our two Honda EU2000s each weigh about 50 pounds, and most 3000-3500 ones weigh well north of 100 pounds. Even old farts like us can pick up 50 pounds, but we could never handle 120.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 09:19:32 AM by UTTransplant »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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The NPS noise regulation that applies to generators is actually fairly generous in the allowed sound level:

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motorized equipment or machinery cannot exceed a noise level of 60 decibels measured on the A-weighted scale at 50 feet

Measuring from 50 ft away allows for some fairly noisy equipment.
Gary
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ClickHill

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My husband and I always have earplugs just in case of loud neighbors, road noise, animals, or maybe even a generator.
Sometimes noise can't be helped, and I am prepared to sleep in quiet.
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garyb1st

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Our Honda 2000 is pretty quiet with a minimal load.  That's usually when running a few lights and a computer or TV.  But any appliance that requires more watts, like a coffee maker, will cause it to ramp up the power and become quite noticeable.  Two things need to be considered.  Location and rules.  Location is easy.  If you're in a remote area with no neighbors, have fun.  But if you're in a public campground with tent campers near by, watch out.  I turned mine on 15 minutes early one morning and a tenter walked over and gave me the stare.  The other thing is rules.  Some have posted operating hours which are strictly enforced.   You'll hear from whoever's in charged regardless of surroundings.  Example, we were at a public beach campground with morning and evening hours.  One rainy afternoon, with no neighbors on either side, our Honda was running on low.  I was computing so not much power needed.  The park manger knocks on my door to let me know, I have to turn off the generator.  Even though there were no campers near our motorhome, we had to shut down.  Rules is rules. 
Gary B1st

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I'm also one who appreciates your concern. When running a portable generator in a quiet setting, just placing a board near the generator, between it and nearby campers, will deflect a lot of the generator's sound away from the group. Simple, cheap and fairly effective.

Kev
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BIG JOE

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I'm also one who appreciates your concern. When running a portable generator in a quiet setting, just placing a board near the generator, between it and nearby campers, will deflect a lot of the generator's sound away from the group. Simple, cheap and fairly effective.

Kev

 :)) :)) We have a tri-fold piece of 1/8" panel board, cut slots in two of our leveling blocks.. for feet. works Great. Folds flat, easy to store.
Joe

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SargeW

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I had a Honda 3000 that I used with a previous 5ver and used it to run a 15K AC unit without issue. Weight is a consideration though. I had mine semi permanently stored in a front storage in the front of the 5ver. I could start it and run it without having to move it.  I had a buddy of mine that was a HVAC installer make me an extension tube for the exhaust port and ducted it to the outside via a long metal flexible piece of duct work. 

If I had to do it again, I would probably opt for the two smaller Honda or Yamaha 2000's and the cord to patch them together.  That way I could run one at a time.   
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regval

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I'm am looking to get one of the quietest inverter generators out (that can run a 15k AC unit) but I am concerned that I wont want to run it most places that I go due to worrying that I will offend the neighbors.  I work in Noise so I know all about dB noise levels but it's still hard to understand how loud a noise like a generator will sound in a rustic, non-electric campground with guests. 
 
For generator owners: Do you try to keep your distance from neighbors if using a generator?  Do you limit your usage throughout the day?  Etc?

For people who have camped next to people running inverter generators:  Do you want to go through their generator in the garbage?  Is it much of an annoyance?
Since you state  you know all about db noise, I'll just remind you that when comparing the generators for noise specifications, be sure to compare like specs (db to db and not db to dba).
I use some pieces of HVAC duct board (2ft x 3ft), leaned against the 2 Honda Eu2000i I use, in a random pattern to deflect and absorb the sound. Works amazingly well.
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AStravelers

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I'm am looking to get one of the quietest inverter generators out (that can run a 15k AC unit) but I am concerned that I wont want to run it most places that I go due to worrying that I will offend the neighbors.  I work in Noise so I know all about dB noise levels but it's still hard to understand how loud a noise like a generator will sound in a rustic, non-electric campground with guests. 
 
For generator owners: Do you try to keep your distance from neighbors if using a generator?  Do you limit your usage throughout the day?  Etc?

For people who have camped next to people running inverter generators:  Do you want to go through their generator in the garbage?  Is it much of an annoyance?
Thank you so much for being willing to be considerate of your neighbors. 

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For people who have camped next to people running inverter generators:  Do you want to go through their generator in the garbage?  Is it much of an annoyance?

Absolutely yes! When we are boondocking out in the middle of nowhere, no one around for 1/4 to 1/2 mile and someone pulls up and parks 50-200 yards away and then cranks up the generator I want to take and drop it off a cliff.

If we are boondocking in a busy place. Such as we are right now, just outside Borrego Springs, CA at Rockhouse Road. It is a popular place, close to town and good cell coverage for internet.  People generally park 50-100 yards from each other unless they are part of a group.  I can't expect others to not run a quiet generator, even though we don't run our generator.  We have plenty of solar and lithium battery so we don't run our generator.  On the other hand if some idiot comes in with a cheap contractor generator it really makes everyone else really unhappy.
Al & Sharon
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Frank B

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Hah! We must have driven right past you!  We are in the BLM lands overlooking Salton City on the same road.  In fact, we went in to the area you are in 3 days ago looking for a spot, but as you say, it was pretty crowded.


Hey, is it REALLY windy where you are now?  I'm finding the unrelenting wind oppressive here.  Blew my drink right off my little table yesterday afternoon.  :-(   We're off to Palm Desert Thursday, but if this wind does not back off today, I've gotta find another place to park.


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AStravelers

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We have been in Anza Brorrego Desert SP for 11 days, counting today.  We have had a couple of windy days with wind speeds of 15-18mph and gusts of 20-25mph.  Most days the wind speed is 10mph or less.  Very nice.  However with no trees around, a 10mph breeze is something you definitely feel.  If there were trees around, you would never even notice a 10mph breeze.
Al & Sharon
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blw2

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I'm also one who appreciates your concern. When running a portable generator in a quiet setting, just placing a board near the generator, between it and nearby campers, will deflect a lot of the generator's sound away from the group. Simple, cheap and fairly effective.

Kev

Yep!

First time I ever camped at sun n' fun, I was in a tent area, across a dirt road from the 24 hour genny area.  Long before I ever had an RV.  Anyway, one guy over there kept a big construction genny running all day.  If memory serves, i think he shut down at night thankfully.

Anyway, there was an a-frame sign out on the road...basically two big sheets of plywood hinged at the top to stand like an A.  It wasn't very far, and it wasn't in line blocking for anyone else, so a neighbor & I moved it to be in line between us an the generator.  It made a HUGE difference.

I recon that with a little thought, a double barrier of plywood all around, and a re-route of the exhaust pie to aim UP...maybe a bit of insulation...could go a long way for an already quiet genny
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