Generator Etiquette??

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Active member
Dec 8, 2005
Sierra Vista, Arizona

Howdy - I recently bought a portable 3500 watt gas powered generator for my 5th wheeler. I plan on transporting it in the front compartment under the kingpin but plan on taking it out to run and charge batteries.

What if any general guidelines of camp etiquette should I follow when running it? Quiet hours? Daytime? Nighttime? Etc?

I also read with interest everyones input about locking up a gennie to a solid mounting frame rail on one's coach.

Any tips about gennie operation would be appreciated. Thanks folks.

Kent & Kathy Switzer
Kent & Kathy,

Many campgrounds have strict rules regarding generators, some prohibiting them altogether. But I assume your question was related to dry camping (no hookups). I think that most folks would agree that generator use which disturbs neighbors at night would be frowned upon. Of course, it depends on how noisy/quiet your generator is and how far away your neighbors are. A noisy generator in close proximity to neighbors who are trying to enjoy the peace and quiet of the outdoors might not be appreciated even in the daytime.

If I think my generator might be an issue for neighbors, I'll ask if they mind me running it.

One thing you might consider if space and budget allow would be to install an inverter to provide AC power during quiet hours. Then run the generator at a more appropriate time to recharge the batteries. However, most inverter/battery installations are not adequate to power air conditionners for any period of time.

We have an article in our library discussing the choice and installation of an inverter. Click the Library button above, select Tech topics, then click Installing an inverter.
What if any general guidelines of camp etiquette should I follow when running it? Quiet hours? Daytime? Nighttime? Etc?

Well if you are running a generator, you are in a campground that has no electricity, likely a national or state park or national forest CG.    It is very likely that your neighbors are under canvas - tents and tent trailers.  That means no soundproofing.  On that basis do everyone a favor and shut the generator down around sunset or about 7  pm.  The cool of the evening obviates the need for A/C and you do have batteries to run things until morning.    Cranking the thing up in the AM, I would say wait until 9am or so.

Even in an RV campground, generators running after 9 or 10 pm tend to generate as much ire as power.

I believe that the BLM has quiet hours, even for Quartzsite.  Our protocol is not on before 0700 or after 2200, but some seem to run until 2300 while there.  When you check in at the ranger station, they can give you the rules.
Ned said:
I believe that the BLM has quiet hours, even for Quartzsite.  Our protocol is not on before 0700 or after 2200


Is 2200 after dark?

Phil said:

Is 2200 after dark?


Phil -- if I recall, those kinda numbers were used when I was in the Navy. Had something to do with a GSA contract buying all their clocks from a company that didn't understand 12 hours AM and the 12
hours PM. So -- they built all the clocks with faces that ran from 0 to 23 - w/zero becoming 24. GSA was hard pressed to admit their mistake and waste all that money, so they couldn't return them. I understand that they bought millions of them on discount -- so the military is still using them.

I can recall the day I was discharged out of the Destroyer force in Norfolk. I walked into a bank and asked the teller to explain the clock on the wall. She explained that I don't have to do the 24 hour clock thing anymore now that I was dishcharged. So then I had to learn the civilian system again. She said some never bother learning the civilan clock again.

Weird . . .      ;) :) :) :)
Ok, Mickey's big hand is on the 12 and his little hand on the 10, and it's dark out, Phil :D
Karl said:
It's after you've had your warm milk and before you've had your coddled egg ;D

I think I've got it, Karl.  Turn generator off after I nuke the bedtime milk and turn it on to nuke the egg.  ;D

cochisewingers said:
Whoa - a generator can coddle an egg?? Cool....

You didn't know that?!  Just set a small pan of water with an egg on it on the muffler of the generator and bring to a boil.  No problemo.

I remember back in the '50s when my folks would pile us kids off for a cross-country jaunt in the brown Ford Ranch Wagon. Dad would stop to throw more water into the radiator from the canvas Desert Bag. Mom would wrap up the road-kill catch of the day in double alu-mi-nium foil and bailing wire it on the exhaust manifolds of that 292 V-8 engine. Within an hour or so, we'd stop again (to water the radiator once more) and to eat the tasty delights in the foil. Ah, the old days huh??

Kent Switzer

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