Portable Generator for 5th Wheel

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desertjim

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Joined
Feb 7, 2006
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25
Hi Everyone,

I have a '95 Sea Breeze 5th Wheel (yeah, I know it's ancient, but it has had low use) that didn't come with a generator.  I want to get a generator that I can just plug in.

What are some of you 5ers using as a portable?

It will be used very little.  My primary concerns are COST and NOISE LEVEL.  I do want it large enough to run the single AC unit.

I've been checking out generators that aren't actual RV generators and some seem like they would work.

Any advise or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Jim 
 
F

Frizlefrak

Guest
The Honda line of generators are popular, quiet, and high quality, but they are pricey.  If you want to run your A/C, figure on a generator that will produce at least 3000 watts peak, and maybe 2500 constant.  And you may have to shut the A/C down while you run the microwave.

It all comes down to what you want to spend.  Off brand 3000 watt generators can be had at Harbor Freight Tools or Pep Boys for around $300.  And they are lightweight enough to just throw in the back of the pickup and go.

Nothing wrong with owning an old 5'er.  We have a '93 Coachmen that is in great condition and it fits all of our needs.  A well maintained rig will last as long as you want it to.
 

desertjim

Active member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Posts
25
Frizlefrak said:
It all comes down to what you want to spend.? Off brand 3000 watt generators can be had at Harbor Freight Tools or Pep Boys for around $300.? And they are lightweight enough to just throw in the back of the pickup and go.

Thanks, Frizz.? Operative word here is "quiet", I guess.? I'm looking at a 4k, 6.5 HP model right now.? It has a db rating of 68 at 20 feet.? It isn't
an RV type, but isn't all that heavy.? Yep, the back of the truck is where I expect it will travel.? The guy at the store said an RVer bought one and went down the street and had the muffler changed.? Said it made a lot of difference.

Also, I'm wondering if I couldn't build some sort of insulated box/cover for it.? Would it run too hot?? I know the Hondas are pretty well closed in.

Basically it wouldn't be used except if I get caught on the road and need to stop at Wally World or a truck stop.? Not too often that happens. Am usually not in any hurry to get anywhere.

Regards,

Jim
 
F

Frizlefrak

Guest
desertjim said:
Thanks, Frizz.? Operative word here is "quiet", I guess.? I'm looking at a 4k, 6.5 HP model right now.? It has a db rating of 68 at 20 feet.?

Quiet is good, especially at campgrounds.  Makes you more popular with your neighbors.  :D  Although if you're limiting use to truck stops or the occasional Wally World layover, the noise level is more important for your peace.

68 db is relatively quiet as generators go.  What brand(s) are you looking at?  Here's a chart for the Honda generators

http://www.mayberrys.com/honda/generator/html/sound.htm

I'm not sure I would try to encase a generator in something just to reduce noise.  Overheating, fire danger, etc.  If you can have a larger muffler made of fabricate one yourself that might be a viable alternative.  The idea of course is to lengthen the distance the exhaust stream has to travel without substantially increasing back pressure.



 

desertjim

Active member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Posts
25
Frizlefrak said:
68 db is relatively quiet as generators go.? What brand(s) are you looking at?? Here's a chart for the Honda generators
I'm not sure I would try to encase a generator in something just to reduce noise.? Overheating, fire danger, etc.? If you can have a larger muffler made of fabricate one yourself that might be a viable alternative.? The idea of course is to lengthen the distance the exhaust stream has to travel without substantially increasing back pressure.


That's good to hear.....that 68db is relatively quiet!? I think I was just relating too much to Honda's ratings.? I also noticed, at least on one page, where they rate their noise level at 1/4 operation.? Anyway, Honda is out.? Can't justify the money for my limited use.

I've been looking at a few different off-brand models around $300 or less with 67-68db ratings.? One is a Champion (4400) which I can pick up locally without paying any shipping charges.? It's sold by Kragen's and Checker.? Any thoughts on it?

I see, as deserts go, we're practically neighbors!? I'm in Deming.? Moved here a little over a year ago.? Retired and couldn't afford to stay in the Silly Cone valley (smile).

Thanks for your input.

Regards,

Jim

 

Terry A. Brewer

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Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Posts
1,446
Jim

>> It's sold by Kragen's and Checker.? Any thoughts on it?<<

Generators like those & the ones sold by Home Depot, Lowes etc, surrounded by a metal frame are generally called "Contractor Generators" & no matter what db specs they publish.....THEY ARE LOUD, so make sure you can return it after your neighbors have tarred & feathered you.<G>? They are only suitable if you are parked off by yourself or at a race track.
 

desertjim

Active member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Posts
25
Terry A. Brewer said:
Generators like those & the ones sold by Home Depot, Lowes etc, surrounded by a metal frame are generally called "Contractor Generators" & no matter what db specs they publish.....THEY ARE LOUD, so make sure you can return it after your neighbors have tarred & feathered you.<G>? They are only suitable if you are parked off by yourself or at a race track.

I was reading some info earlier about the Champion that was rather incouraging!? I found the info on the web, but the origin of it was from rv.net, another RV forum.? I think I'm gonna give it a try.? I'll modify the exaust somewhat, perhaps.? I'll report about it later.......as soon as I clean the tar off (smile).

Regards,

Jim
 
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Frizlefrak

Guest
desertjim said:
I see, as deserts go, we're practically neighbors!? I'm in Deming.? Moved here a little over a year ago.? Retired and couldn't afford to stay in the Silly Cone valley (smile).

Jim.....Yep, we're practically neighbors.  Have you headed up to the Gila wilderness yet?  The Cliff Dwellings are really neat.  There are a couple of parks with full hookups close to the Cliff Dwellings, or if you feel like boondocking with your new semi-loud :D generator, Lake Roberts is great.  Lotsa great places to camp in NM.

The contractors generators are very loud.  I have a 6000 watt gennie that I use on my property up in Arabela NM to run my well, as well as the fifth wheel.  I wouldn't ever use it at a campground, or I would be lynched.  Of course, I can put it inside the wellhouse on my property and that quiets it down quite a bit.  Plus we have 33 acres, and my nearest neighbor is a mile away.  This will be our retirement home someday when we've had enough of the city and can actually afford to quit working.  ;)

The 3000 watters won't be near as loud as my large generator.  Im using one similar to what you're looking at.  I have a mounting frame that a welder built that hangs on the rear bumper of my Coachmen.

You could always figure out a way to fab up your own muffler system and if you did it right, you could be even quieter than those guys with the overpriced Honda stuff. 

Cheers.

Dan
 

kkanoon

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Feb 9, 2006
Posts
2
Honda's are the are the quietiest. ?I run a pair of the EU2000's hooked up in parallel. ?Many parks have a 60 db noise limit, and these run at 58db. ?Also they are very light only 46 lbs so I have 4000W for under 100 lbs. ?I got mine a while back at www.speedwaysales.com
 

desertjim

Active member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Posts
25
Frizlefrak said:
The 3000 watters won't be near as loud as my large generator.? Im using one similar to what you're looking at.? I have a mounting frame that a welder built that hangs on the rear bumper of my Coachmen.

You could always figure out a way to fab up your own muffler system and if you did it right, you could be even quieter than those guys with the overpriced Honda stuff.?

Cheers.

Dan

It isn't very loud at all.? I was surprised.? Of course I haven't had a Honda with more/less than two wheels (smile).

What I've done so far is to make a cover for my truck bed that will fit under the 5th Wheel and run forward toward the hitch.? Just by doing that,
with no insulation, it made it even quieter.? I intend to put a front-end on the cover to run down to the bedliner.? Then insulate it with 2" foam
pad.? I know that will quieten it down even more.? Only question is:? will the gen run too hot??? It will have as much, or more, space than those installed, but not the bottom vent.? Of course the tailgate could be left open if necessary.? I'll try it and see what happens.

Whaddaya think?

Regards,

Jim
 
F

Frizlefrak

Guest
desertjim said:
.? I intend to put a front-end on the cover to run down to the bedliner.? Then insulate it with 2" foam
pad.? I know that will quieten it down even more.? Only question is:? will the gen run too hot???
Whaddaya think?

Regards,

Jim

Portables are designed to operate in open air, but that's nothing that a switched 12VDC fan mounted on your enclosure won't solve.  Mount the fan where it pulls out heated air and cut an opening with a grill over it to draw in cool ambient air.  Voila!!  You just invented the 60's era VW Beetle cooling system,

If your new gennie has DC terminals, you could run it straight off those.  Or use a switch and tap into the truck's wiring.

I also have a Coleman 6000 watt contractor's generator.  That puppy will run the A/C, microwave, and all the lights without so much as a hiccup.  I use it up on my mountain property with the 220 Volt to run my well....with the pump 260' down.  I've actually had it kick on to power up the well while the A/C was running once when we were boondocking, and it hardly stumbled.  If I fired it up in a campgound, I would be publicly lynched.

I would still love to devise a muffler and pipe system to get my big generator to operate as quietly as the little ones.  Alas, it sounds like front row at a NASCAR race.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
Posts
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At my Silver Springs FL home
I would still love to devise a muffler and pipe system to get my big generator to operate as quietly as the little ones.

The internal vibration is at least as large a noise factor as the exhaust, so better mufflers don't help all that much.  The reason the Hondas are so quiet is (1) finely made and balanced moving parts and (2) use of an inverter rather  than direct mechanical AC power generation (lower RPMs).  I doubt if you could ever get the Coleman close to the Honda's noise level.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At my Silver Springs FL home
5000 kw? That would power a small city!  :D  Probably just 5 kw

The Honda powered gensets are no where near as quiet as the Honda EU series of DC inverter-driven gensets. Guess that suggests the main noise advantage comes from the DC inverter type of AC generation.  Good reliable engines, though, and at least have the benefit of that smooth Honda quality.
 

2006F350

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Dec 6, 2005
Posts
393
Location
Memphis TN
In a discussion on the Everest Owners site, a person was talking about a Yamaha 3000 ISEB Generator. Googled it and it really looks good, but for the money ...... It's on my Christmas wish list (notice, I didn't specify which christmas).

Larry
 

westtexas

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Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Posts
4
Broke down and bought a Yamaha 3000iSEB last year.    The 2 grand price tag was hard to swallow, but we were going to be camping in some places with no power.

Price aside, wow..what a unit.  I've had lots of portable gens over the years, but this thing is QUIET.  You can stand right next to it and have a normal conversation even at full throttle.  I also like the autothrottle which throttles it down when the load is less, like when the AC shuts off (plus saves a lot of gas).  The 3000iSEB is their boost version which draws power from the generator battery to carry startup loads like the AC.  Runs the 15K rooftop AC with no prob and microwave as well.

Weighs about 150lbs and has wheels.  Really takes two people to lift it onto the truck tailgate, but I'm thinking about mounting a receiver on the RV back square tube bumper and carry the gen and a couple of gas cans around on a cargo carrier.

It hurt when I bought it, but now a year later the pain has gone away.  ;)

 

Carl L

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west Los Angeles
Weighs about 150lbs and has wheels.  Really takes two people to lift it onto the truck tailgate, but I'm thinking about mounting a receiver on the RV back square tube bumper and carry the gen and a couple of gas cans around on a cargo carrier.


Trailer, right?  If so, the rear is not a good place to carry cargo.  It can act to de-stabilize the trailer on the road.    A couple of bicycles is one thing.  A 150 genset and a hitch and carrrier is quite another.
 

King

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Joined
Jan 30, 2006
Posts
354
Location
MA
I have a class B with an Onan Camp power 2800 W.  It's rated at 71 dba at 10 ft, half load.  The Onan Microlite 2800, which is the unit that come with most small RVs, is rated at 70 dba at 10 ft half load.  It seems to me that it is still quite loud.  If you are looking at dba specs, be sure they are at the same distance.  Sound waves in free air attenuate as the square of the distance.  A level of 71 dba at 10 ft in free air would be 65 dba at 20 ft.  (3 db is half power).
Art
 

bmturp

Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2006
Posts
9
I swallowed hard and finally got myself two Honda 2000s.? While in the Tri-Cities Washington recently, the temp was 105 deg. and I was running the air conditioner on my fiver and both gens together they were quieter than the household air conditioning heat exchangers in the neighborhood.? In my opinion they are well worth the money.? One unit will completely run the coach if the air is not needed.?

Recently at the coast, three of us each had a 2000 running in a dry camp area.? I went to a neighbor two sites over and told him we were planning on leaving them on all day and if he would tell me if they were disturbing him.? He asked if they were running now, and when I said yes he said he couldn't even hear them so obviously they were not going to be a problem.? Sweet. :D
 

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