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Old 09-12-2014, 02:45 PM   #1
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Let's talk about generators

I'm really looking forward to getting started with my conversion in the next few months and am doing a ton of research on everything that I'm going to need. One major component that I'm really curious about is generators. I've got a general idea about how much power we'll need, but the whole topic of generators seems a bit overwhelming with a huge range of options. Based on what I've seen so far it looks like I could spend anywhere from $1,000 (basic Honda) to $10,000 (Onan QD 8000) depending on bells and whistles.

I'm wondering if there are any special things to consider (besides wattage of course) when looking at generators. Are there any need-to-have or really-nice-to-have features that I should be looking for? I'd also love to hear about what kind of generators you all settled on and why.
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:02 PM   #2
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Re: Let's talk about generators

I have the Honda 3000iu...very quiet and will supply all my needs...the downside is the exhaust system...difficult to extend the exhaust where it would be safe. It basically needs to be outside.
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:39 PM   #3
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Re: Let's talk about generators

I have a 3300 watt Chinese generator/ inverter, looks like a Honda eu3000, its mounted left side, behind the battery box, so far its been a good I have 138 hours on it does what I want, and has command start on it
download/file.php?id=4424&t=1
I plug the power cord into it when I'm on the road, and can run the a/c
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Old 09-13-2014, 08:50 PM   #4
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Re: Let's talk about generators

You need to size your generator to where it runs at half load. This will give you your best fuel usage. Pay no Attention to the "peak" watts but use the "running" watts when you are sizing your generator.

How often will you be running your generator. A gas or diesel genny will need to be exercised monthly. An LP generator can set for months (or even as long as a year) and crank right up.

Loudness is also a factor. That's why you see the Honda$$$ and other $omewhat pricier inverter generators pushed. The cheaper louder open frame "contractor" generators are enthusiastically bashed. Personally I figure you can generally quiet one down but others disagree with me.

Fuel needs to be considered. Many folks think that you should use the same fuel your Bus/RV runs on and will tap into the same tank. Others (like me) have not problem going with an LP genny that uses "more" fuel in comparison to a diesel or gasoline generator. You can get a no drill conversion kit for around $200 to convert a gasoline genny into an LP genny.

Remote start is a desirable option.

I suggest that you add on either a homemade or factory made Genturi exhaust to pipe the exhaust over the roof of the bus and add a CO detector to your decor.

I researched generators for a long time. I know all the reasons why I chose a Harbor Freight gasoline 7000 running watts generator. I know that it is an open frame and at 76 db it's not the quietest. I have also researched sound dampening enclosures. I have researched LP conversion kits. What works for us may not work for you. You need to figure out your needs and wants. And then you need to do your own research.
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:58 AM   #5
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Re: Let's talk about generators

I agree with you lorna, nice generator , am other brand is champion they have some nice and good made stuff, they just came out with a remote start 3000watt inverter,
its hard to beat a Honda, but they are starting to loose ground to some very well built Chinese generators , I do have a extended exhaust pipe on mine works ok but I stll have to refine it a bit
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:33 AM   #6
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Re: Let's talk about generators

Some of my Homemade Genturi Links... some are how-tos and others include problems & solutions. I usually recommend reading the first link first. The responses in the threads will probably answer any question a person wanting to make one will have. I haven't made one yet. Ours will be a permanent mount setup since we would normally only be using our generator while running down the highway or while sitting in a parking lot. Since we will be enclosing an open frame generator into a soundproof box, we will be using a fan to both cool the generator motor and pull the heat and exhaust generated out of the enclosure to above the roofline of our bus.

http://www.barthmobile.com/eve/forums/a ... 039061/p/1
http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fusea ... 669649.cfm
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f101/latest- ... 92789.html
http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/645714 ... r-exhaust/
http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fusea ... 000409.cfm
http://www.rv.net/forums/index.cfm/fuse ... page/1.cfm
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:48 PM   #7
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Re: Let's talk about generators

For what its worth, I bought a Hyundia genny from ebay for $500 . Its like a 2600 watt or close to it. Very similar in design to the Honda or Yamaha genny just alittle louder but way cheaper in price. Had it almost a year now and like it a lot.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:56 PM   #8
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Re: Let's talk about generators

Quieting a noisy generator is a tough thing to do because of the way sound works--especially the low frequency/high energy range. The higher frequency/lower energy range is easier to attenuate. It is, however the low frequencies that make noisy generators so annoying. I copied the following explanation of dB from "How stuff works"

The decibel (abbreviated dB) is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. The decibel scale is a little odd because the human ear is incredibly sensitive. Your ears can hear everything from your fingertip brushing lightly over your skin to a loud jet engine. In terms of power, the sound of the jet engine is about 1,000,000,000,000 times more powerful than the smallest audible sound. That's a big difference!
On the decibel scale, the smallest audible sound (near total silence) is 0 dB. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dB. Here are some common sounds and their decibel ratings:
Near total silence - 0 dB
A whisper - 15 dB
Normal conversation - 60 dB
A lawnmower - 90 dB

As you can see, cutting the racket of a lawnmower to that of normal conversation means getting rid of a LOT of energy. The low end noises are best reduced by layers if lead, or tar, or dense rubber (horse stall mat) and in that order. Wood is not good nor is sheet metal. High end sound can be easily reduced with baffles or closed cell foam rubber. Just to complicate things further, sound is very good at getting through even the smallest cracks in sound proofing and then continuing on almost unabated.

Since it was necessary for my already quiet genny (Yamaha i3000seb 56-60dB) to be positioned half in and half under my bus in order to get it in at all, I devised an enclosure of 3 layers of lead, tar,and dense rubber with the result being a drop in dB to 46dB. Of course the heat load in the box required a pair of thermally controlled fans, a fire extinguisher, and several redundant temp and air flow sensors each capable of shutting down the genny (and its electric fuel pump) should specified condition be met. Since none of the small gennies have true oil pumps an external cooler would require some thought and careful fabrication but would go a long ways towards reducing heat build up in the sound suppression box. BTW, if you want a good laugh, type in "How to quiet a generator" in U-Tube. Try this one if you have ten minutes to lose of your life.... https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... 7201,d.cGE Hope this helps. Jack

Edit: I'd be happy to discuss specifics on this topic if there is any interest--either here or in a PM as there always several ways to skin a cat.
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