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Thread: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Pydpiper's Avatar
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    Default Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    I would like to build some sort of enclosure for my generator, is there any material I should look for that will withstand bad weather?
    This will be used in an isolated campsite to provide power, I just want to keep the generator close to the camper and dampen the sound as much as possible. I was thinking even a wall of a good sound barrier would be OK, 3 walls would be better.
    Thanks!
    Just one more light and my collection is complete! Ok, maybe two..

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    Flashaholic* Lasernerd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Run the exhaust into a bucket of water
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    Which LEO' here agree with this??

  3. #3

    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    A four walled enclosure to direct the sound upward works pretty well. Use door hinges to connect the edges so you can fold it flat, or knock the pins out and pack it down tight, or a combination of the two. Just make sure it's big enough for proper air flow. The water-bucket muffler works pretty well. On a friend's generator I installed an automotive muffler and welded a plate to the top of the muffler, worked a treat for keeping coffee warm.

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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Heat is a big issue, in you try to wall it off make sure you have lot's of ventilation. I have tried many things, built and enclosed space in a garage with a big fan and routed the exhaust (1.5 inch steel) 4 feet underground venting up through an old 55 gallon steel drum filled with gravel. It worked OK.

    I tell you though, get a Honda EU1000i or EU2000i and be done with it. Much more quiet, way easier to work on, cheaper in the long run (fuel wise) and easy to lock up or move.
    Brock - Used to have some web sites

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    Flashaholic* Pydpiper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    I have been looking at the Honda 2000i, it is quite spectacular. However, I bought this noisy little thing for use in 2 weekends per year. I will buy the Honda eventually.
    Any particular material or combination of materials for the enclosure?
    How do you hook up to the exhaust for the bucket idea?
    Just one more light and my collection is complete! Ok, maybe two..

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    Flashaholic* DUQ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    For the walls, you can use 2x4 steel studs and insulate it with rock wool. Rock wool is fire rated and also absorbs sound much better than fiber bat insulation. Just an idea.
    LED's impress but Incans satisfy

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    Flashaholic* Pydpiper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    I will head into Home Depot and see what they have.

    Thanks for the help guys!
    Just one more light and my collection is complete! Ok, maybe two..

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    Flashaholic Makarov's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Quote Originally Posted by Brock
    Heat is a big issue, in you try to wall it off make sure you have lot's of ventilation. I have tried many things, built and enclosed space in a garage with a big fan and routed the exhaust
    My dad something like that in the family cabin, built a box and lined it with Rockwool plates, then made 2 holes in the wall, one for a fan and one for the exhaust. worked great, and not too much heat buildup.
    Thomas

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    Thread Killer Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Quote Originally Posted by Lasernerd
    Run the exhaust into a bucket of water
    might have trouble starting the beast tho....backpressure wont do you much good on startups

    Quote Originally Posted by Brock
    Heat is a big issue, in you try to wall it off make sure you have lot's of ventilation. I have tried many things, built and enclosed space in a garage with a big fan and routed the exhaust (1.5 inch steel) 4 feet underground venting up through an old 55 gallon steel drum filled with gravel. It worked OK.

    I tell you though, get a Honda EU1000i or EU2000i and be done with it. Much more quiet, way easier to work on, cheaper in the long run (fuel wise) and easy to lock up or move.
    Honda EU series are more expensive in terms of dollars per watt, but i've heard alot about the low noise level.


    I suppose you can built a small compartment to fit everything in....vent the exhaust out somewhere to a bucket and wire a RV ceiling [enclosed] ventilation fan backwards to the 12V output on the generators power panel for the air intake.
    About the steel panels....um...any rigid serface has the ability to vibrate and thats more noise....preferably use wood over metal.

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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    a wood box with a soft open cell foam facing inward should help. put a lttle extra foam or rubber under the feet of the generator to de-couple it from the box floor, if there is one; better to just make three (or four) walls held with door hinges so it's collapsible. good idea to vent sound up, or away from you..

    or how about a large foam cooler, in a pinch?

    DUQ where does one actually obtain rock wool? I looked everywhere when I was builing my house and couldn't find any.. (I know, rock sheep, right? )

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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Perhaps, just rent a Honda or equivalent generator for the 1 or 2 weekends a year for now (don't know the rental price for a weekend).

    It would be heck of a lot easier (and possibly cheaper) than building and hauling around a sound shield that probably will not work as well (and depending on the generator, you may save money on gas too).

    -Bill
    Last edited by BB; 09-21-2006 at 10:36 AM.

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    Flashaholic* Lasernerd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    You use flexible exhaust pipe then hose clamp it in place,you lift it out of the bucket
    for starting and none operation of the gen.
    Kinda sounds like a little outboard engine but sure quits it down alot!
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    The few times I did the water bucket trick, I never had any problems starting the generator with the exhaust under water. It's a 5 gallon bucket, not a 50ft deep swimming pool. Flexible exhaust pipe and clamps are available at any decent auto parts store. If your generator has a large bolt-on muffler(very likely), you might have to switch to a smaller round pipe-thread muffler so that the flexible exhaust pipe can fit over the muffler and be clamped in place; not hard to do. You can run the flex pipe into a bucket of water or a larger automotive muffler. You won't want to run the generator with just the round muffler. It won't hurt anything, but it'll be noisier than the larger muffler you're used to.

    Last edited by Diesel_Bomber; 09-21-2006 at 10:58 AM.
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    Thread Killer Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Quote Originally Posted by cy
    best solution is start with a quiet genset
    http://www.aurasystems.com/index.htm
    something like this...mounted under the hood..

    turning the car into a generator..only problem is, unless your a contractor that needs mobile power daily...its a waste of money for weekend trips...good idea nonetheless

  16. #16

    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    *IF* you can find where to buy the darned thing! I looked for an Auragen for a couple weeks and had all my phonecalls and emails ignored or leading me in a circle. If it's that difficult to buy it in the first place, how hard is it going to be to get service or warranty work later on? No thanks.




    P.S. I've read nothing but good reviews about the Auragen from those who have managed to actually buy one.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    I'm sure the arugen works real well and all that... but I fail to see why?

    normally you would want to use the smallest possible genset that will meet your high peak start demands.

    so why would you want to run a motor the size in a car?
    not to mention added complexity for that solution.

    the above water solution, will only take care of exhaust noise. don't forget to factor in engine noise in general. overhead valve motors are generally quieter overall.

    there's several inexpensive chinese solutions available. Pet boys auto store had an overvalve genset 2,500 watts 3,200 peak for aprox. $250 new. not a honda, quality wise, but for use 2-3 times a year...

    for RV use go with a top quality unit like Honda or Yamaha.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* DUQ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Quote Originally Posted by TedTheLed
    DUQ where does one actually obtain rock wool? I looked everywhere when I was builing my house and couldn't find any.. (I know, rock sheep, right? )
    "rock wool" is a general term used when refering to engineered fiber material. It's manufactured in North America by ROXUL, which is part of Rockwool Int. www.roxul.com


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  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Pydpiper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    I have a 5000 watt generator that I usually bring with me, to the tune of about 300 lbs, but I recently bought an offshore 1200 watt model for this trip. The biggest thing I run is the coffee maker in the morning at about 1200 watts..
    I spent the day looking at the Honda models, 1000i and 2000i, and to say the least I am impressed. The salesman took me to the back room rambling on about how quiet and reliable they are, as I grew bored listening to him I asked if he could show me one running.. He said yes, "it's right there at our feet". This little thing purring away was so beautiful.. $1000 though, that is a lot of dough for a weekend or two.. Besides that, I could have the 2000i for a mere $400 more. This will put a hell of a dent in my M6 budget..
    I will stand my ground and see if I can whip something up to deaden the sound this year for the fishing tourney, and afterwords I will look more seriously at that wonderful little Honda.
    Last year I put a borrowed little generator in a hole left by a fallen tree on the riverbank, it worked well, unless you were on the river.
    Just one more light and my collection is complete! Ok, maybe two..

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Understandable, I believe Kipor makes a small quiet Honda knock off as well. Not sure how it would hold up.
    Brock - Used to have some web sites

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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Pyd, those prices are the highest I ever heard of for those gens...
    ..places like Mayberry and Hondapowerhouse and Wisesales sell the Honda 2000 for less than $900 and the 1000 for $700-800..

  22. #22
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    The Hondas are hard to beat but I picked up a 12,500k genset from Lowes for the same price I paid for the Honda ( I have a 2000i). I just could not justify spending that much for so limited output. I have had the Honda for about 7 years and it does great for low power needs but after Hurricaine Ivan and no power for 7 days I went with the full backup for the house. The enclosure I built looks alot like a big dog house - three sides and a pitched roof. I used door hinges so that is easily disassembled. I soundproofed with what I had available which was the pink roll in insulation and eggcrate foam- also have a big fan on it for use in warm weather. It seems to reduce the sound by at least 60 - 70 percent. I have thought about trying some different configuration but don't really think there is an economical portable solution worth the effort.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    main reason to buy the honda (if not for the quiet) is engine life. honda engines will log the most hours before breaking down (keep the oil clean=changed).. if you want longer life than honda you go to diesels..
    if you need a generator your life doesn't rely on, and that you will use rarely and then for only short periods, I guess you can take a chance on something else..

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* Pydpiper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    The price I quoted is in Canadian dollars, we pay more for stuff here..
    The dealership has three dealer demos for $850 each, they look brand new. I can't get the little thing off my mind now..
    Lots of great ideas and suggestions here guys, thanks!
    Just one more light and my collection is complete! Ok, maybe two..

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    oh, CANAdian $'s...!! d'oh.
    ok, explain the reason for curling.. and the reason for watching.. thanks.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Pydpiper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    The Curling.. Dunno.. I didn't realize that was Canadian? In my defence, I never played or watched the game.. I am a firm believer in sports where drinking will not affect the outcome..

    So, I built an ehaust extension for my generator, and I learned 3 things:
    1. I am no plumber.
    2. Never start a engine with a the exhaust tubed into a bucket of water on your workbench, unless you have alot of towels handy.
    3. Cheap generators create engine noise that exceeds the exhaust noise, the bucket trick did nothing for the sound.

    Just one more light and my collection is complete! Ok, maybe two..

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    How did solder joints last? I would think if you ran it under load for any amount of time then it would melt.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Pydpiper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    Quote Originally Posted by jayb79
    How did solder joints last? I would think if you ran it under load for any amount of time then it would melt.

    Good point, and one I took into consideration.. I didn't run it for very long, once it started spewing water all over my workbench I pretty much gave up on it, it did get warm while running though.
    My thought (if it had worked) was to utilize the 12V output to run a small water pump to keep the copper cool, that is partly why the exhaust extension is shaped like that, however, I did not get that far due to the fact the engine itself was so loud.
    Project status: Failed.

    Now I will try an enclosure.
    I am thinking roofing steel interior, rockwool insulation and another layer of roofing steel. Spring suspended floor and a fan.
    Just one more light and my collection is complete! Ok, maybe two..

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    get a hahahahahahonda

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Enclosing a generator for sound dampening

    What worked for me is:
    1) Start with a quiet Honda.
    2) Build the generator shack behind my wood shed.
    3) Build the shack with three sides and no floor. (I laid down some stepping stones, letting the earth soak up vibrations and noise, not the shack.)
    4) Include some internal baffles in the shack to confuse the sound.

    With this setup, I can't even hear my 2000i. I can hear my big 6000, but just barely.

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