Thanks for the input. I'm thinking two things here.
- I won't be using a generator when I'm near anyone else that cares about noise (at a race track where bikes will be running anyway) or out by ourselves in the middle of nowhere.
- With that big of cost difference, even if it doesn't do the job and I sell it for 1/2 of what I paid for it I can live with that. Bottom line is to get the ability to have a generator for about 80% of the cost of the "best" stuff out there may be the best option for me.
We are going to Camping World on Thursday so I will have them demo them for me, just to see for myself.
Brings back memories when I was in the army - our specialized EW unit had 8 Honda 5KW generators and everyone in the regiment was always trying to borrow or "steal" them.
The reason we had them was simple - reliability and reduced noise levels. With a little bit of screening you could walk close by one of our concealed units and not hear them.
They always started first pull (no electric start) and required minimal maintenance.
We only ever had two problems - one it rained so hard the air intake took in water and killed it. The second was running it for 7 days continuously at the same level (except for oil changes) caused a carbon buildup in the cylinder head. A quick fix by a trained mechanic.
Right now I also own a Honda snowblower that is 18 years old - still starts first (OK second) pull and out throws my neighbours blowers. Previous blowers would break after about 5 years
I guess what I am saying is if you want reliability, Honda has the reputation, but you will pay for it.
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The difference between 59 & 68dB is A LOT. Sound energy doubles for each 3dB, so there is 8 times more sound energy between the two. It takes very serious quality control to build a 59dB generator.
Although sound pressure (energy) doubles with every 3db, subjective loudness (what we hear) measuring on the "A" weighted scale (which is the closest to the human ear) takes a 10 db increase to sound twice as loud. Check here for more information.
One note about red/blue models. Oftentimes, you can sell them for close to what you paid for them, so you can get most of your money out, assuming the model is in serviceable condition.
My suggestion would be to consider a camper shell (if not pulling a fifth wheel), and make sure the shell has side windows that can slide open. Add reinforced handles to a set of Honda eu2000i twins, chain those down to the bed, and use an extended run tank. That type of setup can give you a very long generator run time, especially when the weather is hot and humid.
the champion 3000 will run at 3600 rpm no load or full load
the speed controls the 60hz frequency, same thing for Onan & Generac etc.. "flat out is the wrong term" ( noise varies with load, full consumed, not because of speed)
the inverter models run slower at no load and faster over 4000rpm at full load
they are quieter when all your doing is charging batteries but noticeably louder when using a larger load like hair dryer, MW, a/c etc..
Options, always have options, and the journey goes much smoother ....
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So 8 DB is "Nearly twice as loud" then, Still a big difference.
One short story about the Honda (And this points out an advnatage)
Couple of halloweens ago I was a "Monster" on the haunted trail.. The station w here I "worked" cutting up victims (Well plastic people, that is they were made of injection molded plastic instead of real flesh) was lit by a Honda EU-2000i.
It would run for a bit then die.. 3 "Experts" worked on it and it would run for a bit and die, full fuel tank and it would run for a bit and die.
I ask if they opened the vent in the fuel cap (NO) opened it and it worked fine.
The gas tank is SEALED, so you get no fume leakage. Kind of nice if you have to carry it inside something. Plus it can suck gas out of an external (Extended run) tank if you add one for additional run time. (We did not)
Nothin adds excitment like something that is none of your business
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my father in law bought the champion and another uncle has a honda. The champion is a bit louder, but not by $500 (or more). Note that some of the price difference could be inverter, which is important. I'm going to buy a champion this season.
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What's amazing to me is questioning the price of the generator and having a brand new truck/trailer in one's signature. I will say that during New Years we ran our Yamaha 2400 a lot, and it was dead calm outside. Many a time I walked different directions from our trailer to see if the genny was going to make enough noise to bother the few neighbors that happened to show up nearby at night. Usually it would not be very far away and the sound was basically gone. We were basically running the television and did not want to use the invertor that evening.
I WILL say I could hear an open air "contractor generator" in the other campground, which was a LONG ways away and blocked by a rock formation.
You do get what you pay for, and I for one figured if I am to invest in camping, I will get a good, quiet generator. My opinion only....