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RVelectricity™ – Is this the beginning of the end of noisy built-in generators?

Dear Readers,
As many of you know, I was teaching RVelectricity™ seminars all last week at the Hershey RV show. And yes, the show itself was fully packed, as were my seminars. But I also spent a lot of time bumming around the various exhibits and learned a few things along the way.

My favorite thing…

OK, I realize this is just the geek in me talking, but I finally had a chance to see (and hear) the new Cummins Onan QG 2500i LP generator at the Cummins demonstration trailer. I like the outside booths better than the inside booths at these shows since, in many cases, you can actually play with things that would never be allowed inside. And no, you’re not allowed to bring a propane tank inside the show building, no matter how nicely you ask.

The generator I was trying out is the Cummins Onan QG 2500i LP that would typically be installed in a Class B RV. What I dislike about the standard constant-RPM AC generators is the drone of the engine running at full RPM and vibrating the RV constantly. Plus, the old-school generators are not typically quiet enough to avoid the decibel police at some campgrounds.

But that was yesterday, and this is now…

The new QG 2800i generator from Cummins Onan is a true inverter generator, just like a portable Honda or Predator. And it has all the advantages of inverter technology since the engine RPM can throttle down when not a lot of power is needed.

As you may be aware, a standard AC generator is a 100-year-old technology that has to run at a constant RPM to maintain a 60 HZ AC output. But an inverter generator is actually a DC alternator powering a pure sine-wave inverter. So it can reduce the engine RPM down to idle when power needs are low, and quickly bring it up to speed when your air conditioner or microwave oven kicks in.

Keeping it quiet!

Plus, there’s an extra quiet muffler attached which reduces the engine noise, and an internal suspension that reduces vibration in your RV when the generator is running. I’ll test in-depth later. But in the meantime I would like to point out one discrepancy in the marketing literature.

Even more quiet!

Note that the listed Sound Level is 65 dB(A) at 10 ft. Most generators are tested at 7 meters (23) ft. for dB Level. And as we all should know from reading my article on SPL (Sound Pressure Level) theory HERE, when you double the distance from a sound source, the decibel level is reduced by a factor of 4, which is 6 dB. So, I’m pretty sure their literature should rate this at 58 or 59 dB SPL, rather than 65 dB SPL. That suggests this generator is likely quieter than listed on paper. Interesting, yes?

Fuel miser

moneyAnd, like all inverter generators, the fuel consumption is greatly reduced compared to a standard generator since the gasoline- or propane-powered engine isn’t cranking along at full RPM, even when you just need to power something small in your RV. That saves a significant amount of fuel. And as I’m sure you know, fuel is money. So it’s a win-win-win for everyone.

Future Shock!

I’ve already been promised a demo Onan QG 2500i LP generator in a few months, as soon as one is available. At that time I’ll do a full tech review of SPL, fuel usage and available power – then we’ll know for sure. But I’m pretty confident that this new installed generator inverter technology will soon be finding its way into all RVs. There’s a lot of be gained from it, and very little to lose.

The future is coming faster than we think. So in the meantime, let’s play and stay safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign.

##RVT1019

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Lindalee
28 days ago

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your little time machine! Mike, you are dating yourself unless the younguns like OLD SciFi movies LOL!!

Mike Sokol
28 days ago
Reply to  Lindalee

If I had a choice between the Back to the Future Delorean time machine and the H.G. Wells Time Machine, I would pick the H. G. Wells version every time.

Sally Harnish
28 days ago

Typical Onan, a little late to the party!

Dustin A Nash
28 days ago

Mike, didn’t see a price for the Cummins Onan. Is it priced yet?

Mike Sokol
28 days ago
Reply to  Dustin A Nash

They didn’t have that info. But as soon as I know I’ll publish it.

Manny
28 days ago

Any used Honda Generator is better than any new generator in the market..!!

Mike Sokol
28 days ago
Reply to  Manny

I have a Honda EX1000 that must be 30 years old, and it still starts every time on the second pull of the starter rope.

Jet
28 days ago

Sorry, no such thing as a DC alternator. Explain that. Also, run a inverter at full load and see how “quiet” they are or how easy they are to repair.

Mike Sokol
28 days ago
Reply to  Jet

My Honda EU3000i and EU7000i generators are very quiet even at full power.

Charles Collins
28 days ago

What needs to be made is a true 50 amp inverter generator… Solves sooo many issues. Can support RV or true food trailer. If one is out there I need to know.

Mike Sokol
28 days ago

That would be a 12,000 watt inverter generator. The closest thing I know of is the Predator 9500 which I’m considering for a food truck install. But I’ve never seen or measured one in the wild.

Curt
29 days ago

if the generator has an inverter, then it must be generating DC, but sending AC out of the inverter. If a generator allowed me to hook up batteries directly to the generator so that I don’t need to run the engine all the time, I would like that. Maybe 12 hours of batteries at 500W,

James Dresser
29 days ago

Unless my math is off 23 feet is just over 7 meters.

Roger V
29 days ago
Reply to  James Dresser

Correct. 10m = 32′ 9.7″

Mike Sokol
28 days ago
Reply to  James Dresser

Oops… sometimes my fingers are faster than my brain!😁

Roger V
29 days ago

Interesting article. Winnebago is installing the new Onan QG 2800i quiet generators in their Class Bs now and they are indeed much quieter. We have a Winnebago Travato with the old loud generator. Would upgrade to the new one, but Cummins is currently only sending them to RV manufacturers. Was told recently it might be Spring before they’re generally to consumers for purchase.

Mike Sokol
29 days ago
Reply to  Roger V

Just like everything else there can be long delivery times. Plus I get really early announcements from the manufacturers, so it could be mid 2022 before this product is generally available to the consumer. But it’s one more step in making energy efficient and quieter RVs.

Roger V
29 days ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Yes, looking forward to it. They’ve allowed a few early adopters to have prototypes. We’ve seen and heard those at rallies and recently saw the real thing operate at the June Winnebago Grand National Rally in Forest City Iowa. Very impressive indeed. In fact it’s so quiet, I believe it greatly reduces the allure of their expensive Volta lithium based Travato now.

Last edited 29 days ago by Roger V
Jeremy
28 days ago
Reply to  Roger V

Install a nice lithium battery system with inverter and ditch the generator completely. That’s the real future of AC power while camping.

Mike Sokol
28 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy

Actually I believe it’s propane powered fuel cells. Stay tuned!