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?
And, 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.
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.
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