generators in np- a touchy subject

Submitted: Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 15:27
ThreadID: 88855 Views:4409 Replies:25 FollowUps:39
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Hi all, we are planning a week down south in the October School holidays. Now I know this is a touchy subject and I don't want to cause a bun fight- however I am thinking that if we are going to be staying for about 6 days- we might need to take the generator.I have checked the DEC campsite regulations and it appears that they are allowed where we are going. However, I was also thinking of ways that we could minimise the need for it as much as possible. We are not in a position to go out and buy a solar setup so this is not an option(for now). Our main power consumption is the engel fridge. We usually leave this in the car and run it off the camper trailer when camped but run it off the car when driving around sightseeing etc. This tends to reduce the drain on the two batteries in the camper. The camp lights are low amp led ones, and we have purchased a battery operated lantern, have a coleman duel fuel lantern and have also been given a gas lantern to go on the gas bottle. So this should mean that lights do not use a great deal. I was hoping that if we do need to use the genny it would only be for a short time. We have a Cteck charger and my thoughts were that using this off the genny we could bring one of the campers batteries up to 80% in a few hours. The manual for the genny says we can charge the second battery straight from the generator at the same time(although this would only be a trickle charge so ? is it worth it). So does anyone have any other obvious powersaving tips? I am reluctant to leave the engel at home as we tend to take all our food with us and not frequent the shops when we are camped - I don't really want to be trekking out to the shops for ice every day or so. Thansks for your 'constructive ' comments.doc
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Reply By: BarryR1 - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 15:45

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 15:45

what sort of generator do you have? I personally don't have an issue with a generator providing it's used with consideration of others. I'd only run in the middle of the day for a few hours and never past 4.00 p.m. The only other issue is the noise and the latest generation inverter gennies are very quiet. If it's a $200 GMC spanker that makes more noise than a cement mixer then that's a whole new issue.

I always cover the fridge with extra insulation like blankets etc (leaving the motor area clear of course), try to open the fridge the least amount of times possible and turn it right down or off during the coolness of the night. You'd be amazed how much power you can save that way.

Cheers Baz
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 15:53

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 15:53
Hi Bax- its a Honda 20eu so fairly quiet. It will likely be only two of us camping this time- I think our teenagers are staying at home/with friends, so opening the lid multiple times( and forgetting to close it) should not be a problem. We normally load the freezer side up with meat/ready made meals and then thaw them in the fridge part as neccesary. The fridge has one of those engel insulated bags, but we do tend to leave it in the back of the ute and just hook a cable up to it from the camper. I guess we could take it out and place it under the camper if it looks really sunny/hot, to keep it in the shade. The subject of gennys in national parks has been such a touchy one on this forum I feel like a pariah for even thinking of taking it. doc.
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 15:54

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 15:54
Sorry 'Baz' -engaged typing fingers before brain. doc.
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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 18:57

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 18:57
in regard to Barry's "GMC spanker", mine must've been a special edition because it wasn't much noisier than the Honda 2kv I now have. Maybe you heard one that was badly positioned. I thought it was a great unit for the price and charged batteries as required. The Honda is a much better machine though, in terms of efficiency, quality and reliability
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Follow Up By: BarryR1 - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 20:27

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 20:27
G'day Steve. I was referring to the noisy 2 stroke units. Scorpion was another one. They sold at Bunnings for a couple of hundred bucks. Nothing like the inverter ones (Honda, yamaha, Engel etc).
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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 21:51

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 21:51
I got mine for $85 before they went up to a couple of hundred - they really weren't that loud at all. Not much diff between it and my nice new Honda that I now run for noise. I gave mine to a mate who is still using it just for battery charging.

Funny thing is, I met this other bloke who had an old weatherboard place right on the beach, well off the beaten track. He fished a lot and was getting on a bit and dependent on welfare benefits. He ran his tv and lights off a cheapo GMC unit day in, day out. I said to him "not bad eh, for the money"? he said, "nah mate, load of crap. I'm on my third one. Took the other two back and they replaced em on the warranty". But he was running it practically non-stop. You just can't please some people.

I'm aware of the diff between it, and a Honda. That's what made me upgrade. Just don't think they're that bad as long as you're aware of their shortcomings.
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Follow Up By: Meggs - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 11:15

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 11:15
I agree my GMC 2 stroke is quite. I only run it in the middle of the day for a couple of hours for battery charging that is when the solar can't keep up due to the weather.If you look at someone who preaches solar as being the best you will find they either have a generator for backup or are massively over committed with panels and batteries.

I was at a camp once when someone started up a generator and then started to use it and with the uproar he quickly turned it off. I was talking to him next day asking what sort of generator it was and he said it was a Honda and the noise came because they tried to use the microwave. I've never heard a Honda a full load but this one was loud.

From that is seems that if you run a generator run it on low load as my GMC is very quiet as I only run it a a quarter load. On my last trip of two months it was never
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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 20:58

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 20:58
Had 2 GMC 850's for 6 years...Bunning's specials for $89 at the time. Excellent little gennies. Also have had a EU20i as well. No noise difference at all.
1GMC is still going, runs all night at our bush camp providing light etc on demand.
Other one is stuffed cause boys took it up the beach for a fishing night, and it buried itself in the sand while they were trying to do the same.
# 1 and only tip with gennies, anywhere, is be considerate of others. Any gennie of any brand and price will p#ss off your neighbours if used inapropriately. Won't happen in my case, cause I don't have neighbours when camping, so I use my gennie as I please.

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Reply By: Member - Tezza Qld - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:03

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:03
Hi Doc

Wouldn't be a worry. Those small generators are very quiet. Run it in the middle of the day. My 4.2 Nissan ute ticking over at idle would make more noise.

Cheers Teza
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Reply By: ao767brad - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:05

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:05
Been home about 6 weeks from a 3 month trip and most of it in national parks or free camps and I think most agree that the generator is not the problem just some inconsiderate users. By all means run it during the day if you want to charge batteries, great time to do it as many other campers are out sightseeing or the like, so less people to disturb. Most of us only get peeved when people put it outside the neighbours tent/van, then run their airconditioning at full boar to drown out the noise and turn the radio/TV to max volume so they can't hear the generator run, whilst the rest of us without generators get to inhale the fumes and listen to the drone. A number of National parks have time limits with no generator use after 9pm, a small number had ranger or camp host patrolls at this time to check compliance.
All in all, used sensibly no one will care.
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Reply By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:15

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:15
Hi doc, My camping setup and style does not require a gennie and they can bug me somewhat, so it is great to see you seeking advice about minimising your impact. In truth, quiet gennies do not concern me if they are confined between say 8am and 4pm but I do understand that is not always possible.

I'll leave advice on genny choice and management to those with that experience.

Good luck with it.


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Reply By: Gronk - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:23

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:23
If everybody was considerate, then there would be no generator debate on forums like this...

If run between 9&4 then even in a park with restrictions, I could see no problems.....but if there are restrictions.....expect someone to have a whinge....

Only problem is there are a lot of people who are not as considerate as you....
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Reply By: sweetwill - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:41

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:41
Hello oz doc,
along with everyone else i detest the things, but yes i understand that battery's need charging, as said above run them in the day, not as happened to me two weeks ago, come night fall out came the jenny on went the lights, very annoying,as the jenny was placed closer to my camp than their own and yes words were spoken, i don't know the brand but it was a noisy one, cheers bill.
AnswerID: 464281

Reply By: Member - Clive G (NZ) - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 19:24

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 19:24
Hi doc.
Similar issues with generators in parks etc. here in NZ.

I have Honda the same as yours and tend to run it about 3-4hrs per day (say 10am – 2pm) on days that I need to.

One of the best things I carry is a 30mtr extension lead., ex Bunnings or like. A 1.5 sqmm cable is essential for this length. Look for it moulded into the cable every metre or so. It will most likely be orange coloured for construction sites. Don’t believe labels that say “Heavy Duty”.

Then I can put the generator away behind a tree somewhere with the exhaust pointing away from the camp. Complaints are very rare.

How big is your charger? I use a 20 amp for the K/Karavan and a 12 amp for the vehicle house battery, run them both at the same time.

Cheers. Clive.
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 20:54

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 20:54
Hi Clive- you got me there- I didn't know what size the charger was - had to go and look.(The other half bought it for me- I didn't ask questions I just said thanks dear). It is a Ctek 7000. The manual said it will take approx 12 hours to charge a 100ah battery to 80%- so a lot longer than I thought. Having said that I hope to get through to the last 2 days on the camper batteries and maybe only need to top one up to get through the rest. Have to see how we go.doc.
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 21:00

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 21:00
Hey Clive- re reading your reply- you take two chargers with you? I do have an arlec trickle charger somewhere in the shed but it is retired now that I have the Ctek. Maybe I should maximise output by charging one battery from the Ctek and the other directly from the 12 volt outlet on the genny? Never done this before but the book says ok. Will have to do some maths and see if it will really make a difference. Might wait until tomorrow- brain is a bit tired just now. doc.
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Follow Up By: Member - Clive G (NZ) - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 07:21

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 07:21
Yes I take two chargers, the 20 amp one is built into the Karavan and the 12amp (“Quick” brand) sits under the false floor in the Cruiser.

Your Ctek 7000 is I think a 7amp model, good brand but 7amps is really to small for a quick charge during the day, you would need to run the gennie all daylight hours. You would do better just running your car engine slightly above idle for a couple of hours. Having a total of 32amp capacity I find it is only just enough.

Be very wary of that 12volt output on the Honda. It’s an unregulated output with a max of 8amps (?) which is still too low. It’s mainly meant for a quick charge on a flat car battery so you can start it, or so I believe.

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Follow Up By: oz doc - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 07:55

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 07:55
Hi Clive- I suspect you are correct- the Ctek is going to take quite a few hours to bring up one of the batteries. I have never charged directly from the 12v side of the generator - never had the need to. I am not really keen to rush out and get more equipment just for this one trip. I suspect we will minimise our usage as far as possible and see how long we can get the batteries to last and then possibly fire up the genny for one day to extend the life of one of the batteries, if the nearby campers have no objections. Who knows- we may be down to the packaged/tinned food by then and not need the fridge so much. We dont have any 240 volt appliances, the lighting uses fuel/gas. I can take a small esky for ice to keep the beer cold if neccesary. It will be an adventure. We have never camped in a National park for more than a few days. Last time we used the genny camping we were in the middle of nowhere (Nullagine) and noone cared at all. Now that I think of it-another possibility is to move one of the camper batteries into the back of the ute and charge it from the ute anderson plug when driving around(we are likely to do a bit of sight seeing) and keep it charged up that way. Mmmmm-more thinking to do. But as you said- using the car as a generator would bring the battery up quicker . Have to work on that. Thanks for your thoughts. doc.
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Reply By: Fatso - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 20:56

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 20:56
If you have a decent esky, like Baileys or Evacool, you will get 6 days out of it no worries. If is a big one & you use it wisely you might get 10 days.

We used to get 7 days out of a large cheap plastic one when the kids were little & that is in the tropics.

Freeze as much stuff as you can before you leave home. Don't just put it in the freezer the night before you go but put it in several days before & turn the freezer down as low as she will go.
Freeze your own ice as well in large blocks.
Make sure the esky is full to the brim with frozen stuff when you leave home.
Keep your esky in the shade & cover it with a couple of wet bags.
Don't put anything hot in it whatever you do.
Don't use it like a domestic fridge. Keep the lid closed & the kids out.

It is all about thermal mass & insulation.

If you are taking fresh milk freeze that too. When we were on the esky we used to drink 2 litres a day. Milk will sit thawed on the bench all day if it is not too hot & still be OK. Kids might not want to drink it because of the temperature, but it is fine for coffee. There is no need to open the esky every time someone wants a cup of coffee. We would take the milk out the night before so that there was enough thawed for breakfast
Same with butter. Real butter lasts longer than margarine out of the fridge. We used to use margarine & get it back in the esky real quick before it heated up.
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 21:17

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 21:17
Hi Fatso- ok so we do have a good rather large esky but I wasn't planning on taking it as there is only going to be the two of us.We usually use it for cool drinks for the kids when they come camping so they don't keep opening the fridge. I don't see anyone selling block ice down here and the bag ice doesnt seem to last very long. I'm not keen on having food in the esky as invariably it ends up floating around. Your comments about butter vs margarine and freezing the milk has got me thinking. I might just sit down and make a list of what sort of food we are going to take and see how much really needs refrigeration. October is not going to be all that hot down south. Mmmm- more thinking to do. I guess this is one of the few times we would benefit from a 3 way fridge. The other half has suggested it might be time to change to a smaller engel- our 60l fridge/freezer combo has been great for camping with the kids but is a little oversized for just the two of us. One powerball!. doc.
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Reply By: dazren - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 21:25

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 21:25
It is simple really ?? If your Allowed to use it, and you need to use it, and you are mindful and considerate of others, Then Use It.
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Reply By: wizzer73 - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 22:01

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 22:01
lol, yes it is a touchy subject. I know I detest generators as well. When i go camping in the bush or NP's the only noise i like to hear is the wildlife. When others say be considerate of others campers...what does that actually mean? If one can hear the genny at all, no matter how quite, is this ok? Whats considerate to one may not be considerate to another. Personally a genny running for a few hours in the middle day I can tolerate but at night or early in the morning would really be pushing the friendship lol.

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Follow Up By: Member - Jason B (NSW) - Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 14:00

Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 14:00
I have has the reverse happen on a couple of occasions. Where we have been set and running the Genny (Honda EU20i) and had campers turn up and camp on top of us when the rest of the camp ground was totally vacant. Then they have had the hide to complain about our Genny.

Being considerate doesn't depend on your stance on Genny use. It applies to all of you. People get enjoyment from different things, I personally hate trail bikes and the noise they make, but they make others happy and if they are allowed to do then good on them. Tolerance and courtesy go both ways.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 22:17

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 22:17
Hi Doc

I have a few short articles on camping without a fridge and ideas for meals:Camping and cooking without a fridge

We used to go camping before fridges and camping power sources were common and didn’t think twice about not having a fridge. We used an esky - closed in the day and open at night, which maintained drinks, butter and milk. Fresh meat was cooked within a day or two of purchase.

You have probably seen this brochure on use of generators, which camp grounds they can be used in and hours of permitted use for each campground:
Guidelines for use of generators WA Parks

Having camped with people using gennies i find the Honda quite unobtrusive and just a smooth purr. With the cheaper ones it is not so much the noise as an annoying rhythm. If you are permitted to use it, you need it, and you run it only in daylight hours, go for it. If they are permitted you may find many of your neighbours using them too.

Have a great holiday


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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 23:08

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 23:08
I hate the noise of generators too, but what amuses me is what people are running them for - to power a fridge on 240V, or to run 240V floodlights or to run a laptop or DVD player or TV or camera battery chargers or to put only a few amps into their aux batteries. Lots of unnecessary or useless things.

Solar panels are quiet and one day I might get one. But I still find no need for either solar panels or generators. On last months desert trip we ran 2 Engel fridges for basecamps of 4 and 5 days from a 55Ah and 80Ah aux batteries and never got below 12.0V on either. We drove the vehicle on short trips daily to do the work we were doing - about 20-80 minutes driving each day - with good wiring that puts a heap back into the batteries - 50+Amps from an alternator does more than a full day of solar panels and who knows what from a generator.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jason B (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 10:47

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 10:47
Who are you to say what is unnecessary and uless to others??????

Try travelling with a bunch of kids, whilst still running a business. In the right situation what is wrong with flood lights and a game of night cricket?

If its legal and people are allowed to do then good on them. The fact that most on this thread are considerate enough to think of others indicates to me a pretty good balance.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:51

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 20:51
Gday Jason,

You and I have different ideas of camping - absolutely nothing wrong with that and I respect what you do and I also had 4 kids and average 60 hours a week.

But would you really run a 2000watt generator to power 150watts of floodlight?

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Follow Up By: Member - Jason B (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 22:02

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 22:02
To be honest Phil on most occasions I wouldn't, but on some occasions we have run floods and lit up the camp site. Over the October weekend, we have a yearly camp and catch up with friends, usually 5 or 6 families, totalling 30+ people including 10 + kids.

We run all of the things you mention on this camp, however we do consider others, firstly by camping away from them. When we do run the Genny we only run what is necessary at the time. This is usually 1 2kva Honda Genny for the whole camp site.

I have on occasions (We lived in the Snowy for 13 years) run my Genny over night with a heater in the KK, because we chose to camp in these conditions with young kids (3 month and 3 year olds). Again this was our choice and we avoided others because we planned to run the heater.

Sorry if my comments came across as Agro, I just don't agree that Generators or the gadgets that people take camping are at fault. It is inconsiderate users and I don't think it is fair to judge every one the same.


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Reply By: Bobba - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 23:21

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 23:21
We have a little Honda Eu10 and need to run it every 3rd day when staying in the one place. As other mentioned we used a long cord, placed it with exhaust pointing away from camp, sometimes I placed it under our camper and covered the bottom of camper with the kids boogie boards - this worked well and most people never knew it was going.
At one spot I remember we couldn't get a spot in the gennie side of camp so had to use the non-genny side and after a few days I had little choice...I dug a hole away from camp deep enough so you couldn't see it and it was virtually silent back in camp.
In 6 months of travel and simply being considerate of others we never had one complaint.

I was very annoyed in one place where they pulled out a huge gennie that looked like it should be on a building site, they placed behind their camper but in plain view of us and others and fired it up causing a racket so they could use their electric frypan for lunch!

Having said that, I would add a solar panel to our kit next time which for us would eliminate the need for the gennie.

AnswerID: 464309

Follow Up By: Member - Clive G (NZ) - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 08:17

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 08:17
Often wondered about the merits of digging a hole for the genie to reduce the noise. Knowing my luck the noise brigade would leave me alone but I’d get attacked by the greenies for digging a hole.

Electric fry pan for lunch!! Some people should not be allowed outside the city limits.

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Follow Up By: Bobba - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:10

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:10
Made sure I filled the hole in, luck would have it I'd be the one to trip and break something!

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Follow Up By: carlsp - Thursday, Sep 08, 2011 at 07:09

Thursday, Sep 08, 2011 at 07:09
Hi Mark,

I looked at this idea and once while camped at Wuruma Dam I decided to dig in my EU2. Measured the noise at ground level and then dug a hole deep enough so the generator was 100mm below the surface. (the top of the generator that is). Positioned the exhaust pointing away and with enough air around the unit.

Meanwhile the other campers are thinking I am crazy. Sitting down with a coffee and covered with a mixture of both sand and sweat, I awaited the product of my effort.

I descovered not difference of the noise level. The generator was positioned about 40 meters from the caravan. I think there would be a significant drop in noise level if the generator had been a Bunnings / BCF/ Supercheap chinese special however. The Honda is quiet enough as it is.

It had a happy ending however, as I feel that I got somewhat fitter and certainly lost a few kilos in digging the hole and trying to get my generator out again.
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Reply By: olddigger - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 00:26

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 00:26
I am not technically minded, but I understand that these generators produce 12v, which is upgraded to run stereos, TV etc through an inverter.
So, am I right to assume that a quick, clean slash with a sharp axe through the power cord between genny and van is not going to give me a nasty jolt?
Failing that, a couple of siugar cubes popped into the genny's fuel tank should solve the noise problem for several days.
Ah, affirmative action. You've got to love it.
Cheers, Tony
AnswerID: 464310

Follow Up By: disco driver - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 01:06

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 01:06
No, you're wrong.
The cheapies produce current at anywhere between 220 and 350 Volts, the better ones around 240V so a quick slash with an axe may do more than give you a quick jolt.

Regardless of whether or not the generator is allowed in that particular area or is being used inconsiderately, your proposed actions are both stupid and illegal and leave you liable to both civil and criminal prosecution for property damage.

If a sensible discussion with the genset owner does not achieve a satisfactory result either suffer in silence or move your camp to somewhere quieter.
Resorting to your choices is not a good idea, however much you may think it is at the time.

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Follow Up By: Polaris - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 20:36

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 20:36
No problem with the axe Tony - it should have a wooden handle, so you won't get any 'jolt' !
Have heard of the sugar cube remedy before as well - works fine.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 11:05

Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 11:05
Mythbusters couldn't stop an engine with sugar!
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Reply By: olddigger - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 02:10

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 02:10
This post has been read by the moderation team and has been moderated due to a breach of The Trolling Rule .

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 08:04

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 08:04
In our case Oz Doc the fridge is always in the car and we idle the car to top up batteries.
Our petrol parol is a lot quieter than gennies and makes a "more acceptable type sound" , at night we turn the fridge off.

Usually idling isn't required much as the car gets a run most days.

If you camper batteries (even 1) could be in the car when it goes for a drive , you would find much less need to use a genny.
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 08:14

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 08:14
Hi Robin- yes after comments from Clive above, I am thinking this might be a solution to the problem. Am I right in thinking it may be as simple as moving one of the camper batteries into the back of the ute and connecting it to the anderson plug on the tail gate via a short 6mm lead to the battery terminals and charge it up as we drive around(the fridge will be running off the car at the same time via a 12 volt plug in the back)? Not sure how much charge I would put into the battery this way or if I would need any fancy regulators or not?doc.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:27

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:27
Just doing that will work quite well Oz Doc, you don't need any "fancy regulators"

Have always felt that camper batteries are wrongly proportioned, the bigger capacity should be in the car.

In an ideal world a big capacity step up type charger thats runs off the cars 12v to maximize power transfer when idling is the way to go, as car alternator soon drops charging volts down , however the real issue is not to get the battery up to 100% but rather to prevent them from going flat and so a 1/2 hours drive works really well even from the alternators reduced volts when warm.
(espically if your sneaky and turn fridge to max 1/2 hour before you start the car)

The only caveat here is that the car must be able to generate > 13v on idle.

In my case I can up the idle speed if required.

On the gennie side - you already have your 240v charger, but if ever you get the chance its worth getting the biggest charger you can. They are expensive though.

I have used cheap computer type 30amp power supplies which really charges quickly however I wouldn't generally reccomend this as unless monitored properly you can overcharge.
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:37

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:37
Ok Robin so this generates another question, how low do you think is safe to run the batteries? One is a Trojan 130ah marine hybrid battery, the other is a fairly new standard car starting battery. At that time of year the nights will be fairly cool so we will likely have the engel turned right down or off during the night. I'm thinking by running the fridge off the car during travel and only using the camper batteries when parked up I will get about 4-5 days from the two of them if they start out fully charged. I normally don't go lower than 12 volts.ta, doc.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 10:04

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 10:04
12V is a good rule of thumb but I have no hesitation in 11.7v Oz Doc

The trick is getting a genuine reading - if you have a load on like the fridge running you can let it go to 11.7v easily, partly because as soon as you remove the load the voltage will actually bounce back up a couple of points anyway.

If the battery has had no load for a couple of hours its reading will be more genuine.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: Ray - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 08:59

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 08:59
I usually try to get to a camp site early before anybody else. I then start my 2 stroke gennie. People hear it and keep away. After a while I start up my Honda eu2 and have a very peacfull camp without causing any annoyance to other campers
AnswerID: 464324

Follow Up By: oz doc - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:12

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:12
Ha Ha Ray- thats a bit cheeky. Unfortunately we will not be getting there early due to work commitments. We may just find there is no room at all by the time we get there. However we are intending to try and get on with the other campers- not drive them away. To this end we are even going to take a 12 v shower pump with us so that those camped down wind are not 'inconvenienced'. cheers, doc.
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Follow Up By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:15

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:15
LOL Good one Ray. Perhaps you could make an audio recording of your 2 stroke gennie and play it over the car stereo. Then you wouldn't need to cart the 2 stroke along!


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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:07

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:07
Ray.....Love it..... :-)))))
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Reply By: Rob! - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:40

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 09:40
The answer to annoying generators is not to ban them, but to only allow them to be used with a 3 metre extention cord.
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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:22

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:22've seen my rig.
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Follow Up By: Lex M - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:23

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:23
Brilliant idea.
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Reply By: Mark-cas - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 10:49

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 10:49
Hi Doc
We found useing a larger amp battrey charger (25 amp c-tek ) worked better with our 1kva generator than our small solar system. A 25amp charger would only need to run for a 1/4 of the time of 7 amp.
AnswerID: 464327

Follow Up By: Member - john y - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 16:58

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 16:58
I too have a honda 2.0 gen and try where possible try to respect the environment that I am in but I must add that the reaction by some folk to others using a generator sometimes borders on the hysterical irregardless of the steps taken to minimise any noise intrusion.
Perhaps those wishing to use a generator should display a sign out the front of their campsite advising such thus giving anyone the option of not camping nearby.
We should also be aware that some people have to have access to 240v power for personal reasons ,they should not be precluded from enjoying the outdoors as tho se more fortunate.
I will go anywhere as long as it's forward

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Follow Up By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 17:15

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 17:15
John I love it!

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Great idea. A while back we set up camp and it was not until he was ready for bed that our neighbour advised that he had Sleep Apnoea and would be running a gennie all night!


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Follow Up By: wizzer73 - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 22:30

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 22:30
A while ago on this forum with the same subject, a person suggested flying a coloured flag if you were going to use a genny. Then someone else suggested flying a flag if you had kids with you lol. Both ideas have some merit.

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Reply By: Fred G NSW - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:18

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 21:18
While ever I have to share, Noisy kids, wayward dogs, bad music, diesel fumes, diesels cranked up and left running for 20 mins at 5am before leaving camp, foul cooking odours, foul campfire smoke, bad language, domestic disputes, drunken behaviour, in fact all DILLIGAF situations, I shall continue to use my generator for my personal camping needs, as I see fit.
If you see me in camp, which I doubt unless you followed me, prepare for the Gennie. It really is very quite....true.

AnswerID: 464389

Follow Up By: Member - Jason B (NSW) - Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 14:21

Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 14:21
What would camping be without all of the things you mention?? No point going......LOL
FollowupID: 738628

Reply By: oz doc - Wednesday, Sep 07, 2011 at 15:03

Wednesday, Sep 07, 2011 at 15:03
Thanks to all whom replied. Your responses have confirmed that most people would tolerate a generator if used considerately, however there are some for whom a generator would likely cause an unpleasant scene. Some of the more constructive responses have given us food for thought regarding ways to reduce our power usage and maximise our battery life. We are going to look at two main options- a) moving the deep cycle battery to the back of the ute and setting this up to charge from the anderson plug on the car- ie use the car as the generator when travelling around, or b) a friend has offered to lend out his three way fridge for the week which we can complement with an esky .Even though the majority of respondants had very calm/reasoned opinions, I am not comfortable taking the generator and risk invoking a hostile reaction from some less understaing camper. Thanks again, doc.
AnswerID: 464437

Reply By: bibtracker - Friday, Sep 09, 2011 at 00:23

Friday, Sep 09, 2011 at 00:23
M'dear Ozdoc. At the risk of being censored (again) for daring to express a robust opinion, I don't believe you can assume that most people will approve the use of a generator, even "considerately".
The use of gennies is banned in most national parks for a damned good reason: they are irritating and usually not needed, especially if they are used only so people can watch cretinous TV programs like Packed to the Rafters, have air conditioning on (why are you camping?) or using microwave ovens (use a gas stove or a campfire).
Obviously, I do not criticise those who neeed such electrical help for machines used for medical conditions.
Solar panels provide silent electric power. I appreciate that there are drawbacks to their use (like lack of sunshine and battery power).
Those who insist on their "right" to use noisy generators wherever and whenever they like are representative of the "sod you" generation that is, sadly, taking over in this nation.
I'm more inclined to the view expressed by Banjo Paterson in a more gentle and coinsiderate age:
"He [Clancy] sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plain extended
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars."
Cheers, Tony
AnswerID: 464540

Follow Up By: oz doc - Friday, Sep 09, 2011 at 09:21

Friday, Sep 09, 2011 at 09:21
Hey Tony, So what category do I fall in? My origional question was to seek ways of minimising our power usage and therefore need for the generator. This question was asked after first ascertaining that generators WERE allowed at the campsite we were intending to stay at. My question was posted because despite the fact they were allowed to be used(between 9am and 5pm) I considered that fellow campers may still not appreciate the noise of our rather quiet Honda 20. I therefore don't feel I fall into the category of the 'sod you' generation. I explained our power usage was mainly the engel fridge. No TV, no microwave, no air conditioning. As an Australian- I may not like your opinion but I will stand by your right to have and express one in this country. What intrigues me is the tone of your 'robust' opinion. There seems to be a fair bit of hostility there(perhaps I am wrong- sometimes written english can be misleading) and I am curious as to why? If I were a rude person I could say- stuff you, if the park says generators are allowed then if you don't like it - move to a park which doesn't allow them. However I am not rude so I have asked the good folk on this site to help me minimise my power usage and maximise my battery capacty with the aim of going without the generator. And yes-
Banjo was right- you gotta love the 'wondrous glory of the everlasting stars'. doc.
FollowupID: 738533

Follow Up By: Jeff D - Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 08:20

Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 08:20
. I believe that most travellers that use gennies do show consideration towards fellow travellers and a lot of anti gennie people display tolerance, but what should travellers really expect and where is the cutoff point?

Anybody who believes, expects and demands absolute peace and quiet where ever they set up camp is marching to a different drummer than most of us because ever since the dawn of the age of industrialization, mankind has been making a lot of noise. Kids have always been noisy, music is played louder and travellers carry all sorts of things that make noise that annoy other people.

I know that as I get older I am becoming less tolerant to certain things and yet I don't believe my intolerance should dictate the behaviour of others (within reason) just to suit me. Is it reasonable for people to expect and demand that everything complies to the set of rules that surround their comfort zone or should they be more tolerant towards the needs of others and the noise created by those needs as long as it is within reasonable limits?

Recently on another forum I was labelled as being selfish for defending my right to use a generator, but am I being any more selfish than those who demand their right to absolute peace and quiet where ever they set up camp - I don't think so.

Generators have become part of camping/caravanning life and like them or not they are becoming more popular.

FollowupID: 738612

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 10:24

Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 10:24
Had a mate who started his new at the time GMC genny when we were camped at a beach front council run c/van park just nth of Bundaberg , actually had it over the boundary fence with the exhaust facing so that the only way ANYONE could hear the genny over the sound of the waves was if they were standing right next to it , , mate and his family were asked to leave the park by management due to complaint of "genny noise" ,,, complainant was a Richard Cranium whose idea of power generation was to start up his diesel Nissan at 7am every morning and have it run at 1500 RPM for the next 2hrs even though it had a large hole in the muffler ,,,,,,, Ahh yes but its not a genny !!
AnswerID: 464625

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 10:43

Saturday, Sep 10, 2011 at 10:43
Take as an example the campground at Windjiana Gorge on the Gibb River Rd , has a Generator area and a No genny area , the Ranger/s will tell you that for a quite night camp in the generator section ,,,,
AnswerID: 464627

Reply By: bibtracker - Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 00:14

Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 00:14
Oz Doc, thank you for the civil tone of your reply, which is better than I deserved.
I apppreciate it and will now shut up!
Cheers, Tony
AnswerID: 464657

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