Quiet Inverter Generators Versus Traditional Techn
Quiet Inverter Generators Versus Traditional
Some years ago those clever chaps at Honda introduced the first commercial inverter generator.
Since then most of the generator market has followed. Many no-name companies have become
involved in the manufacture of these units, and although I wouldn't buy one from them, they
have played a part in increasing competition and brought prices down.
In the old technology the generator drive engine would have to run at 1500RPM to maintain
power output at 50 hertz, and slightly faster for 60 hertz. This meant that to produce usable
power the engine would have to maintain that speed all the time. This is very wasteful of fuel and
not very environmentally friendly. In addition many of these 'old technology' generators were
very loud in use and not at all suitable for use on a holiday campsite or boating marina.
In fact it was Honda again who pushed the boundaries of the old technology by insulating their
small 'suitcase' generators so well that they could not be heard from just a few metres away. It
really was quite impressive. I know for a fact that this is true, because in 2002 I bought a used
650 watt Honda suitcase and was completely amazed by the performance and level of quiet it
provided. I can only imagine that the unit was three or four years old when I bought it.
Inverter generators work by generating AC electricity that is then converted to DC, which is
thought to be more stable than AC. The DC current is then passed through the inverter and
'cleaning' circuits. When you use the produced power you can be safe in the knowledge that the
power is of a quality that will not damage sensitive computer circuit boards.
The entire power production process is itself computer controlled and this allows the generators
engine to run at low load levels at little more than a tickover. This means that even without the
state of the art insulation and super silent exhaust systems the engine is producing very little
noise. The nice thing about this level of quiet is that there is every chance that your camping or
boating neighbours won't even know that you have a generator running.
In addition we have also entered the era of the 'Super Silent' generator. It is generally accepted
that generators operating at 52 decibels and less fall into this category, so the only advice can be
buy the best you can afford.
A word about decibels. They are measured exponentially. In real terms 90 decibels is upwards of
a thousand times noisier than a level of 60 decibels which in itself is about the level of normal
speech. A generator producing less than 60 decibels would be acceptable in most circumstances
to many people.
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