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  #1  
Old 08-20-2011, 11:51 PM
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Default Being stealthy when operating a generator during SHTF incident

I've been reading many different forums much to do about generators used during the proverbial "SHTF" scenario etc... Since the topic comes up often, it might be a good idea also to talk/think about being stealthy when operating a generator during a SHTF event.

For instance, it's all good to have that "power house" diesel V8 turbo, 1 billion watt output generator to power a small city. However, one thing you also have to consider is that when all the power is out in your neighborhood and you're the only one with lights on in the house, be careful for "intruders" if the SHTF scenario has lasted for several days.

Look at places like New Orleans, Detroit, Philadelphia, etc.... All of those places have either experienced a SHTF disaster or the recent big "flash mob" mentality where people and places are being attacked and victimized. England is another prime example of people and places burning in the violence. (Then again, England doesn't allow their "subjects" the right to possess guns for protection, but that's another topic).

Can you imagine if a disaster or power outage occurs in your neighborhood during a sizzling heat that leaves people without electricity for days? Tensions run high and some "thugs" would really take advantage of that type of situation. They would go out and prey on people that are surviving and who have prepared. What could happen to you and yours with your loud power house generator and lights on at your house if the thugs caught on to you?

Just something to think about. That's why I do have a generator for the house, but I would only run it during the day and when the neighborhood was not suffering as a result from some big disaster. In that case, I'd use a very quiet Honda style genny to just power a radio or two and the fridge. At night, I'd propbably just use candle power with a dim glow to fool the rest of the "night crawlers" and "zombies" that may or may not roam in large groups, looking to victimize and loot everyone else. A loud generator would just invite problems. A loud generator in the otherwise dark and quiet neighborhood would advertise to a crook, "...hey now there is a household that is prepared! JACKPOT!!!!" )

All I'm saying is that we all have to prepare accordingly if this "SHTF" thing really does hit our own neck of the woods.

Any other opinions on this???
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:02 AM
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I'm a fan of using the generator to charge a battery bank. Best of both worlds - you can run the generator when you have a good chance to avoid notice but still have power when needed. And you can have a solar charger as well to give you redundancy.
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:05 AM
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You can make muffler setups for generators also, dig a hole a few feet down can help soak up some of the sound.
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:18 AM
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Just crank Metallica loud enough so nobody can hear the generator.
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:21 AM
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I can't afford a honda. I run a loud one. I built a box for it with mdf sides and a car muffler.

The best quieter? Building cinder block walls around it. Sound goes straight up. I can't remember the db meter sound reduction but its much better.

It takes mass to keep sound in

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Old 08-21-2011, 8:31 AM
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I was going to say build a very thick enclosure of brick in your bachk yard and ideally below a window. Offers a good defensive position and sound barrier.

Otherwise go solar.....much quieter.

Duck tape, screws, and tarps to fully cover any window for a room you might fave a light on. Make sure the light can't be seen outside.
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Old 08-21-2011, 8:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Leonidas_AS View Post
You can make muffler setups for generators also, dig a hole a few feet down can help soak up some of the sound.
Yes, digging a hole helps quite a bit. Then cover the hole with some moving blankets or similar. The generator will still get plenty of air to operate.
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Old 08-21-2011, 9:09 AM
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+1 on the portable gen. in a hole or pit. Works pretty well, we usually covered with sheet or two of plywood.
Have used this many times in long term camps.

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Old 08-21-2011, 9:16 AM
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I've seen generators melt down when muffled in pits and boxes by the movie studios.
Do not cut off the air flow for cooling.
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Old 08-21-2011, 9:22 AM
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What ojisan said, provide cooling air or gen will DIE!
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Old 08-21-2011, 9:32 AM
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I would say a Honda 2000i, it's small and quiet enough to be mobile if needed and can still power the essentials. It has an Eco mode to conserve gas and it gets even more silent.

They can be expensive, but keep an eye out on craigslist for a used one. I scored mine for about 700.
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Old 08-21-2011, 9:40 AM
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When I was in the Army, we could always find the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) when you got close, by shutting off our vehicle and listening for the generators.

For smaller generators, we build an enclosure out of sandbags, leaving a few out for ventilation. If muffled the sound by about 25%.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailerparkTrash View Post
I've been reading many different forums much to do about generators used during the proverbial "SHTF" scenario etc... Since the topic comes up often, it might be a good idea also to talk/think about being stealthy when operating a generator during a SHTF event.

For instance, it's all good to have that "power house" diesel V8 turbo, 1 billion watt output generator to power a small city. However, one thing you also have to consider is that when all the power is out in your neighborhood and you're the only one with lights on in the house, be careful for "intruders" if the SHTF scenario has lasted for several days.

Look at places like New Orleans, Detroit, Philadelphia, etc.... All of those places have either experienced a SHTF disaster or the recent big "flash mob" mentality where people and places are being attacked and victimized. England is another prime example of people and places burning in the violence. (Then again, England doesn't allow their "subjects" the right to possess guns for protection, but that's another topic).

Can you imagine if a disaster or power outage occurs in your neighborhood during a sizzling heat that leaves people without electricity for days? Tensions run high and some "thugs" would really take advantage of that type of situation. They would go out and prey on people that are surviving and who have prepared. What could happen to you and yours with your loud power house generator and lights on at your house if the thugs caught on to you?

Just something to think about. That's why I do have a generator for the house, but I would only run it during the day and when the neighborhood was not suffering as a result from some big disaster. In that case, I'd use a very quiet Honda style genny to just power a radio or two and the fridge. At night, I'd propbably just use candle power with a dim glow to fool the rest of the "night crawlers" and "zombies" that may or may not roam in large groups, looking to victimize and loot everyone else. A loud generator would just invite problems. A loud generator in the otherwise dark and quiet neighborhood would advertise to a crook, "...hey now there is a household that is prepared! JACKPOT!!!!" )

All I'm saying is that we all have to prepare accordingly if this "SHTF" thing really does hit our own neck of the woods.

Any other opinions on this???
Use it as an opportunity to clear the area of the thugs you are worried about. Plus you get to keep whatever stuff they were carrying!
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:00 AM
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Love those little honda generators. I know how quiet they are when running on gas, but do they get even quieter when you use the multi-fuel kit to run them on propane or natural gas, for example? Just wondering.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:32 AM
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Run that loud generator at night with plenty of lights on and set up an ambush for the looters. Have some well armed friends help out.
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:26 PM
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Ojisan, what do you do in the movie industry?
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Old 08-21-2011, 1:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glocker619 View Post
I would say a Honda 2000i, it's small and quiet enough to be mobile if needed and can still power the essentials. It has an Eco mode to conserve gas and it gets even more silent.

They can be expensive, but keep an eye out on craigslist for a used one. I scored mine for about 700.
+1

Very light and efficient.
I've run traffic signals for 6 hours on one. I lift it fully fueled on and off of the top of my C7500 tool bins, which are at eye-level.
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Old 08-21-2011, 1:25 PM
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i own a honda 3000 and its quiet esp if there is ambient noise you will not know its o till you get close to it.I go to glamis and you will not hear it til 5 ft away.My old champion you could hear 20-230 ft away.Now when i go to forest,lake powell or other places where there is no car noise,etc at night you can hear the sound from the honda generator a lil father away.In a quiet location the sound does travel further than you think.

I could probably run in my garage with door closed and may not hear much outside.
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Old 08-21-2011, 1:52 PM
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Originally Posted by covertcombatant View Post
Ojisan, what do you do in the movie industry?
Not much.
But I was Service Manager at a Honda dealer that had a sweetheart deal with the studios.
They bought and rented generators of all kinds from us.
Many were destroyed, often during the first use.
The Sound guys always wanted the generators completely silent.
They would wrap the running gens in layers of heavy packing blankets and do all kinds of stupid stuff to muffle the noise.
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Old 08-21-2011, 3:54 PM
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i own a honda 3000 and its quiet esp if there is ambient noise you will not know its o till you get close to it.I go to glamis and you will not hear it til 5 ft away.My old champion you could hear 20-230 ft away.Now when i go to forest,lake powell or other places where there is no car noise,etc at night you can hear the sound from the honda generator a lil father away.In a quiet location the sound does travel further than you think.

I could probably run in my garage with door closed and may not hear much outside.
If you run it in your garage with the door closed if it is an attached garage everyone in the house may be dead within a couple hours.
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Old 08-21-2011, 4:28 PM
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If you run it in your garage with the door closed if it is an attached garage everyone in the house may be dead within a couple hours.
Not for me separate garage.
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Old 08-21-2011, 4:36 PM
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is it possible to put it in a pit and just a have a small vent for air to travel in? Would a small vent reduce the noise or would it cancel out the idea of reducing noise in the pit?
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Old 08-21-2011, 7:15 PM
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If you build an enclosure (especially an open top one) try not to build one with perfectly parallel sides, sound travels pretty much like a pool ball on a pool table: angle of incidence equals angle of reflection. You may build a perfectly square box and it may sound quiet to you but it could reflect the sound out and project it further than you think.

The best shape I have found (used to use it for my air compressor) is a "trapezoid" style enclosure (picture a 4 sided pyramid with the top chopped off). I built it with an open top and put a lean-to style overhang above it a few feet so it was shielded from rain but still got good ventilation. This allows the sound to be reflected back DOWN not up and out. It also helped to use Dynamat (car audio sound deadening) and some "egg crate" style sound absorbing foam on the inside of the enclosure.

Another thing you may want to consider besides the sound: THE SMELL!!! Spent gasoline exhaust fumes carry a long way and is pretty much a dead giveaway that you are using a generator. Propane / Natural gas generators dont smell as "bad" but they too have a very distinctive smell (think forklift exhaust). I was playing around with rigging up some sort of "filter" for the exhaust but havent come up with anything useful in the long term.
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Old 08-21-2011, 8:28 PM
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only run it for about an hour reduce your exposure just long enough to run a fridge or charge batteries

honda ones are designed pretty quiet
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Old 08-21-2011, 8:56 PM
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I think for the most part you just wouldn't be able to run at night FOR SURE. Remember how well sound and smell travels when there is NO competition......in a real SHTF scenerio..it would draw people like moths to a flame.
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Old 08-21-2011, 9:27 PM
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If a real SHTF scenario does occur. Noise will be the least of your problems. If looters ever get to your block after raiding storefronts and shopping malls, which will be after many weeks of failed order, then you will probably have your sights on them way before they get to your home. The question is will you have enough fuel to sustain you for a month of downed power? If the power is out for a few days then run it as normal and you should be fine. Unless you live in a neighborhood that will turn on itself rapidly. I know my neighbors and of course I would help them as best as I could and we probably will have a neighborhood watch for potential trouble. First order of a SHTF scenario is to get to know your neighbors and get involved with them so you will have a better chance at survival.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:21 PM
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Out of curiosity what would you want to power in one of these scenarios?
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:03 PM
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I have no idea if the things are affordable or cost-effective, but there are such things as exhaust scrubbers.

I didn't see anything suggesting a home-brew or field expedient for these.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:23 PM
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Out of curiosity what would you want to power in one of these scenarios?
refrigerator, battery charger, pool pump, freezer. air compressor.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:55 PM
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Wouldn't the sound from the generator effect your ability to hear outsiders advancing your way?
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:09 AM
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Seems like a lot of things would run noisy anyway if they were powered. Since these things aren't going to run silent anyway its probably best to invest in a decent quality quiet running model, learn how to maintain it and call it a day.
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Old 08-22-2011, 4:42 AM
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I have no idea if the things are affordable or cost-effective, but there are such things as exhaust scrubbers.

I didn't see anything suggesting a home-brew or field expedient for these.
Most generators these days have pretty quiet exhausts .. It is the rotating parts and the field that make the noise. If you can find a small low speed generator it is the best. Last longer too.
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Old 08-22-2011, 9:41 AM
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Most generators these days have pretty quiet exhausts .. It is the rotating parts and the field that make the noise. If you can find a small low speed generator it is the best. Last longer too.
While noise is one of the issues those things address, the devices I linked to also seem to have catalytic converters, to address the issue of exhaust odor.

So I wonder if a junkyard automobile catalytic converter (if there are such things) might be part of a solution.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:03 AM
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Go solar and led lighting for routine things. Only crank up the generator when you have heavy work to do. In a survival situation with bad guys out and about I'd time that heavy work very carefully, maybe when other good folks nearby had similar requirements and we could make it a "run the generator and make lots of noise day" and get it all over & done with ASAP.

Those Hondas are crazy quiet tho...all the handlers at the dog shows are running those and you don't even know the things are on until you practically stub your toe on one. Thing is, if I need a generator, Its going to be for a arc welder or mill or heavy duty pump and that ain't likely to be quiet.
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Old 08-22-2011, 5:34 PM
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Another thing you may want to consider besides the sound: THE SMELL!!! Spent gasoline exhaust fumes carry a long way and is pretty much a dead giveaway that you are using a generator. Propane / Natural gas generators dont smell as "bad" but they too have a very distinctive smell (think forklift exhaust). I was playing around with rigging up some sort of "filter" for the exhaust but havent come up with anything useful in the long term.
Catalytic converter's help tremendously with the smell of exhaust. I'm not sure if the new generators are required to have them but I think they have them for lawnmowers that you would be able to adapt.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by minuteman View Post
Out of curiosity what would you want to power in one of these scenarios?
A fridge can be without power for hours provided one doesn't open the door. It's like having an ice chest. That being said, running a generator for about an hour maybe twice per day during a prolonged power outage may or may not (depending on the model of fridge you have) be enough to preserve certain foods without wasting reserves.

I'd also use a generator for the following: Welder; ham radio(s), deep cycle batteries I have that need charging for the ham radios; simple AM radio to listen to KFI at night awaiting Art Bell's return to "Coast-to-Coast"; perimeter flood lights when my trip wires get hit; electrified fencing around my "compound"; automatic progressive reloader; power tools to reinforce my "compound's" external structure (come on, didn't anyone see I AM LEGEND? Remember the zombies trying to break through the reinforced fortified windows????? Actor will Smith was using Honda 3000i's ); and last but not least: my iPod so I can continue to be brainwashed by Lemmy from Motorhead while I'm waiting in my bell tower waiting for the SHTF zombies to show up.

....ummmm, that's about it.

Last edited by TrailerparkTrash; 08-22-2011 at 11:16 PM..
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Old 08-23-2011, 2:52 AM
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I have a Champion that is fairly noisy that I bought near the beginning of a 5-day power outage here a few years ago. I really did not have much choice on what to buy, as it was literally the last generator for sale anywhere locally.

Right after purchasing it, I was at another store picking up some other supplies and a guy was trying to buy the generator they had set up to run the registers. The manager refused to sell it to him and the fists were about to fly. I figured I had better get the Hell out of there before the guy saw the new generator sitting in the back of my truck. I agree it is not a good thing to advertise during such a situation.

At home, I run it inside an outbuilding that has plenty of ventilation. Being inside helps muffle the sound quite a bit, and it can barely be heard out on the road 100 ft away. During outages, I just run it for an hour or so at a time during the day to keep the fridge and freezer cool and run the well pump for flushing toilets and washing up.

I have a small-scale PV/battery/inverter system for a few lights at night and charging phones, radios, etc.

In rural areas such as this, no power equates to no water, as everyone is on a private well. This can accelerate the sense of urgency for many people.

On another note, during that last long-term outage my power was restored nearly a full day before most of my neighbors due to the design of the local distribution system. I had power, as did the residence next door, but everyone else within a 1/2 mile or so was still down. I had hooked up a hose so the guy behind me could have some water, but had a bunch of other people walking around wanting to know why we had power and they did not. At that point, I was happy that the generator was inside the shed and out of public view.
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Old 08-23-2011, 3:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas_AS View Post
You can make muffler setups for generators also, dig a hole a few feet down can help soak up some of the sound.
Build a 'doghouse' for it, with some sound dampening material on the inside. With all three things combined, I've SEEN & heard such setups behind a house, that CANNOT be heard from the street in front of the house!
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Old 08-23-2011, 7:43 AM
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I plan on putting mine in the pool room where the filter and pump are. I have a pretty loud generator and put a lawn mower muffler on the exhaust. On mine, the noise comes from the motor running not so much the exhaust. I also have a toy trailer with a generator but I am sure that would be a big people magnet in front of my house.
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Old 08-23-2011, 8:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailerparkTrash View Post
... simple AM radio to listen to KFI at night awaiting Art Bell's return to "Coast-to-Coast" ...
CLASSIC!

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