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Thread: decibel meter and a small experiment

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    new york city burbs
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    10,188

    decibel meter and a small experiment

    Im looking for a volunteer, a member Im familiar with to do a small sound experiment.
    Has to have a small shop detached from his/her home and live in a suburban area where there are neighbors close by.


    I purchased an inexpensive decibel meter. I read the reviews online and they were ok, just ok as long as the sound is over 60db.
    Thats aroung talking level, or radio playing so I was ok with that.

    IM going to log a few of my noisy machines inside the shop, with and without wood running through them. Then open the overhead door, do same steps at threshold of shop, 20 feet from shop, then at curb in front of home.
    Doing each test with machines running and running with wood through them.Since someone has to run wood through TS or planer, another person will be needed to operate meter outside. If youre single and have no friends, this wont work unless you have a very smart dog.

    I will also keep the radio on to boost the sound a bit.

    I played around today, just to get an idea, and the machine seems to work fine.
    I played the radio, got a low 60s reading, then turned on the dust collector, reading topped out at 75, then the TS, up to around 85-, the turned on the planer also and hit 92, that was standing in a enclosed shop dead center of shop in middle of all machines.
    I went outside, left all machines on, the decibel meter didnt pick up anything greater than 60, which felt right, because outside the door closed, I just heard a slight hum.
    I understand there are different frequencies, but noise is noise, whatever frequency, and I only want to know if Im making too much of it.
    Ill conduct my little experiment this weekend.

    Ill send the meter to someone and pay for return shipment so I get my meter back!(im not looking for a new member or someone who never posts, yeah, I said that, dont be offended, I just prefer
    someone who I think would be courteous enough to send it back to me.)
    Must have a garage shop, detached garage would be better.
    I just want to make sure my shop is average.
    Last edited by allen levine; 09-08-2011 at 06:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,247
    Hey Allen i would happily be your man if you like and i would gladly pay shipping back if you ship it to me.

    Just one thing though i just thought i have double layer drywall on my shop.

    But i do have a jointer and planner.

    Try it with the planner crunching some wood and with the router cutting a bit of wood.

    Those two are noise emitters and cause most of the trouble because of their high frequency.

    High frequency permiates structures far easier than the low ones.

    Happy to work with you and do any experiments you like. But i will also completely understand if you want to compare to a building more like your own.
    cheers

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    new york city burbs
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    ok, good, forgot about the router........real noisemaker, will include that.
    Im going to also use a piece of ash or oak to run through machines. Cant send ya that. Ill ship it out to you one day next week.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,247
    Cool i look forward to it. Just dont put a value on it when you ship it and make it a gift. That way we can get it back and forth without the Queen getting her cut or Uncle Sam his.

    I have been dying to try this out.

    I will do a whole report Allen. Airconditioners included.
    cheers

  5. #5
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    Mar 2008
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    new york city burbs
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    its not a professional meter, but the kind people buy to see if their band is making too much noise or if their neighbors party is too loud.
    I believe its good enough for me to get a grip on the sound.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Outside the beltway
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    5,250
    Leaves me out. In college when I took Physics, the teacher did a decimal test on the 80+ students in the class. Started out high decimals and went low, Teacher asked for us to raise our hand when we could not hear anything. I was the 1st to raise my hand.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
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    5,320
    I used to do sound level measurements for the motorcycle industry. (Yeah, I know...LOUD!)

    Allen,
    Mainly, your meter will just read the level of the noisiest tool. Try turning on all those tools you mentioned, then begin turning them off - one at a time - starting with the quieter ones and progressing upward. I think you'll find that the 92 dB(A) you mentioned will only decrease a very little when the planer is the only machine left running.

    Also, sound levels decrease in orders of magnitude as the distance form the source increases. That 92 dB(A) next to the planer may well be only in the 65~70 range when you're 25 feet away.

    Next time your neighbor mows his yard, or uses a leaf blower, stand in your front yard with you sound level meter. I expect you'll find his mower or blower is louder than your tools at the same distance.

    BTW, I hate it when tool manufactures list their noise levels as "and only 82dB." There are two things wrong with that: 1. Sound is measured according to either the "A" scale or the "C" scale. They differ a lot, but the "A" scale most closely approximates the human ear's perception. So, which scale are the manufacturers using? dunno... and 2. Sound level readings are oly usable when they tell you at what distance from the source they were taken. 82 dB means nothing, but 82 dB(A) @ 0.5 meter tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

    For example the manufacturer of my dust collector advertises it as "under 65 dB." In actuality, it measured 85 dB(A) at 0.5 meters, and I had to get about 7 meters away to get their stated 65 dB(A).

    One generalized rule of thumb: For each 3 dB(A) increase in sound level, the human ear perceives it as a doubling of the noise.

    Sitting here in my relatively quiet home office, the background sound level is about 45 dB(A) at my desktop. Oops! Wife just came in. Sound level is now 75 dB(A)!
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  8. #8
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    understood, Jim, but I never have more than one machine on with dust collector at a time, so I wanted to keep it real. Just that machine with me using it and the dust collector. Whether the planer is louder or quieter than another machine wont make a difference since Ill be measuring each one by itself as I use them in real time.

    I also noticed that the sound is different when I walk 10 or 15 feet to the right or left sound, the way it projects out of the garage.

    Honestly, I do not think the machines turned on and me working on one with the door closed now is noticable up to my neighbors open window in the front room. Out at street distance, Im sure its just a faint buzz you have to listen for, not noticable if youre not straining to listen for it.
    and jim, enjoy the doghouse tonight.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2010
    Location
    South Central Michigan
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    Unfortunately my time in the Army has caused issues with my Hearing.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2010
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
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    518
    60 sounds pretty good. How loud is your house air conditioner? I'm pretty sure my shop is quieter than the AC is outside. I know the DC and grizzly planer are quieter than the AC, not sure about a router or miter saw.

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