Author Topic: DIY: Generator  (Read 33194 times)

Offline TexSquirrel

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DIY: Generator
« on: November 26, 2008, 12:22:39 PM »

Generator, Buy Or Build?


While trying to decide which generator to buy for power outages I ran across a posting in a
survival/preparedness forum that had a link to a website about building your own generator.
After reading the information I decided I had to build a home-built generator for myself.
I decided to build one using a verticle shaft engine.
These are plentyful and very cheap.  If I ever need to replace the engine I'll have tons to choose from.
One of these will be great for Field Day (Ham Radio) in June too.


Engine
I posted a request for a cheap lawn mower engine on my
company's "For Sale" website and got an offer for a free 5.5HP
Honda engine, and several offers for 3.5-6.5HP engines for $25, and several unknown brands and HP for free within a few hours.
I picked up a free 4HP Tecumseh engine. I chose this one as it was immediately available and was on my way home from work. It needed a cleaning, tune-up, and oil change,
but I would normally do that with a used engine anyways.  It now starts up easily.


Engine / Alternator Bracket
It was suggested that I use Epicenter's drawing as a pattern, but for
$25 I'd rather just buy one ready-made. If they wanted $125 I
might consider making my own. The brackets from Epicenter are 1/8" steel and
are well made.



Alternator

I researched the alternators that Epicenter recommends and sells.
I've created a chart with Epicenter, O'Reilly's, and AutoZone
parts numbers and prices. Prices were figured using my zip code
so your prices many vary. Also shipping and state sales tax may
change your savings.



Epicenter Part Number Epicenter Cost Delco Series Amp Part Number, $Cost (Core) Warranty
7127 $59 10SI 63AO'Reilly's 01-0039X, $22 ($6) 1 yr
O'Reilly's 01-0039, $40 (10) lifetime
AutoZone 7127, $23 (15) 1 yr
AutoZone DL7172M, $40 (15) lifetime
7273 $79 12SI 78A O'Reilly's 01-0249, $70 (25) lifetime
AutoZone 7273, $66 (30) 1 yr
AutoZone DL7273, $81 (30) Lifetime
7294 $99 12SI 94A O'Reilly's 01-0269, $90 (25) lifetime
O'Reilly's 01-0244 $75 (25) lifetime
AutoZone 7294, $53 (30) 1 yr
AutoZone DL7294, $71 (30) lifetime


Basically:
The 7127 is $31 cheaper from
O'Reilly's.
The 7273 is cheaper from Epicenter.
The 7294 is
$16 cheaper from AutoZone.
Another consideration is I think
I'd rather be able to return the alternator locally in case
of failure.
I picked up an O'Reilly's 01-0039X locally for $30.30.(includes TX sales tax)Make sure you get a wiring plug for the alternator.  Epicenter has them for $5.

Sheave and Belt

Epicenter has the sheave for $14 and belt for $9. 
Grainger has the sheave (3x768) for $11.49 and the belt (4L300H) for $4.10.

Putting It All Together
So far I've gone through my engine and have it running.  I decided to use a  Champion RJ19LM spark plug because it has a resistor.  I plan on occasionally running Ham equipment from the generator and want to reduce as much electrical noise as possible.   
I picked up 2 RJ19LMs locally from Northern Tool and Equipment for $4.

I decided at least for now to tie wrap the brake lever in the "Run" position until I work out another way of controlling the running of the engine. Basically for now you have to cut the tie wrap to kill the engine.  My plan is to add a fuel cutoff switch between the fuel tank and the carburetor.
 
Getting the blade off the engine was simple using an impact wrench.

Getting the shaft coupler (what the blade mounts to) off the crankshaft was VERY difficult.  I broke the crappy $8 gear puller I bought from O'Reilly's and even had a hard time with the better made $9 gear puller from Northern Tool and my impact wrench.  I have to rethink using surplus spare motors after the SHTF.  This is not something you want to do by hand!  If you don't have an impact wrench, you will need to find someone who is willing to pull this off for you.  I might try picking up a spare motor so I can have the coupler already off before I need the engine.

Next step is to build the base.   I have several ideas for wheeled bases, but built a basic 2x4 base first.

Building the base

Bottom view -fully enclosed for safety --After this picture was taken I added some fender washers to the engine bolts.
I've been thinking about eventually using one of these:

[/b] instead of the temporary wooden base.
I think that the size is perfect where I can weld the ends.  Since there will be a 1/2" gap lengthwise I think some small angle iron will allow welding lengthwise. The only problem is cost. Even though the base is only $33, it would be the most expensive item in the project.
Ready to wire 'er up.
Wiring is simple.  For my alternator I used the diagram below:


I wired my alternator to a small deep cycle battery bank, so I still have power even when the generator is not running.  I use a 75amp Anderson PowerPole to connect to the battery bank. The ON-OFF switch allows easier starting of the engine with no load.


To-do list:
On the to-do list is to paint the bracket.  I may wait until I have the final base to paint it, although I'll probably spray some primer on it soon to prevent rust in the meantime.


Costs:
Engine Free
Vertical Shaft mounting bracket $24.95
Wiring plug for new style GM alternator $5.00
A style V belt, for vertical shaft $9.00
Sheave for vertical shaft. 2.5x7/8 $14.00
Alternator $30.30
2 Spark Plugs $3.98
2 quarts SAE 30 oil $4.24
Air filter $3.98
Gear Puller from Northern Tool $8.99
4 feet of 2x4, bolts, washers, wire,connectors, split loom, ON-OFF bracket Already owned
SPST switch(ON-OFF)$2.09
Shipping costs $12.61
Total$127.14

« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 12:29:05 PM by TexSquirrel »

Offline firetoad

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2008, 01:20:44 PM »
Excellent Write-Up!  +1 for you.

Thanks!

Offline Dan

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2008, 01:44:35 PM »
Darn it, I cant see any of the pictures.

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2008, 02:04:44 PM »
Ditto on the SUPERB write up.  Another +1

Tim Suggs
Birmingham, AL. USA!

Offline wcff3431

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2008, 02:34:30 PM »
nice job man while i was reading i was thinking, WHAT IF you only had a side shaft motor could you use a love joy coulping to make it a direct drive
this is what i was thinking to make it direct drive http://www.daltonbearing.com/Lovejoy-Inc/Lovejoy-Jaw-Couplings.asp

Offline Mr. Blank

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2008, 03:13:42 PM »
Another great post Tex. They make a permanent magnet replacment core for the GM alternator. That would up your output substantially.

Offline TexSquirrel

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2008, 09:04:43 PM »
Epicenter has a side shaft adapter.

I've actually decided to give this generator away as I have a couple of generators now.
I know a prepper couple that needs a generator.
I'm planning on packing it up during Thanksgiving and shipping it to them next week.

But I also wanted to share the information here.

I have a few more DIY projects to post soon.

Offline Dan

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2008, 03:11:01 AM »
Hay, allright I can see the pictures now. Not sure what happend before.

+1 for the write up Tex, good for you giving it to someone else that could use it.

djturnz

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2008, 02:41:01 PM »
A guy I used to work with told me about a one cylinder deisel motor that his dad got somewhere.  He was going to build the same kind of thing with it.  I don;t know if he did.  The guy got fired.

Offline TexSquirrel

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2008, 04:49:55 PM »
Hay, allright I can see the pictures now. Not sure what happend before.

+1 for the write up Tex, good for you giving it to someone else that could use it.

It arrived at its new home.
A prepping family that didn't have a generator now has one.
Good people too!

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2008, 07:03:29 PM »
I saw a DIY Generator setup not too long ago where the guy used the entire lawn mower rig (- blade) and made a mount for the alternator running the belt out of the dishcharge chute.  Had wheels, a handle and was very portable.  I'll see if I can find the link and pictures

Tim.


Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2009, 07:41:36 PM »
I saw a DIY Generator setup not too long ago where the guy used the entire lawn mower rig (- blade) and made a mount for the alternator running the belt out of the dishcharge chute.  Had wheels, a handle and was very portable.  I'll see if I can find the link and pictures
Tim.

Yeah, like this...



Just an idea...

Tim.


Michael Masse

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2009, 06:54:49 PM »
I think this is brilliant and really so simple.  Thanks for the post. 

johnnybgood30

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2009, 07:56:58 PM »
so why are u guys making 12v gens?

Offline firetoad

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2009, 08:08:47 PM »
If you have the motor, the remaining miscellaneous parts are usually somewhat afforable, especially in comparison to something like a Honda EU2000 or similar. 

Also, the nice thing about this genny, as mentioned previously, is that you can wire the output up to batteries.  In turn, you may only have to run the motor long enough to charge the batteries.  Then, you can use the batteries to power smaller items, charge batteries, etc.  In my opinion, your fuel consumption, for these smaller items, would be much more efficient in this setup than it would be running a larger, purpose built genny for the same uses.  Also, you could wire in a small solar panel with the battery bank (with a diode to keep from reverse flowing your panels) and you could have a power supply/setup that would work even without gasoline! 

johnnybgood30

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2009, 12:46:08 AM »
Ok so here is something ive been working on.I live like 5miles out of a small town and am on my own water so its not a proplem and i have over 600gal of rain water and a small pond all the time.i my self under stan the 12v thing as i was a body tec for years.so my friend has a scrap yard and ive been geting the best batterys  that he has and am working on geting over to harbor fraght for some 12v sun painls to keep them charged i have pulled some rad from the cars with fans the newer ones and am working on a brick oven set up to heat the water then when the power gos out i can still have hot water and heat in my place.i workin a wood shop now and have lots of scrap wood and want to try to billd a gen in to my brick oven i have dont tell my friends a bunch of wire in a buckit set up with 12v lights and can hang them up when we lose power we lost it for 12day last year i have a big sears gen right now 6500watts but it take 5gal for 10hrs not bad but a lot of gas to keep on hand when shtf.im open to all the help i can get thank u all

johnnybgood30

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2009, 01:01:45 AM »
ok well now im thinking how about a 4stroke weed eater with a coller on the alt?no belts vary small.some are shaft drives and could use a sleve over the shafts.would burn a lot less gas and compact or a small chan saw?what do u think? ??? ??? ??? ;D

Michael Masse

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2009, 01:39:01 PM »
Does anyone know how many RPMs it would take for the alternator to reach 12 volt. 

Wondering about the possibility of mounting one to a stationary bike or something of that nature if gasoline were to run out.

Offline TexSquirrel

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2009, 09:36:35 AM »
Most cars idle at 800-950 RPM.
If you can get close to at least 800 you should get 12V.
A little higher would be more efficient though.

tash

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2009, 11:01:06 AM »
Does anyone know how many RPMs it would take for the alternator to reach 12 volt. 

Wondering about the possibility of mounting one to a stationary bike or something of that nature if gasoline were to run out.

I'd look into finding an old treadmill motor. Check out the what and why here.

It basically will produce the juice at a much lower rpm, such as a stationary bike. That's the theory at least. Hope it helps.

tash

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2009, 05:06:21 PM »
Great DIY project TexSquirrel.

You've given me some motivation to get started tearing that old riding lawn mower I've got. It's a 19 hp B&S that's got plenty of life left. I wonder how practical it would be to run 2 alternators. I figure if I have that much hp I should be able to take advantage of.

What do you guys think?

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2009, 07:36:11 AM »
Great DIY project TexSquirrel.

You've given me some motivation to get started tearing that old riding lawn mower I've got. It's a 19 hp B&S that's got plenty of life left. I wonder how practical it would be to run 2 alternators. I figure if I have that much hp I should be able to take advantage of.

What do you guys think?

Tash...  Congrats on the new Survivalist Mentor title!  As far as your "riding alternator" idea, sure!  Yank the mower deck off replacing it with an "alternator deck" with a bank of 10 of the suckers hung underneath like an old B-52.  When the power goes out in your neighborhood you and Mrs Tash throw on the matching "Positive and Negative Ion Twins" superhero costumes and ride that lightning bolt up and down the street offering to "jump" your neighbors houses off for a hefty fee.  You get to help your neighbors out, you and Mrs Tash get a little wind in your faces, put a little coin in your stretchy pockets  AND... do I need to tell you all the advantages of matching spandex superhero costumes????

Tim.


tash

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2009, 07:53:14 AM »
Great DIY project TexSquirrel.

You've given me some motivation to get started tearing that old riding lawn mower I've got. It's a 19 hp B&S that's got plenty of life left. I wonder how practical it would be to run 2 alternators. I figure if I have that much hp I should be able to take advantage of.

What do you guys think?

Tash...  Congrats on the new Survivalist Mentor title!  As far as your "riding alternator" idea, sure!  Yank the mower deck off replacing it with an "alternator deck" with a bank of 10 of the suckers hung underneath like an old B-52.  When the power goes out in your neighborhood you and Mrs Tash throw on the matching "Positive and Negative Ion Twins" superhero costumes and ride that lightning bolt up and down the street offering to "jump" your neighbors houses off for a hefty fee.  You get to help your neighbors out, you and Mrs Tash get a little wind in your faces, put a little coin in your stretchy pockets  AND... do I need to tell you all the advantages of matching spandex superhero costumes????

Tim.

Where the heck do you come up with some of this... I about spit out my coffee on my keyboard and monitors... Thanks TIM!!!  :P  :D

"Ion Twins" "ride the lightning bolt" ...some great lines tim, great lines

tash

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2009, 07:55:14 AM »
Quote
Tash...  Congrats on the new Survivalist Mentor title! 

oh yeah, Thanks  :)

Michael Masse

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2009, 08:58:18 AM »
DA DA DA -  There's not need to fear - the Tash-u-lator is here.

tash

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2009, 09:13:19 AM »
Somehow I just have this feeling that the wife is not finding this amusing...   :o

hehe

Michael Masse

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2009, 09:24:10 AM »
Well maybe she needs to be the Super hero and you can be the faithful side kick.  It is a new millennium??

tash

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2009, 09:37:37 AM »
Hmm... my wife 'jumping' off my neighbors...   :o

I guess if it makes some extra cash...   ;)

uh oh...  I think I'm in trouble again... dammit, later guys...


Offline mrs gator

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2009, 10:44:39 AM »
Hmm... my wife 'jumping' off my neighbors...   :o

I guess if it makes some extra cash...   ;)

uh oh...  I think I'm in trouble again... dammit, later guys...



We can always use the extra cash...

There is the guy across the street with the truck...

 ::)

tash

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Re: DIY: Generator
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2009, 10:46:42 AM »
Hmm... my wife 'jumping' off my neighbors...   :o

I guess if it makes some extra cash...   ;)

uh oh...  I think I'm in trouble again... dammit, later guys...



We can always use the extra cash...

There is the guy across the street with the truck...

 ::)

somehow I'm not to keen on this idea anymore...