Author Topic: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator  (Read 1602 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« on: June 22, 2017, 09:42:00 AM »
My craftsman mower served me well for 14 years, but last night while cutting the grass, the steel body split, causing the blade to jam. It wasn't horribly rusted, but two rivets popped and I guess fatigue on the metal finally was too much.  The engine is not in top shape, but I've overhauled it and it starts and runs reliably.

Many years back I found this website that sells accessories to build your own 12vdc generator using a salvaged mower engine:
https://theepicenter.com/blog/generator-lawn-mower-vertical/

It looks like it will cost around $100 for all the supplies. As I already own some alternators and deep cycle batteries, this is more of a novelty, but could be backup method for charging batteries.
It should prove educational. I'm very busy the next few weekends, but I may get this on my list.

Offline archer

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2017, 10:16:50 AM »
interesting idea. let us know how it goes.


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Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2017, 04:20:50 PM »
Yeah, that has to be the all time classic question homeowners ask themselves: how can I re-use a lawnmower engine, it just seems there must be something it is still good for?  I find that with good engine maintenance, the engine outlasts the handles, decks, rivets, etc.

But reading the linked article above, it sounds like you need a good number of special sized parts and if that totals to $100 (not including larger gas tank and inverter), you are only getting less than 1,000W power out of it.  You can buy a 900W generator for $150 that includes Ac and DC outlets built in, and has a 1 gal tank that will last 5 hours (rather than 1 hour for the lawnmower's).

Just an example:  https://www.amazon.com/PowerPro-56101-Starting-Portable-Generator/dp/B00J261PGQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1498169360&sr=8-2&keywords=1000+watt+generator

But as a fun learning project that could lead to something more practical, why the heck not!

I remember my grandfather's workshop had just a few power tools but they were all belt driven and the same electric motor could drive the bandsaw, table saw, grinding wheel, and sander.  I have no idea what happened to those tools as at the time they just seemed obsolete (1970s).  But looking back that would be pretty cool to have one or two mothers (gas or electric) that could power multiple devices.  And these were large, full function shop tools, not the compromise multi-tool hand sized ones you see today.

I have a compressor and a generator that both use almost the same Honda engine, which are about the same as the larger Honda lawnmower engines (7.5hp).  Get's one to thinkin'...
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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2017, 04:37:58 PM »
Yeah, that has to be the all time classic question homeowners ask themselves: how can I re-use a lawnmower engine, it just seems there must be something it is still good for?  I find that with good engine maintenance, the engine outlasts the handles, decks, rivets, etc.

But reading the linked article above, it sounds like you need a good number of special sized parts and if that totals to $100 (not including larger gas tank and inverter), you are only getting less than 1,000W power out of it.  You can buy a 900W generator for $150 that includes Ac and DC outlets built in, and has a 1 gal tank that will last 5 hours (rather than 1 hour for the lawnmower's).

Just an example:  https://www.amazon.com/PowerPro-56101-Starting-Portable-Generator/dp/B00J261PGQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1498169360&sr=8-2&keywords=1000+watt+generator

But as a fun learning project that could lead to something more practical, why the heck not!

I remember my grandfather's workshop had just a few power tools but they were all belt driven and the same electric motor could drive the bandsaw, table saw, grinding wheel, and sander.  I have no idea what happened to those tools as at the time they just seemed obsolete (1970s).  But looking back that would be pretty cool to have one or two mothers (gas or electric) that could power multiple devices.  And these were large, full function shop tools, not the compromise multi-tool hand sized ones you see today.

I have a compressor and a generator that both use almost the same Honda engine, which are about the same as the larger Honda lawnmower engines (7.5hp).  Get's one to thinkin'...

I have a small collection of inverters and deep cycle batteries. 

That generator you linked is a 2-stroke.  That probably means it's noisy, and definitely means I have to keep 2-cycle oil around and/or pre-mix it with gasoline in appropriate ratios.
While my Briggs and Stratton is certainly not quiet, it's a 4 stroke. It's the bigger 7HP size.  Maybe I'll make a go-kart instead?

Offline Carl

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2017, 04:54:00 PM »
My alternative energy files have many examples and understand that the 12 volt generator is a jump start/or fast charge kind of thing that need not run more than an hour at a time and not so good for continous duty as alternators and air cooled engines just are not best for long term use.It is a bit more efficient than my toyota 4 cylinder at idle for 2  1/2 hours per gallon as I use it as my home generator to top off house batteries and run the fridges from a big inverter for about 1 hour out of every 6 hours to chill the fridges ,keep foods frozen and top the house batteries for Ham,lights,fans etc as solar is a poor charger during storm clouds and night ...so my option now is my auto.I can maintain my house 2 weeks with the auto fuel and keep a 5 gallon reserve.
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Offline machinisttx

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2017, 11:20:10 PM »
I'll donate an alternator if you haven't sourced one. I've got a pile of them sitting around and I can get more easy/cheap. 7hp can produce around 5k watts in a perfect world, and you should be able to run a 150 amp alt with that engine....if your pulley ratio is correct. I suggest a ratio of roughly 2:1 to 2.5:1.  Less than that and you'll never get full output from the alternator. More than that and the engine may stall when the alt is heavily loaded.

I know for sure I have several 10 and 12SI alternators, which the epicenter pulley will fit. None of them are "one wire", but those aren't really ideal for this application.  I also have a few 140ish amp 22SI alts that the epicenter pulley won't fit. Some of them might be "one wire", but I will have to look up part numbers to be sure. If you use a 10/12SI or the 22SI, the connector for the voltage regulator terminals is available from O'reilly's for $2.99 as part number 85841. Alternatively, you can just use standard 1/4" female spade quick disconnects. The 22SI is a medium/heavy duty alternator and will produce more power at lower RPM than the 10/12SI. IIRC, it usually produces 80-100 amps at idle speed for a normal truck application.

The direction you spin the alternator doesn't really matter as far as power production is concerned. It will produce power either way. What won't work correctly if spun the wrong direction is the cooling fan. They are almost universally directional. Cooling is going to be critical if you expect to heavily load it for more than a few minutes at a time. Even with the "few minutes" limitation, the diodes will have a shorter lifespan. The rectifier diodes and to a lesser extent, voltage regulator, must have adequate airflow or they will fail. The fan is designed to pull air in from the rear of the alternator, cooling the rectifier and V/R.

If you need any help, or something machined, feel free to ask me. I made an eight groove serpentine pulley for my project, rather than use V belts.
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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2017, 10:03:02 AM »
I'll donate an alternator if you haven't sourced one. I've got a pile of them sitting around and I can get more easy/cheap. 7hp can produce around 5k watts in a perfect world, and you should be able to run a 150 amp alt with that engine....if your pulley ratio is correct. I suggest a ratio of roughly 2:1 to 2.5:1.  Less than that and you'll never get full output from the alternator. More than that and the engine may stall when the alt is heavily loaded.

I know for sure I have several 10 and 12SI alternators, which the epicenter pulley will fit. None of them are "one wire", but those aren't really ideal for this application.  I also have a few 140ish amp 22SI alts that the epicenter pulley won't fit. Some of them might be "one wire", but I will have to look up part numbers to be sure. If you use a 10/12SI or the 22SI, the connector for the voltage regulator terminals is available from O'reilly's for $2.99 as part number 85841. Alternatively, you can just use standard 1/4" female spade quick disconnects. The 22SI is a medium/heavy duty alternator and will produce more power at lower RPM than the 10/12SI. IIRC, it usually produces 80-100 amps at idle speed for a normal truck application.

The direction you spin the alternator doesn't really matter as far as power production is concerned. It will produce power either way. What won't work correctly if spun the wrong direction is the cooling fan. They are almost universally directional. Cooling is going to be critical if you expect to heavily load it for more than a few minutes at a time. Even with the "few minutes" limitation, the diodes will have a shorter lifespan. The rectifier diodes and to a lesser extent, voltage regulator, must have adequate airflow or they will fail. The fan is designed to pull air in from the rear of the alternator, cooling the rectifier and V/R.

If you need any help, or something machined, feel free to ask me. I made an eight groove serpentine pulley for my project, rather than use V belts.

Thank you! That's fantastic.  My only hesitation with this project is if the resulting apparatus is worth $100-150.
For that money I can get a refurbished yellow top optima deep cycle battery, or another 100 watt monoscrystaline PV panel.
Lots of energy preps that might have better ROI.

However, a donated alternator might tweak the economics a bit :)
My understanding of the different wiring styles, is the "switch"  that must be toggled off before starting the engine, and toggled back on for operation.


I'd of course pay your shipping costs. I've got a busy afternoon and am doing amateur radio field day all weekend, but I'll read up more on the parts you mentioned and put together a shopping list when I am able.

PM me if you want to talk specifics.

Thanks again



Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2017, 10:27:09 AM »
That generator you linked is a 2-stroke.  That probably means it's noisy, and definitely means I have to keep 2-cycle oil around and/or pre-mix it with gasoline in appropriate ratios.
While my Briggs and Stratton is certainly not quiet, it's a 4 stroke. It's the bigger 7HP size.  Maybe I'll make a go-kart instead?
Yep, that will be a pretty noisy generator.  You can get a very similar one from Harbor Freight.  If you get coupons, you can have the Harbor Freight version of that generator for about $80 at times.

With generators, quiet = expensive.  Just check out the Honda inverter generators.  But if you need quiet, like in a campground, this is what you need.
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Offline machinisttx

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2017, 10:24:57 PM »
Diagram 1 is the one you want, and I was wrong, the switch goes on the lamp terminal. Yes, you'll toggle off to start and/or let the engine warm up. Toggle on to excite the alternator and charge a battery. Toggle off before killing the engine too.

Here is an almost completely disassembled 12SI. The arrow is pointing to the voltage regulator. Not the best pic, but the tabs are visible.


Another pic, a 22SI(right) next to a 10SI(middle) and a 12SI(left). The voltage regulator tabs are easier to see in this pic.


Close up.


I'm nearly 100% sure the 22SI won't fit the epicenter mounts, if you're set on using their stuff. It's physically larger and the mounting hole spacing is farther apart. On the other hand(since you are worried about how worthwhile this venture is), the 22SI would make a better welder with it's higher output.  ;D  Easy conversion, and it could be set up as a charger/welder. Would be easier with an externally regulated alt, but it's possible to convert an SI to do this.
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Offline Zef_66

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2017, 11:22:15 AM »
Yep, that will be a pretty noisy generator.  You can get a very similar one from Harbor Freight.  If you get coupons, you can have the Harbor Freight version of that generator for about $80 at times.

With generators, quiet = expensive.  Just check out the Honda inverter generators.  But if you need quiet, like in a campground, this is what you need.

I own the harbor freight version. Where I live, no one cares about quiet. It works great for what it is, a cheap generator. I've pushed it to over 1200 watts without issue. For stuff like running a circular saw, drill, lights, etc, it works great. It's not going to power my well pump. But it does run a regular sized refrigerator and large chest freezer all while sipping gas. I can run it about 5 hours on a gallon of gas.
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Offline machinisttx

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2017, 06:21:28 PM »
I have been pondering on how to easily convert the SI series alternators to function as a dual purpose charger or welder. I was debating how to do it with the original regulator,  which I believe is entirely possible, but could also pose additional problems. I am not knowledgeable enough to know for sure, or if there is even a problem to worry about. What I know for sure though is that there are three types of alternator "control" circuits.

One type is rarely used, so I will ignore it. The other two are "A" circuit and "B" circuit. This page explains the difference. https://alternatorparts.com/difference-between-a-b-circuit-regulator.html

I think that the easiest way to accomplish both functions with an Si series is to simply remove the original voltage regulator, and bring the connections to the brushes outside the alternator case. This would allow easy connection of a switch that would allow a manual control circuit for welding, or when the switch is flipped, connection to an external voltage regulator for charging. Many ford and dodge vehicles had external regulators even into the 1980s, possibly later. I looked one up for a dodge earlier and found them to be in the neighborhood of $15. That is cheaper than a good replacement for the original internal regulator, and also eliminates the need to remove and disassemble the alternator to replace it when it eventually fails. Some of the external regulators also allow adjustment of the output voltage setpoint, whereas the internal versions are only sold in a few fixed voltage options. It would also mean that your local autoparts store likely has something in stock that will work as a replacement, when they might not have a replacement regulator for a random 1970s or 80s gm product.

Perhaps this info will be useful to someone. It is a route I am likely to take with my project, though I have an additional twist I want to try with mine.  ;D
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Offline machinisttx

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2017, 06:17:45 PM »
Any updates?

I'm about 60% complete with the initial portion of my build, meaning that I built a mount and stand for my most recent engine purchase and have the engine running. I'm partway to having the alternator mounted. Probably would have gotten that done this afternoon, but the initial belt size I'm going to use was not in stock as it was supposed to be. Still need to make a new, simplified wiring harness for the engine, build a control panel, and finalize the alternator mounting/tension setup....oh and it needs to be painted. After it's all together and functional, I'll modify it for use as a welder and a charger.

So far:
$20 for the engine(17.5hp briggs from a scrapped riding mower)  ;D
$5 new oil
$20 new air filter
$6 scrap Delco 22SI 150 amp alternator(though I'm not sure if the voltage regulator module is good)
$9 battery cable
$0.51 new ring terminal for positive cable
Everything else has been free scrap steel/stuff I already had and time spent cutting/welding with a little bit of machining...most of which wasn't necessary but it'll look better when it's finished. 8) The one thing I had to machine is a pulley for an 8 rib serpentine belt. This fits the engine crankshaft.

My end goal with this, and part of the problem of building it, is to be able to install any alternator on it for use as a charger/generator and be able to use multiple common belt lengths/width's without any major hassle. In doing this, if I ever have to depend on it for power production there won't be any worry of needing a specific belt or a specific alternator should either one fail.
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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2017, 08:57:57 AM »
Any updates?

I'm about 60% complete with the initial portion of my build, meaning that I built a mount and stand for my most recent engine purchase and have the engine running. I'm partway to having the alternator mounted. Probably would have gotten that done this afternoon, but the initial belt size I'm going to use was not in stock as it was supposed to be. Still need to make a new, simplified wiring harness for the engine, build a control panel, and finalize the alternator mounting/tension setup....oh and it needs to be painted. After it's all together and functional, I'll modify it for use as a welder and a charger.

So far:
$20 for the engine(17.5hp briggs from a scrapped riding mower)  ;D
$5 new oil
$20 new air filter
$6 scrap Delco 22SI 150 amp alternator(though I'm not sure if the voltage regulator module is good)
$9 battery cable
$0.51 new ring terminal for positive cable
Everything else has been free scrap steel/stuff I already had and time spent cutting/welding with a little bit of machining...most of which wasn't necessary but it'll look better when it's finished. 8) The one thing I had to machine is a pulley for an 8 rib serpentine belt. This fits the engine crankshaft.

My end goal with this, and part of the problem of building it, is to be able to install any alternator on it for use as a charger/generator and be able to use multiple common belt lengths/width's without any major hassle. In doing this, if I ever have to depend on it for power production there won't be any worry of needing a specific belt or a specific alternator should either one fail.

No, I've shelved this one.  Really the biggest blocking item is the pulley/belt situation, and as you mentioned, getting it to mate up properly with the correct type of alternator.

Offline DDJ

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2017, 11:19:24 AM »
I got a Mower from my father just for this purpose. Is sitting  in the shed for the time and energy to make it a reality.  I want to keep an eye on this one.

Offline Carl

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2017, 12:05:26 PM »
As I recall,a mower wngine needs a proper weighted counterbalance to work,often a heavy pulley is suggested in the build it kits.
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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2017, 12:16:28 PM »
As I recall,a mower wngine needs a proper weighted counterbalance to work,often a heavy pulley is suggested in the build it kits.

True.  Last time I did a partial rebuild, I couldn't get it started, then realized the blade was not attached.

Offline Fixit

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2017, 06:46:03 PM »
That 22si is a good alternator . When looking at it to weld with here is what I would do .
  Split the case . You will see 3 leads coming out of the stator and attached to the rectifier .  I would add 3 insulated lead ( one under each nut ) and bring them out of the case . These can then be used as AC 3 phase or hooked to a heavy duty rectifier for DC power .
 Next while In there find the 2 brush leads and add wires that again come out of the case . 1 of these is your positive ( closes to the center of the alternator ) and the other is your ground . By adjusting the ground through a rheostat you can change the field strength of the rotor . This will give you the voltage for welding .
 As far as the regulator being bad they are cheap . You will need to also bypass the trio to keep it from turning the regulator on as the voltage coming threw the trio from the residual magnetism in the rotor is what activities the regulator .
 Hope this helps .
One last thing . When doing these setups I use H- bushing pulleys on the motors.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2017, 07:41:09 PM »
No, I've shelved this one.  Really the biggest blocking item is the pulley/belt situation, and as you mentioned, getting it to mate up properly with the correct type of alternator.

 :(

This is not as much of a problem as you might think. I've gone with the standard automotive type serpentine belt, mostly because they are superior with regard to power transmission than v belts. Most vehicles since the mid 1980's have used serpentine belts, so it's easy to find alternators with that style pulley. I made mine 8 rib because A: it's a wider belt and transfers more power and B: I can use any K spec belt from 3 rib up to 8.

The only potential problem I can think of is that both K and J spec belts are apparently used by the automotive industry. Even then, K spec is overwhelmingly more popular and easily available at any auto parts store. I honestly don't know of a vehicle that uses J spec belts, but they're out there.

If you need an alternator pulley, I can point you to where to find them for whatever alternator or style of belt you want to use...or I could make a v groove pulley for industrial belts for you. Same for the drive pulley on the engine if you want one that uses automotive v belts or serpentine belts.

Here's an 8 groove serpentine belt.


This is the Gates part number. The "K" at the beginning indicates that this is a "K" spec belt. "08"= 8 rib. The last few numbers indicate the length.


Here is the alternator I'm going to use and the pulley I machined. This one is just under 5" diameter, turned from 5" round stock. Probably weighs a couple of pounds, more than a lawnmower blade for sure.


Most of the small vertical crankshaft engines these days will need enough weight in the crankshaft pulley to make up for not having the blade and blade mount. I have heard that the engines on power washers have a cast iron flywheel, which would eliminate the need for a heavy pulley. I haven't confirmed this though.

That 22si is a good alternator . When looking at it to weld with here is what I would do .
  Split the case . You will see 3 leads coming out of the stator and attached to the rectifier .  I would add 3 insulated lead ( one under each nut ) and bring them out of the case . These can then be used as AC 3 phase or hooked to a heavy duty rectifier for DC power .
 Next while In there find the 2 brush leads and add wires that again come out of the case . 1 of these is your positive ( closes to the center of the alternator ) and the other is your ground . By adjusting the ground through a rheostat you can change the field strength of the rotor . This will give you the voltage for welding .
 As far as the regulator being bad they are cheap . You will need to also bypass the trio to keep it from turning the regulator on as the voltage coming threw the trio from the residual magnetism in the rotor is what activities the regulator .
 Hope this helps .
One last thing . When doing these setups I use H- bushing pulleys on the motors.

The 3 phase AC from an automotive alternator is pretty much useless unless rectified to DC. I suspect that if the alternator was turned at a speed that produced 60 hertz, the power output(and voltage) would be so low that it would be a waste of fuel.
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Offline Fixit

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2017, 08:17:25 PM »
Was not thinking 60 Hertz at all . 2 things were in my mind . First you can  feed off one of those leads to a tach . This would help with getting back to that sweet spot every time once you find it by knowing this rpm and that setting on my rheostat gives me this result. Second , I'm not a welder but was thinking that some things were AC weld and something's were DC weld . That second I could be wrong about as it is not my field .Somewhere I have read or heard that aluminum was AC welded as it didn't heat it up as much but please correct me on this .

Offline machinisttx

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2017, 06:40:37 PM »
Not much need to run a lead for a tach. Easier(and cheaper) to buy an inductive type to put on the engine...some are also hour meters as well, which would help keep up with maintenance. I think I paid about $35 for the last one I bought, but they can be had cheaper. The other option is to use an ammeter and voltmeter. Very easy to set output that way. Also makes it easy to set output voltage to ~120 volts for power tools with universal motors.  ;D

Most stick welding is done with DC. Even aluminum. Aluminum can be TIG welded with DC if the correct polarity(electrode negative IIRC) and shield gas(helium) is used. This used to be called "heliarc" welding. If I had to guess, I'd say most aluminum is now welded with AC because high frequency boxes are far less expensive and more common. With the high frequency to start and maintain the arc, there isn't any contamination to the aluminum from the tungsten electrode. Both stick and TIG are constant current operations. MIG(wire feed) is a constant voltage and can't be done using an alternator without a fair bit of additional circuitry. In any case, the three phase AC output of the alternator is not usable for welding.
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Offline Carl

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2017, 03:50:07 AM »
Most mower engines are designed to run at 3600 RPM and this ,with proper choice of pulleys,will get one close to 60 cycles with AC type generators .
For DC,the RPM is still important to get best output and cooling of the alternators when in heavy use.
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Offline David in MN

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2017, 07:01:40 AM »
As a guy who farts around with a 20 year old mower continually crapping out, I am fascinated.  :popcorn:
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Offline Carl

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2017, 07:17:30 AM »
Small engines can be fun . I started with go carts and minibikes about 50 years ago...life was simple then with no helmets,pads,laws preventing kids at play and even BB guns were TOYS...I had a 22 rifle that I purchased after answering the clerks question...do you parents know you are buying this? I even took it for 'show and tell' ,today a kid simply drawing a image of a gun can get 3 days off from school (some punishment) I am not amused with today's world that makes it hard to raise,or be ,a man.
I refuse to punch back as I didn't come here to fight.

Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Offline David in MN

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2017, 07:49:19 AM »
A month or so ago we took our daughter to the Nowthen (name of  a town) threshing show. My wife knows I grew up in farm country and thought it would be a good experience for a kid to see. They had tractors, steam engines, etc. all over the place and I can't tell how many were repurposed in a groovy steampunk kind of way. One had a steam engine running a pump with dish soap so the kids could marvel at the bubbles. One had an old Deere engine geared down to power an ice cream maker. And they had legit steam engines running threshers.

As we left my wife reminded me that this is the reason she will never let me have a barn.
"See the problem with statements like that is it scares off a lot of good people who deserve the investment returns that are only available in the stock market." Freelancer

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2017, 10:33:58 AM »
A month or so ago we took our daughter to the Nowthen (name of  a town) threshing show. My wife knows I grew up in farm country and thought it would be a good experience for a kid to see. They had tractors, steam engines, etc. all over the place and I can't tell how many were repurposed in a groovy steampunk kind of way. One had a steam engine running a pump with dish soap so the kids could marvel at the bubbles. One had an old Deere engine geared down to power an ice cream maker. And they had legit steam engines running threshers.

As we left my wife reminded me that this is the reason she will never let me have a barn.

My grandfather used to take me to events like that.  In retirement he built a large barn, but it was mostly a machine shop as his primary hobby was restoring classic cars from the 1930-1950s.  I swear he built that barn just as an excuse to accumulate gadgets like hit-and-miss engines and other obsolete farm implements. He put to use nearly every tool he bought, even some that were a century or older.

Back to mowers - perhaps I committed heresy, as I bought a 40volt lithium powered mower in July.  It was on a super sale from amazon, and I knew two folks who owned them.
It runs with 2 very large lithium packs, but only needs one.  They recharge same as a cordless drill, using a cradle.  There are 2 small propeller blades in place of a central shaft.  This has pros and cons to cutting grass.  I find it need to walk slower, but it does have better sucking power, as far more leaves and other yard debris get processed than with my old Briggs and Stratton.

I have only a small amount of grass on my property and my kids are less intimidated with an "on/off" switch compared to the rip cord.  So that's another chore delegated.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2017, 08:15:40 PM »
Small engines are a lot of fun. I've been trying to figure out a good way to put a 5hp briggs on my boy's kick scooter. LOL. If I keep having to roll my toolbox from one end of the shop to the other at work, it's definitely going to be put on a motorized cart. I gotta build a "barstool racer" one of these days too. Anyone seen this? https://youtu.be/J3766FEkaqQ That guy is awesome!

Anyone see the claim from Briggs and Stratton about some of their engines never needing an oil change? I just found it on their website. Ridiculous, but at the same time probably true. They probably quit running due to crappy fuel long before the owners would even think of changing the oil....and nobody seems to know how to fix anything anyway.

My wife wants me to build at least one more shed, preferably two so she has one to put junk in.
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Offline Carl

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2017, 03:48:49 AM »
  I have a China made Honda knockoff 5.5 horse that runs on my mower and with synthetic oil and PTFE added (slick 50 ) all I do is drain the oil ,filter though a good coffee filter in a funnel and pour it back in the motor...adding for any loss in the process or consumed in the motor . So far same oil looks  blue though not quite as when it was new. Mowers often run less than 50 hours a year and this is the 'mileage' I choose to replace or filter the oil.

  So far ,this has worked for most stationary engines I use.
I refuse to punch back as I didn't come here to fight.

Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Offline machinisttx

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Re: My lawn mower deck broke, so I might build a generator
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2017, 06:48:35 PM »
From what I've observed, lots of people use a mower for a year or two, and then it won't start the next season....so they take it to the scrapyard and go buy another one. I've drained a couple that I doubt ever had an oil change....the stuff that came out was more like gear oil in thickness than motor oil.
The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

Aristotle