Cheap home made generator

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by monkeyman, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Here are some diagrams on how to build a cheap generator at home that will charge a 12 volt batterie bank (car batteries) and then with a small invertor you can power some basic things around the house if the lights go out, with more batteries and a bigger invertor you could power most any of the apliances in your home, with little more than an invertor, some car batteries, an alternator from a car and a lawn mower motor.

  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member


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  3. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Use an auto belt to conect a lawn mower motor to the alternator and drive it with a pully on the motor, attach the motor and alternator to a board so that the belt is tight and wire it up as shown above and you can charge 1 battery or an entire bank of them connected in a 12 volt series so as to provide longer lasting power, then connect an invertor to the battery bank and you have a working generator with battery bank out of the junk pile or for a couple hundred dollars if you buy all the stuff new but why do that when you can get it from the curb side, junk yard, garage sales or a junk pile for free or close to it. If nothing else it can be a cool project for the kids to do for a science fare and learn to make thier own power.

  4. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    A couple of observations.

    One; use a deep cell RV,or Golf Cart battery.More exspensive but they are made for repeated draw downs and recharges.A normal car battery is not designed to be repeatedly drawn down and will not last as long as a deep cell.

    Two; A great way to kill two birds with one stone is to hook your alternator set up to a stationary bicycle.Then you get a cardiovascular workout while charging your battery up.And it requires no fuel.

  5. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    Or trolling motor battery.
    Also need 12 or 24 volt DC light bulbs and hookup wire.
    The grounding buss connectors sold at electrical supply houses and lumber yards would be ideal to hook up all your wires, just insulate one side, or use wood box.
    Two batteries hooked in series gives 24 volts, less voltage drop across the wire, and across the loads-light bulbs.
    Two batteries in parallel: + to + just increases the current available.

    The big question for the gilligans island generator, would be, could you pedal fast enough to turn the alternator fast enough?
    You might have to add a bigger sprocket on the bike or smaller pulley on the generator to reach its minimum RPM to output the 13.6 VDC, or more to charge a 12 VDC battery.

    Homer Simpson likes this.
  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Ghost, yup thats what I ment, hook the + to + and - to -, just screwed up the term.

    The golf cart, trolling, or deep cell RV or such batteries WOULD be better for this, especialy if you are buying them new as they will last a lot longer, the main reason I mention useing car batteries is that they are so plentiful. If it were being built in a SHTF situation or even by a person doing it for occasional use on a tight budget it can be done out of a junk pile, or could be done real well and even several of them if you could get turned loose in a junk yard. I know a lot of times around here you can buy percectly good used car/pickup batteries at the junk yards for $5-$10 and some will just let you have them to haul them off especialy if the car is getting ready to be sold for metal weight as they dont like the batteries in them at the polorizer. There are some ways to improve this if you have more money to spend, but I wanted to show it in the most economical form I know of for makeing power, and then ideas on how to improve its efficientcy and such could be added.
    Marck and like this.
  7. preliator

    preliator Monkey+++ Founding Member

    this is a great site with photo's of the type of mount that can be used for either horizontal motor or verticle motor, it also gives pulley sizes and ratios.
    they sell the mount but it can be made easily enough. hope it helps
    Dunerunner likes this.
  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I found this little bit of info critical:

  9. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Of coarse you could also always pull the regularer off and put it in line the same as it is on the car if it didnt have one internal or regulate it by trial and error with a meter to determine the proper speed for the motor to give the apropriate RPMs to the alternator. Good point though
  10. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    I always figured Should the shtf or peak oil or whatever... there'll be plenty of cars around for scavenged fuel,batteries, wire, alternators, 12 motors, bulbs and sockets steel( brake and fuel) tubing , burnable crankcase oil ...may be a cobbled dc world for awhile..
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  11. crehberg

    crehberg Monkey+++

    Tango, I'm sure it'll be a 12 volt world. The only problem I see is, what happens to the stuff that isn't 12 volt??? I see possiblities....:sneaky::sneaky::sneaky:
  12. ex3313

    ex3313 Monkey+++

    For the stuff that takes AC use an inverter.
    Also if you're preping now for later look for forklift battery's for an electric lift they are huge and are deep cycle plates.
    The reason that car battery's and deep cycle are different is the plate thickness cars need that huge inrush to spin the starter whereas most rec apps are lower current longer drain times.
    As a side note a small DC motor piggybacked onto the alternator will act as a source of current to start the charge cycle if your bat's are flat discharged.[troll]
  13. Higgy

    Higgy Tinkerer

    I have had a 12v "emergency" lighting system strung in my house for years. Actually, come to think of it, I Installed it when we were all gearing up for Y2K. It works pretty decent. Each room has a light in ceiling that we can turn on or off at the fixture. The fixtures used to be 1127 automotive tail-light receptacles, but since LEDs are much more plentiful and cheaper these days, I have swapped them all out and even added more light in some areas. In fact, the light is SO good now, if I wasn't considering selling the house, then a complete swapover to 12v LED lighting would be my very next project.

    Its really as simple as having an AGM-type battery, and a solar charger. The charger maintains the charge on the battery... effortlessly. There is no draw upon the household current. No fuss, no bother, and if the power went off for a week, I could have light every night without fail... on one battery.

    Of course, this is light, and only light. If you want to plug in a television you are S.O.L.

    There are some caveats to this system. Up here in the woods, the weather plays havoc with the solar panel, and I have replaced it twice. UV deterioration is the biggie, but cold and snow will take its toll also. I am thinking of actually buying one or two to have in storage for "The Rainy Day" and until then just use a Battery Tender Jr. to keep the battery alive and well. The Jr. draws only a few pennies-worth of current each day, and is superb at keeping a battery maintained. If TSHTF some day I will break out the solar panels and resume biz like nothing happened.

    All things considered, a 12-volt system is good to have. All I need is clean, safe light. All the other "systems" needed for daily survival and well-being are in place and used daily, such as woodstoves, wood-fired boiler, etc.
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  14. fritz_monroe

    fritz_monroe Guest

    Since you only need a small current for the battery tender, have you thought about using a micro-wind turbine to generate that? Unless you are in an area that has sustained winds, you wouldn't want to use it for powering the whole system, but you could build a small Savonius rotor to generate the current. Here's an example of using one to charge the batteries on an automatic gate.
    kellory and Jeff Brackett like this.
  15. Higgy

    Higgy Tinkerer

    This is an intriguing idea, Fritz! I will have to investigate. Thank you!
  16. zarraza

    zarraza Survivalist in training

    i know this thread is pretty old, but does anyone have the pics stored that were originally posted?????
    i have a ton (literally measured in weight) of pocket bikes with 39cc 2 stroke engines and this might be a good use for them!
  17. Allen

    Allen Monkey+

    Better than a car alt is a diesel truck alt. They usually have a much higher output rating, & old trucks get junked. For large 8D batteries, try boats & golf carts. You can also look into refurbishing old batteries by flushing the plates & replacing the electrolite, having the parts on hand for after TSHIF.
  18. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    I did this a few years ago. Results were mediocre.
    Here's what I found.

    Get a recent high amp alternator. It will have a built in voltage regulator - I found one on ebay. Ford. Paid $30 delivered.

    Most alternators connections are not straightforward. Mine had a + terminal - body was ground and 3 pins. I had to play around with the connecting various pins together until it put out current.

    A lawnmower engine, despite being rated "4.5" hp. is too weak . As soon as you put a load on it, the resistance developed within the alternator will stall the engine. Honestly, I think all of these ratings on lawnmowers are lies. After all, who's going to put their $100 lawnmower on a dynamometer?

    Z: As far as your 39cc 2 strokers - don't know. How much torque do they produce?

    I didn't read the whole post, but maybe there's something there about throttle regulation? Mine was "manual". Not very efficient. I never figured out how to make it automatic.

    Most used (even lightly) lawnmowers have bent shafts. This leads to belt slap. My belt ran hot after even a few minutes. I don't have much hope that it would work long term.

    All in all, it was a fun learning experience for me and my kids. I suppose I'd do things differently, but IMO, it's not really worth it - at least on the scale of a car alternator. For $269 I picked up a chicom generator at Big Lots that works just fine.

    If you really want to make a powerhouse, HarborFreight has a 10,000 watt unpowered head with AC output that they sell for $299. If you can scrounge a 20hp tractor engine, you'll have a very nice rig cheap.
  19. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    For source of light, you could use Joule Thief circuit and solar panel...1.5v battery runs 20 LED's for about 90 days non-stop (my test while experimenting). Just make sure you wound secondary coil and don't use direct battery or solar power for the LED's. That would also mean that you should replace your light bulbs with LED bulbs. The circuit also works with CFL's, but you'll have to modify them (take their circuit out and leave just tubes)
  20. Rourke

    Rourke Monkey++

    I have been planning on working on this very project. I am hoping to complete it this early fall or late summer.

    I will take lots of pics while working on it and report back here. I have a couple of inverters already -

    Thanks - Rourke
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