Cheap home made generator

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

  1. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Fort, good info and warning on the mower-powered genny. I had been thinking of trying it, as I have two old mowers for engine use. BUT..... since I have 'retired' my Toyota Tercel, I have been thinking seriously of using it's 4-cyl 3E-E motor with that big 10KW head for a 'whole-house' genny, mounted on a concrete slab. Will also buy a smaller genny for camping use.
  2. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Now that's cool!

    If you were in NC, you'd have to do it the good ol' boy way (by law).
    That is, you leave the toyota up on blocks, with high grass growing around it and jury rig the axle to generator head with a motorcycle chain. Make sure the toyota has a good coat of primer before even attempting.
    Do not forget the suicide cord.
    Itchba likes this.
  3. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Hey, we ARE bubbas down here - of course she's up on blocks! [winkthumb]
  4. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    I'm getting the orbitrac or a room exercise DC motor, plus car alternator. I wouldn't feel comfortable with roaring generator in the back yard...this is silent, effective, and you plus get the benefit of exercising. And no need of fuel stocking. I'll be also buying some ordinary bikes with some carry boxes on them... :D
  5. BrotherBobL

    BrotherBobL Monkey+

    Does anyone know where some good diagrams are. I have very recently moved back to the farm I grew up on and being so isolated I need this. Your articles are so good I copy and pasted them in word. Thanks in advance. BBL
  6. STANGF150

    STANGF150 Knowledge Seeker

    As I drive a forklift at work I feel I should mention, that a Forklift battery has added weight in it so they generally weigh about 4,000 pounds!
  7. rictus

    rictus Monkey+

    Humans survived for millenia without power. Look into how they did it, and save yourself a lot of hassle, expense, and risk. :) The toolmaking, etc, better have already been done when shtf. After a year or so, and order is restored (or nearly everyone is dead, the tools will be lying there, waiting to be picked up. Learn how to press oils out of peanuts and soybeans, and run diesel generators on such fuels, as the Chinese do today. Where are all the steel knives, axes, saws, hammers, etc supposed to go if shtf? Even if they are in fires, the handles can be replaced, the tool will still be functional. So all you will need to do is move around and gather them up. So many will be dead that lots of stuff will be available, no cost.
  8. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    Not all shtf scenarios end in mass dead. Read the thread about Argentina.
  9. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Sure, we can 'survive' without power. But with a little ingenuity, one can have power and THRIVE. No need to go back to the stoneage.
    Dunerunner likes this.
  10. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Just a couple of NOTES here:
    1. When contemplating building a Genset, REMEMBER it takes 2 HP to make 1KW, and that is REAL Shaft Horsepower, not the Marketing Genius' wishful thinking Horsepower.
    2. Automobile Alternators are NOT designed to produce a lot of AMPs, (more than 20 or 30) for a long time. They are designed to recharge what little it takes to recharge the Starting Battery current used to start the Engine, AND carry a relatively small current load of the operation vehicle. You need to be looking for alternators in the Truck Junkyards.
    3. Most Box Store Gensets are CHEAP, 3600 Rpm Two Pole, Gensets that are only designed to run Intermittent Duty and maybe 1K Hours MTBF. I you are VERY Lucky. (Mean Time between Failure)
    4. If you use 1Kw from your batteries, you need to put 1.25 Kw back to get to the same place, charge wise.
    5. If you'er looking for QUALITY, in a Genend, Look for a FOUR Pole Genend, (1800 RPM) or a SIX Pole Genend. (1200 RPM) If you're looking for a Long Term Reliable Engine, look for one that can produce the required HP(2 HP per Kw) at 1800 or 1200 Rpm, AND has a Constant Rpm Governor, or can have one adapted to its control system, Not an Auto Engine.

    A good place to look, is an RV Junkyard. Onan, Kohler, Yanmar, and Kubota, all make such Engines and Gensets.
    kellory and Nadja like this.
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    For perspective, 1000 hours MBTF is about the same as running the gennie 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, with two weeks off per year to fix it.
  12. mwsuchocki

    mwsuchocki Monkey+

    blueprint or link to plans has disappeared :(

    I tried viewing the thread in different ways, but I couldn't find the link to the plans. Only the discussion (very helpful but baseless without a reference.)

    BTW - this is a GREAT site! Thank you to all those who have contributed this info.
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    kellory and Gator 45/70 like this.
  14. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    The problem is that using a car altenator with a gas engine from say a lawn mower, is that you will waste much more gas then you will get power. You can buy a cheap gennie for about the same cost and get far more use from it. Already makes ac and some also make dc
  15. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    I'm afraid anybody who thinks they can run a bicycle generator AND do all the work necessary to keep themselves fed and secure during a SHTF scenario is vastly over-rating themselves. Not to mention "doesn't require fuel" is a fallacy. The fuel your body requires goes up greatly trying to do that kind of exercise, and if food isn't plentiful, you don't have the energy, literally. In medieval times, people mostly spent the winter in bed, huddled together, lethargic and accomplishing little. Read "A World Lit Only By Fire" for some perspective.
    xXLoBaLLXx and Seawolf1090 like this.
  16. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    It is a known Published Fact that Human Powered Electrical Generation, even for a World Class Athlete, is only in the neighborhood of 150 Watts per Hour. ..... That senerio, just doesn't pan out, in the real World.
    Seawolf1090 likes this.
  17. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Ordinary cars only have small output alternators. Police cars/ambulances/trucks have 100+ amp ones because of higher electrical demands. When a bud was building his cabin he used ordinary light bulbs run off his car battery. Even when he went to sleep with the "lights on" his car still cranked the next morning.
  18. bizy

    bizy Monkey+


    I would think a voltage regulator could be of help to block excess voltage.
  19. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    cars with power windows and such have higher wattages, you can also add a zener diode as a voltage limiter
  20. greenebelly

    greenebelly Monkey+

    Haven't seen anyone talk about the batteries. Batteries should NEVER be taken down past 50%. If you do, you have just brought the life down by half. Rule of thumb is 60%. So if your set up works out that you have one battery and it will go below 50% by time recharge takes place, you need 2 batteries.
    xXLoBaLLXx likes this.
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