Part 2 of my power generator project (part 1 is here). Looks like this is going to be a multi-part project as it is taking longer than I thought.
I am currently up to the stage of building the covering/casing for the generator. I plan to install sound-deadening material to quieten it down while running.
The generator is tested and working. Need to complete the chassis and then build the electronic circuitry. Then itll be complete. Looking forward to finishing it off so that I can focus on other projects!
This project was left neglected for a long time, until recently when a use for the generator became apparent. I had only a few days to get it working properly, so things were kicked in to high gear. I decided to update this post with my progress.
It had been so long since I last started the engine that I had forgotten that I needed to fix the throttle cable. It took a while to figure that out, but when I finally did I shorted the throttle cable (to reduce the amount of friction) and mounted the lever on the chassis of the generator. When reducing the length of the cable test to ensure that at full throttle the choke butterfly engages fully, this was what was giving me issues for a while.
The adjustment bolt for the alternator was not welded properly. I tried a few times but because it is so small and has so much pressure on it I couldn’t get it to weld right. So I changed the position of the bolt and now it is much more stable.
The engine kill switch was moved and mounted.
A car alternator has a indicator bulb on it which lights when the accessories of the car are turned on (first click of ignition key, where 12v is given to alternator). Once the engine is running and the alternator is spinning the light should then turn off, which indicates the alternator is working OK. If the light stays on then there is a problem with the alternator.
I kept this system and instead of the accessories key I wired up a switch which you toggle to give 12v to the alternator (and the light turns on). Once the generator engine is then started the light should turn off.
So there are two switches. The engine kill switch and the alternator start switch. The wiring looks like the below.
After some initial testing my alternator became faulty. It was outputting >15.5V instead of a nominal 14.5 or so. The regulator seems to be broken and accessing it is a nightmare. So I replaced the whole alternator with another one. Luckily, the bracket which holds the alternator to the generator chassis is adjustable so replacement was not very difficult.
While replacing the alternator I accidentally damaged the belt that drives it. I didn’t think much about it because it looked like it may still hold together…. I was wrong. The thing ripped to shreds and had to be replaced. Here is a video of my testing the generator when it happened.
I welded some additional brackets on to the cover for extra stability and to allow for carry handles.
After wiring up the alternator to the battery and then to the inverter, the generator was finally complete!
It is much bigger and heavier than one you can buy from the shop, but it has the ability to be scaled up plus it can run 100% quietly off the battery only without the engine on. The engine can then be switched on (idle is fast enough) to charge the battery when low.
Below is a video of the generator working.
Max 2kW but that can easily be upgraded with a new inverter to 3 or more times more output. Plus adding another battery in parallel will increase running time without charging. The generator could potentially keep my house running in an emergency, which is nice considering it used to be a broken lawn mower 🙂
Shout out to my little helper, without whom I would not have been able to complete this project 🙂