Build your own Emergency Generator

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

Moderator: ZS Global Moderators

User avatar
Gyoas759
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:54 pm
Location: Reading, PA

Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by Gyoas759 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:11 pm

For those of us (myself included) who don't have a huge amount of money to spend, here's a perfectly effective alternative to shelling out as much as $1500. on an emergency generator. My brother and I just put this together this past week. Great source of emergency electricity and it's cheap too! Good for anything from power outages to waiting for the zombie hordes to dissipate.

Gather the essential parts to the generator

Image

A gas powered motor (Preferably a horizontal shaft. You can use anything from lawn tractors, to weedwackers, snow blowers, you name it!)
Car or Marine battery
Alternator (MUST have a built in voltage regulator. I used a GM. Also makes it much easier if it's a V or A belt style)
V or A belt
Gear pulley (If the motor doesn't have one already)
Power inverter (I used a 400 watt)
Some sort of platform (Plywood and 2x4s in my case)
screws, bolts and washers

I measured out the distance between the motor and alternator and built the platform to match. (Alternator needs to turn clockwise) Bolted the motor in place, then attached the gear pulley, belt and made marks to put the mounts in place for the alternator. Bolted the alternator in place. Then ran the charging wires to the car battery and tightened them down. Then just hooked up the 400 watt inverter to the battery and it's off and running!

Image

Took about 2 hours to build after I had all the parts. My expenses were as follows.

5 HP Subaru/Robin Engine - $15. (from a farm auction)
3/4 inch Gear pulley - $7. (Tractor Supply Company)
Alternator from a Chevy S10 - $15. from a local U-Pull-It
Car Battery - $10. same location
V belt - $1. same location
400 Watt Power Inverter - $30. (Pep Boys)
Platform was made from scrap lumber and I have a bunch of drywall screws and nuts and bolts from prior projects so they didn't cost me a thing.

$78. and a few hours of work and I can make my own electricity if I want to! I'll be adding to it. It's bulky, so I'm going to put some lawn mower wheels on it and a handle to pull it around by. But it works!

User avatar
mantis
* * * * *
Posts: 3236
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:56 pm
Location: Brantford, Ontario

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by mantis » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:21 pm

Nice job! How's the noise it generates? I'm wondering about vibration in the wood base. If it does "rock and roll", perhaps filling the base with foam rubber or something might help.
Doc Torr wrote:"Those who live by the sword get shot by those who see them coming a hundred yards away."
roscoe wrote:.....and don't plan on being The Humongous - it ain't happening.

User avatar
DannusMaximus
ZS Donor
ZS Donor
Posts: 2767
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:00 pm
Location: Indiana's Southern Coast

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by DannusMaximus » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:38 pm

Great post!

When it's all laid out like that, it makes perfect sense how the parts work together. I'm not an electrically savvy (or particularly mechanically saavy) guy, and seeing the pics makes all the difference.

I went the sissy route and just bought an 750 watt inverter and a 50' extension cord to hook up to my Honda. I've tested it on a few of my house 'critical systems' (fridge, furnace fan, etc.) and it seems to work fine. Same basic setup that you have, but without the I Made It Myself cool points... :oops:
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."

- The Hound of the Baskervilles

User avatar
Gyoas759
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:54 pm
Location: Reading, PA

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by Gyoas759 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:42 pm

right now it vibrates quite a bit when I had it running on the concrete floor of the garage. I'm going to cut some rubber strips from an old tire to deaden the vibration and keep it from moving/sliding.

User avatar
mantis
* * * * *
Posts: 3236
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:56 pm
Location: Brantford, Ontario

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by mantis » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:45 pm

Gyoas759 wrote:right now it vibrates quite a bit when I had it running on the concrete floor of the garage. I'm going to cut some rubber strips from an old tire to deaden the vibration and keep it from moving/sliding.
A+ Job. Great way to make use of available parts too. Way to go. Welcome to the forum by the way! :D
Doc Torr wrote:"Those who live by the sword get shot by those who see them coming a hundred yards away."
roscoe wrote:.....and don't plan on being The Humongous - it ain't happening.

RogerK
* * *
Posts: 478
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:22 am
Location: Riverdale, MI

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by RogerK » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:54 pm

Nice job and welcome!

I would suggest that rather than a piece of tire, use old innertube pieces, if you got them.
Thomas Gallowglass wrote:Amoung the things I've learned in life are these two tidbits...
1) don't put trust into how politicians explain things
2) you are likely to bleed if you base your actions upon 'hope'...

User avatar
Electricity
* * * * *
Posts: 1446
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:25 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ
Contact:

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by Electricity » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:59 pm

Very nice job! And welcome to the forums.
I wonder if you made some sort of cage around the whole thing it would add some rigidity, and help with the vibrations.
Also, how do you regulate the rpm of the motor? Any thoughts on where in the rpm spectrum you are getting peak proformance?
How long does it take to charge that battery?
Official Meat World Spice Merchant
Image

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16729
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by raptor » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:22 pm

Excellent post! we need more like it.

Thanks for the post.

User avatar
elkhills
* * * * *
Posts: 1414
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 3:52 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: An Inconvenient Truth
Location: Bay Area

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by elkhills » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:47 pm

I love it!
This is full of all kinds of Awesome.

The belt looks a little loose, does it need a tensioner maybe?
+1 on weighting the base if vibrations are an issue. I had to do that to a home made wood lathe- it works.
As far as maximizing Fuel Economy w/ the Alternators Optimum RPMs go: a larger drive pulley will ask the Gas Motor for less RPMs overall.

I can't wait to see it all prettied up. I'm totally stealing your ideas!

User avatar
Paladin1
* * * * *
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:56 pm
Location: Central Ohio

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by Paladin1 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:02 pm

Great job/post! Welcome to ZS.

We need more like this guy and less like that Aquar... I mean that other new guy that's a wank
WWSD?

iMack
* * *
Posts: 618
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:12 am
Location: Border of Wyoming and Colorado

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by iMack » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:34 pm

Great post. Tagging this for later so I can see the pictures at home :D

User avatar
SamuraiBobX26
* * * * *
Posts: 2511
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:45 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Resident Evil, Evil Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Dead Alive
Location: The Rocket City (Huntsville, Alabama)
Contact:

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by SamuraiBobX26 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:27 am

Electricity wrote:Very nice job! And welcome to the forums.
I wonder if you made some sort of cage around the whole thing it would add some rigidity, and help with the vibrations.
Also, how do you regulate the rpm of the motor? Any thoughts on where in the rpm spectrum you are getting peak proformance?
How long does it take to charge that battery?
I have the same questions as this guy.

Also, did you set the throttle in a fixed position for "fuel Econemy" or can you adjust it and run at a highre rpm to get a faster charge?
Image
A Sword may be sharp, but a keen mind is sharper.

Only after disaster can we be resurrected.

killzombies
* *
Posts: 248
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:07 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Shaun of the Dead, Diary, Dawn and Night!

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by killzombies » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:29 am

tag
Selling 5 round OEM licensed production Saiga-12 mags, plastic with metal feed lips, new out of wrapper (I test loaded each mag to make sure they loaded. Don't forget to slide the shell all the way back before pressing down >.<).

$18/each,
2 = Free S&H
5 = Free S&H + free mag

User avatar
The Highwayman
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 4393
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 6:46 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Resident Evil series
Location: North Central FL

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by The Highwayman » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:36 am

Paladin1 wrote:Great job/post! Welcome to ZS.

We need more like this guy and less like that Aquar... I mean that other new guy that's a wank




Agreed! :P
Join ZS:17- FL


RIP Hk33k

User avatar
Richter
* * * * *
Posts: 1553
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:35 am
Location: Utah

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by Richter » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:19 am

wow! a newbie with good information!

Welcome and thank you for this post. I might just be doing the same thing.

I would watch the vibration since eventually it could come loose and you could potentially have a disaster. Don't just "deal" with the vibration, get rid of it. Securely mount the motor and the alternator and make sure that you secure the board to something sturdy.

Welcome again to the forum and I look forward to seeing more posts like these!

edit: it seems that you are in your garage. I would say create a mount where it would be out of the way of the cars but still in your garage. Then build a pipe/hose and attach it to the exhaust and have it vent outside. This will help with the sound in case you were to use it and don't want others to know so that they don't come steal your power-by force.
Last edited by Richter on Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
nacho
* * * * *
Posts: 1101
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:05 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Sugar Hill (1974)
Location: 90090
Contact:

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by nacho » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:24 am

Good build, I wonder how the wood will hold up, might help keep the noise down.

I helped toecutter build a similar generator a few years back. I mainly just sat around and drank beer and pointed out what he was doing wrong. :wink: It uses an edger motor. The .30 cal ammo can contains a couple led acid gel cell batteries. At Field Day this year we charged several batteries in no time. There is no inverter yet, so it is simply for charging 12V batteries.
Image


I have been wanting to build one for a while, thinking about using a Radio Flyer wagon.
Image

User avatar
mega-hertz
* * *
Posts: 742
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:28 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Shaun of the dead, 28 days(the one where Sandra bullock goes to rehab and has to kill her way back to the bar and gets naked a lot when she fights all those zombies)
Location: so fired, circle city, CA.

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by mega-hertz » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:21 am

not bad for $78.oo bucks= 3.3333333333 amps.
how long will the batt. power the inverter be for you need to run the motor?
" I'm hiding in Honduras. I'm a desperate man. Send lawyers, guns and money. The $h!t has hit the fan." Warren Zevon......R.I.P.
fart lol!

User avatar
ZombieSoldier01
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 2810
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Coastal area of Georgia (Ludowici)
Contact:

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by ZombieSoldier01 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:09 am

awesome write up!

i like the idea of making it portable using a red wagon. im seeing these parts all over craigslist all the time. maybe i should get my head out of my ass and make one!

"Zombies... Coming to eat a friend near you.."

User avatar
Gyoas759
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:54 pm
Location: Reading, PA

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by Gyoas759 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:25 am

I like the idea of using the inner tubes. I think I have some old bike tire tubes in my basement that would do it.

As for the vibration. The base is framed with 2x4s so the motor is VERY firmly mounted. Right now the base is light enough that the motor can shake the whole generator. I think the rubber wheels and a little extra weight will solve this.

There's a small throttle lever on the carburetor that allows me to adjust the RPMs. I haven't measured yet what the peak output is just yet but at low speed it doesn't seem to fall behind in keeping the battery charged. I was using a power drill with it the other day.

Yes, the belt is looser than I'd like. A tensioner pulley is on the way!

The battery was fully charged when I put it on there, so I haven't had an oppourtunity to see how long it would take to charge one. I'm assuming the charge rate would be similar to a car with jumper cables so it should only take a few minutes to get some juice from it.

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16729
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by raptor » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:08 am

Looking at your battery it appears to be an Interstate Battery model 65. This battery when new has a reserve capacity of 130 minutes or (130/60)*25 amps =) 54.16 amps

Thus you should be able to run a 300 watt load (25amps x12) through your inverter for around 130 minutes before you have to charge the battery. Assuming the alternator is at least 85 amps or better you should be able to fully charge the battery in about an hour of run time.

It would very interesting to see if your actual results match these theoretical numbers. Please let us know if the actual results are anywhere close when you get a chance to use the generator.

BTW if the alternator is 85 amps you could actually hook up 2 -400 watt inverters and use both at the same time as long as the engine is running. A 120 amp alternator would allow you to use 3- 400 watt inverters or a single 1,500 watt inverter with your set up as long as the engine is running.

That is great set up and should be both very practical and adaptable.

User avatar
sql_yoda
* * *
Posts: 669
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:59 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days Later
Sean of the Dead
The Notebook
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by sql_yoda » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:03 am

Awesome! Totally awesome for an RV, small marine, or trailer type power draw. Though they may not be the most 'common' appliances today, you mark my words, 12V appliances will be the most commonly traded for commodity in the PAW. This is an incredibly well done proof of exactly why.

If we could rate posts I'd give this one 120 out of 10.

Kingfisher
* *
Posts: 102
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:23 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Dawn of the Dead

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by Kingfisher » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:14 pm

Very cool, The uses for car alternators are many. I read an article a couple years back about a guy who built a small hydroelectric power plant using two 600 amp ford alternators. Direct into a pair of inverters. It works great. I have another buddy just down the road who has built his own Wood gas generator using a 151 cubic inch chevy 4 cylinder car engine. He fuels it with a wood gasifier. He bought a large 10k generator and his is shaft driven with a clutch. He goes sometimes weeks at a time with his grid power off. Kingfisher

User avatar
meatshieldChris
* * * * *
Posts: 1382
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:44 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Shaun of the dead, Evil Dead trilogy
Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by meatshieldChris » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:03 pm

hmm, I think I read about building a weldernator out of an alternator that uses external rectifiers. Removing the rectifier and voltage regulator gives you AC voltage dependant on RPM (up past 110V, though it might be 3 phase, I can't remember). So you might be able to get natural 110V by picking a throttle setting that lets the governer spin the alternator at a rate that gives you 110V AC.

Nechro
* *
Posts: 244
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:25 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: To many to list!!!
Location: FL

Re: Build your own Emergency Generator

Post by Nechro » Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:16 pm

Did no one watch the "Colony" on history channel (or was it Discovery)? They used a pressure washer motor/frame to do this. With a gasifier (sp)
When you die, if you have a choice to go to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if not mmmmm boy!

Post Reply

Return to “Contingency Planning & Preparation”