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Old 02-04-2011, 12:48 PM
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Default How to turn engine into generator?



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So let's say you know someone, one of your Survivalist Boards pals, who just bought a Lister Petter Diesel Engine ... specifically an electric start AC-1 6.5 HP, 3600 rpm ... and your board buddy wants to use it as the foundation for building a wicked bad assed diesel genny.

Would you be willing to help throw some ideas my way? Errrrrr ... I mean, his way? (Gotta keep the OpSec up around here - the paranoia is setting in for some lately.)

Here are some pics:




I'm hoping to make this as big and as bad of a little diesel gennerator as possible. It burns about a pint of fuel an hour ... it's a Lister Petter air cooled.

So for those mechanically oriented members out there, I really need some advice.

1 - What's my next step? What sort of generator/coil whatever, do I want to invest in to hook to this bad boy? BTW, I've got a couple of different small engine mechanics who are going to help me attach everything, but if this were your engine, what would you do with it?

2 - Is there any way to facilitate or improve the cooling system? I know it has all these fins for air cooling, but I want to sink away as much heat as possible, especially in case of our very hot summers down here.

3 - What should I know, maintenance wise, about these small diesel engines? Any tips or tricks or pointers would be greatly appreciated.

4 - What do you figure to be the max power I should be able to get out of this thing comfortably and long term?

Thanks for all of your help and advice in advance men.
Old 02-04-2011, 12:52 PM
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http://www.qsl.net/ns8o/Induction_Generator.html
Old 02-04-2011, 12:58 PM
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All you need is a large electric motor and some way to couple the two together.
That's all alternators on a car are. Well generators at least. Alternators use a full wave bridge rectifier too.

Depends whether you want 220v or 440v., single phase or 3 phase. There are some fairly inexpensive 440v 3 phase motors available in that size.

Use a step down transformer and some outlets and breakers and you're good to go.

At least that's what I learned in basic electricity courses. You're just converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:59 PM
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Basically what you got there is a machine that takes chemical energy and turns it in to mechanical energy. Your next step would be turning the mechanical energy in to electricity. There are several things I would do/try

First off figure out what you're trying to power. Your whole home or just something to get a little electricity should you lose power.

I'd make a set up that allows you to switch out generators. Do some research on induction and faradays equations to figure out how much power you can produce from different types of generators. It varies because of coil ratios in each motor. Some need high RPMs, some need low RPMs but lots of torque.

It really comes down to how serious are you trying to be. If you want something heavy then you'll be better off buying something that is made to do what you want. Or you can try wiring a few alternators in parallel to a battery bank.
Old 02-04-2011, 01:17 PM
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I mean, yeah, I'd like to squeeze as much juice out of it as possible. I'm not looking to make it into a 24/7 whole house generator by any means - but rather something that I could crank up once a day and fun for a few hours to charge batteries, keep the freezer and fridge cold, etc., ... in a pinch.

It's a single cylinder Lister Petter so the things are supposed to be ultra durable. I do not want to ask it to do something it is not meant to do. As I understand it these engines were designed specifically for the boat industry as on board generator motors but that they have been transformed and fixed to power motorcycles and small cars in Europe, among other things. I believe they are made in England, but don't quote me on that.

I mainly want something that will comfortably run my well pump plus charge some batteries in the process. I've got other generators, but I want this one to be the one that will not let me down if I do it right.
Old 02-04-2011, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gallo Pazzesco View Post
I mean, yeah, I'd like to squeeze as much juice out of it as possible. I'm not looking to make it into a 24/7 whole house generator by any means - but rather something that I could crank up once a day and fun for a few hours to charge batteries, keep the freezer and fridge cold, etc., ... in a pinch.

It's a single cylinder Lister Petter so the things are supposed to be ultra durable. I do not want to ask it to do something it is not meant to do. As I understand it these engines were designed specifically for the boat industry as on board generator motors but that they have been transformed and fixed to power motorcycles and small cars in Europe, among other things. I believe they are made in England, but don't quote me on that.

I mainly want something that will comfortably run my well pump plus charge some batteries in the process. I've got other generators, but I want this one to be the one that will not let me down if I do it right.
If you want to charge 12v batteries as well then I would add a pulley to the coupler of the generator head and use it to run a 12v one wire alternator to produce 12 volts DC as well as 120v AC. Be more efficient.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:38 PM
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I thought Lister engines were supposed to be really low RPM's like 1800 or even less...

I'd check and make sure about your 3600 RPM number because you really don't want the engine to have to run that high it will make it die quick. What you really want is the 1800 RPM diesel engine, those can literally run non-stop (only stopping for fluid changes).

You will need a belt driven generator head (or possibly you could make a pto head work) and then you will need some parts machined (a pully for a belt driven or a pto part for a pto driven).

Once you have that hooked up you will need to build a skid and probably put some casters on it so you can move it around easily and also some way to lift it. Take care when building the engine mounts, do lots of research on this to make sure you are doing it correctly.

Lastly, you will need a fuel source. When I build mine (I have a Perkins 402c engine and I'm gathering the rest of the parts) I plan on putting in at least a 100 gallon take which will be mounted on the skid along with the generator head and engine.

Why a 100 gallon tank? Simple, the local company that sells off-road diesel at the pump is $3.08; but delivered (100 gallon minimum) is only $2.88 per gallon. This is substantial savings over the $3.40 per gallon road diesel. You could probably even burn home heating oil if you can find it cheaper than off-road diesel.

Here is a link to what I want to build (I'll do it for way less than $5,300, and you will be able to as well!) http://cgi.ebay.com/Perkins-6-125-Wa...item5adecea617
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:47 PM
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Because of the low rpm's produced by the diesel, I would start working on some sort of gear drive to really help that gen. power head get going. As mentioned above, diesel engines aren't really designed for high rpm's, but they do produce plenty of torque at those low levels, unlike a gasoline unit that has to be "rapped out" to get the maximum power from it.
For wear and tear, and fuel economy reasons, you want it to run just a bit higher than "idle" speed. That way it would stay reliable. I'm sure you will find plenty of great advice on the boards, but in the end it will come down to your own individual needs. You want to be able to power all of your accessories, possibly all at once if needed, but that's it. Any more and you begin wasting resources. IMO : Get the power you need at a very low rpm, but keep the ability to run higher voltages if needed (rev it up a little). This could be easily accomplished with some pulleys or gears.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:49 PM
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I agree, if fuel efficiency is desired, the lower RPM the better.
That engine has a lot of torque, but you're going to have to figure out how to gear up to get the RPM needed for the generator.

I think you will be able to power a 3500 watt generator with that motor.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:57 PM
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If you're going to power AC appliances with the generator you need to make sure you supply them with a 60Hz signal. This means the generator will have to turn at a specific RPM.

Figure out what the normal operating speed is for the shaft of the engine and what you need for the input of the generator to be and size the pulleys to attain the desired increase or reduction in speed.

The equation for generator frequency is

RPM = (frequency * 120)/number of poles

since you'd need 60Hz you would need
1800RPM for a 4 pole generator -or-
900RPM for an 8 pole generator -or-
3600RPM for a 2 pole generator -etc-

A speed regulator would be very beneficial because you can really damage electrical equipment if don't supply it with the correct frequency.
Old 02-04-2011, 02:01 PM
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Check out this vid from Yankee Prepper for some ideas.
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:20 PM
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Hot Damn! Keep the ideas coming guys! This is exactly what I needed - I knew I would be put on the right track here. This is perfect. With enough information I might be able to design something that really does the job over the years. Something I know it built from quality parts and balanced properly.

Preacher Boy, to try to answer your question to the best of my ability, it's an AC1 and those are the specs on the plate. I did some research and the Lister Petters come in all shapes and sizes, all single cylinder diesel engines. Anywhere from like 1,800 to 5,400 rpms and up to like 8.5 hp I think. There seems to be a lot of DD1s and AD1s and AC1Ws, etc., out there, all different sizes but the same thing about all of them according to what I have read is that they are well made and long lasting.
Old 02-04-2011, 02:37 PM
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Somewhere along the line, you will have to figure out how much torque is required to spin your power head for maximum voltage. There seems to be a few folks on here that can help you with the math on this one. For me: I would get the thing up and running just for test purposes, and then play with some different ratios until I could get the power I wanted, with that engine rolling over nice and slow. If you keep the power head separate from the engine itself, with a drive system in between, your options are basically endless. But I also wouldn't be surprised if you could find a "kit" somewhere for that particular engine, with a lot of the guesswork already done for you. Plus, if it all goes to ****, you can blame the company that made it, instead of winding up in the doghouse! LOL
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:54 PM
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There is some info in this thread that I started over a year ago. If you read it you will see I know nothing (and still don't).

http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...ight=generator

However the info that ImbriD provided may be helpful regarding the RPM issue and what alternator to get:

Quote:
The second is that automobile alternators are not designed to supply large amounts of power. The average car doesn't have anything larger than a 90 amp alternator and most have smaller. Without factoring in inverter loss or power requirements from your automobile, you'd need a 250 amp alternator just to feed a 3kw inverter. Even with a modest inverter (800 to 1000 watts) your putting a serious load on your vehicle's alternator which will inturn generate even more heat potentially burning out the alternator. Alternators are not designed to be run at max or near max capacity for long periods of time.

There are larger alternators available, but that opens up an entire new can of worms because of the horsepower, belt sizes and RPM's needed for larger alternators. If you're looking for good temporary backup power, a genny is the way to go. For safety, I wouldn't go higher than about 400 watts on an inverter on an average vehicle. But then again, that depends upon what size alternator your vehicle has.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:03 PM
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I did this with a lawnmower engine and alternator. The engine was too weak and I had a lot of belt slap, but it worked.

One problem is that 6.5hp is not a lot.

I'd look at harbor freight. They have a head that they sell, but I believe it requires 20hp.

Otherwise, look at Tractor Supply or Northern Tool for a PTO head. Again, most of these will be rated for > 10hp.

You can use an alternator, but even a 200 amp will only put out 2400 watts. Then you'll have some loss when you hook up an inverter.

As far as cooling: Does it have an oil pump? If so, you can route the oil through a small radiator and that should help a lot.

Good luck.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by labotomi View Post
If you're going to power AC appliances with the generator you need to make sure you supply them with a 60Hz signal. This means the generator will have to turn at a specific RPM.

Figure out what the normal operating speed is for the shaft of the engine and what you need for the input of the generator to be and size the pulleys to attain the desired increase or reduction in speed.

The equation for generator frequency is

RPM = (frequency * 120)/number of poles

since you'd need 60Hz you would need
1800RPM for a 4 pole generator -or-
900RPM for an 8 pole generator -or-
3600RPM for a 2 pole generator -etc-

A speed regulator would be very beneficial because you can really damage electrical equipment if don't supply it with the correct frequency.
I thought that generators put out a DC signal. the inverter does all the phasing.
Old 02-04-2011, 03:39 PM
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Thanks men ... I am taking all the info y'all are providing and making notes in a book - plus reading everything else I can find in the process, so far, which is really just begun today because I've been home waiting out the rain all day.

I found a few interesting sites so far, but this one seems to be the most promising and it is making some of the things y'all have suggested sort of come together in my head:

http://members.rennlist.org/warren/generator.html

That URL seems to have a ton of information explaining things to some degree. And then the following has some stuff too but a little simpler for me ...

http://theepicenter.com/tow02077.html

I wish I could give y'all more than one , but we're limited to one per post .... just wanted to let y'all know how much I appreciate the ideas and info.
Old 02-04-2011, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name View Post
I thought that generators put out a DC signal. the inverter does all the phasing.
There are few true DC generators and they're very crude and inefficient. Just about all generators produce AC. That AC can be converted to DC by using mechanical means (commutators) or electrical means like a bridge rectifier.

If the plan is to generate DC at 12V you would be looking at over 330 amps (assuming a 4KW generator). You'd be hard pressed to find a generator rated for that.

If you produced AC at 110V it would be 36 amps and only 9 amps at 460V.
Old 02-04-2011, 04:11 PM
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Here is some technical info and my thoughts.

1 Hp = 740 watts at 100% efficiency. In the real world it takes about 2 Hp per 1,000 watts (1 Kw). To charge a battery bank you can use an alternator out of a car. If you want 120/240V ac you could get a generator from an old gas generator and adapt it to your motor. The 3600 RPM motors will wear out twice as fast as a 1800 RPM motor for the same amount of time.

If it was mine I would charge a 24V battery bank and run an inverter to power the house. I would try to lower the RPM to 1500 (adjust the governor).

Use home heating oil with diesel fuel stabilizer to keep it from jelling below 20 degrees.
Old 02-04-2011, 04:24 PM
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hook it up to a 3kw st gen head like this, using reduction pulley setup and belt to go from 3600 rpm down to 1800 that this gen head needs.



here is the ebay link


http://cgi.ebay.com/3-KW-ST-Generato...item35af56e437
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