This is a 500 watt power generator big enough to power tools, and home electronics. If you try plugging in kitchen appliances, heaters, window AC units etc....it will shut down, you need a 2k-3k watt power converter for large power comsumption appliances..
It's not difficult to build this project, if you know how to wrench things apart and have a basic understanding of how things work with engines and electrical components then you'll do just fine. If you want to save money on the build, go to junkyards, recycling centers, and landfills which is where I got most of the parts. You'll be surprised the stuff you can find for pennies or better yet FREE. I spent $40 for all the parts needed for this project.
There are a few optional parts not needed to run this little power jewel. The lawnmower tires, enclosure, vehicle battery, handle, voltage meter, 120VAC outlet, light, and on/off switch for light. I decided to go all out with this one by adding all those extra features, just took me longer to make, 3 months exactly. A schematic diagram will show how to wire everything up. The AC outlet you see on the panel is tapping from the power converter which already has AC outlets. I just wanted to make an extension of it so I wouldn't reach around the back to plug in things....
Step 1: Parts, Where, Tools, How Much$$
Here are some links for the power tools I used.....http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00921914000P?blockNo=2&blockType=G2&prdNo=2&i_cntr=1292168781911, http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00928223000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1, http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00911543000P?prdNo=10&blockNo=10&blockType=G10, (1) WOODEN or METAL platform- Helps bolt down the Alternator, Engine, and DC to AC power converter. I used aluminum sheet metal with L-frame bars for a sturdy frame. Got the sheet metal and L-bars for FREE from recycling center. I used a JIGSAW with a metal cutting blade to get the job done easy.(NOTE)..Do Not Try Using the jigsaw to cut IRON or STEEL...The blade will kick back and will break sending pieces flying...If you have better cutting tools for that kind of material then by all means use it.
Other tools include a drill press, vise grip, portable hand held drill, hacksaw, and a hand held file. If you have better tools to get the job done quicker and safer don't hesitate....It took me three months to build the crazy thing, and a few busted knuckles.
The platform size varies with how many components you want to throw on it, the one I made is a 2'x3' with a top shelf to hold vehicle battery. more details about that later.
(2) LAWNMOWER ENGINE- Vertical or Horizontal, 3.5HP or bigger. I got it for FREE from landfill (vertical shaft) with a key way slot, or you can buy a new one for $100+....
(3) ALTERNATOR- It's a delco part# CTBBB-7127-12 rebuilt, with internal voltage regulator, 65amp, two wire connector harness. paid $23, auto parts store. This is the heart of the system, I recommend using this one, it's simple to setup and comes with an internal voltage regulator.
(4) DC to AC POWER CONVERTER- The one I used is a 500 watt converter, got for FREE from recycling center. The bigger the better, pure sine wave is the best.
(5) VARIABLE RESISTOR- Also know as a Rotory Switch or POT. You can get one from an auto junkyard for $2... look for an older vehicle, 70's through late 80's any model, also known as a light dimmer switch or dashboard, panel lights dimmer....you just turn the knob in one direction and the lights dim or brighten....you need a 2 wire pin switch....this part is used to control the amps coming from the alternator.....
(6) ON/OFF Switch- There are a few different kinds...rotory, toggle, rocker, and push. I used a toggle with a built in green light.
(7) PULLEY- 3" or 4" diameter, IRON or STEEL, $3 from junkyard, Make sure it has a key way to help prevent it from slipping on the engine shaft. (NOTE) make sure the pulley is equal the weight of the cutting blade or greater, if not the engine will not hold it's spin cycle. Got mine for FREE from recycling center.
(8) BELT- $12 at lawnmower repair shop or auto parts store. If you want cheap try the landfill which I got from, or recycling center, auto junkyard or neighbor throwing it away. I recommend a belt from a self propelled lawnmower, makes a perfect fit.....which I used on this project.
(9) BOLTS with NUTS & WASHERS- Paid $12 for nuts, bolts, and washers from home depot. Try to get rust proof hardware.
Other parts are optional like the voltage meter, light, on/off toggle switch for light, and extra 120VAC outlet, which are not required to operate a fully functional generator.