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The Emergency Preparedness
Tip o'da Week

More Generator Projects

The material presented on this page is intended to start you thinking about what you can do today that might someday save your life. If nothing else, our "Tip o' da Week" might just make your life a bit easier when a disaster strikes. We do not present topics that cost a lot of money (like structure reinforcement.) These are "do it yourself" projects and are relatively inexpensive.


FireBox stove in use with fire powered pan charger - Hatsuden Nabe

Introducing the Hatsuden Nabe

The Fire-Powered USB Thermoelectric Generator and the Firebox Folding Stove

Google
 

More Homemade Generator Projects

-- See More Tips --


Dual alternator set up

Here is a strange project that comes in response to a customer request.

Q:   Is it possible to run two alternators off the same engine?

Q:   Yes and no.

The question comes up most of the time from folks who want more DC power than a single alternator can provide, and they hope to combine the outputs of the alternators.  Not a good idea folks!  The alternators we recommend have an internal voltage regulator and need to "sense" the commanded voltage at the battery to determine if the voltage is too low or two high in order to control the charge output.  The only possible way to use two alternators would be to connect the alternator outputs to separate and isolated battery banks for charging and then combine the banks when it's time to withdraw power through high power diodes.

However, several customers have had special requirements for running alternators of different voltages to different battery banks, also of different voltages.

Take the situation above for example:

Shown here is a special configuration we helped a customer define who wanted a 12 volt alternator and a 24 volt alternator to be driven from the same 5 HP engine.  The motor was a 5 HP OHV Tecumseh and two brackets: the standard horizontal shaft version to the right, and a special shorter version of the bracket to the left.  (The short bracket is not available at this time but 2 long ones can be used instead.) The alternator to the right is our standard 7127, 63 amp 12 volt internally regulated alternator.  The alternator to the left is a specially configured internally regulated 24 volt version of the same alternator but with a dual pulley installed to make one of the extra slots line up with the extra pulley on the motor.  Combined with a dual pulley installed on the motor (two of our standard 4" pulleys) and two brackets, and one each of the 30" and 37" belts offer, the system allowed the use of two alternators being driven by the same engine!  (If you were to use two of the long brackets you would need 2 of the 37" belts.)

Pretty cool!


A Poor Man's (or resourceful man's) AC powered DC Battery Charger!

One day, I realized that one of my Jaguar E-type's down at the warehouse had a low battery from being left in storage.  And as luck would have it, I had taken the big battery charger home and there was no way to charge the battery in the old cat.  It was a slow day here at TheEpicenter.com, so I had a few hours to come up with a makeshift battery charger that turned out to be so useful, I thought I would share the idea with our visitors!

For some time now we have been developing gas powered DC charging systems with great success, and have even been offering components for folks to be able to build their own.  What I really needed was something I could just plug into the wall to charge a battery in a car that was buried deep in the back of the warehouse and to avoid fumes from an engine.  What I came up with that day was a battery charger made from a 1 HP AC motor and a car alternator!  Yes, having one of Epicenter's generator brackets made it come together in no time.  As luck would have it, we had a few special brackets that have a bolt pattern that fits a wider range of motors, and it came really close to fitting the bolt pattern of the front of the AC motor.  In a few minutes with a file, the pattern was adapted and presto. The short version of the bracket shown is not available at this time, but our longer version could be used but you would have to drill your own holes to adapt the bracket to the AC motor.

AC motor, GM alternator, pulley, belt and one of our brackets!

Take an AC motor, 1 HP or larger, an industrial "A" belt, a pulley, an alternator and one of our brackets and you have a quick and easy to put together battery charger!


Direct drive propane system The ultimate DC charging system!
Direct Drive, and Propane powered.

Here is an awesome project we did for one of our long time customers.

Please note that we no longer offer propane conversions. Do not call TheEpicenter.com about propane conversions! Call U.S. Carburation regarding propane conversion kits: 1-800-553-5608

But the brackets and drive couplers are available at TheEpicenter.com!

In this project, the customer wanted to direct drive an alternator to a 5 HP motor.  This was not a simple task.  The first thing that was required was to have custom direct drive couplers made that would take the place of the pulley and nut on the front of a standard alternator.

Notes on the drive coupler:

Direct drive couplerTo do this, a standard coupler was bored out and threaded with the correct threads to fit the alternator (we had to have a custom tap made at a die and tool company at a cost of several hundred dollars).  Then we had to counter bore the adapter to fit the non threaded section of the alternator shaft.  Man, kind of expensive.  But the cool thing is we had many extras made and can offer them to our customers.  (Note that this adapter only fits GM small frame alternators like the ones we sell.)

To complete the coupler, you then select the size that fits your motor shaft.   The combination of the special alternator coupler, a rubber spider (shown above), and the motor shaft coupler works to transfer rotational energy from the motor to the alternator shaft.

Direct Drive Mounting Assembly

Direct drive mounting assemblyThe next thing to do was to come up with a way to mount the direct drive system to the engine.  Not an easy task to say the least.  To make a long story short, we needed two plates.  Shown here is the complete assembly.  One plate had to mount to the engine (the plate on the bottom). That plate has mounting slots such that it can fit all engines with bolt circles smaller or equal to 7.5 inches.  This covers everything from 3 HP to 20 HP.

Now, here is the trick.  Notice from the picture that there are spacers and bolts connecting the two plates.  Well, nuts had to be welded to the side of the motor plate that faces away from the motor.  This was done so that the surface of the plate that touches the motor could be free of obstructions.  The spacer tubes then need to be large enough in diameter that they can sit over the nuts (the nuts sit inside the tubes).  In the example shown, we used square tube for the spacers but we have also used 3/4 electrical conduit for the spacers. The length of the bolts and the length of the spacers must be determined at the time of assembly; knowing the exact length of the motor shaft is crucial to make certain the bolts are long enough to go through the spacers into the welded nuts without being so long that they go through the nuts and touch the engine case.  The length of the spacers is also critical in setting the space between the shaft couplers for the rubber spider.

Note that we do have a limited production run of these bracket sets available but you will need to determine the length of, and make your own spacers and get your own bolts.  The brackets do have the nuts welded in place for you.

Pressure washer cart used to mount it!

Direct drive systemThe last task is to come up with a way to mount the system. What we used was a pressure washer cart. One thing to note: This is a charging system and not a generator.  So, it has to be connected to a battery to make a complete system.  Connect a DC to AC power inverter and you can then get AC out of the system, but the battery is not shown.

I guess someone could make brackets to hand a battery off the back of this to make it a more complete system, but the intent of this project was to be able to have a very mobile charging system to charge batteries at a stationary location (not to carry the batteries with the system).

Now some final notes on the direct drive model. Use a 94 amp alternator. At idle (about 1700 RPM) the alternator is able to output about 20 amps. Crank up the RPM to full throttle (3600 RPM) and it will do about 70 amps. Our first attempt was with a 63 amp alternator and the 5 HP motor was happy to keep running even as we overloaded the alternator and smoked the diodes. So, use a 94 amp alternator and you will have a bit of reserve at 3600 RPM (to put out more than 70 amps the alternator would actually need to turn faster than the motor can go so it's like having a built in safety governor).


An improved mounting scheme.

bracket mounted on cartYou might also remember that our first project mounted the motor and other items on a plywood base.  Shown here, the motor can also be mounted to a pressure washer cart like the direct drive project above.  The downside of this configuration is that the pressure washer cart does not have holes drilled for mounting the motor with the shaft out the side, just front and back.  Drilling a few holes is a small price to pay for a quick and easy cart though.


DC to AC power inverterThe addition of a DC to AC power converter allows 120 Volt AC devices  to be powered by the batteries the system can charge. These converters are available in sizes from 140 Watts to 2500  watts from our power related page.

DC to AC power inverters are available through these pages.

Thermoelectric USB Generators, DC to AC Power Inverters Converters, Power Adapters, 12-Volt Solar Panel Battery Chargers, Emergency Power Sources, Gas Diesel Fuel Stabilizer Treatment, Emergency Radios, Alternative Energy PowerDC to AC Power Inverters Converters, Universal DC Adapters


Wiring it up:

Wiring diagram for GM alternators

The wiring depends on which alternator you choose. All three alternator types are shown.

Do not wire the alternator unless you are sure about what type you are using. If you make a mistake in the selection of the alternator or wiring diagram you run a very high risk of damaging your battery, electronic devices, or worse yet causing personal injury! Consult a parts professional for additional information!

This Tip o'da Week is intended for educational purposes only. No guarantees are expressed or implied as to the accuracy of information presented here! Consult with an automotive wiring expert before attempting to carry out any wiring.

One final note:

If you are using an alternator that requires an external switch, you will need to turn off the switch prior to attempting to start the generator. Once the motor is running, the switch can be set to the on position.

SPECIAL PARTS
used in many of our power-related tips

Universal Generator Bracket

Two versions of our Horizontal Generator BracketHorizontal Shaft Generator Bracket

Now several versions of our famous Universal Generator Bracket
You can now build your own AC / DC generator!

A unique bracket that mounts a GM 10si alternator to a horizontal shaft gas engine. The simple way to build your own generator!  Add a DC to AC power converter, and you have a super high output DC charging system, as well as an AC generator. Be aware, you must have a battery hooked up to the alternator, or you will damage the internal voltage regulator.

We have designed and manufactured a simple, one piece universal mounting bracket specifically for this task! This bracket bolts to the motor (using a universal bolt pattern), and allows the alternator to bolt directly to the bracket. The bracket also has an integral belt adjustment slot which allows the alternator position to be adjusted, which serves to tension the belt.

We now have 2 versions of our bracket. The long one is the one we have been selling for years. The short version is a new one that is intended for applications when you want a more compact system, and have an engine with no obstructions on one side. These brackets are designed for the small footprint GM 10SI Alternator. Larger alternators will not fit!

Dimensions for Long version:

Dimensions for Short version:

See our "Tip O'da Week" on the subject.

Horizontal Shaft Generator Bracket

Short Version mounted on a Tecumseh OHV Engine

.

Long Version mounted on a Tecumseh OHV Engine

Short version mounted at 45 degree angleShort version mounted on OHV engine
.
Long version mounted on OHV

Bare Steel Universal Horizontal Shaft Generator Bracket, SHORT Version Price: $24.95

Black Powder Coated Universal Horizontal Shaft Generator Bracket, SHORT VersionPrice: $29.95

28" belt (for the SHORT version of the bracket).  Price: $9.00
(Use with our 4" pulley on motor and standard 2.5" alternator pulley

4" Pulley for 3/4" engine shaft. Price: $14.95


.
Bare Steel Universal Horizontal Shaft Generator Bracket, LONG VersionPrice: $24.95

37" Belt (for the LONG version of the bracket).  Price: $9.00

4" Pulley for 3/4" engine shaft.  Price: $14.95

Alternators Pulleys and Belts

A Note About Alternator Pulleys and Belts

The normal 2.5" pulley (shown here) on a GM 10si alternator is a 3/8" automotive pitch belt. You will not be able to find a 3/8" automotive pitch pulley to go on your engine. The only commonly available pulleys available in standard engine shaft diameters that have key ways are Industrial "A" style models. These require Industrial "A" style belts.

The pulleys and belts we sell to go on the engine are industrial "A" style, 1/2 inch wide. Although the combination of automotive and Industrial "A" style belts is not the ideal solution, it works well for most customers and is the least expensive option. The belt rides a little higher in the alternator pulley, and at the correct depth on the engine pulley. Extreme power users may experience some belt wear, especially if the belt is not tight, or if the pulleys are misaligned even to a slight degree because of the reduced contact area between the alternator pulley and belt side.

There is a better solution! The Special Industrial "A" Belt Pulley for GM 10si Alternator

We are now offering a special 2.5" Industrial "A" style pulley that fits the GM 10si alternator. These will fit any of the alternators we sell, and we will even install it for you at no cost by request. Shown here is the same belt as it would fit our new special alternator pulley. So, for people who plan to run their systems near capacity for extended periods of time, we recommend replacing the standard pulley on the alternator with one of ours.

If you already have your own alternator, or did not buy it from us, we can not guarantee this will fit your alternator. Please look very closly at the diagram for measurements. You may return it if it doesn't work out, but you will be responsable for shipping costs BOTH ways which may be more then the cost of the pulley.

Special Industrial "A" Belt Pulley for the GM 10si Alternator


Special Pulley for Alternator, 2.5 inch,  "A" style industrialPrice: $19.95
Install this pulley to any alternator purchased on this order. ($2.50 installation fee)

Alternator Direction and Fans

10si and 12si stock fansStock Fans

Stock Fans for 10si (shown at left in photo above) and 12si alternators (shown on right in photo above). The above photo shows stock fans for the 10SI alternators (like the 63 amp model) and the 12SI alternators.

Most asked questions:

Q:  Doesn't the alternator run backwards?

A:  Yes, in several of these projects the alternator turns in the opposite direction. An alternator will function in either direction.

Q:  Is cooling an issue when the fan runs in the wrong direction?

A:  In most situations, no. The fan still functions but at reduced efficiency. The alternators in our projects are bolted to a metal mounting plate which acts as a large heat sink. We do offer a special bi-directional fan that can be used in place of the stock fan. This fan is as efficient when rotated in either direction.

Q:  Where can I find a reverse fan?

A:  A bi-directional fan is available from us. For a true reverse direction fan you will find them used on '65-'69 Corvairs. But the Corvair fans have an integral pulley which can not be removed and is not the ideal diameter.

Bi-directional fan for 10si and 12si alternatorBi-directional Fans for use with our alternators

Photo above: (back face on left, front face on right)

These fans fit the 10SI and 12SI alternators we sell. If you already have an alternator, we can not guarantee these will fit. They will only fit if the existing fan has a dish in the center, and the dish points toward the alternator. See the above pictures.

Bi-directional Fan for GM 10SI or GM 12SI AlternatorPrice: $24.75
Install this pulley to any alternator purchased on this order. ($2.50 installation fee)

Vertical Shaft Generator Bracket

Mounting bracket for home made generatorVertical Shaft Generator Bracket

Now build a generator from a common-style lawn mower engine with our new Vertical Shaft Generator Bracket!

Universal mounting pattern fits all lawn mower engines. Same integral belt adjustment slot and alternator mounting provisions as our horizontal design.

(Bracket allows you to mount alternator as in the photo below):

Build a generator from a lawn mower engine.See our "Tip O'da Week" on the subject.

Dimensions for Vertical Bracket:

Bare Steel Vertical Shaft Mounting BracketPrice $29.95
Black Powder Coated Vertical Shaft Mounting BracketPrice $38.95
2.5" Pulley for engine, 2 1/2" cast iron, 3/16" key way, 7/8" shaft, "A" style industrial.  Price: $19.95
30" Belt for vertical shaft bracket and pulley above, "A" style industrial.  Price $9.00

Alternators - Regulators

Delco-Remy Alternator.Alternators and Regulators

For use with any of our generator projects.

Sold outright! No core charge!
All alternators are remanufactured  with new brushes and bearings, right here in Eugene, Oregon.

If you plan to run your system near capacity for extended periods of time, we recommend replacing the standard pulley on the alternator with one of our special Industrial "A" belt alternator pulleys above.

Be aware, you must have a battery hooked up to an alternator or you will damage the internal voltage regulator if you try to rotate it at normal RPMs.

Model 7122, 63 Amp - External regulator typePrice $49.95
Model 11710, External voltage regulator for 7122 alternatorsPrice $27.50
Wiring Plug for 7122 (you provide switch)Price $5.50

Model 7127, 63 Amp - Internal regulator type, 12 volt. External switch requiredPrice $71.95 (RECOMMENDED MODEL)  (Also see wiring plug below)
Model 7294, 94 Amp - Internal regulator type, 12 volt. External switch requiredPrice $102.95
Wiring plug for 7127, 7294 alternators (you provide switch)Price $5.50

Model 7127X, 63 amp - Single wire, internal regulator type, 12 voltPrice $75.95
Model 7294X, 94 Amp - Single wire, internal regulator type, 12 voltPrice $128.95

DIRECT DRIVE SYSTEMS

Direct Drive Generators

Q:  How do you direct drive a generator head with an engine?

A:  Direct drive shaft coupler assembly.

To connect the output shaft of an engine to a generator head input shaft (or anything else for that matter), a special shaft coupler is required. Basically, three pieces are needed.

Select a coupler half that is the correct size to fit the engine shaft (or driving shaft size), then select a coupler half that is the correct size for the generator head (or driven shaft size). Then the two shaft couplers are joined using what is called a spider. Notice that the shaft couplers each have 3 fingers and the spider has 6 slots. The three fingers from the engine side fit into three of the spider slots, and the three fingers from the generator side coupler fit into the other three slots on the spider. This coupler assembly allows for several degrees of misalignment between the two shafts and protect the bearings from seeing side loads that would result from misalignment.

These couplers are available in several sizes, but we have marked the ones that are needed for our projects:


Special Direct Drive Alternator Coupler

This coupler is custom machined to replace the nut, lock washer and pulley on a standard GM 10si alternator.With this, and our direct drive bracket set you can build an untra compact and reliable charging system with no belts to wear out.

Installing our custom direct drive alternator coupler.

We have had a few customers ask for the easy way is to install our custom direct drive alternator coupler. First you have to remove the nut, lock washer and pulley from the alternator. The only practical way is to block the fan on top of a piece of wood, and use an air impact wrench on the nut. If you don't have one, take your alternator to any shop and pay them a few dollars to do it for you.

Now, to install our alternator coupler you will need an allen wrench to fit the end of your alternator shaft, and a second one goes across 2 of the ears. Hold the shaft in position with the center allen wrench, and turn the coupler with the other wrench as shown.

Direct drive alternator mounting assembly.

Direct drive system The next thing need is a way to mount the direct drive system to the engine. Shown here is the complete assembly. Note that we do not sell completed assemblies, just the two plates. The engine plate has mounting slots such that it can fit all engines with bolt circles smaller or equal to 7.5 inches. This covers everything from 3 HP to 20 HP. The plate with the large hole is where the alternator mounts.

Direct drive mounting assemblyNotice from the picture on the right that there are spacers and bolts connecting the two plates. We do not provide the bolts or spacer tubes. The engine plate comes with nuts pre-welded to the side of the plate that faces away from the engine. This is done so that the surface of the plate that touches the motor is free of obstructions.; The spacer tubes need to be large enough in diameter that they can sit over the nuts (the nuts sit inside the tubes). In the example shown, we used square tube for the spacers but we have also used 3/4 electrical conduit for the spacers. The length of the bolts and the length of the spacers must be determined at the time of assembly and are not provided.

Bare Steel Direct Drive Bracket SetPrice: $34.95
Black Powder Coated Direct Drive Bracket SetPrice: $55.95
Stainless Steel Direct Drive Bracket SetPrice: $65.95

1/2" Direct Drive CouplerPrice $18.50
5/8" Direct Drive CouplerPrice $18.50
3/4" Direct Drive Coupler (most 5 HP and smaller horizontal shaft motors).  Price $18.50
7/8" Direct Drive Coupler (use with most vertical shaft motors).  Price $18.50
1" Direct Drive Coupler (use with 8 HP horizontal motors and others).  Price $18.50

Spider for all couplersPrice $7.85  ONE SPIDER REQUIRED FOR EACH PAIR OF DRIVE COUPLERS.

Modified Coupler - Special-threaded and Counter Bored for GM Alternators. Custom made to direct drive GM alternators with gas enginePrice $33.50
Install this the above coupler to any alternator purchased on this order. ($5.00 installation fee)


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