Our recent power outage got me to dig out an old diesel powered 12 volt generator that I made and used to have on a boat. It's a true marinised diesel. Fresh/salt water heat exchanger and water cooled exhaust with a high output 120 amp alternator. Hooked it up to a hose in place of having a convenient ocean nearby and ran it to charge the trailer battery so we could use the microwave for food heating.
I don't have a Honda 2000 that just about everyone else seems to have. I hadn't bought one because for home use in a power outage it's a little too small, and no, I wouldn't buy two to parallel
. So the successful use of the 12 volt generator got me to thinking and that's not good sometimes. It means I end up making problems to solve and work to do.
So I went through my storage room, the room my wife calls my junk room and Myron would say it's a room with junk too good to throw out.
I found a 2 h.p., brand new, never run, Briggs and Stratton engine. It must be about 35 years old. Always thought that I might use it on a cement mixer or something.
Found a brand new, never used 120 amp. high output alternator with an adjustable regulator. And the aluminum and the rubber feet. So I thought I'd see if it was even feasible to use it for a battery charger, especially after heavy battery use on a cloudy day.
Did a down and dirty prototype, crude but usable. Showed that a worthwhile amount of charging can be done even with 2 h.p. Of course if you crank up the volts and try for heroic amounts of charging it will bog down. Even the 4.5 h.p. loads up a bit for heavy charging. But, it weights 30 lbs., all up, so I'll be carrying it with me on any trips where solar may not be much use. Seemed like a worthwhile little project. Total cost: nothing, everything was on hand, some of it I just had to dig for.