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Old 12-09-2019, 11:00 PM   #1
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Diesel Generator Question! Help needed!

Hey all, so I recently decided Iím going to be making biodiesel to run my Skoolie with. Since Iím already going to be using Bio to run the bus, I decided to go with a diesel generator to run my electrical as well.

Seeing as they donít sell a decent diesel generator for cheap, I decided to use a small diesel engine and use that to charge a generator head with a pulley system.

However, Iím having trouble deciding what generator head to get and Iím totally confused about how to get it to charge my battery bank and the correct way to do so.

Iíve determined my power needs to be about 500 Ah per day. (Actually 250 Ah, but I doubled the amount so as not to run the batteries past half of their capacity)

Hereís my proposed battery bank configuration:

4 6V Trojan T-105 batteries wired together in series and parallel to achieve 12v at 500ah.

Small 10 HP Diesel engine:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/411cc-10HP-Diesel-Engine-4-Stroke-Single-Cylinder-72-2mm-Shaft-Length/264181672070?_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item3d8274688 6:gMwAAOSwJXNcWbS-

Generator Head:

7200 Running watts continuous
20/30 Amp output

https://www.harborfreight.com/10000-watts-max-7200-watts-rated-belt-driven-generator-head-45416.html?cid=paid_google%7C%7C%7C45416&utm_sourc e=google&utm_medium=cpc&mkwid=s%7Cpcrid%7C38536972 1719%7Cpkw%7C%7Cpmt%7C%7Cpdv%7Cm%7Cslid%7C%7Cprodu ct%7C45416%7C&pgrid=76904975005&ptaid=pla-821401423864&pcid=6550245096&intent=&gclid=Cj0KCQi A_rfvBRCPARIsANlV66OhjlvCGu4vjoz4ZUV9cDlUFtw6THl4d MU54Pnx8uv2AYEJrXk6-5YaAvF9EALw_wcB



Will this proposed configuration work?

If not, what parts do I need to make it work?

Assuming this would work, how would I get the power created by the generator head to charge the batteries?

Iím mainly just confused about the correct way to do that.

Thereís just so much conflicting info out there.

Any help is greatly appreciated!


AND, if any of you live near Asheville, NC and are interested in running your bus on Biodiesel as well, send me a message and letís talk!
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:27 PM   #2
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I used to read a blog by a guy who would charge a big deep cycle battery bank using a 10hp Diesel engine and a old style external regulated Motorcraft 100 amp alternator running at full field (no regulator needed). He would charge for a hour or so then top up with solar energy. He ran it this way for years.
A single belt is questionable over 100 amps. The alternator gets ok cooling out in the open air. If it starts to get hot consider putting a electric fan on it.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:06 PM   #3
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I have one of those generator heads, they do work good. I had one connected to a 12hp diesel, and the other connected to a 23hp diesel. The 23hp is because I had the engine. The 12hp would run it just fine. If you use the harbor freight generator then you would need a battery charger to charge the batteries, however then you also have power to run directly things like a/c. RV 's often have built in chargers, I would look into those as a start.

If ALL you want is to charge batteries then a 12 volt alternator makes more sense.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:07 PM   #4
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oh by the way I did veggie for many years
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:42 AM   #5
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I have one of those generator heads, they do work good. I had one connected to a 12hp diesel, and the other connected to a 23hp diesel. The 23hp is because I had the engine. The 12hp would run it just fine. If you use the harbor freight generator then you would need a battery charger to charge the batteries, however then you also have power to run directly things like a/c. RV 's often have built in chargers, I would look into those as a start.

If ALL you want is to charge batteries then a 12 volt alternator makes more sense.

Really the main goal is to just charge the battery bank as quickly and efficiently as possible. The alternator idea seems very appealing compared to the generator head. Alternators are much cheaper!!

Can you/anyone recommend a good alternator to use with this setup?

And what exactly would I need to put between the alternator and battery bank. Any kind of voltage regulator? Trying to be extra cautious here!

Anytime I google “battery charger” all that comes up are those 12V backup battery chargers you’d use to recharge a dead car battery. I don’t assume that’s what you mean when you say “charger.”

From here, I essentially just need to know what the wiring would look like between the alternator and battery bank, and what, if anything else, I would need to purchase to make this work.

Thanks to all.
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Old 12-12-2019, 06:41 AM   #6
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If you Google charge controller instead I think that'll help. You'll need that and a fuse at the least.
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Old 12-12-2019, 07:16 AM   #7
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The battery chargers I am thinking of are permanently mounted and are meant to charge either from shore power or generator power, and are specific to RV's. Boats also use them but are marine grade and pricey.

When I am driving I let the alternator charge the batteries, and have solar (400 watts) for when not moving. This has worked really well for me. I do not have anything between the alternator and batteries like a charge controller. After all an alternator has a regulater in it, at least most modern ones do.
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Old 12-12-2019, 09:29 AM   #8
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I also charge directly from my alternator by connecting my house and start banks together with a marine battery bank switch. I rarely need to use it but when i do it works just fine, and also allows you to charge your start batteries from solar if you find yourself in a pickle.

But if you're not driving, you'll use a lot less fuel on a 10hp diesel engine doing a similar job!
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:51 AM   #9
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I've got a diesel generator under my bus that I've built using parts from an auxiliary power unit off of a semi truck.

First thing that comes to mind with your idea is that the engine you've selected is going to be noisy as all get out, likely more noisy then most gas generators.

Some suggested that you search for a DC alternator instead of an AC generator. It's a great suggestion, but you'll likely not find anything cheap like that harbor freight unit. Maybe you could go to the junkyard and find a couple large capacity alternators. Some school busses and fire trucks used a self regulated delco remy unit that made about 500 amps that would be sufficient. You'll likely have to use either 2 v belts or a large serpentine belt in this scenario.

If it was me though, I'd look for online for something that was military surplus. The military used a variety of DC generators that you can find usually for pretty cheap. They used them to charge 24v systems so I think they are rated at 28 volts. If you're still in the design stage of your battery bank, you can make it work as is. Or maybe you can google to see if the output voltage can be modified.

Here is one that I'm talking about for auction out in california.

https://www.govplanet.com/for-sale/G...rm=&pnLink=yes

This will likely be more reliable then what you're looking to build and it requires no engineering or fabrication.

This particular design won't be exactly quiet, but they do use other designs that are more suitable, and some have a higher power rating to as much as 10kw.

I don't think you'll need 10kw to charge your batteries, but only you can determine that with an energy audit.
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Old 12-12-2019, 12:17 PM   #10
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I believe PNW_Steve has one of those military 24v generators and decided against using it after hearing it run.

I've ranted about it elsewhere but if you're planning to use your bus in a recreational setting where you have neighbors within earshot, you're going to make a lot of enemies if you don't have a quiet inverter generator. This includes parking lots!
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:19 PM   #11
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I helped design and test that exact generator in the gov planet auction. I used to work at that company. It is a great generator but yes those yanmars are horrifically loud.
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Old 12-12-2019, 03:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silvermachine View Post
Really the main goal is to just charge the battery bank as quickly and efficiently as possible. The alternator idea seems very appealing compared to the generator head. Alternators are much cheaper!!

Can you/anyone recommend a good alternator to use with this setup?

And what exactly would I need to put between the alternator and battery bank. Any kind of voltage regulator? Trying to be extra cautious here!

Anytime I google ďbattery chargerĒ all that comes up are those 12V backup battery chargers youíd use to recharge a dead car battery. I donít assume thatís what you mean when you say ďcharger.Ē

From here, I essentially just need to know what the wiring would look like between the alternator and battery bank, and what, if anything else, I would need to purchase to make this work.

Thanks to all.
I know you are asking about a generator, however have you given any thought to solar? at least as the primary source?

I know a small diesel engine and an alternator is appealing from a cost stand point, and will work well, but noise will be the problem. Not something I thought of at first, but I can tell you even a quiet generator can be bothersome unless a/c or something makes more noise then the generator.
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Old 12-12-2019, 05:11 PM   #13
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The Harbour Freight Predator 3500W inverter generator is a nice little unit that I am currently using to power my tools for the conversion. When it's done I'll have a nice space under the bus to use it on the road.

My immediate plan won't be solar since I plan on the bus being plugged into shore power 99% of the time. On short day trips I can run the generator and use a battery bank and a 2500w Tripplite inverter to give it a break or when I don't need AC.
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Old 12-12-2019, 06:27 PM   #14
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The Harbour Freight Predator 3500W inverter generator is a nice little unit that I am currently using to power my tools for the conversion. When it's done I'll have a nice space under the bus to use it on the road.

My immediate plan won't be solar since I plan on the bus being plugged into shore power 99% of the time. On short day trips I can run the generator and use a battery bank and a 2500w Tripplite inverter to give it a break or when I don't need AC.
I decided to post the Onan Genset4000 for sale and get the Predator since it was on sale for $690. I'd rather have the portability than permanent mount on a slide I would have to cut out the bottom of the slide and the bottom of the storage bin to allow clearance for the low hanging muffler.
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Old 12-12-2019, 07:04 PM   #15
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I decided to post the Onan Genset4000 for sale and get the Predator since it was on sale for $690. I'd rather have the portability than permanent mount on a slide I would have to cut out the bottom of the slide and the bottom of the storage bin to allow clearance for the low hanging muffler.
Where is it posted? I looked in the classified and did not see it. What do you want for it? The Onan that is.
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Old 12-12-2019, 07:09 PM   #16
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I have a Yanmar powered 24 volt DC generator that I had planned to install. It was going to be installed in the engine compartment. That would put it right under me bed.

I am having second thoughts. I am either going to find space under the front of the bus or go with an quiet inverter generator in the engine compartment. It's just a bit too loud to be under my bed
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Old 12-12-2019, 07:38 PM   #17
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Where is it posted? I looked in the classified and did not see it. What do you want for it? The Onan that is.
I put it on CL here in Atl. Asking $595, that price gets you the new 25' harness and remote start switch and hour meter (348hrs).

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/f...037424876.html

Got 2 hits off CL within 30 minutes of posting it there.
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:11 PM   #18
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I hope it runs for that kinda coin.
What's it sound like marc?


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Old 12-13-2019, 01:58 AM   #19
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Kinda curious, has anyone taken a diesel out of a car and plumbed it up as a HVAC unit and a generator?
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Old 12-13-2019, 06:33 AM   #20
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Kinda curious, has anyone taken a diesel out of a car and plumbed it up as a HVAC unit and a generator?
Basically this would be like a Thermo king refridgeration unit? I have an undermount unit in a railcar and prefer not to use it because of noise and vibration. 5 rooftop rv a/c units do just as well without the vibration, and less noise.
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