Category Archives: House

Everything pertaining to my house and yard projects.

Solar Update 12-30-2016 Mower to Generator Conversion

Almost the end of the year and looking back on the progress of my solar setup over the year I think it turned out pretty good.

I’m at 900 watts total power and I’m producing around 2 kw a day with that which isn’t to bad.

Most of the 110 volt needs are met with solar now. I still have to purchase a 220 volt inverter to handle the 220 volt appliances. That will happen later in the coming year.

I will be adding a section on my new generator solution for charging my batteries. Most people use a gas generator to power their home when their batteries are low from bad weather and general heavy clouds. I own a gas generator with the idea of using it as a back in the same situation. But this struck me as kind of a stupid way of handling the issue when you think about it.

The norm is to make AC power with a gas generator to supply your AC needs during cloudy or bad weather and then use that same generator to run an AC battery charger to charge the DC batteries. Not only does this not work that well it makes you go through gas very fast.

My solution? Simple. Don’t use the AC generator at all. I don’t need AC anyway. I need DC to charge the batteries. I already have inverters that are far more efficient than a gas generator so I just need my batteries charged. So all I need is an alternator like a car has to charge my batteries back up in the event of clouds or bad weather. So I took an old mower I had that the deck had rusted out.

I think you will have to agree its yard mowing days were over without a new $700 deck and it was cheaper to just by a new mower when all was said and done.

I removed the deck and I’m in the process of mounting a 24 volt 100 amp alternator where the deck was. Presto killer power to charge the battery banks back up.

Also it will use far less gas running the 15.5 hp riding mower vs the 6 hp gas generator.

That may not make much sense at first but you have to take into account the mower is basically idling since the alternator is run thru a belt on pulleys and the generator is direct drive so the motor has to spin at whatever rpm is required to make 110 volts. An alternator will make power from 800 rpm on up easily but the generator has to spin at 3600 rpm to make 110 volts.

So even though the mower has a larger displacement engine on it the gas generator is using a ton more gas because its having to spin so much faster.

I will have a howto page on the conversion soon showing how I did it and how my inverter will crank the mower when the batteries need recharging without me even being here.

It sure is nice DRIVING my generator to the battery bank now and charging them up vs lugging that AC generator around by hand.

Not to mention DRIVING it back out of the way when I’m done with it. But I actually have setup a spot beside the battery bank in the last few days so it can be remote started and stay connected.

Well here’s wishing everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

See you in 2017 !


Solar Power

Well I haven’t posted much lately from lack of free time. I kind of went overboard playing with solar power.

What started out as a simple method of charging my cars and trucks that I don’t drive that much turned into powering my home with solar power.

I’m going to add a section on the site covering my solar endeavors shortly.

Well that’s all for now.