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Anyone ever use their truck as a generator?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Pookster, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    And I mean above and beyond just slapping a inverter on the battery.

    I was looking at the prices of generator, they are kinda high- While smalle 2kw-2.5kw units can be had for under 500, it seems rediculous to run such a thing when their use is limited to only "certain occassions".
    The larger 10kw units all require about 20hp engines to drive them.


    So.. i was thinking... have they ever made a PTO generator?
    Not that I have a PTO mount, but I can think of a few possibilities to drive a generator head.

    I dont think Belts could handle 20hp worth of strain. Unless they were geared like supercharger belts.

    I thought drive shaft, which would make sense, except that I dont like the idea of having to deal with taking on and off a shaft, and deal with impending u-joint angle issues.

    Thought of using a drive wheel, but if you use the rear , and you have limited slip/locker, your just waisting energy, and if you use the front, then you still wasting the rear.

    So if you happen to be lucky enough to have a PTO, I guess this idea might work.

    Anyone have any ideas how much HP can be used through a serpentine or V-belt?

    Anyone have any other ideas?
     
  2. justhorsinaround

    justhorsinaround 3/4 ton status

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    For what it's worth a guy I know who has solar and wind generated power for his house has an old Hyundai as a backup. If it ain't sunny outside and the wind is nonexistant he fires up the Hyundai to recharge the house batteries.

    Just one more bit of relatively useless knowledge that runs around in my head.

    Good luck to y'all in the future.

    Allan
     
  3. CyberSniper

    CyberSniper 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    You can pick up a 10kw continuous/15kw peak generator for a few hundred bucks from the typical sources like Northern Hydraulic and Harbor Freight.

    My Dad bought one. He hooked up a 550cc(?) Kawasaki liquid cooled motor to it. He has about $1000 tied up in it total. He bought it back before the Year 2000 thing. It's enough to run the entire house on it. We just don't run the well, range, furnace, and water heater at the same time because if they all run at the same time it is beyond the rated capacity of the generator. Plus, if two turn on at the same time it makes the motor work really hard.

    The problem I foresee with you running it off your truck is that the generator requires 3600rpm. You'd go through gas really fast at 3600rpm.
     
  4. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    Thats what underdrive/overdrive pulleys are for. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    it would only take a 5:1 reduction to take a 700RPM idle to 3500 RPM. I dont know the EXACT specs of a standard SBC, but I know the alternator pulley is significantly smaller than the pulley on the main crank.

    Again, the whole point was not to have too much money tied up on a generator. Im still interested in ideas , though i gotta look more closely at harbor freight.
     
  5. camiswelding

    camiswelding 1/2 ton status

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    PTO generators are common around the ranch... usually hooked up to the tractor.. but truck pto would work fine
    northern etc has them... but youre burning v8 power and thats prett inefficent unless its just for short periods
     
  6. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    We put big generators like that in Rescue trucks. Some of them PTO driven ones are as big as a small block chevy.
     
  7. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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  8. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    I guess you could modify an alternator or use one of those underhood welders to create 110VAC. The engine speed dictates the frequency, so you would have to set up the pulleys to give you 60Hz at a reasonable engine rpm. You would have to vary the field current to regulate the output voltage.

    I think 20hp through a belt drive could be done. A ribbed belt or double V-belt might work. I've heard that AC compressors can take up to 20hp at higher rpms.

    I wouldn't want a generator underneath the vehicle for driving around, but the PTO might work if you mount the generator to the front bumper like a PTO winch.

    Another idea I considered instead of a generator is to buy a big power inverter and some marine batteries. You trickle charge the batteries off 110VAC when the power is on and when the power is out, you connect the batteries to your truck with jumper cables to recharge them. I never ran the numbers, though to see how big of an inverter or how many batteries would make it work.
     
  9. blasterD

    blasterD 1/2 ton status

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    I've seen some military trucks with a PTO generator. I think it was a M1031. It's the one with a th400/np205. I'm not sure what it was rated at, but it was huge. The generator was about 2 feet in diameter. Maybe you could find a setup from one of the government surplus places? /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  10. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    While it would certainly be handy to have a PTO driven generator available at any time, there are few downsides that come to mind. If you plan use it often then you are going to add a lot of wear to your engine. I'd rather put wear and tear on a $300 small engine than on a $3,000+ truck engine just to make coffee or run a TV or something. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif I met a guy in Salt Lake City once that used the engine in his truck to power a piece of oil rig gear in the back of his truck. He told me that he had to replace the 454 every year because of the hours it ran in that time. /forums/images/graemlins/yikes.gif

    Also think about fuel consumption. Generators are usually pretty stingy with fuel. Running your truck engine is going to use a lot more than a small engine will. Next you have to consider adjusting the throttle to match the demands of the generator. As the load increases you have to have a way to automatically adjust the throttle to compensate. Otherwise either the voltage will be too low, or if the load is big enough the engine will stall.

    I would also want a set of self tripping gauges installed, since when the generator is running there won't be anyone in the cab to monitor what's going on with the engine. You can buy gauges that will shut down the engine if the oil pressure drops too low or the engine temp gets too high. That can prevent you being stranded in the boonies with a roasted engine. /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif Any good generator will have an automatic low-oil cutoff.

    If you're determined, check out the website for Trucks TV. They once installed an expensive looking generator that mounted under the hood of a pickup. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  11. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    I like this, but I wont use it *that* often. im just thinking of using it during an emergency.

    As for the marine battery banks and inverters, I already have that setup. I've got two continuous cycle 2500 tripp lite units. Their great units, but I dont have a real way of charging them. In fact, the funny thing about DC power charging is that most generators are not made to charge DC devices- they put out only like 8-10 amps of 12DC.

    I found some plans to fit a lawn mower engine to a alternator, to recharge the battery banks. That would be a great idea to do, and it does work- however, its not quite big enough (right at the border) to run the refridgerator.

    I saw some decent OHV generators, but I just didnt want to spend several hundred dollars (or even a 1000) on a unit i might only use for a little bit. The reason I spent money on the inverters (and their inverter chargers) is because they are basically a bigger and better version of the UPS used for computers.

    [ QUOTE ]
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    http://www.realacpower.com/

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