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Home made generator heats all electric home
Mike Brown, Draper, Utah, built his own power plant for less than $500 out of junk parts and now heats his all-electric home with virtually free fuel.
Designed by mechanical engineer Larry Pendell, the generating system produces 27 kw per hour powered by a junked auto engine. The key to success of the idea is the use of salvaged 3-phase electrical motors converted into generators.
"It's easy to make generators out of used or junked 3-phase electrical motors, of which there's a plentiful supply. They're used to run lots of industrial equipment. A junk dealer in California told me recently that he bought three 25-hp. 3-phase motors for $30. To turn a 3-phase motor into an induction generator all you have to do is speed it up past the speed it's meant to operate at as an electric motor," explains Brown. "For example, a 3-phase motor that's designed to run at 1,725 rpm's will, when speeded up to 1,875 rpm's, turn into an induction generator. The current must, however, be "excited" by an outside source to get it to work. In my case, I simply run current to my generator from power lines already connected to my house."
The entire generator system consists of a 250 cu. in. auto engine, with an oversize radiator (he pulls heat off it with a fan to heat his garage), the converted 3-phase motor, and a rear axle shaft from a Volkswagen that connects the two. In addition to generating electricity and heating his garage, he has plans to heat hot water for his house with heat off the engine.
Brown says the most important factor in building a home generation system is hooking up wiring on the generator. The wiring must be specially hooked up to convert the 3-phase power to single phase.
Since Brown is also manufacturer of the Fish carburetor, which is designed to be used with alternative fuels, the engine is Fish-equipped and runs on most any flammable liquid, including paint thinner, alcohol, crude oil, and many other chemicals which he says are available as waste materials from many industrial processes.
"It's perfect for farmers producing farm alcohol who don't have a market for the alcohol but could use the by-product distiller's dried grain to feed livestock," says Brown, explaining that there's a ready market for the electricity because by Federal law the power companies must buy surplus electricity. "To sell power to the utilities you have to install a separate set of meters and safety devices."
Currently Brown's system generates 27 kw. per hour. At most he uses 58kw to heat his all-electric house during winter so he's gearing up to sell 22 hours worth of electricity to the power companies. At 4.4 cents per kw that earns about $1.19 per hour running 24 hrs. a day. "However, the power company must accept up to 250 kw an hour so I could make up to $11.99 per hour 24 hours a day by building a bigger generating system, which could easily be done," says Brown.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brown Carburetor Co. Inc., P.O. Box 89, Draper, Utah 84020-0589 (ph 801 571-9452).


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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #3