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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I finally have my generator project finished, all except the interlock and 50 amp plug in for my house, which is not a huge deal at this point in the year. I stated in other threads that I'd do a build thread once complete, so here it is:

Honda GX630 VXC engine
Mecc Alte S20F-160 generator head
Northstar PTO generator outlet panel
HD garden cart as chassis
Steel plate for base
High flow KN regulator with 4oz spring
3/4" 12 ft vapor fuel hose with quick connect fitting on one side, 1/2 inch fuel hose from regulator to engine.

When I started this project I didn't think about all of the little engineering aspects of doing this from scratch, such as base plate mounting holes / wiring, hardware mounting, etc.. things you take for granted in pre-built units! I ordered most of the components at the end of 2021 / beginning of 2022 to try and combat / beat the supply chain issues and the growing part availability issues. Took me a while to finally get time to put it together between storm recovery and the kids.

The main issues I faced along the way were:

  1. Rarity of the engine / not having much experience with natural gas combustion engines
  2. Learning curve on electricity / wiring in general
  3. Honda "Ground to Run" coils and key switch compatibility - this was a long, challenging issue, but I ended up wiring in a normally open relay from coils to ground, so that when the key is powered ON the relay contacted ground, when OFF it opened and disconnected ground, killing the coils.
  4. Shorted the alternator - I overlooked the hot tab on the duplex outlet and was shorting my two 120v phases together, so when I flipped the main breaker on it would kill the engine. Broke the tab off and resolved that issue.
  5. Fuel mixture of NG - I was prudent in making sure my NG plumbing was as large and free-flowing as possible, and once I got it running I was way to rich on the fuel mixture. after fiddling with it a few times I finally closed the load block all the way, started it, and opened it until it was perfect. When I started it with the load block closed it immediately ran much better and smoother than before. I opened it 1.5 turns and it was perfect at 3680 RPM with no load. Note that the bolt in my load block is 1.25 inches. It'll go fully across the T but won't fully close the flow due to the space around the threads. I also noticed that there was no forced air into the intake, so a cut a small notch in the cowl to allow a straight path from the fan to the main intake hole. It made the air flow noise a tad bit louder, but this thing is still much quieter than I expected it to be.

Before I could connect everything I needed to drill the mount holes in the base plate. Once I did that I was able to mount the plate to the cart and the engine / gen head to the plate using 5/16" bolts and rubber "motor mounts". From there the electrical box came in and I mounted the outlets. The box was originally cut to fit a 30 amp outlet, so I had to cut the whole bigger to fit a 50 amp outlet. Other than that it was pretty straight forward. Wired the panel up from the alternator, figured the key switch debacle out, and hooked up the fuel plumbing and she was ready to test, albeit facing the challenges above.

After two hours of running I put about 3500 watts on it split between the two 120v outlets to continue break-in and so I could set the fuel mixture under load, but, I couldn't even tell there was a load on it. The RPM on the tach dropped 10 RPM. I even plugged everything in and flipped the breaker on so it would all load at once. No surge or change in engine speed. Looking forward to plugging it into the house to see how much of a load it can really handle. I'm pretty tapped out on what I have lying around that I can plug into this thing.

As stated above I was also impressed with how quiet it is. I was expecting a screamer, but it really isn't bad at all. The loudest thing about it is the forced air. From inside my house on the closest wall to it, which would be my dining room, you can barely hear it. from our bed rooms you can't hear it at all. I can imagine once I add the canopy and side walls with a downward deflection angle how quiet it will be.

Some pictures and videos below of the journey.

The only thing left to do is wrap the wires from the alternator to the outlet panel, clean up / wrap the key switch wires, and install the power meters on each leg. From there I intent to add about 5 feet of exhaust extension and add a canopy / cover / weather / sound/ heat insulation to the cart itself.

Thanks to everyone here to helped me with this project. I appreciate it!

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1,386 Posts
Nice and clean.

Is that 12kW peak or running? You may also want to load-test it to >80% and see how the demand regulator responds. If the engine bogs down, you'll need to open up the load block a little further.

Anyway, all it needs now is some weather-proofing and you're practically done.

Well done!

56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
It’ll be about 11kw running. Not sure on the inrush it can handle. I’ve seen some similar ones stating 16kw surge capacity, but not sure what that’s based on.

that’s the plan, I just won’t be able to put that big of a load on it until I install the plug in and interlock for my home panel. Then I’ll be able to kick some 240 loads and really set it.

Thank y’all. It was a fun challenge that saved me a good bit of money. The closest comparable unit I could find was the northstar 15000 and that’s over $4,000. Other units built similar to this one are over $5,000. This one was about $3,600 out the door.

5,639 Posts
time will tell on this setup.
is the muffler a cat converter muffler?

some of those are quiet.

just make sure to use a good oil and oil magnets.
the V twin hondas have a spin oil filter so it opens the unit up to a remote spin filter setup with larger filters

depending on your run temps i like 5-30 oil as synthetic in the honda's.
and run the better filters as well.
you are at 100 to 200 hours at oil changes at stock on these.
but i have seen the oil stay good for longer run times.
if you put those hours as miles at 60 mph then 100 hours is 6k miles and 12 k miles at 200 hours.
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