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Hi Guys - I'm trying to build a very small generator, e.g. in the 200-300W range as there is nothing commercially available that I can find. I'm considering using a small 10-20CC model aircraft gasoline motor (1lb weight with maximum 1-1.4 hp) to turn an small alternator. For the alternator, I'm looking at using a ~200W wind turbine core (est~6lb) and inverter to get a 12V output. I'm trying to build something as light as possible to be able to power my work laptop (130W with off the shelf 12V adapter) so I can go cycling and "work from home" in the middle of nowhere in a tent.

Would this setup work? Other ideas that would be more mass efficient with the convenience of gasoline as a fuel supply ? I want to keep the total setup below <10lb.
 

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I would consider a non-engine generator like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYJVFN...ed78b5fbe604fd77e715a5dcbe15f0&language=en_US

You could use a combination of a solar panel or a small hydro unit and a bike-mounted generator to recharge it.

There are a lot of regulations (EPA/CARB compliance for one) for running gasoline generators on public lands (see other examples below). This is the smallest quiet generator made, at about 10Kg Gross Weight: LIFAN Energy Storm 700/600-Watt 40cc Gasoline Powered Inverter Generator with CARB-ESI860i-CA - The Home Depot


U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
Open Lands (dispersed camping)
The USFS does not specifically define “quiet hours” on a nationwide basis for all national forests and national grasslands. However, each forest and grassland is responsible for defining what these hours are, or if quiet hours should be defined and enforced at all. You will need to inquire at a ranger station or visitor center at the specific forest or grassland.
  • CFR Title 36. Parks, Forests, and Public Property
  • Chapter II. FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
  • Part 261. PROHIBITIONS
  • Subpart A. General Prohibitions
  • Section 261.10. Occupancy and use.
The following are prohibited:
(i) Operating or using in or near a campsite, developed recreation site, or over an adjacent body of water without a permit, any device which produces noise, such as a radio, television, musical instrument, motor or engine in such a manner and at such a time so as to unreasonably disturb any person.



National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) has defined “quiet hours” as between 10:00pm to 6:00am for all national parks. Officially, only those generators that exceed 60 decibels “measured on the A-weighted scale at 50 feet”, must be shut off. However, it’s noted that some national parks and some campgrounds have extended those rules more aggressively.
The above paragraph stems from two NPS regulations on the books with respect to noise that apply to all national parks…

1. Audio Disturbance Regulation…
  • CFR Title 36. Parks, Forests, and Public Property
  • Chapter I. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
  • Part 2. RESOURCE PROTECTION, PUBLIC USE AND RECREATION
  • Section 2.12. Audio disturbances.
(a) The following are prohibited:
(1) Operating motorized equipment or machinery such as an electric generating plant, motor vehicle, motorized toy, or an audio device, such as a radio, television set, tape deck or musical instrument, in a manner: (i) That exceeds a noise level of 60 decibels measured on the A-weighted scale at 50 feet; or, if below that level, nevertheless; (ii) makes noise which is unreasonable, considering the nature and purpose of the actor’s conduct, location, time of day or night, purpose for which the area was established, impact on park users, and other factors that would govern the conduct of a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.
(3) In nondeveloped areas, operating any type of portable motor or engine, or device powered by a portable motor or engine, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit. This paragraph does not apply to vessels in areas where motor boating is allowed.


2. Quiet Hour Regulation…
  • Title 36. Parks, Forests, and Public Property
  • Chapter I. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
  • Part 2. RESOURCE PROTECTION, PUBLIC USE AND RECREATION
  • Section 2.10. Camping and food storage.
(b) The following are prohibited:
(4) Creating or sustaining unreasonable noise between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., considering the nature and purpose of the actor’s conduct, impact on park users, location, and other factors which would govern the conduct of a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.


Quiet Hours & Use of Generators
Each national park is free to extend the above rules as they see fit. You will have to inquire at each national park visitor center or campground host to determine what additional rules apply to generator use…
  • Some national parks will ban all generator use during quiet hours, regardless of how quiet your generator is.
  • Some campgrounds ban generator use completely, throughout the entire day.
  • Park rangers generally take the side of the party filing the complaint.
 

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Hi Guys - I'm trying to build a very small generator, e.g. in the 200-300W range as there is nothing commercially available that I can find. I'm considering using a small 10-20CC model aircraft gasoline motor (1lb weight with maximum 1-1.4 hp) to turn an small alternator. For the alternator, I'm looking at using a ~200W wind turbine core (est~6lb) and inverter to get a 12V output. I'm trying to build something as light as possible to be able to power my work laptop (130W with off the shelf 12V adapter) so I can go cycling and "work from home" in the middle of nowhere in a tent.

Would this setup work? Other ideas that would be more mass efficient with the convenience of gasoline as a fuel supply ? I want to keep the total setup below <10lb.
i agree... solar would be a good solution.
what is the amps at 12 volts dc that you need?
by the math it works out to 10-11 amps at 12 volts dc....

question;
how are you getting back to the remote site?
car or truck then bike in?

does your lap top have a removable battery?
if so just buy extra battery's most run 60 bucks each or less.
I have 4 of them for mine... i get 5-8 hours of run time on each of them.

the also make jump packs for cars for 100-200 bucks that have a cigar port on them..
but they are heavy.
some of those have dc charge cords so you can charge them from the car or truck when you are shopping for food.
 

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Hi Guys - I'm trying to build a very small generator, e.g. in the 200-300W range as there is nothing commercially available that I can find. I'm considering using a small 10-20CC model aircraft gasoline motor (1lb weight with maximum 1-1.4 hp) to turn an small alternator. For the alternator, I'm looking at using a ~200W wind turbine core (est~6lb) and inverter to get a 12V output. I'm trying to build something as light as possible to be able to power my work laptop (130W with off the shelf 12V adapter) so I can go cycling and "work from home" in the middle of nowhere in a tent.

Would this setup work? Other ideas that would be more mass efficient with the convenience of gasoline as a fuel supply ? I want to keep the total setup below <10lb.
Cool idea!

I don't know much about those RC engines. Aren't they awfully loud two-strokes? Keep in mind they rely on airflow to keep themselves cool, so you'll need to add a fan.

For an alternator, make sure to match it with the RPM of the engine. An average petrol engine will run pleasantly around 1000-5000 RPM - of course how fast it needs to run, will depend on how much power you need to generate. A small wind turbine is designed to spin at maybe 200-600 RPM; if you run it at 6000 RPM instead, it'll generate somewhere around 120V and surely burn out the controller. And at 600 RPM the engine won't have enough power. So you'll either need a gearbox between the two (added weight, added energy loss), or an alternator that runs at higher speeds.

Some useful info on what motors you could use as a generator instead: https://www.windynation.com/jzv/inf/making-wind-power-how-choose-right-motor (Volts-to-RPM Ratio, Amperage Rating).

Finally, I think your idea lacks a mechanism that controls the engine speed. If you want to keep a steady 12V output, you'll need to open the throttle more when a higher load is demanded. Do you have a plan on how to regulate this already?
 

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I know it's been 11 days, but I echo a lot of the same comments here. A laptop falls somewhere between a generator and just extra DC sources. It depends on how much time you need before you get home. I assume you don't work for 24 hours straight.

1) Solar panel and/or coupled with a lithium battery. There are a few that would do the job and well under 10 pounds.
2) Just buy extra laptop batteries.
3) Lithium power station like the Jackery.

Riding a bike with gasoline sloshing around wouldn't be my first choice. Assuming you only ride your bike in nice weather with the sun shining, you have a few options.
 
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