A lot of things work for backup, but lots of running hours cause us to pay closer atttention to our designs. I’ve been studying a generator that was in the field for 10 years, and ran as much as 12 hours a day. The weakest part of the design was the generator mount, it ran a lot of years before a part broke on the sub frame, but it did break, and Murphy will assure it breaks at the worst possible time. It caused me to ask.. how would I do it differently in the future?
There’s a list of things I like to consider in DIYer design, but being able to remove a sub assembly quickly and take it to a work bench, or better place to work on it is a high priority in my designs. If we meet this goal, we also make it easy to remove a part to gain access to what’s behind it or under it. I placed the locking bolts on the right because the generator sets flush on the other end, and here on top and to the right, they are easy to see, and quickly locked or unlocked with a racheting box end and a single hand, the other hand sets the belt tension.
In addition, I try and avoid designs that others will have a hard time duplicating.. like long sloted holes for adjustments. Not everyone has the equipment to make them.
A generator sub frame should be firmly mounted to the frame, as movement can cause bad things to happen over 40,000 or more hours.
So here’s a latest attempt to make it quick and easy and still clamp the head in place tight and secure. The video was shot on my cell phone, Hopefully you’ll get the idea, and maybe even better my starting place. Don’t let that generator vibrate on the rails, it’ll cause a problem sooner or later.
As we develop our ideas, it is nice to avoid rountine tasks that take three or more hands. Let me offer you an example of another thing you might see. On this LisGen-6/1, the oil drain plug and the large access door are at one end of the machine, and easily accessed. A pan easily catches an oil drain, and the big door is right there and un-obstructed to do any kind of work you need do. I’ve seen a few DIY Gen Sets constructed where the generator sat on that end, and made far more difficult the access.
We are DIYers, and few of us are professionals in design, but I doubt we’ll be able to top some of the blunders made by pro designers. Some recent example given by DIYers? 2007 Toyota Prius Head Light bulb replacement. A most expensive and time consuming task. Others? How about the Chevy Monza, where the engine had to be jacked off it’s motor mounts to change a spark plug? We DIYers can do far more thoughtful work.
A caption for the above picture? “Oil change time! I brought my friend along, we’re just gonna set this 230 pound gen head aside and put a pan under the drain plug”.
Just one more bit of advice, I’ve seen some thoughtful builds, and on the final install, that important access door was wedged up tight against a corner in the gen shed. I am a believer that Murphy takes note, and visits early to teach us that we need install a machine designed to be rebuilt in place in a place where we can rebuild it in place :-)
Murphy seems to teach us more lessons over a life time than any other Teacher.
Tools required to make this Subframe mount? A composite cut off saw, (cheap at Harbor Freight). A drill motor and drill bits, and a welder.