Utterpower’s Urban Backup Prototype, headed to a new test site soon.

A collection of ideas from many readers and past Utterpower projects. With the placement of this  generator installation, we add another test site, and our volunteer family will report on what works well, and what needs to be improved.   


As I’ve mentioned, our blended ethanol/gasoline fuel has created a lot of logistics problems for owners of small engines.  For this customer I recommended a small diesel electric start engine and the PMG. I expect the unit will carry 4kw (3kw) continious)  and of course we under run the RPMs some to extend the life of the engine and hopefully make a little less noise.

This setup is being installed in a newer neighborhood, a little boy lives here who has no problem opening child proof locks, so we’ve designed this   enclosure to be Zach proof.  It  will sit along the east side of the house behind a closed gate. lifting up the hinged roof reveals a boat fuel tank with quick disconnect, an RPM/Frequency adjustment, a motorized decompressor unit, an AC breaker on the back wall, a AC plug in for a KILL A WATT , a fan for forced cooling, hour meter and more more. 

Generator enclosure

Generator enclosure

I start with the 10HP Yanmar clone, a serpentine drive system that allows the engine to run right at 3000 RPM, and the 120/240 VAC Utterpower PMG to run at 3600.

 I had the heavy angle box frame laying around, so it dictates the size of the enclosure which is nearly perfect for this project. Later, you’ll see the insulation, and how I set up all the sides to be removed to give access. The front panel and side panels can be removed for oil changes and other maintenance work.  Forced air exchange is from the back which will be set back from the house outside wall  a few inches. This fan was once used to cool a PDP-1170, I’ve been saving it since we were forced to junk a room full of 1170s,…… we loved them!

Yes, we will have metal fabric across the back, as we know what mice will do to equipment we leave open to them. 

 The way it’s going to work, is the roof opens to access the removable Boat fuel tank(s), on a top rack. Maybe it’s hard to see, but there are rubber mounts the generator sits on, three sides and the top are all insulated to cut noise, a secondary muffler will help to reduce the nose another DB or so. The unit will set on a rubber blanket set atop a level concrete pad along side the house for added isolation.   

One of the things I plan to share in this project is a neat junk yard auto  part that is used in the remote start application. Since weselected a six circuit manual transfer switch to keep the costs down and to provide a legal install, I think there’s little reason to get too fancy with the remote start. There will be a momentary button you push and hold down for the decompressor, and a key switch for the starter. We’ll instruct our customer to use the decompressor to save wear and tear on the starter. If you’re wondering, pulling the one cover allows access to the manual starter,and that motorized decompressor makes it sooo much easier to start manually too.

There will be a battery maintainer built in, a 12 volt work light under the hinged roof as well. Since this is a remote start unit that will be in standby and possibly started by the woman of the house, we need keep the proceedure simple so she can have it running quickly, as there will be a child under foot.  This means we need the fuel tank vented, so we will have a canister to trap moisture, and of course we will instruct that the fuel tank will be topped off at all times when  not running.  We will be running biocide addatives, and one quart ATF per 20 gallons of fuel for added lubricity.  closed).  I have been using silica crystals that turn a blue color when they’re full of water, they are great to put in an old sweat sock, and put in your gun safe or whatever else you want to control moisture in. I have been experimenting with drying these crystals out quickly, and I finally came up with the ultimate solution. Put your sweat sock full of crystals in the microwave, it will  come out steaming. now start your shop vac and put the hose up to the sock, you’ll see vapor pour out of the vac, it’ll look like the clothes dryer vent on a cold morning. To assure moisture doesn’t get in your fuel, make a can up with a fitting that attaches to a small hose between you tank vent and the can.. put your sock full of crystals in there, and keep the tank full of fuel. If you have no moisture in the fuel, you’ll be able to store it for a LONG time..    

I bought a quality 12 volt fuel valve that will be right next to the injection pump. Shutting off the fuel, and using  the decompressor will assure a smooth kill.  If you’re wondering, the enclosure has been finished off in cedar boards to match a fence. I will add to this post and show you the actual install of the transfer switch and the generator.

The six gallon boat tanks, are easy enough for the woman of the house to remove and fill at the local service station. The tank has a handle and easily carried and connected to the generator, there is a priming bulb to help charge the fuel line. No doubt, this will run on some home brew fuels, if you learn the right way to make it.

We’ll schedule a monthly run to assure all the internal parts stay lubed. Check back for updates to this article. Some will question the use of wood in this enclosure, there is a  lot of space around the generator.. for safe measure, we’ll also have a fire detector and a way to report the alarm in the house. Wood solves some of the condensation concerns, and I believe it will help create a more stable temperature for the generator, and maybe less condensation forming inside the engine.

More to follow, likely in the form of you-tube videos. 


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5 Responses to Utterpower’s Urban Backup Prototype, headed to a new test site soon.

  1. Quinn says:

    George, you really ought to cut a half-moon in the side. If anyone asks what it is, you can say it’s a privy for garden gnomes.

  2. Al Travland says:

    George: Do you have any plans to sell design plans and materials costs for this unit? This is exactly what I have been planning for backup power. Best, Al

  3. George B. says:

    Yes, I know I should link all of this together, but if you’ve read this far, I’ll mention that this unit is now installed at “Zach’s House”. The post I made about installing a transfer switch is another part of the same project. It was a timely reccomendation making “suggesting diesel power” for reasons of fuel storage long term, and the fact that diesel fuel is much safer than gasoline. Shortly after comissioning the project, two houses about 200 feet away from Zach’s House there was a gas can between two house that somehow became part of a fire, cedar fences, helped to fuel the fire, and the homes on either side suffered extensive damage! This unit is outside on the south side of the house, and against the fence. There’s a fan inside the enclosure and it assures plenty of air flow through the cabinet when the generator is running. The remote start panel is sitting right on top of the transfer switch, the decompressor is remotely operated with a honda automotive speed control wired to operate with battery, and restore to normal when it is removed.

    The system is built and installed in such a way that an auto start system can be adapted. https://www.utterpower.com/installing-a-generator-transfer-switch-at-zachs-house-21211/

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