Auto start Controller for Generator

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by muhdfuad91, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. muhdfuad91

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 5, 2013
    2
    0
    Hi all,

    I have an electric start generator and I plan to control it by using Arduino, relays, and stuffs. The idea is to auto start/auto stop the generator to recharge my battery bank (48V) located 3 feet away from the generator when it falls to a certain voltage level (which indicates its capacity).

    The generator will recharge the battery bank by using the power outlet on itself. To auto start it, I understand after reading the manual generator that I need to control the choke, the fuel valve, the keystart switch, and put another switch between the generator and the charge controller for the battery bank because the generator can't start/stop when there's an electrical load.

    Here's the logic flow that I can think of right now:

    Arduino senses low battery voltage -> control choke -> control fuel valve position -> start the generator -> close the switch between the generator and the charge controller for the battery bank -> arduino senses optimum battery voltage -> open the switch between the generator and the charge controller for the battery bank -> control the fuel valve -> control choke -> Arduino continues to monitor battery voltage

    Generator: DuroStar DS4400E | link

    Having learned a bit about circuit I am new to this and essentially I need to know what parts do I need besides basic components like Arduino board and voltage sensor, how do I choose the right relays, etc, and where's the best place to get them, to make this plan fool proof.

    I would really appreciate it if any of you guys can shed some light on this.

    I'm excited to get started. Many thanks.
     
  2. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    3,869
    1,393
    Autostarting a generator with a gasoline engine is problematic at best. Before you get into coding your Arduino, perhaps you should think through the electromechanical controls you will need to operate a mechanical fuel switch, a mechanical choke, and the electric starter, all without knowing whether the engine is cold or hot. Just imagine that you are holding a joystick that will allow you to demand these functions - what will you use to move that fuel cock back and forth, and what will you use to operate and release the choke lever? Then, imagine that you can't see or hear the generator, and thus have no way to know whether or not it has started.

    I am not trying to discourage you, but I was in the generator business for many years, and I have seen many attempts at this fail. That is not to say it's impossible, because it can be done. But success is expensive and is almost never accomplished with "add-ons" to portable generators such as the one you linked to. In fact, the only generators that I know of that have these capablilities were designed from the ground up with them in mind.

    I wish you the best of luck.
     
  3. muhdfuad91

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 5, 2013
    2
    0
    Thanks for the reply.

    What do you think about an autostart controller such as this one?

    They claim it to work with portable generator Champion's 46512
     
  4. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    3,869
    1,393
    I don't have any experience with the controller or the Champion 46512, but it does have a couple of things going for it. The generator is built with the capability of remote start and has an automatic choke, so that removes two hurdles. There is no provision for turning the fuel valve on/off, so it would have to stay on all the time, but I don't see that as a big problem as long as there are no leaks (which there shouldn't be.)

    In summary, it looks like it would work. You say you have 48 V batteries; do you have a charger with a 48 V output? You would need one to plug into the generator.
     
  5. capnray

    Member

    Jul 3, 2010
    59
    2
    Sounds like an interesting project. I worked at Synchro-Start (now Woodward Governor) where we designed engine controllers that included the "Auto Start" feature. These controllers can be set up via a laptop/PC.
     
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