From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Looking for SMALLEST gasoline generator available
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2007 16:38:04 -0500
On Sat, 24 Feb 2007 14:28:34 -0500, "C. J. Clegg"
>I'm looking for the smallest and lightest-weight gasoline-powered
>I only need about 200-300 watts, and in fact I really don't necessarily even
>need 115 VAC out... if it had only 12 volts DC out that would be sufficient.
I don't know of anything in current production lighter than the EU1000
which is overkill for what you want.
Honda made an EX350 for years. It's a tiny 2-stroke inverter
generator. Good for 350 watts plus a 12 volt battery charging output.
Coleman market the Mighty-Mite 2-stroke generator for several years.
Seems like the AC output is about 800 watts and a hefty 40 or so amps
at 12 volts. It hasn't been out of production long so maybe you could
find one used. Kinda noisy and a bit fuel-hungry are its only major
Harbor Freight sold this cute little 2-stroke inverter generator for
several years under the Chicago Electric brand name:
It's rated at 350 watts. The round housing on the left holds what
looks like a plain-jane motorcycle 3 phase magneto/alternator. The
finned assembly at the far left is the inverter. You'll notice right
behind the air cleaner the throttle control. This unit doesn't have a
governor per se. One sets the approx throttle necessary to run the
load and then a spark-chop type rev limiter controls the speed. Sloppy
but it works.
This is a sweet little generator for where very light weight is
necessary. About 12 lbs if I recall. It's not very good where the
load varies widely, say, with a coffee pot or some other thermostatic
controlled load. But it works fine for lighting and other constant
I've had plans to remove the inverter, rewind the stator for 12 volts,
add a bridge rectifier and convert it to one of the smallest Cordless
Battery Chargers (CBC) . Still waitin' for that Round Tuit.
Anyway, I see these occasionally at flea markets. Apparently many
people couldn't deal with the complexity (NOT) of setting the manual
throttle so HF got a lot of 'em back. They Dremel-tooled their name
off the things then cut 'em loose to the surplus market. I got mine
for $50 a few years ago.
If you're handy with tools you could lash up any of a variety of
surplus low voltage permanent magnet motors to the little Honda GX
engine. Here's a breakdown of mine:
They've changed that engine around some since I bought mine. I have it
lashed to an EV Warrior (defunct electric bicycle) DC motor to make a
CBC. It's good for about 35 amps. The motor isn't well matched to
the engine - I need to either weaken the field or remove a turn or two
from each armature pole - but it works fine as-is. Lashing up the
motor was trivially easy. If you look at the second photo on the
above page you'll see that the "output shaft" is a disc with a pair of
centrifugal clutch shoes mounted. This is designed to fit up to the
frame of their weed whacker.
I simply made a bracket that holds the motor approximately centered
over the output plate. I removed the shoes and replaced them with
steel wear sleeves over each attachment screw. Then I inserted a long
roll pin in the hole already drilled in the motor shaft. This roll
pin engages the two attachment screws. This setup requires no
precision coupling and works fine with the motor a bit out of
There are some cottage companies out there who cater to the off-grid
crowd and who make portable 12 volt generators. I don't know of any
that are particularly light. Typically, a honda GC engine and an
automotive alternator is involved. Weight is in the 40 to 60 lbs
range. Barely portable by yer average guy.