Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Building Your Own Generator and Alternative Fuels

diygenOff grid power systems commonly include a generator for backup when the sun and wind are not enough to keep your batteries charged. We have built our own inexpensive gensets using small engines (lawn mower) and car alternators. Gasoline is expensive, and refilling a generator every few hours can be dangerous and messy, along with high carbon monoxide output, so we show how to convert small engines to run on propane, methane (natural gas which includes biogas), and gasoline. Home made charge controllers and battery maintenance is also covered.

Check out the free resources at:


A DIY Solar / Wind Charge Controller

A Charge Controller protects a battery bank from over or under charging. In typical solar applications, when the battery is full, the panels can be disconnected. In wind and hydro apps, the turbine could be damaged if disconnected, as the load keeps it from overspeeding and self destructing. This controller fixes that problem by bringing on a dump load when the batteries are full. Typical dump loads are water or air heating elements. We prefer water heating elements, that heat our hot water tank anytime the batteries are full. It’s a good way to utilize what would normally be wasted generation.

Commercial charge controllers can be pricey, and we have several units in various voltages at, but you can build your own controller as well. One of the more interesting dump load controllers is based on a 555 Timer chip, and fairly easy to construct. It’s a good match for a home built solar panel. You can learn how to build this unit at, and discuss topics like this at and


New ideas for old buckets

Want to learn how to make a field sink, a tool caddy, or even a sawdust cyclone from old buckets? How about a water filter? Self watering planters? There are many such projects going on at

Come join the discussion, and share and learn.


Living off grid, simply!

Want to learn more about growing your own food, raising animals, providing your own fuel and electric? Come join us at, the premier discussion group for all things off grid and self sufficient. You don’t need to be off grid to participate, only have an interest in providing for yourself instead of depending on the system for your basic survival.


Our Rocket Stove

I fired up the rocket stove and took some pics. You can use scrap wood, twigs, small branches, etc.

Enjoy!  Discuss these stoves at Simply Off Grid, and see the videos at

You can get the upgraded version of ours at





[Green-Trust CHP] Green-Trust and Lister CSOG JoinForces

The Lister CS Owners Group and the Green-Trust Lister group have joined forces. The combined group can be found at Lister_CSOG at Yahoo groups. We discuss Lister powered generators, cogen (CHP) applications, general engine maintenance issues, as well as biodiesel and used fryer oil fuel. The group description is as follows:

An Owners Group for Lister CS slow speed diesel engines, Startomatic generator sets and Indian built Listeroid engines.

This group is for all Lister CS and Listeroid enthusiasts in the UK and elsewhere.

It is aimed squarely at the enthusiast who wants to put these engines to work making power and useful heat.

Topics for Discussion.

  • Obtaining new and second hand engines
  • Restoring original engines to working condition
  • Using a Lister CS in a home heat and power system
  • Lister Startomatic generator sets
  • Running a Lister engine on vegetable oil and other fuels
  • Obtaining spare parts, alternators and accessories
  • Imported engines
  • Instruction manuals
  • Useful contacts in UK and elsewhere
  • Transporting Lister CS engines safely

Posted by Steve Spence to Green-Trust CHP at 7/25/2006 06:42:00 AM