How to Build a Generator from a Lawn Mower Engine
I Wouldn't Try This But it is Funny
If you find yourself laying awake nights worrying power failures then you should visit TheEpicenter.Com website.
The site itself is run by an outfit in Eugene, Oregon which offers disaster survival supplies. A quick look at the company's offerings revealed that they sell some pretty decent things that could come in handy if you live in a disaster prone area.
But if you want a good laugh, check out their Tip o'da Week section (see third link below) in which they currently have a series of odd ball ways to produce electricity in the event of a power outage. The one I was directed to by an acquaintance, who promised me a good laugh, was a detailed set of instructions for building an electric generator using a lawn mower engine (see second link below). The piece is illustrated with photos and diagrams and they even suggest a modification that will enable it to produce DC as well as AC current so that you can use it to charge spare car batteries during the day and use them for electricity for power outages at night rather than waking up the neighbors by running the lawn mower engine. The Tip o'da Week section contains more offbeat ideas for generating electric power.
The clever thing is, after reading trough the long set of instructions, complete with disclaimers as to whether or not the do it yourself generator will actually work and warnings of possible safety hazards, you come to an ad for a neat little compact generator that they sell $169. This generator is more compact, obviously safer, produces more power than the lawn mower generator and, rather than having to shut it off and re-fill it with gasoline every hour or so, the commercial generator will run for 8 hours on 1.2 gallons of gasoline.
You have to hand it to them for clever marketing.
Living in Arizona with desert landscaping in place of a lawn, I haven't owned a lawn mower of any type for years. So, I will continue to rely on a battery powered clock and my wife's candles for power outages.