Out Of Batteries For Your Torch? Just Use A Mini Nitro Engine

We can certainly relate to an incomplete project sowing the seed for a better one, and that’s just what happened in [JohnnyQ90]’s latest video. He initially set out to create an air compressor powered by a nitro engine, and partially succeeded – air was compressed, but not nearly enough to be useful.

Instead, he changed tack and decided to use the 1 cc engine to make a small electric generator. [JohnnyQ90] is, of course, no stranger to the nitro engine, having previously brought us the micro chainsaw conversion, and nitro powered rotary tool. This time round, the build is a conceptually simple task: connect an engine to a DC motor and you’re done. But physically implementing it in an elegant way is a different story, and this is always where [JohnnyQ90] shines; we never get tired of watching him produce precision parts on the lathe. A fuel tank is made from a modified Zippo can and, courtesy of a CNC milled fan and 3D printed shroud, the motor air cools itself.

Towards the end of the video, [JohnnyQ90] plays with the throttle a little, causing the bulb connected to the generator to brighten accordingly. It might be fun to control the throttle with a servo and try to regulate the voltage on the output under different load conditions.

We love novel ways of creating electricity; previously we’ve written about how to generate power from a coke can, as well as this 120 W thermoelectric generator (TEG) setup.

18 thoughts on “Out Of Batteries For Your Torch? Just Use A Mini Nitro Engine

      1. I have an ancient “portable” 10 kW floodlight of the NVA (the GDR military) which is powered by an air cooled V2 Diesel engine. That thing is almost as loud as a pulsejet. Pretty sure I would win that particular contest…
        If said floodlight passes as a “camp lantern” of course…
        It sees regular use, btw.

        1. It is interesting the way that outdoor lighting has evolved. When I first got involved it was at least a 2.5KW generator running mercury vapor lamps. That moved to slightly smaller 1.5KW generators driving halogen lamps. They were nice because they came up to full brightness right away. The last one I had was a little 350W generator that drove 4 big 100W CFL’s. Now you can get that much light out of a handful of LED’s at about half the power.

  1. Now all we need is a way to make it quieter…
    I did this with a pretrol strimmer about ten years back.
    It was a pain in the ass to start as the engine was very old second hand. I didn’t have the funds to buy a nitro engine. Still don’t. But it looks like a good, if a little noisy, idea.

  2. Use a buffered BMP085 etc as a makeshift MAP sensor? Buffered ie with a membrane or something to keep the combustion gases away from the sensor. Then modify calibration accordingly with/without the inline or with second reference sensor.

  3. I know all of us with access to JPL’s prototyping machine shop on weekends will want to try this hack. More a demonstration or resume of individual skills than a useful or innovative hack. Great photography.

  4. I see Binford Tools latest catalog here. I remember a Home Improvement episode where Tim Allen had a pull-start motor stuck to the top of a cordless screwdriver. looked like a .10 or so. it blew the requisite blue smoke when running, which makes me wonder if the prop was actually live for that shot. pressing the “forward” half of the classic rocker switch seemed t open the throttle.

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