Arduino based generator starter

I tired of venturing out to manually start and stop my backup generator on cold and rainy days. To simplify power management I started with the idea to use an Arduino based microcontroller. The basic device consists of

  • Oseppo Uno R3
  • Velleman KA04 Ethernet shield
  • 2 relay kit
  • breadboard shield providing needed inputs for voltage sense and outputs

    My goal was to create an inexpensive generator starter that could be used on my harbor freight electric start generators that are converted to propane. Looking at the variety of other china clone generators I have this unit setup so that it could be adapted readily to a wide variety of gensets provided that they can be fitted with an electric fuel cutoff.

    I started out with the intention of monitoring only the battery bank in the garage to trigger starting the generator. This left the house batteries still dependent on manually starting. I have a raspberry Pi that monitors the house batteries and records data from an Outback Mate. With the addition of an ethernet shield the starter could be updated to work with the house.

    This device uses two analog inputs for dc voltage monitors. One monitors the garage batteries and the other monitors an isolated dc output on the generator and is used to determine the generator is running.

    Two digital output pins are used to drive the 2 relays. One relay activates a propane gas valve and the other relay engages the starter solenoid.

    Three digital input pins are used for extra's. A momentary closed "start" switch to force a start and run cycle. Two single pole single throw switches. Currently one switch to alter the ID on a webpage to identify one of two generator that I use and the other selects max run time.

    The ethernet shield is used to provide a status page showing garage battery voltage, generator status and uptime. The ethernet shield is connected to a wifi router and linked to a raspberry pi that monitors the house batteries via data retrieved from the Outback Mate. Currently the software supports starting and stopping the generator remotely. When the house batteries reach a determined start voltage the Pi sends a start command to the arduino.

    The status page also provides generator run time for the most recent run. The raspberry Pi reads the status page and updates a run time log.