Converting a small diesel generator to run on charcoal

Not bored but adding a new small fun project to my list “started but not yet finished”

Did found 4 of these in my shop, hidden under plastic, brand new since 2010, only ran for about 2 hours and never started since.

And yes, of course i can “rebuild” them as i please… :grin:

Connected battery and started right away after 1 crank only… so, must be not to bad…
Stripping one down to check the inner parts

ordered ignition in China, Aliexpress

DC voltage version, planning on installing it with a Neodynmium magnet and hall sensor.
Programable ignition timing only.

Pictures of the latest victim:


One hour further…

I can’t say that this is bad quality material… anything went smooth and no signs of lowest material quality


Koen, Not bored huh? Must be nice to have time for some “small fun projects” like that.


Hi Koen

what compression this little engine?
Go planing the breech?

Yup… But also a need to do… since i donated the last generator to the university i needed to build another for testing / showing.
Also the ignition part, availability from parts, played a role…
If those cheap parts work, a lot of progress would be made to have simple tools running simple generators with simple fire style gasifiers…
KIS ( Keeping It Simple )
I am even building my own PMG from an old car alternator…

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Hi Thierry,
Not sure yet what compression it runs, will be measuring tomorrow…
Tonite looking for technical data on the internet

edit: could not wait until tomorrow, CR is between 17,5-1 and 18,5-1
I think i will do some minor modification only on the piston head, enlarging the combustion hole using a dremel


Actually, where I grew up it was KISS, with SS. Keep it simple STUPID. But maybe folks are more polite over there. :slightly_smiling_face:


Hi Koen,
With all the engine work you do I’m curious whether you have ever made your own copper head gaskets. I have been thinking about trying this. My Ford Ranger 2.3L has a cast iron block and head.

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@k_vanlooken how well did this conversion work for you in the end? I’m in a similar position now and quite interested in your process/results.

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hello koen, i found your diesel conversion project here, simil to my next project: a diesel 360cc monocylinder garden tractor with cart should run on chargas…how your project has ended? i have some questions behind as spark ignition advance and eventually compression modification…??
your projects are really nice and helpfull for the people there !! and all who looks the forum
best wishes to you giorgio