I'm looking for a generator, one that can run my gear for at least 8 hours but also can be remote started. It seems either you get a portable generator, or a fixed generator with WiFi.


This is my ideal portable generator. I also came across this.


Since this seems to fit most generators, why can't an RPI do the same? Is this possible? I know I can't connect it directly to the board, I have one of these from another project: https://www.amazon.com/SunFounder-Channel-Optocoupler-Expansion-Raspberry/dp/B00E0NTPP4/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=sunfounder+relay+2+channel+5v&qid=1562195262&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1

Otherwise, I could always connect to the remote starter from the RPI. I've seen one to a garage door opener before.

  • yes, I think something which can open a garage door should also be able to open a generator.
    – tlfong01
    Jul 4, 2019 at 1:03
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    That second thing doesn't work with most generators, just those that have a remote start input. It's basically just a relay and a board to talk to the remote. As @clockw0rk mentioned you'll also need a generator that has a starter motor and a battery like a car to run the starter. You could of course modify or build all that yourself if you have the ability. What gear are you trying to run? I also think a 100% battery solution might be better and more reliable. Research building DIY powerbanks or powerwall.
    – T. M.
    Jul 4, 2019 at 14:44
  • Powering networking equipment and servers. Powerbanks/powerwalls usually comes up with small batteries. I'd need car batteries, although I don't know how long they'd last (also expensive). Estimate at this point a draw of 1k watts. Electric is expensive and doesn't last long. The original generator I linked I thought had electric start, but I switched it for one that does. Jul 4, 2019 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


here are my 2 cents for this project:

From the picture you provided, it seems like the generator has a on / off switch

If you carefully disassemble this switch, and plug the 2 wires in a normal relais, you should easily be able to control this switch with a Arduino / Raspberry PI.

Of course there is a starting pull line on the generator, and this is the main problem with this build!
If this is just a failsafe to start the engine if, for example, you have gasoline in your cylinder, it should not be much of a problem.

But if you have to pull this line to actually start the engine every time you want to use it, then you'd have to forget about it. In the specifications it says

"start type: recoil"

so that would mean to me you'd have to pull the starting line each time you want to power on the generator! While there are some "zugmotor" (dunno english word, sry) like this one here

, it would (in this little format ) hardly provide enough power to start the engine... Although there are special "zugmotoren" that can provide enough power to quickly open a door, for example. I believe these work with kind of a spring in some sort, that is already under much tractive force to begin with, and would only need just a little push to activate. But better forget it, too expensive, too specific, too overkill for a simple power generator.

Maybe you could build a starter motor from a car into this, but then you would again need a battery just to start your engine...

Better: Use batteries in the first place, and a voltage transformator to whatever you need (I think car batteries provide 24V per default, but maybe this is only true for germany). If the system works normally, you could charge the batteries, and if power drops, you switch to the battery (while having kind of a big condensator or something to safe you until the battery kicks in)

EDIT: So now you changed the generator in the link. This one looks awesome, I want to have one like that, too! And if you watch, it is controllable by remote, which means you could go for a 433MHZ sender wired to the raspberry, no need for further wiring. Good luck with your plan!

  • Oops, I thought the one I linked had electric start. Changed my OP to one that does. As for the suggestion to go battery-only, they don't last long at all. For one that'd last 15 minutes at best is ~$150, and it's electric. At least with a generator, as long as you have gas, you can keep going. I have the UPS so that it's an easy transition to generator, if need be. As for the wiring, you're saying the 5v relay I linked I can wire directly to the switch? Jul 4, 2019 at 19:39
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    Second: The relais is only 5v on the control side. On the actual switch side, you could even go up to 540 volt, I think, although I would not recommend it, there are special relais for that. I use this amazon.de/WINGONEER-KY-019-Relais-Shield-Arduino/dp/B06XHJ2PBJ/… at the moment for a 230 v watering pump to water some plants here at home. Controlled by a simple 5v Arduino. Google for relais examples, there are many
    – clockw0rk
    Jul 4, 2019 at 19:48
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    ADDENDUM: The switch is more or less the same than a light bulb switch. So basicly just 2 wires. Whether you connect them by manually flipping a switch, or doing so with an electric switch is not important. Of course you have to disassemble the generator, take the switch out, and wire it to the relais, so you better watch out to not break anything in this process, as warranty might be burnt if you custom mod a generator ;)
    – clockw0rk
    Jul 4, 2019 at 19:51
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    This is to be used in power outages. They don't happen often, but can happen for hours, and I can't have an outage like that. I've already seen how regular UPS perform, and it's about 15 to 20 minutes. Jul 4, 2019 at 22:00
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    Ok, the one you linked looks like mine, should work. As for warranty, I'm not too concerned. At worst, I can always put it back the way it was to claim the warranty. Jul 4, 2019 at 22:01

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