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Off-grid remote generator starter helps avoid trekking outside in bad weather

Arduino TeamJanuary 28th, 2024

Living off the grid is a dream for many people, but it also presents unique challenges that are otherwise absent in our urban-centric lifestyles. One of the largest adjustments one has to make is the lack of readily available power, as it typically comes from renewable wind/solar or generator setups. In element14 Presents host Kaleb Clark’s case, his Honda EU-7000iS generator works in combination with some solar panels around his property, although the generator is located nearly 200 feet away and downhill, making it a very tough journey to operate in bad weather.

After finding a bypass cable with one pair of leads for enabling the generator and another pair for powering on the starter motor, Clark got a couple relays that could bridge their contacts together programmatically. In order to communicate the current output of the generator, solar panels, battery, and if the motor should run, a pair of Arduino Nano 33 IoT boards were chosen for both the house and generator sides of the project. They send data through Wi-Fi and MQTT to stay in consistent synchronization while either one is also connected to a few seven-segment display modules and MAX7221 LED drivers for showing the most recent data.

While inside the house, Clark is able to simply hold down a button and watch how the generator across his property roars to life and begins producing measurable power output to the display. More information about this project can be seen in Clark’s video below!