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    LinearElk New Member

    Member Since:
    Dec 3, 2012
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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    I've been reading up on the subject of using a Prius as a backup generator. I've gathered the following (please correct me if any of this is off):

    - Using an inverter attached to the 12V system is relatively easy and inexpensive, though it does not provide for as much power or efficiency as would an inverter attached to the traction battery.
    - The maximum safe amount of power to draw from the 12V system is somewhere between 1000 and 1500 watts. Safe for the vehicle, that is.
    - Most inverters can handle double their rated wattage for startup loads.
    - I can probably run my refrigerator and boiler simultaneously without a problem. Both are modern and efficient appliances, and I could probably run them for a few days on a tank of gas, close to a week if I milked it. I use natural gas at my house and my domestic hot water is made indirectly by my boiler - so with just those two appliances I could have heat, hot water and refrigeration all coming from my Prius.

    So what I'm looking for is a) confirmation of the above and b) a suggestion for a specific inverter. It seems like the Aims 1250W and the Power Bright 1500 have been used with success. I like the idea of having a 3000W peak limit since I'd like to keep shutdowns due to an overload to a minimum. Both of these inverters allow for that. I haven't read anything specific to the Prius V though I assume the inverter issues would all be the same.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
    bwilson4web likes this.
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    n0na Junior Member

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2012
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    Location:
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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    You'd be better off with a portable generator ($500 to $1000 depending on the model plus $200 for a transfer switch and maybe $75 for an electrical permit). That wouldn't cost much more than an inverter would cost and you wouldn't have to modify your car and risk doing damage to it. Plus, you'd have emergency power for your house that is very safe and complies with the electrical code. I have a Honda EU2000 generator that cost $900. It can power either a refrigerator or furnace motor (but not both at the same time). Its inverter has a sinewave output, so the generator can also power sensitive computer equipment if needed. If you buy a 2000 watt sinewave inverter to connect to your car's traction battery, it's going to cost you. I bought a stand-alone inverter for a completely different project and it cost $300 for a 600 watt inverter. Also, keep in mind that most inverters "fold back" and stop working if you try to draw more current that they are designed to supply, so you'll need a big one for starting refridgerator motors, etc. Inverters cannot "handle double their rated wattage for startup loads." Your best bet is a portable generator.
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    cwerdna Senior Member

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2005
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    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
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    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2005
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    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2003 Prius
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Comments inserted:
    Bob Wilson
    Chazz8 and davidigrace@mail.com like this.

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