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Inverter Recommendation

Discussion in 'Prius v Accessories and Modifications' started by LinearElk, Dec 3, 2012.

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  1. LinearElk

    LinearElk Guest

    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.
  2. n0na

    n0na Junior Member

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    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.
  3. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    Comments inserted:


    Bob Wilson
    Chazz8 and davidigrace@mail.com like this.
  5. Ryan G

    Ryan G New Member

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    I did a test run this weekend with a Cobra 1500 watt inverter and ran my fridge and a few lights for about 2 hours. I used the method of hooking it up to the positive terminal in the fuse box. After the test I noticed that my clock was off and my radio pre sets were gone. I did the self diagnostic yesterday on the 12 volt and it was running low . After my hour 20 commute and sitting over night I checed it again and now the 12 volt is back in range. What can I do in the future to protect the battery?
  6. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    Was the car in "P" and "Ready?"

    Bob Wilson
  7. rjparker

    rjparker Active Member

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    As indicated above, you have to have the car running to avoid discharging the very small 12v battery.
    cwerdna likes this.
  8. Ryan G

    Ryan G New Member

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    I was in ready . So now it runs and then if I turn it off and then try to turn it back on it is completly dead no power at all. I brought it to the dealer and they thought it was the cluster recall. They replaced that and when I went to pick it up it started fine. Turned it off to clear the maintance req light and it was completly dead. I had the 12 volt checked prior to going to the dealer and it was fine. Not sure what's up and either is the dealer.
  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    We need the 12V battery voltage when the car is running. It should measure 13.8-13.9 V indicating the DC-to-DC converter is working.

    Bob Wilson
    cwerdna likes this.
  10. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Can you start the Prius with another car ?
  11. Ryan G

    Ryan G New Member

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    I did the diagnostic by pressing info button and turn the lights on 3x and it all seems fine. The dealer said it was the battery and changed it, but same issue happen when I got home. This site is great . I am going to share some post from here. Others have had the same issue and it may be a short in the fuse?
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