How to Turn Your Toyota Prius Into a Temporary Generator

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by Marine Ray, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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  2. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Prius PHV in Japanese market already have that option built-in. For US and other market, demands are too low, I guess. If it was not so expensive, for a low demand back-up generator, I would consider. But knowing I need at least 7.5kW peak/ 6.5 kW running generator for my house, it's not worth trying.
     
    #2 Salamander_King, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
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  3. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Converdant went out of business a few years ago. I don't know of another inverter that connects to the HV battery. But the last post in this thread has a Converdant for sale and it's not all that old of a post. Prius Whole house Converdant Inverter | Page 2 | PriusChat

    There were some concerns in the thread about affecting the car's warranty and about its the car's ability to properly monitor and manage state of charge.

    [edited for clarity]
     
    #3 jerrymildred, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
  4. schja01

    schja01 One of very few in Chicagoland

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    Unless my car was quite a few yrs old I’d be concerned about voiding the HV system’s extended warranty.
     
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  5. noonm

    noonm Active Member

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    I wouldn't do it for a whole house, but in an emergency (or while camping) it seems pretty plausible.
     
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  6. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Thanks for sharing. Looks like he's using the 12v battery which you can do with any car. He's not using his traction battery.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  7. crewdog

    crewdog Acting Ensign Prius Prime

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  8. crewdog

    crewdog Acting Ensign Prius Prime

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  9. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Sure he's using the traction battery. He's connected to the 12V, which is connected through the inverter to the traction battery. This method is a lot more convenient and I'd think it would work just as well, although you might not have quite as much amperage available.

    I have considered doing the same thing in case we have a major power outage.
     
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  10. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Thanks Jerry. So when the 12 v battery is depleted, 12v power is provided by the traction battery. When the traction battery is depleted, the ICE turns on to charge the traction battery, 12v battery or both?
     
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  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    not depleted, but at predetermined minimums. the 12v is constantly charged from the traction battery with the car ready.
    the traction battery is kept between two low parameters by the engine
     
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  12. Washingtonian

    Washingtonian Active Member

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    Does that mean that if I don't use the car for a month or two there is no need to use a trickle charger? Or does it only charge the 12V when the car is in use?
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    the 12v only gets a charge when 'ready'. you need a maintainer for long periods of disuse. or t the very least, shut sks off, or disconnect the 12v negative.

    the pip charges the 12v while charging the hybrid battery when plugged in, which rally tops it up more than driving. i'm not sure about prime. i think so, but at a lower charging rate, iirc. it was discussed in early prime threads
    in either case, it doesnt help if the car is sitting for too long. still, i leave mine for 2 months every winter without doing anything, and got 7 1/2 years out of the oem battery.
     
  14. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Both, assuming the car is in READY, but the 12V is getting charged indirectly through the inverter's DC/DC converter since there is no 12V alternator. The ICE runs the motor/generator which sends alternating current to the inverter. The inverter changes that AC power to a DC voltage for the traction battery and another DC voltage for the 12V. @bisco nailed the answer. No matter what it is that's pulling power from the 12V (headlights, fans, instruments, inverter connected to a refrigerator), the traction battery will maintain the 12V via the DC/DC converter in the inverter. Once the traction battery gets down to a certain level (about 23% SOC, iirc), the ICE will start and bring the traction battery back up to a nominal SOC. The limiting factor on the load you can put on the 12V is the 100A fuse between it and the inverter. That gives you about 1,000 watts of power, but I would not be comfortable sustaining that much load continuously.

    No, it doesn't. Unless the car is READY, the traction battery is electrically disconnected from the rest of the car by a double-pole relay mostly so firemen don't get killed cutting people out of mangled vehicles.

    The Prime, like the PiP does trickle charge the 12V when the car is plugged in AND CHARGING. But it's not at as high of a voltage in the Prime. However, if the car is not charging, the traction battery is again disconnected whether the EVSE is plugged in or not. So any Prius would need a trickle charger for the 12V if left sitting long enough.
     
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  15. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Great info. Thanks.
     
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  16. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Active Member

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    I've done it many times with the PiP. No power outages with the Prime yet. Works great. While using the car as a generator I turn off the dash lights and nav screen to save power. It usually only kicked on every half hour or so for a couple of minutes. I always have a sine wave inverter in the car for other use, so I just ran an extension cord into the house to power the UPS for my WiFi and file server, plus some LED lamps and small fish tanks. Total load was about 100W.
     
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  17. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I have an OLD 100W inverter, but if I do this, I think I'll get something more modern and bigger.
     
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  18. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Active Member

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    I had a Samlex 300W pure sine wave inverter, but it died after a couple of years and the manufacturer said they don't repair them. I am now using a Bestek pure sinewave inverter that was only $45 on Amazon and is really sine wave on the oscilloscope. If it dies after two years it won't bother me as much as the $150 Samlex. The bonus is that it works with the 12V outlets in the Prime because its low-voltage shutoff isn't triggered by the Prime's low voltage like the Samlex. Seems to make all the difference in the world.
     
  19. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Cool. If I ever get around to it, since the 12 system can handle it, I'll probably opt for something more like 800 watts just in case I need more. It would need to run the refrigerator or the internet & TV stuff. I haven't checked the wattage on our fridge, but they are typically about 725 watts. Obviously, I'll be investigating more thoroughly when the time comes. Maybe before the next hurricane season. I also have line conditioners left over from the years we lived in Honduras where the voltage was all over the place.
     
  20. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Active Member

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    My refrigerator running is only about 125W, and it's a large Samsung French door model. Are you sure you're running at 700+W?
     
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