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My install and review of the AIMS Prius 2kW Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Backup Power Generator

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by AHetaFan, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. mrbigh

    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

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    Sort off, but required for the electronics withing.
    It has heavy and huge transformers.
     
  2. Florida

    Florida Junior Member

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  3. Florida

    Florida Junior Member

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    Hi Terrell,
    Saw your video on installing the 1000watt inverter. You were exceptionally clear and generous in your description. But I am one of those people that ahoukd have someone else I stall it. Where do you live? I would like to pay you to do it on my 2010.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    is converdant oob?
     
  5. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

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    Very professional!
     
  6. ZiLg0

    ZiLg0 Junior Member

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    Does anyone have a lead on where I can obtain a PWRI2000S240VDC inverter these days? Or know of an alternative which can be run off of the traction battery?
     
  7. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I've got one that doesn't work. :) AIMS technical support claims that model was a custom build they made a limited run of, and say they no longer have any schematics or repair info or anybody who remembers how they built it.
     
  8. ZiLg0

    ZiLg0 Junior Member

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    Did you ever have it looked at to see what was the issue with it? Or did you see the magic smoke leave? Would you be interested in giving it away?

    I wrote to AIMS just after my last post and had a response sitting in my inbox this AM. Support stated the part number was not for their product, and offered 12v-48v inverters.
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I did not see the magic smoke leave ... it was sold to me by someone who, I sadly believe, misrepresented it, and it arrived DOA. I was very happy that I took it in to the physics dept and tested it on the bench before putting in any effort to install it in the car. I never got around to taking the matter up with the seller, so here I am with the thing.

    I made a few simple checks and didn't find the trouble. I have in the back of my mind an idea that I might try harder some time, but with no way of getting a schematic, it seems a bit of a challenge. Do you have experience reverse-engineering inverters?
     
  10. ZiLg0

    ZiLg0 Junior Member

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    I do not have the experience with inverters but I have worked with high voltage (50,000KV) DC supplies on TV and FM radio transmitters, I would hope it's something as obvious as a blown cap or fuse. Rats on the misrepresentation!! Smart testing it before you performed the install! I wish someone offered a turn key device again, I have started looking into DC to DC converters to go from the traction battery to 48VDC or lower. I'd really like 2KW for emergency communication and disaster preparedness... but looks like I'll need to curtail my loads and stick with a 12VDC off of the cars inverter.

    You should crack that cover off and see if you find anything suspect!
     
  11. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I have one of the originals from eBay (need to recheck the actual model number), but never got around to actually installing it. Obtained wiring and connectors, opened up the battery box to locate the relay connection points, but never finished selecting proper fusing. So it is still sitting uninstalled in my office. And we have suffered only a single multi-hour (about 6 hours?) power outage since, so the penalty for not yet installing it has been negligible.

    Whether or not I'm willing to part with it will depend on how soon I choose to trade up to a Prime, which has a higher traction battery voltage and is likely not compatible with this unit.

    The design does need a fairly simple grounding fix, described somewhere in this or similar thread.
     
    ZiLg0 and Andyprius1 like this.
  12. ZiLg0

    ZiLg0 Junior Member

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    OK well let me know if you end up having an interest in selling!
     
  13. Travis Sanders

    Travis Sanders Junior Member

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    What have you learned regarding this topic. I am off grid and my batteries are old and junkie and won't get me through the night so I was thinking of doing what you mentioned. Currently running a 2000w Honda inverter generator for 16 hours every night at the cost of 2 gallons of fuel. Perhaps the Prius would be more economical for me. But it's irritating that my generator cannot power the microwave and regular loads simultaneously. And if I plug in the charger to the generator that way I'm using AC to DC and then back to AC again it's so much conversion loss I burn an extra gallon at night.

    How about a $250 used midnight classic 250 charge controller to change the voltage down to my house battery voltage instead of an overpriced dc-to-dc converter? I've seen people doing it with a morning Star brand successfully. In my situation where I already have a 48 volt battery Bank powering a 5000 watt inverter I think this could work. I would set the voltage output on the midnight only to maintain the house battery around 49 volts so it doesn't drain during the night. I use between 300 and 500 watts continuously all night with the occasional 2000w start-up surge of the refrigerator & sometimes that 2000 watt microwave for a few minutes.
    I see my Prius engine cycling on and off as I sit in park and put a 1 to 2000 watt load on the Prius high voltage battery with my air conditioning and lights on the Prius battery ranges between 214 volts and 246 volts and the battery percentage between 42 and 50%. If I turn off all of the high-voltage loads I get a larger voltage range all the way down to 211V and 41% state of charge. While simultaneously providing 2000 Watts for the air conditioning I see as much as a steady 3600 Watts going into the battery for a combined total of 5600 Watts. That's a great match for my 5000 watt inverter. But it will slightly max out the midnight classic charge controller which has overcurrent clipping so technically it should be able to handle it.

    I do worry about the high amperage that's available from the high-voltage battery. It's way more than anyone's over paneled systems provide. Seems like this battery is capable of producing 30,000w @ at over 100amps which is around 25 horsepower. I also worry about the mppt sweep. I think there's different settings on the midnight like for wind and hydro. Possibly something in the tweaks menu that could change the sweep parameters or otherwise make my idea not original. I'll ask Midnight's tech support but I expect they won't be to excited to warranty my unit unless they have a specific program designed for this purpose in it's firmware.
     
  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    First off, I agree with your technical summary. This is what I did:
    Prius - UPS Project

    From an efficiency standpoint, we camped out 4 days, 6 hours at home with our Prius burning ~2 gallons per day when the April 2011 tornadoes tore up the North Alabama grid. But compared to 'cursing the darkness' or the noise and real risk of carbon monoxide from the small generators, the Prius turned out to be a safer, quieter, and similar efficiency solution. But things have changed.

    We own a Tesla Std. Rng. Plus Model 3 that has an empty space where the front motor and CVT shafts would normally be. So I have two technical approaches:
    • COTS 12 V to 120 VAC inverter - suffering the same converter inefficiencies, this is more of a quick and dirty solution that can provide cabin AC power or in the field, ~1-1.5 kW of AC power. In effect, the Tesla becomes a 3,500 lb, +120 mph, emergency power generator.
    • Tap traction battery for a 120/240 VAC UPS style inverter - a more efficient and sophisticated solution, this really needs to be part of an operational scenario, not just an emergency solution.
    Before committing to a particular Tesla solution, I need to do a requirements analysis:
    1. Mandatory - cabin 120 VAC voltage for laptops and 'wall warts' in the 50 W range.
    2. Optional
      • single, ordinary house, AC circuit - 120 VAC, sine wave, 10 A with 20 A surge
      • single, L2 level, AC circuit - 240 VAC, sine wave, 40 A, with a split voltage option
    Bob Wilson
     
  15. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Why charge one battery off the other? You'd burn less fuel overall by powering the load directly from the Prius.
     
  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Prius efficiency depends upon operating the engine at peak, thermodynamic efficiency. If the load is too low, the excess energy is banked in the battery. Soon as possible, the engine is turned off and the battery provides the previously stored energy. When the battery runs low, the engine is started and again operates at peak efficiency. That is the Prius 'trick.'

    Bob Wilson
     
  17. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Yep, that's prius 101. But read Travis Sanders' post carefully: he wants to connect his Prius HV battery to the input of an MPPT charge controller to produce 48VDC for his house battery bank. I could see that working, but I suspect he would burn less fuel by simply powering the AC loads within the home from an inverter connected to the Prius. The existing solar + degraded battery setup could continue to power the home when he's out driving around.
     
  18. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    More energy to run an alternator then having a down converter for the 12v battery.
    And less moving parts, less weight, less cost.

     
  19. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Whether in ICE mode or just battery mode, the Prius still has a substantial overhead load of car specific stuff, to the tune of around 400W. This is one reason why Prius' superior ICE thermal efficiency doesn't translate to superior fuel-to-electric efficiency over the best standalone small generators when powering external loads. Competitive yes, but not superior.

    While this overhead waste is tolerable when delivering substantial power, it severely drags down system efficiency during light load periods, such as when only a few LED lamps are drawing power. So if Travis's house battery and inverter system has a much lower idle overhead than Prius, and runs significant periods of light loads, this opens up a lot of space to make up for that extra energy conversion and still come out ahead. Charge the house batteries at a somewhat high rate, then drain them slowly into small loads.

    Computing just when it beneficial to use his house batteries and inverter, vs run directly from the Prius, requires considerably more detail than is available to the rest of us.
     
    #219 fuzzy1, Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  20. George W

    George W Senior Member

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    Your Prius has an Alternator?