Prius Inverter Generator

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by Frank Perkins, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Frank Perkins

    Frank Perkins Member

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    I finally completed my Prius generator inverter project. A lot of the details can be found on my blog: Prius Home Generator | Frank Perkins - TechnoGeeko but here are the highlights.

    The basic setup is Prius -> Inverter -> 15a -> 30a -> Manual Transfer Switch -> house circuits

    The most time consuming part was trying to figure out how I can utilize my 30amp manual transfer switch with an inverter that only supplies 15a/120v of power.

    I also created a few videos to show how the setup works. I apologize if I referenced anyone's work and didn't provide credit. Let me know and Ill update my notes.




     
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  2. Terrell

    Terrell Old-Timer

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    Nice video. To secure your Prius from being stollen while running, you can use the emergency key of the key fob to lock your doors once the Prius is running. This also disables any use of the fob, so you must unlock the doors again manually. It's still a good idea to park another car in the way, though.
     
  3. pmike

    pmike Member

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    This is the very thing I was pondering when looking at the AIMS inverters.
     
  4. HaroldW

    HaroldW Active Member

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    Great post. Well done. H:)
     
  5. engerysaver

    engerysaver Real Senior Member

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    Enjoyed your video(y) ; my inverter is 1500 watts. I use my main breaker box with the main cut off, with all the other breakers cut off, and cut on just what I have to have on , while watching my wattage being used.
    I love my Prius!!:love:
     
  6. Terrell

    Terrell Old-Timer

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    I finally finished my video on installing a 1 KW inverter in my Prius. You can watch it on YouTube here:


    For those interested, I made my Prius into a camper. The YouTube video is here:


    The Prius is such a wonderful car! It's been fun to work on. Part of my guidelines for projects like this is to not alter the car itself, but still provide solutions.
     
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  7. neez

    neez Member

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    Why go through the 12v system? That's alot of amperage to go from the traction battery, to the dc-dc module, back to the 12v battery, then to your 120ac inverter, then to your house. Probably more loses there than necessary.

    I know i've seen a cheaper one, around $800, but i can't find it at the moment. But it's essentially like this:
    http://www.schaeferpower.com/pdf/AEP2000.pdf

    220v input from the traction battery directly to the 120ac inverter, then to the house.
     
  8. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    If you don't need the higher power capacity obtained by connecting directly to the traction battery, an inverter on the 12V line is much simpler, safer and cheaper for the average Prius owner.
     
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  9. bkborgman

    bkborgman Junior Member

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    I too have thought about adding a ~1000 W power inverter to my Prius. While reading material on this forum I too learned about the 100 Amp fuse in the engine compartment, but I thought I also read something about the wire running from the inverter in the engine compartment to the 12 V battery in the rear was not rated for very high current. Ftl, did you happen to inspect the gauge of this cable?

    Also, in case anyone is interested in hooking up to the traction battery (which gives you more power draw capacity and fewer DC-DC conversion losses), there is a really nice guide for connecting directly to the traction battery here on the forums.
     
  10. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    I haven't inspected it (although I did set up the wiring at the battery terminals to connect a 1000 W inverter to my Prius c), but having a 100 amp fuse protecting a cable with a lower capacity would be a *very* bad idea.

    There are lots of threads on the forum about doing this, particularly around Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
     
  11. bkborgman

    bkborgman Junior Member

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    Agreed, but the Prius is not designed to use the 12V battery for any heavy lifting. This is evident in that the battery has a pretty low capacity and that It simply powers auxiliary systems in the car (rather than cranking the engine as would be done in a regular vehicle).

    I did a little digging and figured out where my recollection comes from. From our Forums (I'm new so I can't post URLs yet... search for 12v-battery-ground-wire-question.125658) it is *claimed* that the ground wire for the 12V battery is 14 or 12 gauge whereas the positive wire is approximately 6 gauge. Looking up the current ratings for these wires, we see that the 12 or 14 gauge wire is current limited to 24-34 amps whereas the positive wire coming from the 100 amp fused link is rated to 95 amps if the wires are single core. If they are multi-core, the current ratings will be less.

    After reading this I became too preoccupied with other tasks to verify the gauge of these wires and never got around to installing a 120 V AC power inverter in my Prius. If the claims of the above post are true, it would be unsafe to draw more than ~300 W over the wires for prolonged periods of time. The 12V battery will provide some protection against this scenario for short periods of time, but I think the wires deserve further inspection.

    Has anyone here verified the type of wires connecting the 12V battery to the rest of the electrical system?
     
  12. neez

    neez Member

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    I think you are correct here. According to automotive standards, for 80-100 amps, you would need 2 guage wire for 15 feet, 4 guage for 10 feet. At 12guage, that wire will probably heat up alot under full load, i surely hope you aren't sustaining full load for an extended period of time. Potentially burning your prius to the ground.

    Also fuses should always be spec'd to the weakest link in your system. In this case it's the wire guage, the fuse should match the guage of wire you have, so 30amps is probably what you should use.

    Using the high voltage battery would allow you to use much thinner wire due to the much lower current. 1000watts would be approximately 5 amps, which even 18 guage cable would have no trouble with.

    That inverter is hard to get since it's out of production i believe. Here's a whole kit for $620 though: Plug-Out Island kit Prius Aims 2kw 120v-60hz psw: Home
     
    #12 neez, Oct 2, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
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