Using car as generator for house power

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by ED9593, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. ED9593

    ED9593 Junior Member

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    Can I safely use a 2000 watt inverter for extended periods as in a power outage. Will this damage my 12 volt battery or any other electrical components? A friend used a 750 watt inverter for 9 days last year and did not seem to have problems. He used about 7 or 8 gallons of gas I think. A lot more efficient than a generator.
     
  2. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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  3. GBC_Texas_Prius

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    The killer app for hybrids. I wonder how many people affected by Hurricane Sandy would love to have a reversible plug-in hybrid just to run their refrigerator. Been there four years ago with hurricane Ike. Went four days without electricity and there I was with a hybrid that could have at least given some help but no outlet.
     
  4. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  5. North Jersey

    North Jersey Junior Member

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    I've purchased a 1000 watt (2000 watt peak) Sunforce sine wave inverter for $192 on Amazon, and have ordered cables from Genuinedealz.com. I'll put a 80 amp fuse in the red cable, then both red and black cable lead to Anderson style connectors. So I will leave it connected with a cap on the Anderson style connector, and just plug the Anderson style connectors together (one connected to the inverter) when I want to use it. Genuinedealz will cut the cable, crimp it into the ring terminal or Anderson style connector, and cover the connection with heat shrink wrap for $1 per connection (after you buy the cable, terminal rings, etc from them). Good deal for me rather than playing around trying to crimp connectors onto AWG 4 wire (which is what the inverter calls for).

    I'll post a picture and report on how it works when I have it installed and tested. I'm backordered until January on the Transfer box to connect the power into selected circuits in my house, so until then I would be using extension cords to the actual loads.
     
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  6. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    Look forward to seeing the photos!

    What are you using for the 80 amp fuse in the 4-gauge wire? I see inline holders only up to a maximum of 6-gauge wire at Genuinedealz. And which connectors are you using at the battery end of the cables?
     
  7. North Jersey

    North Jersey Junior Member

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    I ordered the fuse holder and fuse through Amazon - but I think wire size doesn't matter if you are using a terminal ring (crimped on the end of the cable) in the fuse holder. I sized the terminal rings (5/16 inch) that will connect to the fuse box to go over the bolts that hold the fuse. I think the size limit is if you are wrapping the cable around the bolt in the fuse holder. Since the terminal rings are directly touching the fuse, the capacity of the box is, I believe, irrelevant. At the battery end, I specified 1/4 inch hole terminal rings to connect to the bolts (one for positive, one for negative) that holds the clamps onto the battery terminal. Take off the nut, slip the terminal ring over the bolt, replace the nut and tighten. The terminal ring (again, crimped to the cable) will be directly touching the clamp (on one side) and the nut (on the other side).
     
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  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Once you get everything in and working, see if you have a resistive load, say a small space heater or other variable resistance load and do a load test. While it runs, check the temperatures of every connector and the fuse. As you approach the load limit, the fuse should get warm but you really want to check the connectors. If they were crimped badly, rework them now while the weather is good. <grins>

    Bob Wilson
     
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  9. Former Member 68813

    Former Member 68813 Senior Member

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    Looking forward to the pictures. How crucial is it to use quality $200 inverter vs $50 cheap one?
     
  10. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Examples:
    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5
    0 [th]Characteristic[th]$200 [th]$50[tr][td]sine-wave vs other[td]sine-wave means less electrical noise and less drop over extension cord[td]some motors run warmer some devices won't work some TV/radio receivers may have a buzz[tr][td]instrumentation[td]shows voltage current and power[td]requires hand held meters to see what is going on[tr][td]surge power[td]handles motor startup and inrush better[td]one spikey load trips the unit off[tr][td]efficiency[td]92-95%[td]82-85%


    A cheap inverter is better than none but after several years of use, you begin to appreciate that a quality inverter avoids some ugly things. For example, I once left the house on the cheap inverter and while out, a load spike caused the inverter to 'over-load' trip and go into a slow oscillation. My wife was home and had no idea what to do to solve the problem. When I got home about half an hour later, I disconnected one of the heavy, steady loads, the system stabilized and then added the heavy, non-spiky load without a problem. A cheaper system tends to be more sensitive to what is plugged in and behave badly when approaching the margins.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  11. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    Well I am going to consider this for sure... I was out of power 2 weeks in Long Island but prius was swimming too so wouldn't help ....:)
     
  12. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    correct me if I am wrong but 80A fuse will limit you on nominal 12V 960W 13.8V what is the HV provide ... just about 1100W ... just want to know if this is safe or not .... inverter will probably pull more and waste the fuse ...

    Just about buying the inverter ... it makes sense ... for the price
     
  13. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    The DC-DC converter has a 100A fuse in the line to the 12V battery, so you definitely want the add-on fuse to blow before that one.
     
  14. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    thanks ...... this makes sense then .. I did not know .. so the real max is btw 1200W-1380W then ....and the fuse is $2.5 worth to protect the car ... (mine is brand new ..)
     
  15. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    You also have to allow for losses in the connecting cables and the inverter, so the actual power you can pull from the AC side would be lower than that. Bob Wilson has done a lot of tests, and I believe he's found that 1KW is about the max you can safely get out of the system on a continuous basis. Search his user name (bwilson4web) and you'll find lots of info.
     
  16. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    thanks I did read that for sometime ... I have not done this because of the "warranty" but I already ordered the inverter and I will have a prius generator soon .. like to see the OPs pictures just as a reference.

    I am MS E.E originally (never practiced the trade but still understand what those 100A can do ..)
     
  17. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    I just decided to do something similar and got the inverter fuse box a few fuses ... would you mind to share what kind of connector/ring you decided to use to connect to the inverter side ... and if that worked... I would like to use something a right angel bolt/ring type so all these can be put flat somewhere in the trunk... without the "wire" being twisted...

    My goal to have a permanent short "connection" with an anderson 175A connector attached to the battery (with dust cover etc) and some wire assembly also permanently attached to the inverter with a matching anderson. I want the inverter assembled with it's dongle (this is not necessarily kept in the car all the time) and then just plug them together as needed.

    Not yet sure which "side" I would put the fuse, I am thinking on the inverter side for now. So it is not travels all around...

    thanks in advance for any suggestion (other please share any experience as well)
     
  18. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  19. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    Can anyone comment give advise on "grounding" ... the generator is the car on rubber wheels ... of course...

    Should I/anyone worry about grounding like fridge and other stuff likes to be grounded ... also the inverter has a spot... is this any safety issue ????
     
  20. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Grounding is a safety issue for dealing with shorted appliances. The three-prong plug from the car already carries the safety ground . . . as long as it is used with all appliances. But this is an 'emergency' situation, not 'co-generation.' My thinking is use three-prong extension cords and plugs and life is good and 'safe enough.'

    Bob Wilson
     
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