Using car as generator for house power

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

  1. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    I appreciate the BlueGen link - this is informative and new to me. Thanks PatSparks!
     
  2. safetrip

    safetrip New Member

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    Anyone following this news- Prius can be had with factory installed power inverter capable of 1500W?
    techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20121025/247531/
    At $800, it is a no brainer to me but I couldn't find anything about it Prius website. I'm wondering if this is just in Japan not US yet?
     
  3. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    ^^ Japan only so far, following the disruptions from tsunami catastrophe two years ago.
     
  4. safetrip

    safetrip New Member

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    I'd sign a petition if that's what it takes to ask US Toyota to offer this.
     
  5. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    This is my emergency and camping hot water heater solution Basecamp Aqua Cube Portable Hot Shower and Tap
    Used like this:
     
  6. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    The UPS I've talked about is not compatible with the 144 volt Prius system. The low-voltage cutoff is around 168 volts if I remember right.
     
  7. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    In the event you have not seen it, this thread may be of interest to you since the voltage range of this 2000 watt inverter is "DC INPUT / OPERATING VOLTAGE: 180-260 VDC".
    My install and review of the AIMS Prius 2kW Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Backup Power Generator | PriusChat
     
  8. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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  9. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    You are correct. Don't know what I thought I read as his voltage.
     
  10. Terrell

    Terrell Old-Timer

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    There are several problems with gasoline generators like that:
    - The one you mention runs only 8 1/2 hours at half load (400w). I've read a Prius "generator" will run a couple of days at 900w.
    - Noisy. Prius is nice and quiet, and only runs when needed to top off the 12v battery.
    - 1.5 gal tank needs to be filled up with gas, so you need to store gasoline. Prius holds gas and conveniently can be driven to get more.
    - The cheap gas generators probably don't have pure sine wave output. An inverter can.

    And a final point is that when I go camping, I can use my Prius in places where generators are not allowed (for example, no state parks in Wisconsin allow a generator). And when I use the Prius, it will not run constantly, just enough to keep the 12v battery topped up.
     
  11. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    Since you are repeated twice I have to point out that NO not to top off the 12V!! BUT the HV battery !!!!! the 12V battery is a really tiny one and sure can not provide 1000W for much time. All power is coming from the 200+V traction battery...

    - and actually that is one of the downside of this you are using up some of the cycles the battery has for it full life time.
     
  12. Terrell

    Terrell Old-Timer

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    Thanks for the correction. I should have said the traction battery, which charges the 12v battery through the dc/dc inverter. My point is that the Prius motor doesn't need to run all the time, just when necessary.

    Yes, the 12v battery is very small. So the 1000w inverter isn't really running off the 12v battery, but off the dc/dc inverter, and using the 12v battery in times of peak power need.

    I'm not worried about using up some of the cycles the traction battery has, since the number of days I would be running the 1000w inverter is very few over the life of the traction battery, which is supposed to last as long as "the life of the car." And the car, here in Wisconsin, I imagine will be eaten by road salt far sooner than the traction battery will die.
     
  13. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    You can either tap the 12 volt battery for 1000 watts (max and continuous), or the traction battery for 3000 watts continuous or several times that for surge. My application is for the later but many people take the easier route and just tap the 12 volt battery.
     
  14. Terrell

    Terrell Old-Timer

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    After doing some research on the cable from the DC/DC inverter to the 12v battery, I'm not so sure it's able to carry more than around 600w. It's aluminum (at least on the 2010), and appears to be 6 AWG.
     
  15. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    It is fused at 140A so I'm not too worried. I've sustained 960W, output load, for several hours with our 2010 Prius, part of my load testing. Everything was stable but the 12V circuit breaker and Anderson connector were hotter than I cared for.

    The 120A, 12V circuit breaker tripped once but I'm sure it was getting the extra amps from the battery.

    Bob Wilson
     
  16. bear15

    bear15 Member

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    Hi Bob,

    We had a bad storm hit last night-- trees, telephone poles, etc. are down (a real mess). The power company said to not expect power for quite some time. We are running a regular generator at approx. $75.00/per day for gas and doing a lot of clean-up of trees etc.

    We have a 2012 prius. Could you please give us the short on what we need to purchase to connect the prius up and a few step-by-step instructions on how we can safely install to use the prius as a generator?

    Thank you for any consideration.

    Ed


     
  17. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Hi Ed,
    Let me suggest using "Search" for user bwilson4web and text "inverter". You should get enough to see how I (and others) have done it.

    This was my first one: Prius - UPS Project

    The modified sine-wave is OK but you have to be careful about what type of loads and extension lengths. Typically $100-150 for one in the 1 kW range. I would go with 1.5 kW only because the 12V battery can provide enough surge for most start-up loads. But our first inverter, an 8 year old Costco, is a 1 kW and it has and continues to work just fine.

    For 3x cost, go with a sine-wave inverter. Again, 1.5 kW is OK but you can go lower. Again the 12V battery can provide a ~10 seconds of over load for starting motors. Sine-wave goes further down extension cords.

    Bob Wilson
     
  18. bear15

    bear15 Member

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    Wow! I understand, I was just trying to save some time-- more storms on the way tonight.


     
  19. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    Are you interested in getting 1000 watts (enough to run a fridge or window A/C, plus some lights and a TV... lots of load management), or do you need more? See the link in my signature for the later, but don't expect to do it today. It would be a long-term project. For your current situation you should be able to get a 1 kw inverter and quickly hook it up to the 12 volt battery terminals. Motors run more efficiently on pure sine wave so if you can afford it, get a PSW inverter.
     
  20. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    In engineering, pick two:
    • Good
    • Fast
    • Cheap
    If I needed something ASAP:
    1. Harbor Freight - find a 1.2-1.5 kW modified sine wave and a Kill-a-Watt style power meter and contractor grade, three socket extension cord that will reach from car to inside nearest door ($150-200)
    2. Set of 4 gauge or nothing smaller than 6 gauge, short cables
    3. Disconnect 12V at ground post
    4. Connect cables to inverter - NOT CAR!!!
    5. Connect B+ cable inverter to B+ terminal post (raise the red cover and use the 'big bolt'
      1. work slowly, carefully, deliberately
      2. make sure the bolt with new cable attached has a full thread depth or risk over heating!
      3. replace bolt with metric if not a full depth of threads
    6. Make sure inverter does NOT slide about (use some sort of fastener)
    7. Double check torque on inverter cable connectors, tight but not crazy
    8. Attach B- cable from inverter to B- terminal lug
    9. Recheck all connectors and inverter won't be sliding around and has plenty of air for cooling
    10. Attach B- battery lug to battery (there will be minor sparks as caps charge up)
    11. Make sure inverter is OFF, one last sanity check
    12. Power ON car
      • one last sanity ckeck, no exposed B+
      • verify inverter is not going to slide about
      • go fill up tank and get some goodies to bring home
    13. Turn off every car accessory possible
    14. Turn on inverter - check all connectors to make sure nothing is getting hot or warm to touch
    15. Use Kill-a-Watt to measure voltage at inverter 110VAC plug
    16. Plug in contractor cord and run to door inside house
    17. Use Kill-a-Watt to measure voltage and current
    18. Add loads through Kill-a-Watt
      1. One set of lights (with lights, females will be very much happier, one must reach bathroom)
      2. One motor load, one that you can reach by hand to see if motor or compressor is running hot in 20-30 minutes
      3. TV (use HD on air receiver) . . . cable is probably out too
      4. Enjoy camping out at home!
    19. Check connectors and cables to make sure nothing is getting HOT.
    20. After 20-30 minutes, walk around and touch the 12V cables at connectors and make sure they are not getting HOT
    21. Touch inverter case and make sure it is warm but not HOT
    Sleep well. When you awake, check all cables and inverter to make sure nothing is getting HOT.

    Acceptable loads, 5000 btu window AC or small fridge or gas furnace blower motor. CFL or LED lights. Laptops (CAUTION often have heavy inrush, may want to put these in circuit early!)

    GOOD LUCK!
    Bob Wilson
     
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