Using car as generator for house power

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

  1. Terrell

    Terrell Old-Timer

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    So far, I've never had to use my 1kw inverter equipped Prius to run things in the house. But for camping trips out in the wilderness far away from any power source, it's a blast to cook rice in a rice cooker (450W) and see people's expression. I also have a small microwave oven (950W) which runs just fine off the inverter for the short periods it cooks.
     
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  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    It takes me about ten hours to drive to my sister's. One time I stopped about six hours in and dumped flour and water into the bread machine, well secured in a crate in the back seat. Drove the rest of the way and popped out the fresh bread when I pulled in. :)

    -Chap
     
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  3. Terrell

    Terrell Old-Timer

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    I've never tried cooking in the car while moving, because I'm afraid of spilling, plus the steam from the rice cooker might fog up the windows. But I love your idea!
     
  4. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    While I've never tried cooking while traveling either, I'm not seeing much of a problem. This is mostly a matter of securing the cargo load against any reasonably foreseeable emergency maneuvers short of an actual collision. E.g. the cooking vessel should not be set on a seat, but only on the floor and constrained to prevent sliding and tipping during full force panic braking. If the container can slosh over the top, make sure to have something underneath to contain the spillage, such as weatherproof floor mats or a tarp.
    The emitted moisture will certainly be a problem in certain weather conditions, and quite common in certain regions. But it should be manageable in the great majority of this country the great majority of the time. Some drivers will need to increase the fresh air exchange rate.
     
  5. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    ^^^
    Mythbusters long ago cooked a Thanksgiving dinner while driving using an very old car, mostly from the heat of various locations under the hood.
     
  6. Former Member 68813

    Former Member 68813 Senior Member

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    Good discussion here. Does anyone know if it's safe to use 750W/1500W inverter without external 80A (or similar) fuse?
    the inverter documentation indicate 3 internal 30A fuses, but no schematics, would that be a sufficient protection?
    i would hate to blow the hard to replace the (100A IIRC) fuse inside the car.
     
    #306 Former Member 68813, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
  7. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    If the fuses are on the AC output, You still need protection on the DC input side. Note that 80 amps at 13.8 volts is 1100 watts and your inverter runs at ~85% efficiency so your AC output limit is about 940 watts. You really don't want to blow the Prius 100 amp fusible link that is in the inverter "12v" output circuit.

    JeffD
     
  8. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    Most Prius owners who have connected an inverter to the 12V battery have used an 80A fuse on the DC side of the wiring, although I haven't read of anyone actually blowing this fuse.
     
  9. Terrell

    Terrell Old-Timer

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    I use a 100A fuse on the positive 12v side right at the battery. The battery itself is fused at 140A (in the 2010 Prius), so 100A should be fine for a 1kw inverter. You can see my whole installation video below in my signature, Add a 1kw Inverter to your Prius. It's a pretty easy install. And I am not an expert at these things at all.

    I would not skip the fuse to the battery, just in case something goes wrong. The internal 30A fuses you mention are not protecting the 12v side, but the 120v output of the inverter. You need protection between the 12v battery and the inverter.

    Let me add a comment to this post: Just talked with a truck driver friend about the inverter in a semi owned by his company. He noticed the four-bank of batteries was draining a bit fast, and when he looked to see why, and moved the wires from the inverter to the batteries, discovered that the negative wire from the inverter had been rubbing on the positive post of the inverter, rubbing away some insulation. Enough so that there was a tiny short sometimes as the truck bounced along the road. There was no fuse between the inverter and battery bank. If he hadn't discovered this in time, he could have had a huge fire. There's a LOT of amperage in batteries. Always have a fuse between the inverter and the battery positive side, as close as possible to the battery.
     
    #309 Terrell, Nov 25, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
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  10. Reagle

    Reagle Junior Member

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    Just stumbled on this thread after our area had a week of now power following windstorm.Thinking a 1kW inverter would at least let me run a furnace (9A start, 5A steady state), tankless heater once in a while (200 watts) and maybe a fridge, not at once of course. A few questions:
    • Any idea how much voltage drop is caused by Anderson connectors- is that something to worry about at higher loads (closer to 1kW)?
    • Any danger of your connector pigtail bouncing around behind the trunk wall and rubbing on some metal? Feels like it needs to be attached
    • And finally, any ideas of getting extension cord out of the car in a bad weather? I am guessing hatch weatherstripping is fairly tight, and so are doors so the cord may not fit
     
  11. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Water heater? I suspect you are missing not just one, but TWO digits.
     
  12. Reagle

    Reagle Junior Member

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    Nop, reasonable numbers for gas powered one :) All it does is run the exhaust fan and ignition/controls
     
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  13. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    My gas water heater uses 0 watts. Don't most of them?

    Mike
     
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  14. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    How does the igniter work?

    JeffD
     
  15. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    Some of them have a gas pilot.
     
  16. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    I press a button while holding the gas knob in the in position. The button causes a spark, probably from a spark plug.
    The heat from the pilot flame causes a tiny electric current that keeps the gas flowing. At least 50 year old tech.

    Mike
     
  17. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Terrell,
    This was a great video, and I'm probably going to do this installation. It's very well done, except I'll probably tie the ground with the battery ground, which is close to the tie-down next to the hatch, and run it through the same opening as the Anderson connector. This because my Prius Plug-in has less storage area and I won't keep the inverter in the car at all times.

    This was the sort of installation I'd intended earlier, as opposed to an inverter which ties directly to the Prius high voltage battery. Many people mistakenly think that such an installation would be better, but it is much more expensive, clearly more dangerous, and good luck finding a pure sine inverter at... is it 480 Volts DC? Yeah. Good luck with that.
     
  18. Simbaboy

    Simbaboy Member

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    Thank you all for contributing to this thread.
    I got mine installed in my 2009 this past weekend.
    Very easy install. I will get the cables hidden and the inverter in the 'basement' for storage.
    Simba

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Simbaboy

    Simbaboy Member

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    Here are the items I got from Amazon--this list worked perfect for 2009 Prius.

    The installation itself should take less than half an hour. Total Cost: $195

    (BTW: I have an external high quality gas generator and my home is wired for it. The Prius inverter was done for 2 reasons: Camping comfort and for my Wife and Daughter's ease. They know how to place the Prius is 'Ready' mode and they are familiar with the use of an extension cord. I really don't want them to deal with the heavy external generator and flipping the switch at the junction box).

    Simba

    The 1000W sine wave inverter: $156
    [​IMG]

    Cables: $26
    [​IMG]

    Fuse holder: $13
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. bighammer

    bighammer Junior Member

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    I thought I saw a company was making some kind of inverter to connect directly to the high voltage battery with a higher output than the 12 volt type. Can't seem to find it anymore.
     
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