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Using car as generator for house power

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

  1. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    Thanks for not being to cruel... :)

    It's no wonder prius is ahead.., not just anyone can slap all that together and expect it to work flawlessly..... Imo one if the coolest cars made by man for the common market "except for batman's of course"

    The more you look into it the more you want a prius just for the marvel of it all!

    Alan...
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  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    The funny thing is I never consider cars, the automotive industry, to be worthy of my time. It looked like 'sheet metal art' and 'polishing the musket balls.' Boring to the "nth" degree . . . and then I bought a used, 49,300 mile, 2003 Prius.

    Regardless by design or accident, that Prius and our second, has been a game-changer. Diesels and electrics remain boring. But somehow, the Prius hit one of those rare 'sweet spots' a lucky engineer falls into. I've had a few and this remains something I wish everyone gets to experience . . . as it make you appreciate the differences.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  3. North Jersey

    North Jersey Junior Member

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    You may be right - note that I was figuring 20% overall efficiency including the 200 watt overhead I got from some thread somewhere (300 watts vs 1500 at 100%), vs 11% at the 4kwh level (4kwh vs 36 kwh at 100%). Not sure my analysis changes that much if I am using 2 gallons vs 1 per day. If necessary, I think we could keep the usage well under an average of 300 watts.
     
  4. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    Not in my nature! I've been explaining things for most of my career.

    Did you see that the original Batmobile is coming up for auction? It's still owned by George Barris, who built it for the 1960s TV show; he's also done some very strange Prius conversions.
     
  5. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    Wow, he has a serious number of custom cars..... Says volumes that with all of his cars, he has many pictures of even the non customized prius.

    He too is fascinated with the Prius .... The guy that can afford any car he wants.

    Alan...
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  6. North Jersey

    North Jersey Junior Member

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  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    There is an interesting storm system developing in East Texas. The jet stream has dipped South and a lot of tropical humidity is being drawn into the Southeast. Meanwhile, a large bubble of cold air is coming down from the Arctic. This is the receipt for some ugly weather. I hope I'm wrong but I've seen this before.

    Time to fill-up the cars.

    Bob Wilson
     
  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Gas powered generators:
    Source: Police believe carbon-monoxide poisoning to blame for two death - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

    Source: Family hospitalized for CO poisoning | Fox10tv.com

    It is really hard to fit a Prius inside of a home. Even if you did, the engine would cycle ON/OFF and the catalytic converter cut the carbon monoxide level by a factor of five (CDC) or more.

    Bob Wilson
     
  9. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    Got all the pieces for 1kW/2kW inverter w/cables fuse etc.
    If weather cooperates, will install and document w/pics. Hopefully run some test for fridge/Internet/light load
     
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  10. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    First I am standing on the shoulders of many people on this list .. almost NO new idea here ... found all info here I needed ..
    will try to give credit at the end for all but thanks in advance...


    Progress report... the hole on the battery connector parts (see the pics 1 foot cables with Anderson) was little tight .. needed a little filing but done and just fine ...

    This is a 2012 .... looks little different from my earlier 2010 ... I was little surprised..

    Here are the parts I have and will install :
    [​IMG]

    I had a little different idea than what was done by someone here on the list .. .I want the least stuff installed permanently in the car ... just an Anderson ... the fuse (80A) is attached to the hot line btw inverter and Anderson....

    Another view of the inverter:
    [​IMG]
    I opened the battery part... and looks different from 2010
    [​IMG]

    Here the side panel is off showing better how/where the permanent stuff will be ...
    [​IMG]

    I had to stop here because I either never had the 10m wrench needed for the battery screws .. or I lost it .. anyway this is the most important connection can not be messed with .. will get the wrench and then continue another day ..

    Cheers
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    Thanks for the update and the photos! I've also been thinking about the best way to do the connection and came to the same conclusion.

    In my c, the battery is easily accessed by taking off a panel below the rear seat:

    [​IMG]

    I plan to do what you did, and run cables from the battery directly to an Anderson connector (which I can keep tucked behind the cover panel), then put the fuse in the line to the inverter. When I need to use the inverter I'll pop off the panel, make the connection, and put the inverter on the floor right next to the battery. This will also minimize the length of the high-current DC cables.
     
  12. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    OK, thanks... wow that is quite different setup ... putting that in the passenger area ... something else ... makes it even more tricky to do DYI MODs....

    I will continue and post the final pictures... I found the 4AWG cables little stiff ... so anyone considering this yes you need that but it limits of how the stuff can be "bended/mended" ...

    get back to you all ...

    Any questions ???? :sleep:
     
  13. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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  14. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    I'm thinking with the very short cable runs I'll have (no more than about two feet total) I should be able to use 6AWG wire. There's a current capacity table at Genuinedealz which rates 6AWG at 120A; my in-line fuse will be 80A and I don't expect to be anywhere close to that current draw most of the time.
     
  15. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    Folks, I appreciate your information and am watching this discussion carefully...

    I've been thinking about something like this since the Virginia Derecho storm of July 2012. Moreover, I am simultaneously thinking how to integrate my PV solar roof system into charging my PiP Prius (and therefore future plug-in cars our family might own) while it simultaneously serves as a house critical circuits' power generator during emergencies. Net-metered PV systems' -generated DC current is wasted during long blackouts without a running neighborhood grid to stabilize the DC inverter of the PV system. Of course, this is a PiP (EV) issue of little import to regular Prius hybrids.

    A related discussion item of note: how to use a robust DC inverter already provided with any net-tied PV system as the entry point of Prius's DC current into selected house circuits... hmmm. My solar installer company agreed this is "theoretically doable" yet demurred at this time from getting their engineers involved. I can see a successful solution would benefit any hybrid owner who also happens to have a house PV system.
     
  16. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    What DC voltage does a typical PV system work at? In other words, what's the inverter input voltage?
     
  17. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    I'll answer in two ways: the 1st part applies to my specific PV array, and the 2d part is extracted from the PDF manual for this inverter.

    Part #1 (my total system):


    Let's see if this will work - I'm copy-pasting from a PDF:

    Specifications

    Inverter model: SunPower SPR-3300x

    Input voltage, Maximum Power Point range Certified operating range: 200–400 Vdc.
    (Unit is operable as high as 550 Vdc.)
    Absolute maximum array open circuit voltage 600 Vdc
    Maximum input current 17.5 Adc (240 V), 16.5 Adc (208 V)
    Maximum array short circuit current 24 Adc
    Reverse polarity protection Short circuit diode
    Ground fault protection GF detection, IDIF > 1 A

    Nominal output voltage 240 V 208 V
    Maximum output power 3300 W 3100 W
    Operating range, utility voltage*
    * Factory settings can be adjusted with the approval of the utility. This unit is provided with
    adjustable trip limits and may be aggregated above 30 kW on a single Point of Common
    Coupling. See “Adjustable Voltage, Frequency and Reconnection Settings” on page A–10.
    211–264 Vac 183–229 Vac
    Nominal output frequency 60 Hz
    Operating range, utility frequency* 59.3–60.5 Hz
    Startup current 0 Aac
    Maximum continuous output current 13.8 A 14.9 A
    Maximum output fault current 20 A
    Maximum output overcurrent protection 20 A RMS
    Maximum utility backfeed current 0 A
    Total Harmonic Distortion <5%
    Power factor >0.99% (at rated power), >0.95% (full power range)
    Utility monitoring— islanding protection Vac, fac as per UL 1741 (2005)
    Output characteristics Current source
    Output current waveform

    I listed the SunPower inverter's electric specs in toto so as to pre-answer your potential questions.

    My PV array generates an observed max of about 7.5 Watts/hour on its best sunny day, for a yearly total of about 1.9 kW/h.
     
  18. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    Oops, my post (directly above) launched itself while I was still editing...
    The post above is my part #2, i.e. the capabilities of the inverter as designed.

    Here's my part #1, i.e. the capabilities of my PV array as it interfaces with the inverter:

    System maximum-power current: 5.2 Amps
    Operating Voltage (System maximum-power Voltage): 368 Volts
    Maximum System Voltage (per NEC Article 690.7): 540 Volts
    Short-circuit current: 5.9 Amps
    Maximum AC Output operating current: 14 Amps
    Operating AC Voltage: 240 Volts.

    I answered your question both ways because the design capacities of the PV inverter are different from the generating capacities of my PV system which can fluctuate from minute to minute within the parameters of Part #1 above.

    What do you think?
     
  19. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    Final comment, because my copy-paste failed to grab this info from the PDF: the inverter's output current waveform = sine wave.
     
  20. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    OK, so at those input voltages to the inverter you'd have to connect it to the Prius traction battery. We're now in Richard Factor's PriUPS project territory - lots of good information there.

    Richard recently said in this related thread that about 3kW is the maximum safe draw from the traction battery, which puts it right in the range of the PV system you described above.