Using PIP As A Generator

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by El Dobro, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. IanIanIanIan

    IanIanIanIan Member

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    "The battery gets installed onto the Prius hybrid battery terminals directly. A trained-experience is recommended for this job. Takes about an hour or so to get in, install cable and put Prius panels back together."

    Somebody went to the 'University Of The Bleedin' Obvious'.
     
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  2. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    I'll boil it down since you missed it. "I advise caution when adapting an inverter not designed for the Prius such as the APC SURT models... You can easily cause more harm than initial savings." He doesn't provide any details of what harm might be done by using the $500 solution which is equivalent to the $2000 solution offered by his company. Then he doesn't mention it is his company.

    Will the cheaper solution pull too much amperage thus damaging the Prius? Remember the Prius has a thermal limitation which is why you can only pull 3-4 kw from it continuously. I covered that in my response above - no. Toyota itself stated years ago the limit was 3 kw. The owner of the priups.com site ran his own tests and thinks the limit is slightly higher by 1-2 kw. Partly this is stated on his web site, partly in conversations I've had with him.

    Will the Prius damage the cheaper solution with too much (or too little) voltage? Again - no. Based on my tests with the older Liebert it can probably accept a voltage well over 300 volts. APC bought Liebert and the SURT line came from that.

    Will the Prius somehow be damaged in some other way as it sits there idling/cycling while it drives the APC? No.

    All of this has been heavily researched by the owner of the priups.com site, by myself, and by others. His post, with an unsupported "the sky is falling" warning, was only an advertisement to buy his product.
     
  3. mrbigh

    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

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    About Converdant representative on Prius Chat, it's nothing wrong to be an advocate of dangerous and caution procedures, nor to promote a piece of equipment from their line of business, that in fact work very well. The only gripe " I have " is, they are pricey that other similar ones.
     
  4. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    I don't have a problem with Converdant. I'm happy to see them promote this alternate and effective use of hybrids.

    What you keep missing is he said *only* the APC solution was potentially "harmful", in his 2nd post on this thread. His first post was about having the battery tap installed professionally and didn't give any warning about it being dangerous.

    My problem is he didn't state he was representing his company yet he suggested his company's services and products, while also making an unsubstantiated claim (scare tactic) against the "competition".

    This would be like you coming here - while owning a majority stake in Chevy - and saying, " I'm mrbigh, don't drive a Toyota. It will give you cancer." You didn't disclose you have a material stake in the competition, Chevy. You didn't give proof as to why driving a Toyota will give you cancer. BOTH are problems with his posts.

    And yes, his products are overpriced, but he also has the market cornered so that's how the free market works. Thing is, the market for the larger products that require the traction battery tap will always be small, partly because most people will never know it is an option and partly because most that do know don't want to chance voiding their warranty. Eventually the car makers will provide this capability built-in and the market for his larger products will disappear, unfortunately.
     
  5. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    I'm sorry but I just don't find that he used the word "ONLY" in the threads .... and I don't see the words 'potentially harmful' as it relates to one product specifically, more than another ... and since I haven't purchased their product, there's no way for me to know how well their "WARNING" labels or "DANGER" labels or "CAUTION" labels stand out. But CAUTION labels pertain to a specific PRODUCT ... not as they pertain to other's products.

    But that may be the issue being misunderstood ... that this purposefully designed product is simply warning of the dangers of messing with HV ... and NOT that this or that other product is inherently safer than yours or mine. If I buy a 240v Cel Site UPS (which I did - years ago - and posed pictures years ago) ... there is NO warning that comes with it (that it it can harm/kill ME ... not the product) pertaining to how/what I hook it up to, especially when used as an appliance that it was never specifically designed to work as.

    I think it's just as likely the poor guy intended to simply mention caution in a good way ... not as to another products' capability. To automatically assume so, is jumping the gun. The example of not using a Toyota because it causes cancer simply isn't applicable ... because a Toyota is meant to be used as a car ... just as a Chevy is meant to be used as a car. NOW ... if you warn about using a Toyota as a back hoe - in stead of Caterpillar specifically designed to be a back hoe ... then it'd be the same thing.

    Lastly, I don't find it immoral, or some kind of business practice character flaw just because he didn't come out and say, "first off - I am part of this business". I hear folks on PC give legal advice (eg; substantive/procedural tax rules - DMV rules, etc) way too frequently. Sometimes I correct them by directing folks to the appropriate/current law, merely because their bad advice leads folks astray. It's not immoral if I fail to preface my correction with, "first off - I am an attorney with x years of tax litigation under my belt, and here's my Bar ID #).
    .
     
  6. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    I never said he used the word "only". He certainly used the word "harmful" when directly referencing a specific product - the one that isn't his own. He didn't say that all inverters when used with Prii are "harmful", only the APC. All of these distinctions are easily discerned by a lawyer.

    I have no idea where your warning/danger/caution label discussion came from, that isn't something I discussed at all.

    Finally, again this should be obvious to a lawyer, there is a legal and a moral business difference between pointing people to general advice on the web and pointing them (multiple times) to a specific company in which you have a material interest. If you were directing them to your own firm's site, yes, you need to disclose that.
     
  7. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    Yes, but you weren't promoting your legal advice for your direct financial gain either. Free advice is great.
    Free advice about your specific product that is available for sale is slightly different -- full disclosure is not required, but certainly nice to know.

    Mike
     
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  8. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Definitely agree ... nice but not required. Even if only so you have a nice source to get support and feedback from. Btw, maybe at this point maybe I should say I don't work for any people in the power supply industry.
    :p
     
  9. frankbiele

    frankbiele Junior Member

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    I agree, and am quite disappointed! I did some due diligence (looked into some of the other options available out there) and was questioning why someone would say one product (seemingly the SAME inverter) was harmful while another was not. Was it because there were directions included that told you how to hook up to a PiP or regular prius? If that was all then come clean and admit that...there is some safety gained in having a proven, documented attachment procedure that comes with cables, lugs, straps etc. However, I do not know (still) if that is the case and I cannot be certain because now I don't know who to believe....are there others on this board working with Randy? (I am willing to pay a premium for Prius instl docs and some attach hardware (if included), but not DOUBLE the price of the off the shelf unit.)
    The one good thing about the Converdant post was it got me thinking about using the prius as a generator...I will follow up with my own latest research in my next post below.
     
  10. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    I wondered the same thing.

    One good place to start is the priups.com site which I mentioned before. Unfortunately his information is scattered all over the site so be prepared to spend a while reading through it. Additional info in the link in my sig.
     
  11. Randy B

    Randy B Junior Member

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    techntrek et al,
    Your comments are valued and helpful, all. Thank you. I apologize to any who believe I was being a troll. My intent was to further awareness and interest in seeing the Prius as having this great new hidden capability. The 12v and Priups projects preceded ConVerdant's products and were the inspiration. Anyone who feels capable and has the time to DIY a car inverter can certainly get great guidance from researching the web. The cost can be quite low, unless you make a mistake. I recognized the web-blog solutions were ingenious but lacking some safety considerations for person and car. ConVerdant's roll is to offer cost effective products to the public, with solid inverter designs, and Prius expertise, and with a view toward turnkey product safety. As to product cost, our products do include accessories, expertise, and safety measures not included in less expensive inverters. I hope you'll weight our contributions to the Prius world and to Prius Chat with some good will. Thanks again
     
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  12. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    Additional info if anyone is considering tapping their traction battery - additional brands/models of UPS, and an inverter, that are compatible with the Prius traction battery. I added the info to the end of the thread linked in my signature.
     
  13. mindmachine

    mindmachine Member

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    For the price of the adaptor you can you can buy a much larger generator. You could get around 6000 to 8000 watt generating capacity. Believe me start looking at your load for even just a few items in your house, like refigerator or freezer, maybe the fan motor on your gas fired furnace. Next look at the starting current on those items. Starting current will be around 150% of running current draw. I seriously doubt the prius is a good choice, unless all you want is to run a few light bulbs.
     
  14. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    I run my entire house from my Prius, the weak link is the UPS you pick, not the Prius. It can power multiple 10's of thousands of watts peak, 3000-4000 continuous.
     
  15. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Refrigeration, some lights, some communications (computers, modem, TV) are enough for me. Plus quiet, clean (CO-related death and injury are major power outage issues here), very long run time, and very fuel efficient.

    Some folks insist that fuel efficiency is not relevant during emergencies. But I'm not looking towards the short blackouts of under a day, those are manageable without backup. Of greater concern are the 2 to 7 day outages from winter storms, and the potentially many weeks of outages and fuel shortages when the Big One -- a subduction zone earthquake -- strikes.
     
  16. mindmachine

    mindmachine Member

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    Well I have a 4000 watt continuous sine wave inverter, rated at 8000 watts peak draw for 30min/hour overload capacity. I use 4 Surret deep draw marine batteries, 2000 lbs worth. Each is 12 volt and they are wired 2 together in serries and then the 2 pairs in parallel providing 24 volts the the inverter. The batteries are cost around $2500 back in 1999 and were guaranteed for 20 years, (lead acid) with removable and replaceable cells. I have two furnace/heat pumps combo natural gas pulse and airconditioning-heat pump above 20 deg F (however natural gas is so cheep now I have them set to switch to gas at 40 deg F), natural gas fired when temp goes lower. The big amperage draw is the heating in the winter, combine that with 2 refigerators and a freezer and the amperage draw can be fairly high when all the moters involved kck in together. In the winter time the batteries will run the whole house for about 20 hours.

    I have a Generac 20,000 watt system that recharges my batteries and runs the house at the same time when the batteries drop to the necessary charging point. Additionally the Generac is necessary if I want to use the electric stove, otherwise I would need two inverters in parallel to generate 240 volts. As you can imagine a 4000 /8000 watt continuous sine wave inverter is quite expensive, plus two inverters of that size would have required more batteries and an additional 24 volt 250 amp breaker. My whole set up of the batteries, breaker, copper wiring and inverter cost me about $8000 back in 1999. Originally I used a Northern Equipment Honda 20 hp, 13,500/20,250 watt gasoline powered stand alone generator to recharge my batteries and provise 240 volts as needed. But year before last after a long power outage I decided to get the Generac installed. Actually I can run the house with the Generac alone as it is set up to sense the loss of power and kick on automatically and reverse the process when power is restored. Using the batteries is however the most effecient approach. I only need to run the gas fired generator, either one for about 4 hours out of every 20 hours if I use the batteries and recharged as needed.

    I am getting up there in years now, retired and that is why I added the Generac, plus if I go home first, my wife can handel the system, when I used the Honda generator, I had to get it out of the garage and plug it into a circuit I have set up on the outside of the house.

    Cautionary note: Computers and many electronice need smooth sine wave uniform power curves, cheaper inverters are square wave and they provide power in square steps, not like a smooth sine wave. Continuous sine wave inverters are more expensive, buyer beware!

    As for using my plug in prius for powering my house, well not me even if i diden't have anything of this equipment yet. I would be afraid of surge current demand might damage the car, plus how do you power the house during a long outage where you have to go somewhere inthe car for something you need. Plus I will use my system to recharge my car during any potential long term outage. That way I wont be totally out of comission when gasoline is hard to get.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
     
  17. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    I went a similar route, originally. I bought a Generac 8 years ago and thought, great, it runs everything. Generac doesn't like to mention how much it costs to run in a long outage. I bought a 22 kw battery bank and a 6 kw (12 kw peak) Liebert UPS so I would only have to run the Generac for 2-3 hours a day for the well pump, water heater and to recharge the batteries. Like yours, my batteries would run everything for a day. Like fuzzy1 said, fuel efficiency started to become important and the batteries helped with that.

    From reading the priups.com site I bought the Liebert specifically because I knew it was compatible with the Prius' traction battery but I never tried it. After a hurricane left my parents without power for 3 days (and ironically we never lost it) I hooked it up. Later I found the APC UPS line that would also work with the Prius. It works so well the large battery bank isn't needed anymore. 8 gallons of gas lasts 2 1/2 days which is FAR cheaper than the Generac or replacing the battery bank.

    By the way, computer power supplies are designed to function even with very dirty power, low or high voltage, etc. You can feed them with MSW all day long and they'll be fine.

    As I said above, the Prius can handle 50 kw surge so your assertion that surges are going to damage it is incorrect. The only limit - stated by Toyota themselves - is a thermal limit since there isn't enough air to keep the system cool while it is sitting. You can do up to about 6 kw for a while and 3-4 kw all day long.

    As for leaving your house, if everyone is gone for the day, fridges, freezers and the air in the house has thermal carryover. Since you have the Generac if someone is home and you must drive the Prius (you don't have a 2nd car?) just fire up the big genset until the Prius comes home.
     
  18. mindmachine

    mindmachine Member

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    Good info, thanks. However my batteries still have 6 years left under warranty, and they still seem to be in good shape.
    Thats my Surret marine batteries i mean. They still seem to have nearly the same capacity as when new. When I recharge them they pull 36 amps at 115 volts for about an hour before the charge starts to taper off to trickle.

    Anyway until my batteries go bad I am going to stick with using them with my Trace Engineering Inverter and the Generac for recharging. Recharge takes about 2-1/2 hrs and natural gas cost isn't as bad as gasoline, plus last time power was off for almost a week, gasoline was hard to come by, not to mention the long lines at the station.
     
  19. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    This would be nice in the backyard.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    I agree in a long outage gasoline is hard to find, so I keep 20 gallons on-hand all the time, Stabil added and swapped out every 6 months. If I have advance notice (hurricane, blizzard, ice storm) I can add another 50 gallons total in my Caprice and Suburban, plus top off the 8 gallons in the Prius.

    Assuming all of the cars were empty so I only had the 20 gallons to start, that would last me over 6 days with normal use. In an emergency I could stretch that to 20 days while keeping the fridges cool, keep up on the tv news, and stay showered. About 6 hours run time each day.

    If I had time to fill everything that would last me 25 days running the Prius 24/7, or about 80 days with conservation. Total cost $261.

    The Generac would last 12 more days 24/7 on 400 gallons of LPG, or about 40 days with conservation. Total cost $1400.
     
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