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Old 10-05-2014, 09:25 AM   #1
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Car as Emergency Generator

I have always wondered if I could use a car as an emergency generator.

I bought all of the components a few months ago and this morning when I found that the power was out, it gave me a reason to give it a try - it seemed to work perfectly!

Here are the components that I used;

1. PowerBright DC-AC Invertor Model APS1000-12 (1000W continuous/2000W surge) PowerBright APS1000-12 Inverter
2. Cobra Heavy Duty Invertor Cable Kit Heavy Duty Inverter Cable Kit
3. 19mm and 11mm socket with extender
4. Mop
5. Long extension cord + power strip (not shown)



Hey, hey hey! Before you start hitting the keyboard to hammer me about "How in the world could I use a fine instrument like a Porsche for use as a home generator?", I want to say that you guys/gals know me better than this! I would NEVER use a Porsche for such a thing - that is what BMW's are made for!

Cable and fuse installation took 20-30 mins, but this is only a one-time need.

Here is how this setup hooked up to my wife's BMW 325i (in less than 10 mins);

1. Inverter power ground (black) to the ground battery lug (in the engine compartment on this car)
2. Inverter ground (green) to the front engine bracket
3. Inverter power positive (red) to the positive battery lug (in the engine compartment on this car)







I used the mop to hold the RPM's at 1,500 and turned on the inverter. From there, just run the extension cord into the house and use a power strip to plug in the items of your choice (up to the inverter's limit).

I ran our internet router (50w), two laptops (90W ea), two LCD computer screens (100w ea), and a few other minor computer accessories (50w) (total = 480w).

The RPM's on the engine remained constant regardless of load (up to this amount anyway) and the engine warmed up but never got over normal temp during the 1.2 hour run.

This seems to be a relatively easy way to generate emergency short-term power.
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Last edited by thstone; 10-05-2014 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:35 AM   #2
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Hmmm $40k solution for a $400 problem :-)

But you do get points for inginuity

Now if you needed to weld something at the track to make the next session:-)

Mike
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:14 PM   #3
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Sure it can be done but terribly inefficient. Hopefully this generator system was not being used in a garage even with the garage open. CO really is a silent killer. With Florida's weather electrical outages are not uncommon. Using a generator outside our garage CO was drafting from the garage all the way upstairs to our bedroom. We had to use the generator outside with the garage door closed. I highly recommend CO sensors especially in sleeping areas when generators or any combustible materials are used in the household. Gas hot water heaters furnaces etc.
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by opus69 View Post
Sure it can be done but terribly inefficient. Hopefully this generator system was not being used in a garage even with the garage open. CO really is a silent killer. With Florida's weather electrical outages are not uncommon. Using a generator outside our garage CO was drafting from the garage all the way upstairs to our bedroom. We had to use the generator outside with the garage door closed. I highly recommend CO sensors especially in sleeping areas when generators or any combustible materials are used in the household. Gas hot water heaters furnaces etc.
Excellent point! The car was in the open under a carport. Lots of open air!
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Old 10-05-2014, 01:06 PM   #5
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I use a 8000W (12,000 peak) generator and a 10/3 SO cable from outside my detached garage (50' from house) and run that to a 2-pole 40A open breaker. That back-feeds the entire meter base and house panel. The main disconnect MUST be off to not send voltage to the lines or conflict when the power comes back on. Runs AC, range, TV, and everything I could turn on.

Note. A proper transfer switch should be used. Big job to install.

I HAVE, however, used the Box to jump Genny.
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Old 10-05-2014, 01:17 PM   #6
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One at the house (20kW), and one at the shop (60kW); totally automatic, never without power, and run anything (including the central air) in either location:



They even send you an email when they run.
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Last edited by JFP in PA; 10-05-2014 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 10-05-2014, 01:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JFP in PA View Post
One at the house (20kW), and one at the shop (60kW); never without power and run anything (including the central air) in either location:

When I bury my utilities next year I'll install the 20kw and run natural gas to it. Nat gas fueled and magnetic x-few switch is the way to go.
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Old 10-05-2014, 04:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JFP in PA View Post
One at the house (20kW), and one at the shop (60kW); totally automatic, never without power, and run anything (including the central air) in either location:

Uh, I am feeling a little behind the curve here fellas...

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Old 10-05-2014, 06:05 PM   #9
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Garage
Solar photovoltaic system with batteries and inverter

Screw SDG&E
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:12 PM   #10
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Box jumping Genny.

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