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Using car as generator

generator inverter

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25 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   homestead

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 10:10 PM

Anyone try doing this with their hybrid?

http://www.greenbuil...use-prius-power

 

I recently got a pellet stove and have been thinking about upping the inverter power in the c-max to be

able to run the pellet stove during a power outage.









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#2 OFFLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 06:53 AM

I have left my C-Max "on" and car locked, with AC running for cooling when traveling with our dog and stopping for 40 - 60 minutes to dine.  ICE does start when the HVB falls to a low level.  So, be aware of potential exhaust fumes from ICE based on power draw of the stove and outage length.    

 

It shouldn't matter whether the load is internal to the C-Max or attached to the 12 V battery except that the 12 V charging circuit has a 175 A fuse (about 2100 W) and the 12 V battery is fused at 150 A (1800 W).   So, I'd keep the 12V to 120V AC converter as small as possible to avoid blowing either of these fuses.  


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#3 OFFLINE   jestevens

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 08:39 AM

Not specifically using the inverter but I did clean the interior of the car for Spring with everything in "Ready" mode yesterday, I just turned off the climate control when I had all the doors open.  I figured that would be an easy way to listen to the radio and leave the interior lights on without having to risk running down the 12V battery.  The HVB discharged once and ran the engine a little to bring up the SoC. 

 

I did the same thing when I replaced the Cabin Air Filter and it was 100F outside, what a fun adventure..

 

I would do this at the drive in too but I'm sure the engine would kick on during an inopportune moment within the scope of a 2 hour movie.  I just bring a portable radio along to listen to the movie instead.

 

(As others have said) as long as you don't put too much of a load on the inverter I can't imagine it would hurt anything, I'm not sure it would be practical for powering large appliances.

 

Just don't block up the exhaust or run out of gas.  Not sure how to get the cord out of the car, you'd have to leave a window partially rolled down.


Edited by jestevens, 10 April 2017 - 08:40 AM.


#4 OFFLINE   homestead

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 10:42 AM

I have left my C-Max "on" and car locked, with AC running for cooling when traveling with our dog and stopping for 40 - 60 minutes to dine.  ICE does start when the HVB falls to a low level.  So, be aware of potential exhaust fumes from ICE based on power draw of the stove and outage length.    

 

It shouldn't matter whether the load is internal to the C-Max or attached to the 12 V battery except that the 12 V charging circuit has a 175 A fuse (about 2100 W) and the 12 V battery is fused at 150 A (1800 W).   So, I'd keep the 12V to 120V AC converter as small as possible to avoid blowing either of these fuses.  

The one in the link wired directly to the HVB to get more power but just running my pellet stove I could probably get by with the smaller one as you suggested.



#5 OFFLINE   Bill-N

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 11:36 AM

Per my owners manual, 3rd printing (emphasis mine):

 

The [110V] power point is not designed for electric devices such as:
Motor loads, such as vacuum cleaners, electric saws and other electric
power tools, compressor-driven refrigerators, etc.
....


#6 OFFLINE   homestead

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 12:14 PM

Just found out my stove when operating takes about 90-100 watts and the standard CMAX 12v DC -120v AC converter is rated at 150 watts.

Most of the stove load is motors however. (fans and screw motor for the pellets)

There is also the initial pellet igniter which takes many more watts but I can turn that off and light the pellets manually.

Should I just try it?


Edited by homestead, 10 April 2017 - 05:23 PM.


#7 OFFLINE   fbov

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 12:36 PM

Anyone try doing this with their hybrid?

http://www.greenbuil...use-prius-power...

There are a lot of things you can do with a hybrid battery, given proper controls. This guy has proper controls, and a strong desire to integrate his car into his house. But it's short-term thinking, good for a few years, but not for the decades. 

 

We've been in this house for over 30 years. We get brief power outages regularly, but we also get ice storms (2)  and wind storms (3) that result in day- to week-long outages. I have a simple question?

 

Are you better off using a $400 generator, or a $30,000 vehicle to power your house? 

 

Remember, I'm going to need this capability about once every 5-6 years. How long will I have a car? The generator stores well if you drain the gas, starting right up after the most recent extended outage this Spring (blow down). It's a pain to convert manually, but it's also cheap. 

 

So, as other noted, don't run your pellet stove on the C-Max's 110v outlet. Installing an HVB tap and purchasing a house-size inverter is still a neat idea, if not very practical.

 

Have fun,

Frank



#8 OFFLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 05:00 PM

xxx


Edited by Plus 3 Golfer, 10 April 2017 - 05:29 PM.


#9 OFFLINE   homestead

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 05:29 PM


We've been in this house for over 30 years. We get brief power outages regularly, but we also get ice storms (2)  and wind storms (3) that result in day- to week-long outages. I have a simple question?

 

Are you better off using a $400 generator, or a $30,000 vehicle to power your house? 

 

I already have conventional 5.5kw generator for the house but my pellet stove requires a clean sine wave for power

so I need another solution. 


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#10 OFFLINE   jestevens

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 06:00 AM

Thanks for pointing that out in the manual.  So this inverter is only designed to power things that sit there and look pretty?  I can charge my phone horribly inefficiently (instead of just using USB), or keep people distracted with a DVD player, or sell more C-MAX if people think it's cool because it has a "power outlet" ?  

 

I guess what they are saying is that the system isn't designed for constant large fluctuations in current like AC motors turning off and on randomly?  The 100 amp service in my house has trouble starting an AC compressor without a secondary capacitor too..

 

Maybe for people who work out of their car this at least gives them a way to plug in a computer.


Edited by jestevens, 11 April 2017 - 06:02 AM.


#11 OFFLINE   SnowStorm

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:44 AM

The 120v inverter is quite convenient at times when you need small amounts of AC power - I've used it several times.  But, no, its not intended to start motors that draw power (or current) in excess of the inverter's rating.

 

It seems that a simple moderate power alternative would be to connect a good inverter (sine-wave type if needed) to the 12V power posts under the hood.  With the car in "ready to run" mode you should be able to get at least 300 to 400 watts.  The 12VDC converter in the car (that charges the 12V battery) can put out 30 amps (probably more) as I measured in this post.  Use a fuse on this connection and observe all safety precautions!  I'm tempted to install a permanent connector or even the inverter itself.  Then I can just open the hood and plug in the power cord.  Just be sure to never run the inverter with the car OFF - you'll kill the 12V battery!  Does anyone see any problems doing this?



#12 OFFLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 11:47 AM

The 120v inverter is quite convenient at times when you need small amounts of AC power - I've used it several times.  But, no, its not intended to start motors that draw power (or current) in excess of the inverter's rating.

 

It seems that a simple moderate power alternative would be to connect a good inverter (sine-wave type if needed) to the 12V power posts under the hood.  With the car in "ready to run" mode you should be able to get at least 300 to 400 watts.  The 12VDC converter in the car (that charges the 12V battery) can put out 30 amps (probably more) as I measured in this post.  Use a fuse on this connection and observe all safety precautions!  I'm tempted to install a permanent connector or even the inverter itself.  Then I can just open the hood and plug in the power cord.  Just be sure to never run the inverter with the car OFF - you'll kill the 12V battery!  Does anyone see any problems doing this?

As I said in a post above, the battery fuse is 150 A and "the Direct Current/Direct Current (DC/DC) converter control module is capable of outputting as many as 145 amps to the 12-volt battery."  I would wire the new inverter to the positive between the 150 A battery fuse and the 175 A converter fuse.  The positve connections in the Battery Junction Box or the battery posts under the hood would be a preferred location IMO.

 

For a permanent installation rather than using the posts under the hood, I would find a spare fuse slot in the Battery Junction Box (there are several) under the hood and wire a cable to the fuse slot and ground.  I would route the cable to the grille area and put a 12 V  plug on it so that the new inverter can be connected to the cable plug.  The real question is what size inverter should one use for a 100 W steady state motor load?  I would think a 300 W inverter would do.  So, the wiring would likely need to handle at least 30 A @12 V and kept as short as possible to minimize size of cable due to losses and voltage drop. Most pure sine wave inverters should have a fairly wide range of input voltage for a nominal 12 V input.  There are wire size charts depending on desired voltage drop %, continuous Amps, and lengths. 



#13 OFFLINE   Louder North

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 12:30 PM

My comment deleted (didn't see previous comments).

Edited by Louder North, 11 April 2017 - 12:42 PM.


#14 OFFLINE   obob

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 01:27 PM

http://site.theinver...n-time/106-106/

 

I assume you verified whether you need the full sine wave for the article mentions that some need full sine-wave, some just modified sine wave.

 

 

 
I would be concerned about shortening the life of the C-Max battery. I was thinking the deep cycle battery could be attached to the C-Max battery so the C-max battery doesn't die from frequent charge and discharge.
 
I also would be concerned there may be substantial energy losses if the extension cord is long.
 
You are in the good position to have quite a few months to think about it.

Edited by obob, 11 April 2017 - 03:16 PM.


#15 OFFLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 02:34 PM

Yes, the inverter needs to be close to the C-Max to minimize 12 V losses. Once at 120V AC, a heavy duty 50 foot extension cord to the stove would be okay. A workable solution to the "pellet stove" problem IMO depends on the frequency and duration of grid outages.  

 

Remember the HVB will likely cycle between about 38% SOC and 55% SOC.  So, I would not be worried about several hundred of these cycles a year on ICE of the HV to operate the pellet stove during limited outages.

 

The issue with a deep cycle battery is one still doesn't want to cycle it below about 70% (50% in an emergency).  So, for a 100 Ah battery, one has about 30 to 50 Ah of usable capacity or 360 to 600 Wh of energy available before it should be charged back up.  How is one to charge it back up when the grid is down for extended periods of time?  Of course a portable generator would work - but isn't this what we are trying to eliminate?  Plus you need a charge controller.  So, IMO unless one is in the back woods with several hours of outages several times a week, I would use my C-Max rather than a battery off-grid type system.

 

The question is at what point are the grid outages deemed critical.  If grid outages are minimal, using the C-Max makes sense.    If one might be without power for days at a time, a portable generator with battery backup seems the best solution.     

 

Back to using the C-Max as the generator.  I believe these connectors would work great for a permanent installation for providing 12 V to the grille area for connecting inverters perhaps up to about 500 Watts (45 Amps).  I would make a dummy connector to cap the 12 V connector on the wires going to the + and ground.  Pull dummy connector off and plug in the inverter connector.   It looks like the connectors accept up to #10 wire which should be good as long as the total length from the Battery Junction box to the inverter is not too long.  

 

Here's a link showing length vs current for 3% and 10% voltage drop.  Don't know what the AC starting current is of the motor, whether it has a starting capacitor, or how well a 300 W pure sine wave inverter reacts to a large current spike or large input voltage drop.

 

If I were in an area that has longer grid outages (hours at a time not days at a time), I would seriously consider doing this as the car engine will quickly charge the HVB such that one would likely have a long time between ICE starts.  A 300 W inverter load plus the "ready to drive" C-Max load is likely less 600 W.  The SOC HVB range between ICE running to charge and ICE off is likely around 20% or 280 Wh.  So, one might expect ICE to start about 2 times an hour for a very short period of time to replace the 280 Wh depleted from the HVB. IMO, this cycling would not make a dent in the life of our HVB.  


Edited by Plus 3 Golfer, 11 April 2017 - 02:38 PM.


#16 OFFLINE   homestead

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 09:24 PM

I looked up the power requirements for the pellet stove.

115 VAC,60 Hz, Start 4.2 Amps, Run 2.8 Amps

This quite a bit more than the 100 watts folks actually measured but I believe this is caused

by the igniter which can be turned off and you can manually light the pellets.

The stove is even designed to be able to go out and startup again if it gets colder.

Here is a product they produce for power failures but this uses a deep cycle battery and only

lasts for 8 hrs or however long the battery lasts.

http://www.woodmansp...ery-Backup.html

Allowing for worst case design I expect they are allowing for the igniter to be running.



#17 OFFLINE   homestead

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 09:36 PM

 

http://site.theinver...n-time/106-106/

 

I assume you verified whether you need the full sine wave for the article mentions that some need full sine-wave, some just modified sine wave.

 

 

 
I would be concerned about shortening the life of the C-Max battery. I was thinking the deep cycle battery could be attached to the C-Max battery so the C-max battery doesn't die from frequent charge and discharge.
 
I also would be concerned there may be substantial energy losses if the extension cord is long.
 
You are in the good position to have quite a few months to think about it.

 

What I have read states that a full sine wave is required.   If this was going to be a permanent situation I agree about using a deep cycle battery but this is

for a temporary power failure. If it shortens the battery life , so be it. 

Judging from a recent power failure locally (we were spared) it looks like it could take a week for everyone to get their

power restored.


Edited by homestead, 11 April 2017 - 09:37 PM.


#18 OFFLINE   fbov

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 11:26 AM

... my pellet stove requires a clean sine wave for power...

Ours is fine on the generator. Avalon insert, c. 2001?



#19 OFFLINE   homestead

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 10:59 PM

Thanks for the suggestions and data.

I think I will look for a pure sine wave inverter about 550 watts since that is what wattage harman thinks is needed.

Their inverter http://www.woodmansp...ery-Backup.html

turns out is really a modified sine wave inverter that has been further modified to not shut down with harman stoves logic board.

 

I do have a deep cycle battery out of my camper that I could use for a short term power failure, but would like to get the cables/connectors

installed in the car in the event of a longer duration failure and move the inverter to the car.



#20 OFFLINE   obob

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 11:28 PM

 

http://site.theinver...n-time/106-106/

 

I assume you verified whether you need the full sine wave for the article mentions that some need full sine-wave, some just modified sine wave.

 

 

 
I would be concerned about shortening the life of the C-Max battery. I was thinking the deep cycle battery could be attached to the C-Max battery so the C-max battery doesn't die from frequent charge and discharge.
 
I also would be concerned there may be substantial energy losses if the extension cord is long.
 
You are in the good position to have quite a few months to think about it.

 

 

In case I was not clear, I was proposing hooking the deep cycle battery to the battery in the C-

 

Yes, the inverter needs to be close to the C-Max to minimize 12 V losses. Once at 120V AC, a heavy duty 50 foot extension cord to the stove would be okay. A workable solution to the "pellet stove" problem IMO depends on the frequency and duration of grid outages.  

 

Remember the HVB will likely cycle between about 38% SOC and 55% SOC.  So, I would not be worried about several hundred of these cycles a year on ICE of the HV to operate the pellet stove during limited outages.

 

The issue with a deep cycle battery is one still doesn't want to cycle it below about 70% (50% in an emergency).  So, for a 100 Ah battery, one has about 30 to 50 Ah of usable capacity or 360 to 600 Wh of energy available before it should be charged back up.  How is one to charge it back up when the grid is down for extended periods of time?  Of course a portable generator would work - but isn't this what we are trying to eliminate?  Plus you need a charge controller.  So, IMO unless one is in the back woods with several hours of outages several times a week, I would use my C-Max rather than a battery off-grid type system.

 

The question is at what point are the grid outages deemed critical.  If grid outages are minimal, using the C-Max makes sense.    If one might be without power for days at a time, a portable generator with battery backup seems the best solution.     

 

Back to using the C-Max as the generator.  I believe these connectors would work great for a permanent installation for providing 12 V to the grille area for connecting inverters perhaps up to about 500 Watts (45 Amps).  I would make a dummy connector to cap the 12 V connector on the wires going to the + and ground.  Pull dummy connector off and plug in the inverter connector.   It looks like the connectors accept up to #10 wire which should be good as long as the total length from the Battery Junction box to the inverter is not too long.  

 

Here's a link showing length vs current for 3% and 10% voltage drop.  Don't know what the AC starting current is of the motor, whether it has a starting capacitor, or how well a 300 W pure sine wave inverter reacts to a large current spike or large input voltage drop.

 

If I were in an area that has longer grid outages (hours at a time not days at a time), I would seriously consider doing this as the car engine will quickly charge the HVB such that one would likely have a long time between ICE starts.  A 300 W inverter load plus the "ready to drive" C-Max load is likely less 600 W.  The SOC HVB range between ICE running to charge and ICE off is likely around 20% or 280 Wh.  So, one might expect ICE to start about 2 times an hour for a very short period of time to replace the 280 Wh depleted from the HVB. IMO, this cycling would not make a dent in the life of our HVB.  

 

So are you saying that when the C-Max uses 12 volt power with the key in the engaged position (engine will go on when needed) the power does not come from the 12 volt battery but kind of comes from the HVB, so the 12 volt battery does not really get depleted.   If this is the case, then my idea to hook the deep cycle battery to the car 12 volt doesn't do much when the key is on.  To keep the engine from running a lot in the cold, it might work to charge the HVB to a high state by tricking the car to think you want the heater on until the HVB is charged.  IF this is the case it might be a good idea to use a electric space heater to heat the car with the key engaged.








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