I need car electronics and home electrical advice - not sign related.

Andy D

Active Member
Long story short; I live close enough to the Gulf Coast to be affected by hurricanes & my generator has died... before I go blow $500 plus on a new generator, there's something I want to try, that might be much better and much cheaper; my wife's Toyota Prius. Come to find out a Prius is the best generator money can buy, you leave the car on, run stuff from the battery bank & when the batteries gets low, the engine kicks on for a few minutes to charge the batteries.. many people are doing this & can run a bunch of basic stuff for a week on a few gallons of gas.

Car electronics questions:
- I know to run electronics I need to install a "Sine Wave" inverter, I'm considering this one, is it any good?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0821D29H...olid=1YQAT44H0RDBB&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it
- I have been watching YouTube videos and getting different info; some say I can hook up to the 12V battery that cranks the car & some say I have to hook directly to the battery bank, BTW her car is a 2016 Pius C, any car guys with solid info?

Home Electrical advice:
- I have a attached car-port (no chance of carbon monoxide build up) that is right next the the circuit breaker. I don't want wires running everywhere, especially to my shed where my deep freezer is.
I want to be able to flip the main breaker off and have the car plugged into separate breaker box that hooks to the wiring in the main breaker and run to selected outlets and lights.. Is this something a none electrician should take on?
My brother-in-law used to be a line-man, he's pretty knowledgeable, but he's not a Electrician... any advice?
 
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signage

Member
That will only get you 12.5A at 120V!

I would not think that just hooking to the car battery would cause the car to start-up to re-charge the battery.
Also I do not believe that it will just start up to recharge the storage batteries to run the car.

The home electric device you are looking for is a transfer switch. Unless you really know your electrical were about I would leave it to a professional.
 

Andy D

Active Member
Also I do not believe that it will just start up to recharge the storage batteries to run the car.
.
I does though, there are people that live of-the-grid that have this set-up as a back-up to their solar...
Also, if I'm waiting in the car with the air conditioning running, the car's motor starts up for a few minutes and then shuts off, it
does this every 5-10 minutes.

Edit to add: I failed to say; you leave the ignition on (leaving head lights and everything else off), but the motor won't run unless the batteries get low.
 
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Notarealsignguy

Active Member
You need a transfer switch. It's dangerous to backfeed without one because it is real easy to forget to turn off the main breaker. If a lineman is out working on a downed line, your backfeed could kill them. I suppose the car is ok but you wont get much power from it unless your goal is to only run a TV and a few small things. The off grid people set themselves up to live very efficiently it's not exactly the same.
Why not just buy a regular generator and use it intermittently? If you want TV or a computer all day, just run that off the car through a small inverter and the big loads on something else.
A CO detector is a good idea to have even if your power source is detached from the house.
For inverters, I had a bus and ran everything off of a regular modified sine wave inverter. The only thing that wouldn't work right was my drill charger for some reason. Pure sine wave ones are pretty pricey.
 

Boudica

I'm here for educational purposes.
I take it that since you came back for more electrical advice, that the new lightbulb in the pantry didn't burn the house down? :)
 

netsol

Member
andy
tread VERY CAREFULLY
i have done all my own electrical work for 50 years, so when i tell you not to mess with installing a transfer switch yourself, you should listen
you run the risk of improper installation electrocuting a lineman miles away, if you put 110VAC on a utility company wire
they will not be forgiving, in this situation, the often prosecute for manslaughter

you can have an electrician install a transfer switch, but i doubt you will find one willing to tie in your rube goldberg rig with the prius and a sine wave inverter

we have a kohler whole house generator ($4300 for a 20KW natural gas gen.) and believe me, i could have installed it safely, (it came with the transfer switch, they run promotions, and $2000 for installation & running gas pipe) but even i had enough common sense not to do so (and many old friends will tell you common sense is not something i am known for)
 

ikarasu

Active Member
as was mentioned, you only get 12.5 amp at 120V.

That means you could run the deep freeze....and not much else. So if you want it hooked up to your breaker...you'll have to flip everything off once it kicks in except the stuff you want / need... not really realistic! unfortunately batteries dont store too much power, unless you plan on going the elon musk way with a $10-20,000 battery system.

Also... your vehicles battery can only charge so many times before it gets worn down. Thats why after 1 year, 2 year, 3 year, you see the distance you can go decrease... Prius batteries are expensive, its not worth the wear and tear on your vehicle.

Unfortunately if you want a whole house solution, you'll need a monster generator, like these - https://www.generac.com/all-product...rators/guardian-series/10kw-7171-wifi-enabled

Depending on how much power you use, that could be a bit too big... or a lot too small.
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
You're looking for a transfer switch. You can find them online for about $300-$500. I installed one at my old house and hooked a generator up to it and it worked well. It's kind of involved to install. You have to open up your house breaker panel and rewiring the circuits you want to use into the transfer switch. Not really a beginner task and you need to be mindful of the panel being hot.

It's probably not going to be worth going though all that trouble just for a 1500watt inverter though.
 

Andy D

Active Member
Thank you all for your sound, sage advice!

I take it that since you came back for more electrical advice, that the new lightbulb in the pantry didn't burn the house down? :)
Haha, no TG, great memory.
They work okay, but Mrs. Andy D is not very happy with them... they flicker fast some times and can take a while to come on...
Replacing with new LED lights are on my never ending "Honey-Do-List".
 

Val47

Boudica@Nite
Thank you all for your sound, sage advice!


Haha, no TG, great memory.
They work okay, but Mrs. Andy D is not very happy with them... they flicker fast some times and can take a while to come on...
Replacing with new LED lights are on my never ending "Honey-Do-List".
We have a few lighting situations like that in our house. Flicker - will or won't light up right away. Ours are old though - came with the house we bought 17 years ago (sorta newish prob - last 5 years) Ya - super annoying. You fix that for the Mrs... and let me know how, so I can let my Mr. know how to fix it. and put specifics on the honey-do list. :) I've got a long one... so I need to prioritize. your wife will know what I mean... though we've never met :)
 

netsol

Member
you can't actually run things like an air conditioner or a freezer
while the run current is within the range of power your setup,would provide, the START CURRENT (for a second or two) is almostb40 amps.

something has to give

(1) the compressor won't start

or

(2) after not many starts you will damage the compressor

or

(3) after a few starts you will damage the inverter

or

all 3

there is a reason that solar installations (by law) have to shut down during power outage.
they are not designed to produce "real world " power, to run all your stuff
they produce low quality, spongey power capable of running some devices

i have been saying i will post a couple oscilloscope screen captures, so you can see how you can DESTROY your expensive equipment with ideas like this

i will try in the next day or two to post a followu
 

netsol

Member
whatever you do, don't try to run your printer off a setup like this. you might as well just smash it with a sledge hammer. these electronics are very delicate
 

k_graham

New Member
Long story short; I live close enough to the Gulf Coast to be affected by hurricanes & my generator has died... before I go blow $500 plus on a new generator, there's something I want to try, that might be much better and much cheaper; my wife's Toyota Prius. Come to find out a Prius is the best generator money can buy, you leave the car on, run stuff from the battery bank & when the batteries gets low, the engine kicks on for a few minutes to charge the batteries.. many people are doing this & can run a bunch of basic stuff for a week on a few gallons of gas.

Car electronics questions:
- I know to run electronics I need to install a "Sine Wave" inverter, I'm considering this one, is it any good?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0821D29H...olid=1YQAT44H0RDBB&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it
- I have been watching YouTube videos and getting different info; some say I can hook up to the 12V battery that cranks the car & some say I have to hook directly to the battery bank, BTW her car is a 2016 Pius C, any car guys with solid info?

Home Electrical advice:
- I have a attached car-port (no chance of carbon monoxide build up) that is right next the the circuit breaker. I don't want wires running everywhere, especially to my shed where my deep freezer is.
I want to be able to flip the main breaker off and have the car plugged into separate breaker box that hooks to the wiring in the main breaker and run to selected outlets and lights.. Is this something a none electrician should take on?
My brother-in-law used to be a line-man, he's pretty knowledgeable, but he's not a Electrician... any advice?
Before you buy a transfer switch, write down your electrical panel make and model, then see if a approved adapter is available for it. This "approved" (made by panel manufacturer) adapter will force you to turn off the master switch while allowing a breaker next to it to turn on and that breaker would work with your generator. The draw back to this $50.00 solution is it is manual hardware not a automatic electric transfer switch. I know it is available for some square D panels. I left room in a panel when we updated ours. Of course You need extra space in your panel for this to work, I also recall seeing a mention of a panel to do this with an electric car but I am pretty sure that was $1000's of dollars. For your car I expect you will need an engineered solution tying into your battery pack, as they sell range extender packs for Toyotas someone surely will offer something to nicely tie in.
 
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