BenBrown
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:39 pm
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan

12 volt power inverter for emergency home power...

Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:22 pm

I wonder if anyone has gone to Lowe's or Menard's to pick up an inverter to provide emergency back up and used it similar to this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADqk4IjzjXs&t=519s

My frig is already DC and I've tested with the i-miev in the summer. It sips electricity and for the hour or so I had it plugged into the 12v socket I never saw a drop in battery level. The biggest draw would be a portable radiant heater. As I live in a tiny house super insulated a 500 watt heater should be sufficient....

Anyway... thoughts?

bradleydavidgood777
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 am
Location: Media, PA

Re: 12 volt power inverter for emergency home power...

Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:49 am

Very cool. I am interested in this for sure. I have often thought of the car as a good backup power supply. I'll be doing this for sure as a backup.

My challenge would be how to disable the car (on the street) while in the "ready"/on condition. I would need a windshield boot or wheel boot or some kind of simple device. My neighborhood is relatively safe but would need some kind of simple deterrant or block. Maybe as simple as a thick towing chain around the 3 foot tree and thru the rear axle.

Also, I would like to see if I can get 24-30v out of the car, since i can use that to my alternative power system which would be 24V. That would be so cool because the house battery bank and the car would all be tied to the alternative controller. I'm assuming the i-miev is 24V - I think I read that before but will have to check it. If that is true it would be more efficient to stay at 24V than to convert to 12V and then back to 120AC. I already have a 2000W 24V inverter anyway.

But still the 12V is easy and simple and cheap and you can do it at camp sites or friend's houses or anywhere you need some power...very cool.

Ultimately tho my point is that it would be ideal to get the car hooked up to the house power and be able to go either way with the power - charge the car or run the house if necessary...and to just see the car as one more battery bank. And to do as little conversion as possible at every point.
2017 I-Miev

Don
Site Moderator
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 3:55 pm
Location: Biloxi MS

Re: 12 volt power inverter for emergency home power...

Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:08 am

The Inverter would need to be coupled directly to the 12 volt battery under the hood. I would recommend a maximum 750 watt inverter because the DC to DC converter which supplies 12 volt power to the battery from the main traction pack is only capable of about 900 watts and you would not want to overload that and risk burning up something expensive

With the car fully charged, you could get several hours of 120 volts for your household needs . . . . but probably not any meaningful amount of heat - Assuming you were only using 500 watts or so, you might get 24 hours of power. This is probably best for someone who keeps their car garaged though - The worry of someone stealing my car away from the curb might make me go with a more practical solution. I have a Honda EU2000i which solves temporary power needs

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2017 Chevy Volt Premier
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1979 Honda CBX six into six

bradleydavidgood777
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 am
Location: Media, PA

Re: 12 volt power inverter for emergency home power...

Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:58 am

Don,

Thanks for the inverter size info...I was just going to ask that. I have been shopping on amazon and was just deciding that the 600W inverter I was looking at might be pretty good for a backup option and only around $125.

Problem with inverters everywhere I look on the web is that they get some really bad reviews. I am not sure what to buy anywhere out there.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007K ... 0DER&psc=1
2017 I-Miev

Don
Site Moderator
Posts: 2574
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 3:55 pm
Location: Biloxi MS

Re: 12 volt power inverter for emergency home power...

Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:44 am

It all depends on what you want to power with the inverter. Most things will run just fine on an inexpensive square wave inverter. I've been using a 750 watt from Harbor Freight in my van for a couple years to charge our Segways. I also use it to power a small 120 volt air compressor. I have it mounted in the back of the van, hardwired to the battery in front with AWG #4 cable

https://www.harborfreight.com/750-watt- ... 66817.html

Regularly $40, I bought it for $32 with a 20% off coupon

Only very sensitive electronics require pure sine wave inverters. I can't think of anything I might need one for, so I bought the $32 version

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2017 Chevy Volt Premier
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1979 Honda CBX six into six

BenBrown
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:39 pm
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Re: 12 volt power inverter for emergency home power...

Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:48 pm

Thanks..

Very helpful info. On occasion a neighborhood here might lose power for 2-3 days every couple of years, but there is always some place in the city that has power which would allow me to recharge.

During construction of the tiny home we were using the 500 watt heater, before the heat pump was installed. The heater got things hot enough in the winter to wear shirt sleeves while working inside. Still, this is only an immediate for this year emergency back up system, with the longer range goal of having a larger battery bank for several days, then adding solar in the future beyond that. ...just hoping we don't have the blizzard of the century this year.. ;)

PV1
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Contact: Website

Re: 12 volt power inverter for emergency home power...

Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:32 pm

Very cool about the tiny house. Superinsulation is definitely the way to go.

I have an older Black and Decker 750 watt modified wave inverter that I use to charge eBikes while at events. The inverter clips onto the battery posts with the car in READY and the inverter sitting on a small folding table I made in middle school. We regularly pull about 250 watts with no issue.

What I typically do is take both keys, leave one in the ignition, and use the other to key lock the doors from the outside, but someone always stays with the car just in case.
"Bear" - 2012 Diamond White Pearl ES with QC - 2/21/2013
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