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Using a car to generate emergency electricity

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Mad Scientist View Post
    Your furnace is now powered up by simply plugging it into the outlet. Just as if it were like it any other electrical device.
    Don't forget that there is a two way switching need here.

    The domestic fusebox, the consumer unit, needs a convenient
    switch to connect it either to the town's LX supply or to the
    generator. (The switching may take place under conditions of
    considerable stress - in the dark, hurricane weather, screaming
    kids and so on. It needs to be easy and to be performed in
    blackout, possibly with the help only of a torch whose batteries
    are almost dead).

    N.B. We don't know the current rating of the unit as yet.
    At the level of the house, the power need should be around 2.5Kw,
    10 amps in the UK or 20 amps in the US with their 120 volt standard.

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    • #17
      The switching is done by simply unplugging from the mains and plugging into an extension cord. How difficult is that?

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Mad Scientist View Post
        The switching is done by simply unplugging from the mains and plugging into an extension cord. How difficult is that?
        You are in pitch darkness.
        High winds have blown in a window
        Rain is coming in.
        Children are crying
        Nobody has checked the batteries in the emergency torch for two years.
        ...which is why it is useless.

        Which would you rather do?

        Look for plugs and sockets, not having complete confidence about what
        is live and what is not
        or
        Find your way to the fusebox/consumer unit, and flip the switch?

        Also, I doubt that many local electrical laws would permit your solution.
        Flexible cable is often prohibited.

        Comment


        • #19
          This is a new concept that could provide a solution .It could be a multipurpose Tool for people who have a large property. Check out this link for a mower generator.
          Raven mower, rider, and generator at Lowe's (1 of 2) - YouTube
          Last edited by ZeroMassInertia; 04-07-2013, 11:03 PM. Reason: edit

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          • #20
            @Madscientist
            Your furnace is now powered up by simply plugging it into the outlet. Just as if it were like it any other electrical device.
            If you need to run it with a generator unplug it from the outlet and plug it into an extension cord and run that cord out to your generator.
            It's good to see another hands on person who can think on their feet as this was my solution as well. This isn't rocket science and I wired my last three houses from installing the meter base and breaker panel to the final fixture installations.

            Another option I used is the simple fact that the main breaker completely disconnects the house from the grid. Once the main breaker is open I switch everything off except the furnace and lights then plug in the generator extension cord to a dedicated outlet outside the house.

            Another option you may want to consider is natural gas as a fuel as if the **** hit the fan gasoline would be in short supply. The odds of the natural gas supply going down in a disaster is remote at best. After seeing the Quebec ice storm of 1998 I decided to hope for the best but plan for the worst.

            @wrtner
            Anyone that unprepared probably deserves to be sitting in the dark to reflect on there stupidity, we are all responsible adults are we not?. One cannot claim to be a responsible adult and then be completely unprepared for an event they know will happen at some point in the future(a power failure), that is irresponsible and quite absurd.
            The flex cable is called BX, you may want to go look at your furnace because that is what should be connecting it to the power switch by code, BX or conduit.

            AC
            Last edited by Allcanadian; 04-08-2013, 12:29 AM.

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            • #21
              I have done this many many times to flip the main breaker first. THEN i place a warning sign beside the breaker box that the supply is isolated - do no switch on!

              That reminds me never to turn back on the main breaker unless the generator or inverter is removed from the nearest wall socket. Inverters go BANG in a puff of very expensive smoke should the grid come back while back feeding your inverter into the house. Not to mention you could electrocute someone up the street in downed power lines. Gensets a bit more hardy against this type of abuse and often will just trip the breaker on the genset but don't bank on it.

              Of course you can wire in a changeover switch but its additional cost and often needs certifying.

              My inverter is 3kw with 6kw peak. Its quite a heavy beast with twin turbo fans Its plenty enough to run the CFL lights, TV, laptops, water pump, washing machine, microwave, freezer and furnace. The home background level is only around 350w while the heavy load items need to be used one at a time. It can run off the car battery with the engine running via extension cord back to the house. Be aware it pulls over 200 AMPS on heavy loads. Basically you can live pretty much as normal just make sure not to use anything that heats up like toasters, hair dryers, water heaters etc. If you are not sure unplug everything first then add the essentials.

              I also have a 3.5kw Chinese genset that used to run on gasoline but i converted it to run on NatGas which is extremely economical but its very noisy and so it quicker and easier to use the car for short power outages.

              BTW i also a tiny 1200w inverter off ebay only cost about $40 is actually rated for about 900w but will actually run my freezer plus some CFL's. Everyone should have one of these as standard kit.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Allcanadian View Post
                @wrtner
                Anyone that unprepared probably deserves to be sitting in the dark to reflect on there stupidity, we are all responsible adults are we not?.
                We should design for people as they are, not as we would like them to be.

                Comment


                • #23
                  @wrtner
                  I understand my statement was a little harsh and I do feel for anyone put in a bad position. I have seen disaster and hardship in my life and at some point I got smart. I thought I am letting things happen to me, I am always reacting to events but never planning ahead to prevent them.
                  I learned what is probably the most valuable lesson in my life ... forethought.

                  I remember that the moment I understood this simple principal my life became so much easier. I'm not saying we should be paranoid about future events which may be out of our control but taking small steps to minimize risk to the ones we love is a good thing. Doing little things now can make a big difference later.

                  AC
                  Last edited by Allcanadian; 04-08-2013, 03:39 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Allcanadian View Post
                    Doing little things now can make a big difference later.

                    AC
                    Absolutely! A little planning ahead using ďwhat ifĒ scenarios plus some common sense can go a long way to making an unpleasant situation into something can be easily coped with.

                    But how can you protect the fool from himself as fools are usually much too ingenious to be stopped any kind of safety device much less common sense. Then when they do hurt themselves it is we who are to blame because we couldnít imagine anyone being so stupid as to misuse a particular device in that manner.

                    A few years back we were hit with a major snow storm. We got about 2 foot of snow in a 72 hour period. Starting on Monday there were weather reports of heavy snow for the week end. Tuesday weather report lots of snow coming this way. Wednesday lots and lots of snow for the weekend. Thursday really big huge storm set for the weekend with snow starting around noon Friday. Friday around noon it started snowing and didnít stop until late Saturday night.

                    The snow plow guys were totally overwhelmed. Monday morning Iím listening to the radio and some totally brain dead woman called in to complain. It would seem that the guy who was supposed to plow the streets in her little area never got there. As a result because she couldn't get out to the store thus her rug rat had to do without milk and juice and naturally it was all the fault of the snow plow gut because he never plowed her street. Never mind the fact that she had 4 days of warning where she could have easily gone out and stocked up a bit for the weekend.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Allcanadian View Post
                      @wrtner
                      I understand my statement was a little harsh...
                      In that situation, AC, you show statesmanship. I would that
                      Margaret Thatcher, who died a dozen hours ago, could ever
                      have mustered a tenth of it in a similar position.



                      What about the generator head?

                      How do we specify a generator head that, with a wildly varying
                      load, needs to supply the same voltage and the same frequency?
                      .
                      .

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by wrtner View Post
                        N.B. We don't know the current rating of the unit as yet.
                        At the level of the house, the power need should be around 2.5Kw,
                        10 amps in the UK or 20 amps in the US with their 120 volt standard.
                        The US version, 120 volt, is rated at 15 amp. A little more would be nice but that is good enough. With care, users should be able to ensure that switching is done on no load. - EM.

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                        • #27
                          This generator head is only 10kw but is a starting point. It does
                          not have a flange output plate which would be useful:

                          NorthStar Belt Driven Generator Head — 10,000 Watt | Generator Heads| Northern Tool + Equipment

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by wrtner View Post
                            This generator head is only 10kw but is a starting
                            point. It does not have a flange output plate which would
                            be useful.
                            Since the output is AC, the speed must be accurate. Instead of taking the wheel off, why not leave it on as a flywheel, using longer wheel studs to secure the generator?

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                            • #29
                              OK who gets elected to sit in the car with their foot on the accelerator so as to to keep the speed constant when different loads to the generator are turned on and off?

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Mad Scientist View Post
                                OK who gets elected to sit in the car with their foot on the accelerator so as to to keep the speed constant when different loads to the generator are turned on and off?
                                Is this what you think happens in power stations, M-S ?
                                We use a black box.

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