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Using a car to generate emergency electricity

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  • wrtner
    replied
    Originally posted by spacecase0 View Post
    no, they are not for sale at the hardware stores around here...

    most people used extension cords direct to appliances...

    and others turn off the main breaker to the house and then connect the generator to an extra circuit breaker. this is clearly not a great plan as it is pretty easy to mess up and break things...
    Is there a consumer unit which, in effect, includes a 2w3p and a shrouded male socket? Maybe one of those chunky blue or red jobs? This would be fantastic and I wonder if anyone knows someone who could lean on a manufacturer to adapt one of their existing products? I am sure there is a market now, and certainly in the near future.

    With climate change, this scenario is going to get worse.

    Leave a comment:


  • spacecase0
    replied
    Originally posted by wrtner View Post
    Do you have a two pole three way switch to allow connection straight into your home's consumer unit?
    no, they are not for sale at the hardware stores around here...

    most people used extension cords direct to appliances...

    and others turn off the main breaker to the house and then connect the generator to an extra circuit breaker. this is clearly not a great plan as it is pretty easy to mess up and break things. I know one person that broke things this way in this outage.

    at my house, the generator gets connect into the clothes dryer plug after the main breaker to the power company gets turned off. just happens to be the easiest way for me to connect in and run everything (including the well pump).
    but I do hope to get a fancy switch at some point. would also like to build a generator room as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • wrtner
    replied
    Originally posted by spacecase0 View Post
    I just got through a power outage in CA
    most people got by with nothing or with a tiny generator and extension cords run into the house.
    whole house generators were set up by some.

    I was all set up between solar and a generator for the well,
    was busy for 2 days solid helping others
    Do you have a two pole three way switch to allow connection straight into your home's consumer unit?

    Leave a comment:


  • spacecase0
    replied
    Originally posted by wrtner View Post
    Our californian friends shouldbe able to get this project together if their power company is cutting supply to stopfires starting.

    they need:
    Genny head
    masses of TRS cable
    2p3w switches for aeach home
    a car
    I just got through a power outage in CA
    most people got by with nothing or with a tiny generator and extension cords run into the house.
    whole house generators were set up by some.

    I was all set up between solar and a generator for the well,
    was busy for 2 days solid helping others

    Leave a comment:


  • wrtner
    replied
    California fires - Electricty deliberately being cut

    Our californian friends shouldbe able to get this project together if their power company is cutting supply to stopfires starting.

    they need:
    Genny head
    masses of TRS cable
    2p3w switches for aeach home
    a car

    Leave a comment:


  • wrtner
    replied
    Hurricane Dorian. Now it is the Bahamas who are hit with power cuts:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/02/w...n-bahamas.html

    "With phone, internet and power lines down in many places, communication with the islands was difficult and firsthand accounts from eyewitnesses rare".

    This project should be capable of being got off the ground. We need someone on the ground who can act, a car, possibly ruined except the engine, cable, switches and of course, the genny head.

    Leave a comment:


  • ElectricMick
    replied
    Originally posted by ElectricMick View Post
    Could u use an old fashioned engine governor?
    i've just discovered digital governors. there the business.

    Leave a comment:


  • wrtner
    replied
    .
    Hurricane Florence leaves 700k people with no electricity in Wilmington, NC
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There seems so little between this idea and successful replications. There must be a load of wrecked cars out there which could be worked on.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Northstar were to give out a few generator heads as a charitable donation. (Lots of TRS rubber cable needed and two pole three way switches to be connected up to people's consumer units).
    Last edited by wrtner; 09-15-2018, 03:22 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • ElectricMick
    replied
    Could u use an old fashioned engine governor?

    Leave a comment:


  • wrtner
    replied
    "Cruise control" looks an important part of all this.

    Does anyone know if this be retro-fitted? Can cruise control from one car be fitted to another? What, in practie and in reality, is cruise control?

    Leave a comment:


  • ElectricMick
    replied
    Puerto Rico without power for 3 - 4 months. Also Dominica in trouble.

    a thought struck me. we do not need a car in perfect shape. could be washed into a river, half crushed or whatever. if it can be brought on to dry land, blocked up to sit fairly horiz., carb stripped and washed out, electrics dried out and checked out, bores checked for any water - Then if the engine can be made to run and there is power to any driven wheel, then we are in business !!!
    Last edited by ElectricMick; 09-22-2017, 03:23 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • wrtner
    replied
    .
    Its a good solution, thx, but I have in mind providing for a street of houses, given enough 2p3w switches, plug boards and heaven only knows how much TRS cable (and a schedule to stop everyone putting their washing m/cs on at the same time).
    .
    Last edited by wrtner; 09-12-2017, 02:31 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • thx1138
    replied
    Welder/generator

    I live in an area subject to hurricanes. I bought a gasoline powered portable arc welder that also has outlets for 120V AC and 240V AC (US). They are typically used for powering grinders, drills, etc. while doing welding work. But it can partially power a home with 5KW. That's sufficient for an emergency.

    I built a 3 conductor cable of #6AWG to go between the generator plug and the dryer outlet which, since it is a high load circuit, has its own circuit connected directly to the breaker box. The breaker box also has a mains disconnect built in.

    So turn all breakers off (they're dead already), use the disconnect to isolate the breaker box from the mains, connect the cable between the generator and the dryer outlet, start the generator, and turn the dryer breaker on. Since it's 240V, it is feeding both buss bars of the breaker panel.

    Now selectively turn breakers on to power a few lights, refrigerator/freezer, stand alone freezer, and outlets in the master bedroom. I have a window A/C unit for emergencies that I install in a master bedroom window.

    So now my food won't spoil, I have a few lights and one air conditioned room to sleep in. Our hurricanes usually happen during the hottest part of the summer so air conditioning is important.

    The engine on the welder/generator has its own governor for dealing with varying load due to welding and it works the same with the power outlets. The power isn't particularly clean so I don't run electronics from it other than what's in the refrigerator. There's no way around that if I want to keep the food. The standalone freezer, an older model, doesn't have electronics.

    Since the mains are disconnected at the breaker panel, it doesn't matter when the power comes back on. When that does happen I just shut everything down, disconnect the generator, turn the mains disconnect and breakers back on, and get on with life.

    I originally bought the welder because it was on sale and I wanted a welder but the AC electrical circuits have come in handy. It got me through for nine days one time when the power was out.

    It burned a gallon of gas about every 18 hours so it's important to stock up on gas before the storm hits. The welder originally had a one gallon gas tank but I have since retrofitted it with a five gallon tank.

    IMO, anyone who could build the other circuits/mechanicals described here could probably use a welder, so get a portable one with electrical outlets.

    For cold weather use, it could probably heat one room and keep the food.

    The only thing I used my truck for was to go get gas for the generator after the stores were open again and listened to the radio for emergency bulletins since I didn't want to power my TV with the generator power. I do have to store the welder/generator but that's much easier than storing an extra car and if I do need to evacuate I still have the truck available without having to disconnect anything, take it off jack stands, etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • wrtner
    replied
    Originally posted by spacecase0 View Post
    1. even if your cars don't come with air conditioning installed, there should be an empty spot for another belt

    2. and the mounting bracket holes already there, so it should not be
    if you connect it to 1 wheel, you will wear out the differential quite fast.

    2a. but what are you going to do with something like 100KW anyway ?

    3. generators like that typically put out way higher than the voltage used ...

    4. why are you trying to get electricity from a car you can also drive ?
    1. ...on the grounds that cars are designed for Euro and US markets? Interesting. I'll have a look.

    2. This is an emergency temporary measure only. Fuel costs will make the LX will be quite expensive

    2a. This will power several streets of homes (with distribution - rubber cable, 2p3t switches etc.)

    3. We should expect to use mains voltage gennys.

    4. During the emergency, one would wish to dedicate the car to providing power

    Of course, dropping the prop shaft would put us in a new league but it may be best to start small and work upwards.

    Thanks for your PTA genny link. And of course, if anyone has a tractor, they are home and dry.

    Leave a comment:


  • spacecase0
    replied
    Originally posted by wrtner View Post
    In England, our idea of AC is that we have a handle in the door and it most conveniently winds down a window.

    its an interesting approach but I doubt that there would be space for a genny head that takes proper advantage of the power of the engine.
    you are correct, no car is going to have the room for a generator that takes proper advantage of the power of the engine, I have worked with them in the past, they are larger than most car engines.

    so that is why I offered an easy solution that would run a house
    even if your cars don't come with air conditioning installed, there should be an empty spot for another belt and the mounting bracket holes already there, so it should not be to much work to install.
    from what I read, you can get 20KW through a belt, so a 10KW generating head would be pretty easy. and it is enough power to run most houses.

    taking proper advantage of the car engine would require putting the generating head where the transmission is.

    if you connect it to 1 wheel, you will wear out the differential quite fast.
    if you connect it to 2 wheels in a 2 wheel drive car, that would work better, but the device is likely to cost you more than just replacing the transmission with a generator head (and essentially turning a car into a generator only)
    also, if you are planning on running some sort of tire contact to transmit power, remember how much power you loose in the transmission and in the tires, so you can't really take proper advantage of the engine that way either.
    I do like the idea of taking a car and making it a dedicated generator,
    should be lower price than buying a generator of the same size,
    and replacement parts will cost less and be easier to get.
    but what are you going to do with something like 100KW anyway ?
    generators like that typically put out way higher than the voltage used in a home, then you need the distribution transformers to drop the voltage down. the costs start getting quite high for that kind of setup. and it also is going to take up lots of room, my guess is quite a bit more space than a car would, so at that point, why are you trying to get electricity from a car you can also drive ?
    just seems to me that you are not going to easily take advantage of all the power a car has to offer.
    maybe take a 4 wheel drive setup installed in a 2 wheel drive (maybe a jeep), then attach the generating head on the drive shaft that connects to the front.
    some sort of slip connection that can be locked (because you are not driving around with a generator that large), but then you still will need a big transformer...
    also with the 10KW generator, you can set the throttle at the needed RPM and your load will not require changing that setting,
    if you are getting 100KW out, you are going to need a governor to set your engine RPM by changing the throttle.

    Leave a comment:

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