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Old 11-15-2012, 18:53   #1
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Michigan
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Use of Vehicle as a generator in a pinch...??

I figured I'd throw this out there and see what everyone thought about it, I'd like some feedback on it, and if it's a decent plan, it might even be something for other people to consider.

A few years ago my work switched vendors, and we ran a clearance sale on our power inverters. I got an amazing deal, and was able to acquire 2 800 watt inverters, and a few 400 watt inverters for less that 50 bucks for all of them if I remember right.

The 400 watt inverters can either be connected directly to the battery, or plugged into a cigarette power source, while the 800's must to be connected directly to the battery.

So, onto my actual question, my vehicle has a 125 amp alternator, and since everyone seems to agree that inverter generators are the way to go if you can afford them, is there any reason the vehicle couldn't/shouldn't be used for backup/emergency power for a temporary loss of power? Obviously the car would use exponentially more fuel than a dedicated generator, but if you only need it for a couple days and you have a good running, reliable vehicle, it could prove useful.

Moreover, is there a limit to how many inverters I can plug up? I don't know how much a 125 amp alternator would safely run if the car is just sitting there idling with most of it's own accessories turned off. I know with the 400 watt inverters, the limit would be on the actual circuit that it's plugged into, but for the 800's, they would be connected directly to the battery, so as long as the car is running, and the battery stays charged, they should be fine.

This is definitely not my long term survival strategy, as a car would use its gas up in a matter of a couple of days depending on how much we needed to run it, but since we just made the investment of a new home a few months ago, we haven't had the extra disposable income (or the need, luckily we've had no power outages) for a dedicated generator with transfer switch, but I think as long as I kept it modest with the stuff we needed to run, I think it could work.

So I guess the point of this thread is to lay out my current primary plan for a friendly analysis, and if nothing else, this primary plan could eventually be my Plan B once I get a dedicated generator for the house. I am fortunate that the home we purchased had to be completely remodeled after a fire a few years ago, so all of my appliances are newer energy efficient appliances. I also wonder if there would be any way (or need) to hook my 800 watt's together to give them a 1600 watt capacity to run some of the larger appliances or a space heater if necessary. Obviously the major concerns would be to run the fridge, and washer/dryer.

Let me have it!!
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