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NJ Man Powers Home with Hybrid Car During Blackout

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by tulianr, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    Some tri-state residents who lost power during Sandy found temporary refuge from cold and dark homes inside their cars. For one New Jersey man, he used the power from his hybrid car to light up his entire house.

    BOB Sakala of Paramus says he bought his Toyota Prius Hybrid in June to save gas. In the week since the storm, he powered his home on three-quarters of a tank of gas.

    Sakala says he first read about the Prius' use as a power source years ago on the internet. After his house went dark during the storm, he thought he'd give it a try.

    Using a 100-watt power inverter that plugged into the car's cigarette lighter, and several heavy-duty extension cords he purchased at Home Depot, Sakala was able to power a few lights along with his TV, laptop and modem. He later upgraded to a 300-watt inverter, which let him power more lights.

    "The neighbors kept saying, 'Does BOB have a generator?' No, it's the Prius. It's a spaceship," he told NBC 4 New York.

    Although he couldn't plug in a heater, Sakala said he was happy to keep the lights on, something hundreds of thousands of customer went without in New York and New Jersey.

    At the storm's peak, more than 8.5 million homes and businesses across 21 states lost power. As of Thursday, that was down to about 750,000, almost entirely in New York and New Jersey.

    Thursday's nor'easter overnight knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in New York and New Jersey, erasing some of the progress made by utility crews.

    Power was restored to Sakala's block Thursday evening.

    NJ Man Powers Home with Hybrid Car During Blackout | NBC New York
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    That is one of the very few advantages I've seen for owning a Prius. I'm glad to note he used extension cords instead of a suicide cord.
  3. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    I read that article also and it was my uncle who bought up at the table and i reminded him about the things cars can do now in 2012 not like it was in his day with a horse and buggy [OO]
  4. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    We do this with our trucks. Mine came with a 400 watt power plug in the bed and the Mr's has the same on his. Then I got both of us 2500 watt inverters that hook onto the battery. The Mr thought it was a waste of money until I reminded him what happens to the fish in his salt water tank if the power stays down for very long.

    Burns around a quarter of a gallon an hour per truck. I wouldn't want to run 'em solid for weeks but kick one on for a few hours every day to keep the fridge/freezers cold and a few hours in the evening for lights is ok.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    The big issue with the Prius, in this situation, is the amount of 12 Vdc Power (300 watts or so) you can get from the 12 Vdc System, as opposed to the Battery that supplies the Traction Motors. (Many Kw) You are much better off having a regular Gasoline powered Vehicle, with a BIG Alternator, (200+ Amp) a Group 27 (or larger) Battery, and a 2Kw 12 Vdc Inverter, wired DIRECTLY off the Battery, with BIG Honk'en Power Leads. (Welding Cable)
    You can use it for Remote Power, out in the field, as well as a Backup Emergency Power for a small limited supply for a House. Trace made a line of 2Kw 12 Vdc Inverters, just for this purpose. Lots of Truckers have 24 Vdc Versions installed.
  6. NWPilgrim

    NWPilgrim Monkey++

    Could you make your own power system by getting a lawn mower or similar engine to drive a 200AMP alternator that charges a deep cycle battery and output through a 2000W inverter?

    Why could I not remove my 6.5 hp mower engine, put it into a homemade frame with a Vbelt driving the alternator instead of running my car engine?

    I already have a 800W inverter on order and plan to add a 2000W inverter in Feb.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I take it you are going to set up a battery bank? When it comes to using an automotive alternator to charge a battery bank, you should probably have a current limiting widget in line with the alternator output. If the batteries are in a very low state of charge it is possible to overload the spinny thing. (Possible self destruct by overheating.) Charging a car battery off an alternator (like after running it down on a failure to start) isn't too bad because the time to get to a high enough voltage to counter the charging current is quite short. Not so with a big bank.

    You might try cruising the search function for alternative and jury rigged generators, there are several discussions in the past.
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