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Discussion Starter #1
I suspect this has been discussed before, but I don't find it on a search.

What would be the possibilty to use your Prius as an emergency generator during a power outage?

It already generates electricity from fuel and converts it to AC. Some way to get 120v 60cycle out of it could be really useful.

Power goes out in your neiborhood? No problem, just run an extension cord out to the car and keep the fridge, phone, computer and a couple of lights running.

Any of you mighty modders found a solution like that?
 

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ac output

You won't be able to use the a/c output directly. However you do have a big battery there for an inverter. There is a thread on that I THINK on priuschat.com

Jim
 

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heh... self-mobile generators; if you've got two, when one runs low, move the inverter to the other and take the first "generator" out for a drive to refuel. Of course, zero miles across almost 12 gallons would put a serious dent in your lifetime mpg... 8)
 

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You can also buy dc to ac converters. Just plug them into your DC
auxiliary power suppy port. The only problem is you have to have the
prius active or there is no power available. Never heard of that before.
 

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faqsman said:
You can also buy dc to ac converters. Just plug them into your DC auxiliary power suppy port. The only problem is you have to have the prius active or there is no power available. Never heard of that before.
Yeah, those are the "inverters" talked about above.

And most passenger cars I've seen need to at least be in 'Accessory' mode for the power outlets ("Cigarette Lighters") to be powered. I know that four of the five cars I've ever owned this was true for. The only exception is my Ford Explorer. Trucks/SUVs seem to be the exception.

But, for the Prius, there is a product you can buy buy that makes the front outlet always on.

When I have some time, I'm going to try to hunt down a replacement armrest console box to modify so I can (semi-)permanently mount an inverter so that it is in/under the front-seat armrest, with the outlet poking out just below the rear-seat cup holders.
 

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Keep in mind...

The power outlets in most cars, and I assume the Prius is no exception, are run through a 15-20 amp fuse. You can't pull a lot of juice before you pop it.

I have an inverter in my wife's minivan. When I had a small TV (13") running for the kids I plugged in my laptop... pop!

Boy did that tick the kids off! :x

Troy
 

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Discussion Starter #9
TechnoMage said:
heh... self-mobile generators; if you've got two, when one runs low, move the inverter to the other and take the first "generator" out for a drive to refuel. Of course, zero miles across almost 12 gallons would put a serious dent in your lifetime mpg... 8)
You have the idea exactly. Yeah, the lifetime mpg would take a hit, but having a really sophisticated generator (power on demand, run the engine only when needed, etc) would seem pretty useful. Probably not enough juice to run the home AC, but keeping the fridge running and a couple of lights can make a lot of difference in a blackout. Plus the generator is OUTSIDE so you can't aspix... axpis...expic... smother yourself with carbon dioxide.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
moocatdog said:
Here's a link to a relevant thread on the Yahoo board:

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... sage/62075

Drive happy,
Moo :)
That is the basic idea. Here is a link to the actual modification:

http://www.geocities.com/priusmods/Inverter/Inverter.html

Wouldn't it be better to take advantage of the inverters already in the car? the MGs are AC so something is already doing an inversion. It would be nice to be able to use that.

I will probably buy one of those inverters anyway, seems like a good basic system.

Any concerns about leaving the car "on" in the driveway for hours on end?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
TechnoMage said:
SkipHuffman said:
Any concerns about leaving the car "on" in the driveway for hours on end?
Lock it and take the key. 8)
Well, that wasn't my concern actually. I would swap the Prius with the pickup so the Prius was blocked in. My concern is mechanical damage.

Anything wrong with leaving a Prius "on" all day?

So far as locking the car with the hybrid system running? Might be difficult, I have SS/SE.
 

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SkipHuffman said:
Anything wrong with leaving a Prius "on" all day?
I'd have serious complaints about ANY car that couldn't be left running on its own all day; it would seem to be less of a "load" or "strain" than driving cross-country at highway speeds.
 

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Technomage,

I think the big issue is cooling. Sitting still, there isn't as much airflow over the radiator, and a car would be more likely to overheat. Of course, if it's sitting still, the engine should be idling and therefore be generating less heat... Maybe in addition to powering your house you should also power a fan to blow on the radiator and simulate motion. But then, the faster the fan runs, the lower your gas mileage will be :p
 

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Hi, folks:

I've given this one a lot of thought. And I say this with all due respect, but I feel strongly about it:

I sincerely hope that if you try to power your house with your Prius, that it will NOT work. Or that it would even damage your Prius.

Why? I'm not being mean, honestly. But from the standpoint of somebody who might one day want to SELL my car on the used market, I don't want it to become widely known that the odometer reading is utterly USELESS because the car might have been used for other purposes than DRIVING.

So I sincerely hope that we CANNOT power other devices such as refrigerators and home air conditioning systems with our cars. Unless the car had some sort of "hours of service" figure stored in the computer alongside of the traditional odometer reading, this ability would definitely hurt the market for used Prii.

EDIT - The last thing I want to have to put in my used-car ad is the line "only used for driving" or "never used to power non-automotive devices".... UGH!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
BIF said:
EDIT - The last thing I want to have to put in my used-car ad is the line "only used for driving" or "never used to power non-automotive devices".... UGH!
I had never intended this as a long term solution. Grid power is cheaper and more ecologically friendly. But in a natural disaster, where your power lines are down, having the option to plug in a few things to an auxillary power source would be REALLY handy. And think how many Prii Toyota could sell to Floridians with that as an option.

So far as "mileage" as a measure of wear and tear, that is already invalidated for the Prius. The engine is not on a 100% duty cycle like on other vehicles, probably more like 70% or even less. Perhaps the Prius should be recording hours in service, like we do for airplane engines.
 

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SkipHuffman said:
BIF said:
EDIT - The last thing I want to have to put in my used-car ad is the line "only used for driving" or "never used to power non-automotive devices".... UGH!
I had never intended this as a long term solution. Grid power is cheaper and more ecologically friendly. But in a natural disaster, where your power lines are down, having the option to plug in a few things to an auxillary power source would be REALLY handy. And think how many Prii Toyota could sell to Floridians with that as an option.

So far as "mileage" as a measure of wear and tear, that is already invalidated for the Prius. The engine is not on a 100% duty cycle like on other vehicles, probably more like 70% or even less. Perhaps the Prius should be recording hours in service, like we do for airplane engines.
That depends on what you consider "long term." Here in Florida, we have had people out of power for upwards of three weeks. We're not talking hours here!

How many hours of operation would that amount to for your Prius' engine? Maybe not 24 per day, but probably more than 12. Maybe more than 16. Either a refrigerator or an air conditioning unit use LOTS of electricity, particularly at "peak" when they switch on. Your Prius' engine would probably be running more than 50% of the time it was plugged in to either a fridge or an AC unit, just to keep the battery from running dangerously low.

And what if your Prius ran out of gas while serving as a home generator? The hybrid battery would probably quickly be depleted by an AC unit or a refrigerator, particularly if one or both cycled on during the fuel-outage.

Operating any engine 50% of the time for any length of time would be considered "hard service" in my book. Not being able to tell would make that engine (and the vehicle it was inside of) virtually useless and worthless. I would not be inclined to make any offer on such a vehicle.

All in all, I think using your $20,000 to $30,000 Prius in place of a $500 to $1,000 emergency generator would simply devalue your Prius on the used car market. And mine, too, even though I would never plan to do this.

So please...just don't do it.

What was it your dad used to say? Oh yeah the same as my dad: "Use the right tool for the right task." Makes a lot of sense to me. Dad's a pretty smart guy.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
BIF said:
What was it your dad used to say? Oh yeah the same as my dad: "Use the right tool for the right task." Makes a lot of sense to me. Dad's a pretty smart guy.
Actually my dad would say "Dammit son, I said get me the BIG hammer."
 
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