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Energy Options => Other Energy Sources => Topic started by: Packerfan78 on August 09, 2018, 10:45:46 AM

Title: emergency power supply
Post by: Packerfan78 on August 09, 2018, 10:45:46 AM
Hi Guys,
Sorry if this topic has already been brought up. Last night we had a horrible storm that knocked our power out for 8 hours. We have this happen once a month during monsoon season here in Phoenix. Atleast where I live. I am curious if anybody has any suggestions for a power supply that would be strong enough to power a fan and a tv for a few hours. I have a generator for long term power outages but am just looking something for a few comforts until the power comes back on. It would be nice to just go to the closet and grab a power supply and plug my tv and a fan in so the kids aren't going crazy. I have one of those power supply/ car jumper/ compressors in my truck and I tried it last night and it wouldn't even power a fan.
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: bcksknr on August 09, 2018, 12:03:39 PM
     I'm one of those people who always seem to be too warm. One thing that helps is a 10 inch portable fan called "O2 Cool", at least that's what my brand is. I've seen similar fans all over. It has two power settings and can run on eight "D" cell batteries or an included plug in to run on off of a "cigarette lighter" socket. I use it mainly to keep some air moving at night in our camper. The batteries seem to last forever and it is really quiet.
     As to a TV, there are flat panels that will run on 12 volts. I'd suggest checking out an RV dealer; they have all sorts of 12 volt items. If you go the route of buying a heavy duty deep cycle battery so that you can hook it up to a small inverter to get 110 volts to power your existing appliances, be aware that inverters will drain a battery pretty fast. I have little faith in those jump start power supplies for emergency use. They are usually a big plastic case with a little rechargeable battery inside . If your serious about a short term battery backup, get the biggest deep cycle RV battery you can find. If you run an inverter off of that battery for electronics you will probably need one that puts out pure sine wave current versus modified sine wave. Many electronics won't work properly on modified sine wave current and pure sine wave inverters are more expensive.
    You might be better of buying a small inverter generator. They are light weight, very quiet and put put "clean current". For the cost of a battery and an inverter you might be better off buying a generator of this type.
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: Mr. Bill on August 09, 2018, 12:10:24 PM
Howdy, Packerfan78!  I've moved your post to our "Other Energy Sources" board.  You might like to check through the older posts in this board for possible ideas.

TVs nowadays don't use a lot of power, so maybe you could use an uninterruptable power supply intended as a computer backup.  I'm not sure what to suggest for the fan, though.
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: Carl on August 09, 2018, 01:30:05 PM
  Buying new 12 volt devices can work though may be costly as a simple inverter and large storage battery allows using current appliances and a power / extension cord can distribute power readily about the house.The BATTERY ,on the other hand is a heavy beast and as I like to call it ...a RENTAL, because they do not last long before going bad (3 to 5 years) and they go bad even if you don't use them! This can be costly for entertainment of kids though add greatly to peace of mind. Add the wattage's of the devices you want to power say TV 60 watts,fan 50 watts and you get 110 watts or about 11 AMPS from a battery/inverter ,then multiply this by 10 (for hours) and we get 110 Amp Hours needed...but the battery must not be 'used' more than 50% level and so our simple battery must have 220 Amp Hour capacity ...that is a good bit of battery.

  I tie an inverter to my car battery and it ,at engine idle,will run 400 to 500 watts into my house at a 2 and 1/2 hour per gallon of fuel rate ,so this also is a possible solution. I have indoor batteries also ...about 500 Amp Hours to power my Ham radios and fridge and my car is my generator for long term or portable needs.
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: Packerfan78 on August 09, 2018, 02:32:09 PM
Awesome! Thanks guys. I like the battery powered fan idea and the rv battery/inverter idea. Im just looking for a few comforts that I can do quickly while still staying inside. On the plus side my rain barrels are getting filled up.
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: mountainmoma on August 09, 2018, 10:34:14 PM
I would just go with the inverter connected to your vehicle, idling the vehicle and running the extension cord to the house.  Steve Harris talks about this extensively, I know there are threads or links to that somewhere around here. I have one, Carl has one, I bought a set up like this for one of my adult children. No worries of having a power outage and finding out your battery back up is dead.  Not very expensive. Easy to do.

I am busy right now, look here     

   How to Power Your House from Your Car with an Inverter

We get horrible rain here too, but It doesnt take much to run out and connect this, especially for the reliability and the price.  If you park in the garage, you wont get wet, but do open the garage door part way if you have the car in there idling
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: Carl on August 10, 2018, 04:39:26 AM
  While use an internal bank of batteries to power my Ham radio and refrigerator when power outages happen , I depend on the vehicle mounted system for longer duration outages as my solar (120 watt,max 5 amps to batteries) will not keep up with the I can start the car and carry in an extension cord so as to power the refrigerator for TWO HOURS and let it rest for 5 hours ( I get rest too) as while I power the refrigerator,I also run chargers to add juice to the battery bank. While I can automate this as I did at my BOL,I find it occupies my mind to keep up with it myself. Note that many battery operated fans can,and should,use rechargeable batteries  for the environment and YOUR ECONOMY...this also can occupy and anchor the kids into good habits and lend to satisfaction of having some control over THEIR world.

  My car mounted inverter allows me to drive to my parents home and power their water well when the limited ,above ground storage, needs topping off (we rarely freeze here.)
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: Packerfan78 on August 13, 2018, 12:25:07 AM
Ok guys as im sitting in a local black out i will tell you what works for me as temporary basis. I bought 2 solar lamps that also had a fan function. I bought some of the battery powered spray fans at the swap meet for 5 bucks. I have a bunch of led flashlights i got at tractor supply. I have a few battery back ups that double as cell phone/ipad chargers. 1 german shepherd and 1 cattledog(security dogs). One battery powered radio i also got at the swap meet. So my experience is for temporary purposes what i have has gotten me by. My children are asleep the dogs are outside patroling. I also have an ice cold keg in my home made kegerator in case i get too hot.
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: bcksknr on August 21, 2018, 07:43:14 AM
     If you run extension cords, remember that the longer the distance the heavier the wire gauge needs to be. I have a 25 foot extension for the 30 amp outlet on my camper and it is 10 gauge. Smaller wire gauge cords can be inefficient, heat up and even start fires with a heavy current load. This goes for both 110 AC and 12 DC. Also, you should never plug a generator of any type directly into a household 110 volt/15 amp outlet. Appliances should be connected directly to the generator through an adequate cord. I'm sure you know this. but never run a car, generator or any type of "charcoal grill" in a garage or enclosed space. Please remember that connecting a generator improperly to a household fuse box (through an outlet) can: 1 burn out your generator through an overload or worse, burn it out when the power comes back on, 2 kill a lineman working on restoring power down the line by "backfeeding" current and transforming it to lethal levels.
     If you set up a "whole house" generator system, you should have an electrician install a "transfer switch" that will isolate your system from the utility lines when you are using emergency generation. If you go this route, you either need a generator big enough ($$$$) to supply all the appliances that will be running at once, or you need an auxiliary breaker box to "zone" the power to only one or two circuits at a time (my home is set up this way and I can get by with a much smaller generator).
     For the short term and less expense, get the minimum items you need for safety and some comfort that will run on 12 volts, either a deep cycle battery or regular "flashlight' batteries. All of my critical, short term items run on lithium "flashlight" batteries. lithiums have a long shelf life, 10 years, and will work better in cold situations, and last longer than alkalines. Don't even bother with regular carbon "Heavy Duty" batteries. I don't trust rechargeable batteries in critical emergency items that may sit, unused for a length of time. LED lights are available everywhere and are the most efficient. I also have some of those "solar garden" lights. In an outage, put them in bathrooms, hallways, stairs as low level "marker" lights. I keep them on a window ledge so they are charged constantly. Camping outfitters also have many types of brighter, solar lights that can fill a room. Of course, lighting is only a concern at night or in enclosed rooms. A bigger concern is running a refrigerator (keep it closed and it will keep food safe for 24 to 48 hours, depending) or pumping well water (if you don't have city) and that doesn't work well on a small battery set up.
     One last thing. They make battery adapters (kind of like nesting Russian dolls) that will let you insert a AA cell into a "C" cell adapter, that can then be inserted into a "D" cell adapter. I stock up on lithium AA cell and these adapters will let me use them in any battery operated device (lithiums aren't made in "C" or "D" cells).
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: rustyknife on August 26, 2018, 03:45:29 PM
A bunch of good ideas here. I went with a couple of truck batteries hooked up to an inverter. The batteries are kept charged up by a wind powered generator. On the TV I use an RV type that runs on 12V.  For inside lighting I bought some solar lights that I keep in a special box that can hold 20. When the power is out there are special mounting brackets that are set around the house to light up the place at night.  Have not had too much problem here but when I lived on the coast it was a problem two or three times a year.
Title: Re: emergency power supply
Post by: Carl on August 26, 2018, 05:48:56 PM
  Just remember that batteries will maintain better health when they are used to power stuff from time to time and not just sit around being charged all of the time....also , they get old weather you use them or not. Most wet cells (truck batteries) will last 3 to 4 years ,depending on what care they receive.