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Could FFH be used as emergency home generator?


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39 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   murphy

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:27 AM

2500 watts divided by 12 volts is 208 amps.  8 gauge wire is way too small for 200 amps.  And 200 amps from the battery would discharge it in less than a minute.  The DC/DC converter (battery charger) can't supply that kind of current to charge the battery.  The only possible way for this to work is to tap into the 300 volts of the HVB.  That is extremely dangerous to mess around with.


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#22 OFFLINE   darrelld

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:49 AM

2500 watts divided by 12 volts is 208 amps.  8 gauge wire is way too small for 200 amps.  And 200 amps from the battery would discharge it in less than a minute.  The DC/DC converter (battery charger) can't supply that kind of current to charge the battery.  The only possible way for this to work is to tap into the 300 volts of the HVB.  That is extremely dangerous to mess around with.

 

You are correct about the 8 ga wire, I typoed the size as it should read 2 ga.

 

I never planned to run the whole house through 2 single pole 20 amp breakers, but only esential circuits like the control voltage for the central heat, powering up the variable frequency blower motor, and a refrigerator. The inverter was oversized because I got a good deal.

 

The wire I have is here;

 

http://www.amazon.co...t?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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#23 OFFLINE   Texasota

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 01:13 PM

 

Earlier this year I installed a 20k whole house Generac natural gas powered generator for around 10k.

I have considered this option but wonder if the natural gas would continue to flow to residential (urban) homes in the event of a long term or wide spread power outage. Does anyone have knowledge about this?



#24 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 01:33 PM

Pumping stations usually have their own backup power.  Imagine me running one on Propane though, 1000# tanks holds 800#, wont last long. Might get a couple days worth, but would have to refill it, and at the cost to fill, not worth it. I can run nearly all day on 5 gallons of gas though with the setup I have. Runs one furnace, all the lights, two refrigerators(one after Friday), and the most important, the TV.  Ran for an entire week while they repaired the power lines a couple years ago when a massive storm came through. Now the generator sits in a cart in my barn, I use it when I need to go out and trim trees and bushes, run my electrical saw and trimmers with it. If I need it to power the house, I just hook it to my tractor and drive it around back and plug it in.  


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#25 OFFLINE   Texasota

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 02:42 PM

The reason I would consider a propane powered Generac type of system is because they have the capability to automatically start up during a power outage. This would ensure that the sump pump would have power and continue operating while away from home.


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#26 OFFLINE   tr7driver

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 03:07 PM

The reason I would consider a propane powered Generac type of system is because they have the capability to automatically start up during a power outage. This would ensure that the sump pump would have power and continue operating while away from home.

I bought the natural gas Generac for that reason.  I'm away a lot and it gives me peace of mind to know it will run without my being there.  If it would only plow the drive for my wife when I'm away.....  I only bought the 8 KW unit, but it powers 2 sump pumps, an ejection pump, furnace, kitchen including appliances, garage door, family room and selected light fixtures through the house. Enough to make do for a while.  It won't power the AC, but I can make ice cream. 

 

Last winter, going out to the shed and retrieving a generator and hooking it up would have been downright painful with all the snow, ice and freezing temps.  Plus they never start when you need 'em.  Done that, been there.  I'm just too old for that. 



#27 OFFLINE   darrelld

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:12 PM

The reason I would consider a propane powered Generac type of system is because they have the capability to automatically start up during a power outage. This would ensure that the sump pump would have power and continue operating while away from home.

 

 

The natural gas powered Generac will also run on propane. The Generac has a simple valve you turn to switch the type of fuel. My system came with an 200 amp automatic transfer switch as part of the install. The transfer switch will cut over the power if it detects an outage or if power becomes unstable for up to 15 seconds.


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#28 OFFLINE   Texasota

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:37 PM

The natural gas powered Generac will also run on propane. The Generac has a simple valve you turn to switch the type of fuel. My system came with an 200 amp automatic transfer switch as part of the install. The transfer switch will cut over the power if it detects an outage or if power becomes unstable for up to 15 seconds.

Not sure why I typed propane in my post above. I meant natural gas as I have natural gas service to my house.



#29 OFFLINE   Texasota

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 12:35 PM

Pumping stations usually have their own backup power.

 

According to this Forbes article natural gas distribution systems are dependent on the electrical grid. If a lengthy electrical outage occurs it is unlikely natural gas will continue to flow:

 

              http://www.forbes.co...he-gas-network/

 

In the end we are probably all doomed.


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#30 OFFLINE   darrelld

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 05:02 PM

 

According to this Forbes article natural gas distribution systems are dependent on the electrical grid. If a lengthy electrical outage occurs it is unlikely natural gas will continue to flow:

 

              http://www.forbes.co...he-gas-network/

 

In the end we are probably all doomed.

 

 

You would think the natural gas pumps would have backup generators powered by natural gas. The generators could have volume tanks to maintain pressure during startup.


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#31 OFFLINE   Texasota

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 10:02 PM

 

You would think the natural gas pumps would have backup generators powered by natural gas. The generators could have volume tanks to maintain pressure during startup.

 

The article sort of touched on this question:

 

 

In the gas grid, the main compressor stations feeding the large interstate pipelines are typically fueled by natural gas.  Gas-fueled compressors could be more widely used throughout the system, but they are noisy and have environmental implications.  So in urban areas, the gas distribution companies typically use electric pumps and compressors to bring gas to the consumer.  It’s not hard to see where the problem lies here.  No electricity, no gas supply.



#32 OFFLINE   darrelld

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 08:47 AM

 

The article sort of touched on this question:

 

 

I suppose it would depend upon how large an electric motor they use in the urban areas. My 20k generator is no louder than the neighbors lawnmower. Granted I am using 20k single phase and the NG pumps are probably 3 phase and could require much larger generators but the problem is certainly addressable if they wanted to invest the capital.

 

There is an interesting read about how the founder of the Chevy Volt site managed during Hurricane Sandy outages using a Generac 20k generator.

 

http://insideevs.com...and-gas-crises/


Edited by darrelld, 08 August 2014 - 08:55 AM.

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#33 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 12:17 PM

Out by me is a NG pumping station that has a generator on site. This is where I got my information from, actually seeing it. 


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#34 OFFLINE   Cooling Tower Guy

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 09:48 AM

When we lived up on Signal Hill there was always a wind blowing and I considered a wind generator and battery set up to run my pump. So freekin cold we moved back to FL after 2 winters.



#35 OFFLINE   GrySql

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 02:57 PM

In the end we are probably all doomed.

An Italian proverb - “At the end of the game, pawns and kings go back into the same box”.


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#36 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 02:52 PM

Other than heat and a water pump, if we lost power and ran out of gas for the generator, I can utilize the battery system I setup in my RC trailer to charge phones, and flashlights, and have some lighting at night using LED's, then the battery can be recharged by Solar power the next day. It's not much, but enough to keep us out of the dark. 


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#37 OFFLINE   Texasota

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 03:19 PM

Other than heat and a water pump, if we lost power and ran out of gas for the generator, I can utilize the battery system I setup in my RC trailer to charge phones, and flashlights, and have some lighting at night using LED's, then the battery can be recharged by Solar power the next day. It's not much, but enough to keep us out of the dark. 

The FFH could probably also do this quite easily utilizing a small inverter. This is kind of where I was going when I first started this thread. 

 

Now that I own a FFH I could try it out if there is ever a crisis in my neighborhood/city. One of my main concerns was wanting to keep the sump pump running if power was lost. After sucessfully running my sump pump with the inverter hooked up to my lawn tractor's very small capacity battery I am confident my FFH could handle it also.



#38 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 03:38 PM

If you hook tot he terminals under the hood, I can see it working. Whats the wattage of the inverter though? The one I have I think would drain that one rather quickly with a full load on it.  It can run a small fridge. 


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#39 OFFLINE   Texasota

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 05:06 PM

Whats the wattage of the inverter though? The one I have I think would drain that one rather quickly with a full load on it.  It can run a small fridge. 

I have a Power Bright PW2300-12 (2300 Watt) inverter and you are right, that would cause problems with a continous full load.  With a very light load, as you were describing, it would probably work fine. My sump pump works fine with the inverter connected to the lawn tractor because the sump pump runs for only 4-6 seconds and at most it cycles once over a two minute interval.

 

I'm not sure why you are suggesting connecting the inverter to the terminals under the hood. Manufactures of inverters emphasize large gauge cables with a very short run between the battery and the inverter.  My owners manual states the following:

 

 

Cable Gauges

When connecting the inverter to a battery bank use the thickest stranded insulated copper wire available in the shortest length practical. If the inverter & the battery are positioned within 4 FT of each other, a minimum of #4 gauge wire should be used to make the connections. When the distance between inverter & battery bank is 4-6 FT, a minimum of #2 gauge wire is required.

 

I suspect hooking the inverter to the terminals under the hood would result in very poor performance and significantly increase the possibility of damage to the car.



#40 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 09:39 PM

Good point, didn't consider that the cables going back there are not capable of handling it since it only needs to provide 12v at low amps.  Now that I think about it the cables on mine are short and heavy gauge.


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