Monday, February 9, 2009

Cheap and portable power source.

What do you get if you combine an old car battery and an inverter?

For those of who are into solar power this is not even a challenge. But for those who are still new to this green thing you may find this pretty interesting.

I had always wanted to get an inverter for the van to supplement power for a laptop. On our last vacation my wife thought she would do some work on the way down to Florida. But her laptop only holds a charge for about an hour or so. So I picked up a 400 watt inverter.

For those of you not familiar, an inverter takes 12 volt car DC power and turns it into regular household A/C power. I plugged the inverter into my outlet power in the van and my wife was able to work without losing power to her laptop.

Then last year I was working on a project outside that required a grinder. I did not have access to nearby power. So I took an old battery, which I had saved from a battery upgrade and I hooked up the same inverter using the alligator clips to the battery posts. I had instant A/C power without running yards of extension cords.

Now you may think why? Well if you have experienced our frequent power outages in Upstate NY then you know that having back up power is a necessity.

We bought a Coleman gas generator for one of the ice storms we have had, but that thing is loud and stinks when we use it.
Using the battery and inverter is a quieter solution and does not pollute. I can use actually use it inside the house. Of course how many things I can power is limited for now. So, I'll have to work on getting a bigger inverter and a bigger battery.

I did recently get a small solar panel and charge controller. I'll have to expand on this subject in one of my next posts.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rob
    Great idea this year alone we have lost power 3 times for a few hours at a time. I would like to know how big and how many batteries you would need to do something like this. Do you know of a way to hook up a solar panel to re charge the batteries you are pulling your power from? I am sure someone has done it some how. With something like this in place do you know if you could back feed your panel and when you lose power just hit a switch and you are all set for 2/4/6 hours of good clean power?
    Chris D. Maenza Sr.