Thursday, December 5, 2013

How to survive an ice storm power outage using your car!

Ice Storms are some of the worst bringers of Power Outages. They rank right up there with Hurricanes in just the sheer amount of damage to the infrastructure and power grid. It could take days and weeks for your power to come back on after these events.

Being without power can really put a damper on your life. Having to rely on flashlights to find your way around at night or even to just use the bathroom.

Having to keep your food from going bad by buying huge bags of ice or bringing in snow. Even charging your only means of communication, your Cell Phone, can become a hassle.

Not today. Without having to rely on a noisy gasoline generator, you can actually use a powerful engine you most likely already have in your posession: Your Car. As long as your car has gas, you should be able to power some household appliances. I have a solution for those of you living in Apartments and High Rise Buildings too!

Starting with this 800W Power Inverter with Alligator Clamps you will be able to (with your car in the on position) to power things like some lamps, your TV, cell phone chargers and laptops. Might even be able to keep your cable or satellite modems up and going for internet service.

Connecting this is really easy. Just like jumping a car battery. On the back of the interter you have two cables, a red and black cable. On the ends of these cables you will have a set of Battery Terminal Clips.

Step 1) Turn your vehicle on. Make sure it is running. Do not run anything else (heater, lights, AC, radio) as to give your inverter the most power. There's no need to rev your engine.

Step 2) Using those supplied clips, clamp the ground wire (black cable) onto the negative side of the battery (- side or black side). Do this first as to avoid grounding or shorting out your battery.

Step 3) Next, connect the positive cable (red cable) to the positive side of the battery terminal (+ side or red side) of your battery.

Step 4) Turn your inverter on. Wait for it to beep and go into diagnostic modes. Once it is ready, you'll see the lights turn on.

Step 5) Plug your appliance in to the supplied electrical outlet on the AC (Alternating Current) side of the inverter. This will provide you with usable 110/120 Volt AC power for most of your appliances.

Step 6) Do not exceed 800 Watts for this particular inverter. If you need a bigger inverter, I'll list some recommendations below.

And you're done!

800 Watts will run the following stuff without a problem:

2x - Lamps with Florescent Bulbs
1x - 55" LED LCD Television (32" TV's are most likely to be okay)
4x - 5W Cell Phone Chargers
1x - Laptop Charger
1x - Cable/Satellite Modem


If you need to run more stuff, below are some examples of what you can run with each inverter:

1250 Watt Power Inverter (Largest inverter for 4-cyl engines)

*Use 4 AWG Cable (4 Gauge Cable) or larger. Anything smaller won't provide enough power.
1x - Small Refrigerator (Energy Star rated)
2x - Lamps with Florescent Bulbs
1x - 32" LED LCD TV
2x - Cell Phone Chargers

2500 Watt Power Inverter (Use with Medium Sized Vehicles Only; 6-cyl or 8-cyl Engines Recommended)

*Note: Use with 1/0 AWG Cable rated for 3500 Watts. Anything smaller won't provide enough power.
1x - Medium Refrigerator (Energy Star rated)
4x - Lamps with Florescent Bulbs
1x - Television of any size
4x - Cell Phone Chargers
1x - Laptop Charger
1x - Cable/Satellite Modem
1x - WiFi Router
1x - 12.5 Amp/1500W Space Heater (Only with nothing else running)

3500 Watt Power Inverter (Only connect to larger vehicles like Heavy Duty Trucks, Work Vans, RV's or cars with Multiple Batteries and big alternators. V8 or V10 Engines minimum!)

*Note: Use with 1/0 AWG Cable rated for 3500 Watts. Anything smaller won't provide enough power.


1x - Large Refrigerator

4x - Lamps with Florescent Bulbs
1x - Television of any size
4x- Cell Phone Chargers
1x - Laptop Chargers
1x- Cable/Satellite Modem
1x- WiFi Router
1x - 12.5 Amp/1500W Space Heater (Should be fine to run this constantly at medium setting)
1x - 1200 Watt Microwave (By Itself)
1x - Coffee Pot (By itself)

8000 Watt Power Inverter (Not recommended for Vehicle Use. Must be used with an external battery bank of Deep Cycle Marine Batteries [Information Provided Below])

*Use 4 sets of 1/0 AWG Cable to 4 strings of batteries.

1x - Most Everything (110V only, no 240V appliances)

Now this bad boy is going to do some serious power production. You'll be able to run your microwave, lights, televisions, Coffee Pots and a Space Heater without issue. Run a freezer and refrigerator too. The only drawback is the sheer amount of batteries you're going to need. You will literally need a ton of batteries for this to work right and for any length of time.

The batteries will be Deep Cycle Marine Batteries with a minimum of 8 of these for the 8KW inverter listed above. That will provide a ton of power and electricity for a sustained period of time.

To recharge them, you can use a Smart Battery Charger when the power grid comes back on, or using a set of Heavy Duty Jumper Cables (and a lot of patience) you can use your vehicle to charge those batteries back if the power grid hasn't come back on.

You can do the same thing with the batteries and smaller inverters as well, if you don't want to keep your vehicle running the whole time.


If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments below, or e-mail me Here.


-Joe Clark
The guy who knows stuff about this stuff.

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