How to generate electric in a grid down power outage situation
I don’t really see too many other preppers talk about this that often, so I thought I would cover it here. Do you know how you are going to generate electric in a grid down situation? The grid may only be down for a week, but what happens if it is the middle of winter, and your have no fireplace in your house, and no means to keep warm? How would you go about recharging torches, batteries and other items that you may need, even running the boiler for heating?
Have you ever thought about this?
In this post, I will cover what I do to generate electric in a grid down power outage situation.
Where I live, the electric used to go out at least once a month in the winter time, and it meant I wasn’t able to run my heating to keep warm and wasn’t able to charge phones, batteries and other things that I needed to use.
I had to come up with a way to get through this, and at the time I didn’t have much spare cash to go out and buy a generator. I had to find a cheap solution which allowed me to get some power to my house, and I did just that.
I found an old 12v-240v inverter lying in the garage I had bought years ago to run my laptop in the car, and came up with a way that I could utilise it to bring some power into my house, just plug the inverter into the car, and wire it up to the house, boom, electric again. I will show you how to do this below.
Why not use a generator?
This is down to personal choice. I always have at least 500L of diesel in my garage that I use for the car, so if I was to buy a generator, I would only want to buy a diesel one as I would have plenty of fuel for it in a SHTF situation, but those bitches are very expensive, so I chose to use my car as a generator instead, after all, thats what it really is, a big generator you can drive. Again, you could use a generator to generate electric in a grid down situation if you want.
How do I make this Power Supply?
In order to generate electric in a grid down blackout situation, you need a few things, I had all of these lying around, but you could pick them up for less than £60, which is a lot cheaper than a generator.
You will need a car by the way.
Here is a list of what you will need to generate electric in a grid down SHTF situation.
An inverter will convert the 12 volt electric supply made by your car into 240 volts, or 120 volts, depending on what you need/where you are from.
These are the ones I recommend, in order of price, cheapest first
So, how do you decide which to buy? Well, that all depends on what you want to run. I use the 3000W Inverter, it provides enough power to boil a kettle, run the microwave and even run my fridge, not all at the same time though. If you want to run your house as normal, go buy a generator.
Working Out Power Usage
Ok, so, first, you need to work out what you want to run in your house. For me, it is the fridge, 2 phone chargers (both USB), router, 3 LED light bulbs, battery charger, laptop and monitor and 2 torch chargers (both torches charge off USB).
Now that you know what you want to run, it’s time to work out how much power you need to run these things, so we need to work out how much wattage we need. Doing this is pretty simple.
Do the following:
Find out how many Amps or Watts each item uses. To do this, just read the plug (input amps), and it should tell you, or a simple google search should give you a rough idea. Here is my list of items.
USB Charger: 6W (My USB charger charges 4 USB devices at once, totalling 8 Amps Output) – Buy it here
LED Light Bulb: 5W x 5 = 15W total
Battery Charger: 8W
Fridge: 120W (Google)
Heating: 10W (Oil boiler, so just electric to fire it, then run the pump)
Now, you need to get all the figures in Watts, so, if you have any figures in Amps, use the following formula to convert to Watts.
Watts = Amps x Volts (volts being 240 for UK, and 120 for USA)
Now, add up the Watts, and you have the figure you are looking for. For me, it is 315 Watts of power in total I need. Bear in mind, this is total Wattage, so if you don’t run everything at the same time, you can get away with less, so, I could charge my torches and phones during the day when I don’t have the lights running in the house, and could actually unplug the fridge, and use a mini fridge to further reduce power usage.
So, using this figure, you can work out what inverter you need to buy. Now, thats the complicated part done with. If you can’t be arsed doing this, buy a 1000W inverter and you should be safe enough as long as you don’t boil kettles or use the microwave.
This is the next thing on the list for generating power in a grid down blackout situation. You will need an extension lead, not a shitty one, a good heavy one that won’t melt and cause a short. The length depends on how far you have to run it from your car, to your house.
Here are the leads I suggest you look at, they need to be 13A:
Those are only suggestions, and ones that are up for the job, but you choose based on your situation.
Not too much to say here, just get a 13A plug. A few spares won’t go a miss either, incase one breaks or something, they are just handy to have around.
If you want to be as cheap as possible, find an old electrical appliance, cut the plug off, and fire a 13 Amp fuse into it.
Now, thats all the things you need in order generate power in a grid down black out situation, so, just to double check, you need the following:
– 13 Amp Rated Wire
– 13 Amp Rated Plug
How to Setup Your Own Home Power Supply
So, to get this setup, and start generating power when the grid goes down during a blackout, or SHTF, do the following:
- Put a plug on each end of the wire you have, this may mean cutting your extension lead.
- Connect the inverter to your car battery or 12V outlet in the car (battery is better)
- Switch off your mains electric circuit breaker/main fuse in your house (very important)
- Switch off the inverter (very important)
- Plug one end of the extension lead into the inverter
- Plug the other end of the lead into a power outlet socket in your house
- Turn the plug on in the house
- Switch off all electrical items at the plug in the house, including fridges and freezers
- Start the car
- Switch on the inverter
You should now have power in your house, this method is called back feeding power. You need to make 100% sure the mains fuse in the house is off, as if it’s not, you could electrocute someone who may be working on the grid, or even supplying someone else with free electric!
Remember, don’t run too many things at once, and don’t be trying to run your oven or anything else that requires a lot of power to operate.
This is how I generate electric in a grid down SHTF situation, and it works a treat, just remember, you need to have the car running while you are using power otherwise you will drain the battery. My car, an Audi A3 2L uses about 1L per hour of fuel when idling and providing me with power.