Page 1 of 2

I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:21 pm
by PianoAl
Our power was out for five days. I plugged my inverter into the cigarette lighter and left the car in drive mode. Worked great.

I only used about 50 watts, a fan for our woodstove, an LED light, and various chargers. The SOC percentage went down about 1% per hour. The load was so light, I'm wondering whether it would have gone down that fast even without anything plugged in. I guess I'll run an experiment once it's charged up again.

Re: I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:41 pm
by LeftieBiker
I'll leave this post here a while, then move it to one the three or so similar existing topics.

Generally, you don't want to use a lighter plug inverter because the accessory socket is only a 10 amp circuit on earlier Leafs, and 20 amps on later ones, IIRC. Your load was light enough that it worked.

Re: I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:47 pm
by jjeff
Agreed, for such a light load it was probably OK but hooking it up directly to the battery is probably a better idea.

Re: I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:35 pm
by Nubo
PianoAl wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:21 pm
Our power was out for five days. I plugged my inverter into the cigarette lighter and left the car in drive mode. Worked great.

I only used about 50 watts, a fan for our woodstove, an LED light, and various chargers. The SOC percentage went down about 1% per hour. The load was so light, I'm wondering whether it would have gone down that fast even without anything plugged in. ...
For practical purposes that's correct. Iirc, the car takes 200-300 watts just from being in ready mode.

Re: I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:49 pm
by LeftieBiker
Remember, Al, that when you multiply the voltage from 12 to 120 with an inverter, the amps drawn by the inverter are ten times the amps drawn by the 120 volt devices. So 1 amp at 120 is 10 amps (plus losses) drawn by the inverter from the car.

(corrected)

Re: I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:18 pm
by GerryAZ
LeftieBiker wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:49 pm
Remember, Al, that when you multiply the voltage from 12 to 120 with an inverter, the amps drawn by the inverter are ten times the amps drawn by the 120 volt devices. So 50 watts at 120 is 500 watts (plus losses) drawn by the inverter from the car.
Watts are the same at 12 or 120 volts (ignoring inverter losses) so input current at 12 volts is 10 times output current at 120 volts. Do not try to draw more than 120 watts from the 12-volt power socket. Larger inverters should be connected directly to the 12-volt battery.

Edited to fix typos. Thanks to LeftieBiker for correcting his post.

Since my new car has plenty of battery capacity, I plan to set up a 2 kW sine wave inverter with heavy duty jumper cables to connect only when needed. I plan to make up custom cables with fuses near the battery clips (jumper cable clamps) and appropriate connections to the inverter input.

Re: I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:04 pm
by LeftieBiker
You are indeed right. I was writing "watts" the second time while thinking "amps." Crap. I'll fix it.

Re: I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:40 am
by HerdingElectrons
GerryAZ wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:18 pm

Since my new car has plenty of battery capacity, I plan to set up a 2 kW sine wave inverter with heavy duty jumper cables to connect only when needed. I plan to make up custom cables with fuses near the battery clips (jumper cable clamps) and appropriate connections to the inverter input.
Depending on what electronic devices you plan to power with that inverter please make sure you understand what if any need for a real "pure sine wave" inverter vs the less expensive "modified sine wave" inverters your situation calls for.





Post edited by Moderator to remove incorrect attribution.

Re: I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:36 am
by GerryAZ
HerdingElectrons wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:40 am
Depending on what electronic devices you plan to power with that inverter please make sure you understand what if any need for a real "pure sine wave" inverter vs the less expensive "modified sine wave" inverters your situation calls for.
i am aware of the differences in both cost and capability of modified vs. pure sine wave inverters. I have several small, cheap modified sine wave inverters that I use within their capability, but intend to buy a pure sine wave unit for this application so I can plug anything into it without concern (just need to watch total load). By setting it up with jumper cable clamps, I will also be able to use it with any vehicle that has a high-output alternator.

Re: I Used Our Leaf for Power During Outage

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:31 pm
by ddh1313
If you are going to run an inverter directly off the battery here's a few things I have seen mentioned in various places:

1. Connect the negative terminal to frame ground. The negative battery terminal has a shunt for something.. (anyone know?)
2. Don't pull more than 1.2 kW or so continuous. The power is being supplied by the DC-DC converter but it's not limitless.
3. Probably obvious but don't run the traction battery to 0%.

Otherwise go for it. It's an awesome bonus to an EV and can be safely used in a closed garage.