Using Inverter Power for Emergencies
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Using Inverter Power for Emergencies

This is a discussion on Using Inverter Power for Emergencies within the Alternative Energy (Wind, Solar, Hydro etc) forums, part of the Off-Grid Lifestyle category; Material General asked me to explain how I set up an inverter to power the light circuits in my house. Basically, . . . I ...

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Thread: Using Inverter Power for Emergencies

  1. #1
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    Using Inverter Power for Emergencies

    Material General asked me to explain how I set up an inverter to power the light circuits in my house.

    Basically, . . . I moved the light circuits to an auxiliary panel right next to my main panel, . . . a few circuit breakers, . . . a three prong plug, and a short piece of extension cord, . . . we are in business.

    In the top picture you see the aux panel, . . . the bottom two circuit breakers are the key to this whole thing. Only one side of the two circuit breakers is live at any one time. During normal times, . . . the "Reg Power" is powered from the main panel as in the little drawing where circuit breaker A powers circuit breaker B. In turn, . . . B powers all the circuit breakers above it in the panel.

    When the power goes off, . . . the circuit breakers at the bottom of the top picture are both flipped to the left. The "Reg Power" will turn off before the "Emerg Power" breaker can close (works vice versa as well).

    That closes the circuit to the top circuit breakers by the breaker labeled "C" in the little drawing. It is charged by the 3 prong extension cord you see hanging down in the second picture.

    That extension cord is plugged into the inverter and the inverter turned on, . . . putting power to all the circuits.

    NOW: I turn the furnace off, . . . as well as the Freezer and Fridge. If I need them to run, . . . I unplug the inverter and run an extension cord outside to my generator, . . . fire it up, . . . and chill down the freezer and fridge.

    The key is the Reg Power is 240 volt supplied by the main power panel, . . . but when you set up the inverter, . . . you only have 120, . . . so you hook it to both sides of the 60 amp breaker Emerg Power. It is only single phase power, but you only have on single phase loads, . . . so it works out well.

    Took me a while to find that bottom double/double breaker, . . . got lucky and found it on Ebay, . . . and it works great.

    Holler back if you have any other questions, . . . I'll try to help as much as I can.

    May God bless,
    Dwight
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Using Inverter Power for Emergencies-electric-panel-1.jpg  

    Using Inverter Power for Emergencies-electric-panel-2.jpg  

    Using Inverter Power for Emergencies-electric-panel-auxiliary-copy.jpg  

    Using Inverter Power for Emergencies-electric-panel-auxiliary.jpg  

    Last edited by dwight55; 08-21-2019 at 10:05 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Why are there two furnace breakers tied together with a piece of copper wire (serious safety issue)?

    Also, have you actually tried to use this on your inverter? If not, you're in for a surprise.....
    Last edited by Back Pack Hack; 08-21-2019 at 11:17 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Back Pack Hack View Post
    Why are there two furnace breakers tied together with a piece of copper wire (serious safety issue)?

    Also, have you actually tried to use this on your inverter? If not, you're in for a surprise.....
    The furnace breakers are tied together because that is an approved manner of making a 240 volt breaker out of two 120 volt breaker. No it is not a serious safety issue, . . . it is at least a 50 year old practice, . . . of which I have personal experience.

    Yes, . . . I have used this arrangement on my inverter, . . . a number of times, . . . recently for about 2 hours one evening.

    What is your concern???

    May God bless,
    Dwight
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    Quote Originally Posted by Back Pack Hack View Post
    Why are there two furnace breakers tied together with a piece of copper wire (serious safety issue)?

    Also, have you actually tried to use this on your inverter? If not, you're in for a surprise.....

    Dwight made this thread at my request so that I could get some ideas. Please lets not pick him apart.

    If anyone has any positive ideas to add to this idea then please mention them. If your just going to have negatives then just stop please.
    A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished. Proverbs 22:3 NKJV

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    Double post
    Last edited by MaterielGeneral; 08-22-2019 at 06:25 AM. Reason: Double Post
    A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished. Proverbs 22:3 NKJV

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    [QUOTE=dwight55;1931367]The furnace breakers are tied together because that is an approved manner of making a 240 volt breaker out of two 120 volt breaker.

    No it is not a serious safety issue, . . . it is at least a 50 year old practice, . . . of which I have personal experience./QUOTE]

    Actually, it isn't. Unless you can show an ETL listing for it. That doesn't make it safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwight55 View Post
    Yes, . . . I have used this arrangement on my inverter, . . . a number of times, . . . recently for about 2 hours one evening.

    What is your concern???

    May God bless,
    Dwight
    My concern is you are lacking proper bonding of your electrical service. If that is done properly, you'd short out your inverter.




    Quote Originally Posted by MaterielGeneral View Post
    Dwight made this thread at my request so that I could get some ideas. Please lets not pick him apart.

    If anyone has any positive ideas to add to this idea then please mention them. If your just going to have negatives then just stop please.
    I'm not picking him apart. I'm trying to HELP him by identifying unsafe situations. But hey, it's not my life, my safety or my house. If my HELP in MAKING THINGS SAFER isn't welcome, I'll not offer it any more.
    Keep calm and try setting SCE to AUX.
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    Very cool. Good job. Those inverters are cool. Acquired one to spin rotess chickens on a wood fire back in the comp bbq hobby. It takes a rotess to get a good bird with crsip skin ya know? Hard to do without electicity. lol. Have used it at home a few times when the power went out. It will indeed light up a few lights when hooked up to the car battery and cord ran back ot the house.

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    [QUOTE=Back Pack Hack;1931461]
    Quote Originally Posted by dwight55 View Post
    I'm not picking him apart. I'm trying to HELP him by identifying unsafe situations. But hey, it's not my life, my safety or my house. If my HELP in MAKING THINGS SAFER isn't welcome, I'll not offer it any more.
    I'm not sure what electrical work you have done in your life, . . . or what experience you have.

    I began my electrical career with the Navy in Jan of 1964, . . . and can honestly say I have never burned down a building, . . . burned up an inverter, . . . or been called on the carpet for any serious violation in the 55 years since then.

    I did burn a hole in a piece of carpet one time in or around 1970 thru a misadventure, . . . but that is all. And the misadventure was the fault of the original contractor, . . . the circuit breakers used were the wrong type for the application, . . . but that is another story.

    I've wired houses, barns, garages, factories, ships, boats, cars, motorcycles, . . . and probably a few others. And that wiring is all the way from the top of the mast to the warming blanket used for the infant in the house. All, . . . done safely and without incident.

    Yes, . . . your comment on bonding is well taken, . . . refer to the original drawing with a green wire, . . . an accepted acronym for bonding and grounding in most circles, . . .

    I do appreciate your concern, . . . but it is unnecessary, . . . as we do have things well in hand on this.

    May God bless,
    Dwight
    Last edited by dwight55; 08-22-2019 at 04:21 PM.
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    [QUOTE=Back Pack Hack;1931461][QUOTE=dwight55;1931367]
    I'm not picking him apart. I'm trying to HELP him by identifying unsafe situations. But hey, it's not my life, my safety or my house. If my HELP in MAKING THINGS SAFER isn't welcome, I'll not offer it any more.
    If something is unsafe, I don't have a problem with someone saying something but instead of saying its wrong, say why its wrong and how you do it right.
    rice paddy daddy likes this.
    A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished. Proverbs 22:3 NKJV

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwight55 View Post
    I'm not sure what electrical work you have done in your life, . . . or what experience you have.

    I began my electrical career with the Navy in Jan of 1964, . . . and can honestly say I have never burned down a building, . . . burned up an inverter, . . . or been called on the carpet for any serious violation in the 55 years since then.

    I did burn a hole in a piece of carpet one time in or around 1970 thru a misadventure, . . . but that is all. And the misadventure was the fault of the original contractor, . . . the circuit breakers used were the wrong type for the application, . . . but that is another story.

    I've wired houses, barns, garages, factories, ships, boats, cars, motorcycles, . . . and probably a few others. And that wiring is all the way from the top of the mast to the warming blanket used for the infant in the house. All, . . . done safely and without incident.

    Yes, . . . your comment on bonding is well taken, . . . refer to the original drawing with a green wire, . . . an accepted acronym for bonding and grounding in most circles, . . .

    I do appreciate your concern, . . . but it is unnecessary, . . . as we do have things well in hand on this.

    May God bless,
    Dwight
    Well, since you're bragging:

    I began doing electrical work in 1972. I've been a fully licensed electrician since 1982, and I don't 'just dabble' in it. It is what I do every day to put food on my table and a roof over my head. I've wired houses, schools, hospitals, factories, military installations, fuel depots, apartment buildings, shopping malls, churches, nursing homes, offices, retail stores, gas stations, condos, government facilities, cattle milking facilities, ..........

    But what do I know?




    And bonding usually is NOT done with 'a green wire'.









    BTW, bonding and grounding are NOT the same.





    And no, I've never burned down a building either. And I'll be willing to bet I've got 10,000x more electrical work on my resume than you.





    So if you want to 'pick me apart', go right ahead. Don't ask for any more help from me on the subject. I don't plan on fighting any more obvious ignorance.
    Last edited by Back Pack Hack; 08-22-2019 at 05:34 PM.
    Keep calm and try setting SCE to AUX.
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