Do you need a generator? Believe it or not, you have one.

In fact, it’s very likely that you have more than one.  And in the wake of our good and intimate friend Irene, and if, like us, you are without power (but have somehow found a way to get online to read this anyway,) you may be interested to know that at least some electrical power is within your grasp.

For the record, we don’t have a typical generator that you would find at BJ’s, Walmart, or what have you, but we have been able to power our electric fence for our pigs, several lights in our house, charge our phones (and run our internet from our smart phones on our computers for free (subject of another post if anyone is interested,)) run our computers, and still have some power to spare.  Here is our house tonight at around 8pm…

So, where are these generators that are at your fingertips, you ask?  They are probably in your driveway right now, under the hoods of your vehicles in the form of alternators.  An alternator, after all, is a generator.  The problem is however, that alternators generate DC current and everything that runs in your house runs on AC.  Soution: use a DC to AC converter.  You can get one at Tractor Supply, probably Walmart, and I’ve even heard that they can be found at Job Lot very cheap.  My version can either be clipped directly on the battery, or plugged into the 12 V outlet in your vehicle.  Here’s mine running in my car:

Mine is a 500 Watt converter which I think cost me around $50, but, like I said, they can be had cheaper than that if you look around.  I was running three lights in my house and my pig fence when I took this picture.  As you can see, that is taking 212 Watts which leave us with 288 to use for more lights, the computer, charging the cell phones, the karaoke machine and my noise blocker headphones – plus some.

You will need to run your car to keep your battery charged, but I suppose if you are only running a light or two for a short time you could just run directly off of your battery without starting your car.  Perhaps a future experiment of mine will be to determine how long the car actually needs to run for the power that we need.  Granted, running your car can get expensive if you need power for hours or days, but this solution works great in a pinch and for periodic power ups.

If, in your travels, you happen to see a 1500 Watt converter that runs off a 12 V system for a reasonable price (if they even exist,) get back to me asap.  In the meantime, happy empowerings.

Steve

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