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Has anyone attempted to use their car as a generator during power failures? We are thinking of that and have found some OEM devices that let you do it. We don't quite know where to hook it up though. How much current can you draw continuously from the posts that lead to the battery? Does it make more sense to connect directly to the 12V battery (and how would you even do this)? It seems as if 1kW would definitely be possible, and 1.5 might be. We don't own the megabuck service manual and aren't car mechanics/DIYers ourselves, but my husband has a very good understanding of electricity and a decent touch with cars. I have a 2017 MH.
 

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To get 1kw at 12 volts you would need to draw 83 amps from the battery (not to mention the added current due to inefficiencies of the inverter to power your house). I don't think the battery charging circuit on the Malibu would like that. And don't even think of connecting to the high voltage battery. Buy a generator. Much cheaper than blowing up your Malibu.
 

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... or a Tesla ... ;)
 

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To get 1kw at 12 volts you would need to draw 83 amps from the battery (not to mention the added current due to inefficiencies of the inverter to power your house). I don't think the battery charging circuit on the Malibu would like that. And don't even think of connecting to the high voltage battery. Buy a generator. Much cheaper than blowing up your Malibu.
Yes, my husband calculated the same. Here is a link for context. This is not something that hasn’t been done with other hybrids, so I was wondering if anyone here had tried it.
 

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Yes, my husband calculated the same. Here is a link for context. This is not something that hasn’t been done with other hybrids, so I was wondering if anyone here had tried it.
All of those units you've linked appear to tap into the battery, not the HV system. I've removed the link.

1kw = 1ooo watts.

1ooo watts at a nominal 120V is a mere 8.3 amps, which won't power any house unless it's occupants are Ken and Barbie. But, like @SandyRidgeMalibu stated, it'll require 83 amps from the battery to provide it since the battery is only a nominal 12V. So, doing the math and making both sides of the equation the same:
1ooo W / 120V = 8.3A
120V x 8.3A = 12V x 83A

Whether the alternator can stand a continuous output of 83 amps, plus even more to overcome the losses to convert from DC to AC, and to raise it from 12V to 120V, needs to be considered as well.

If what you actually want is to power the house during a power outage, get a generator. You'll burn up the car and/or spend way more in fuel and inverters to accomplish the same task that a dedicated generator can do.
 

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"You'll burn up the car and/or spend way more in fuel and inverters to accomplish the same task that a dedicated generator can do."
I thought they were talking about a Gen 9 Hybrid here. The many Prius examples on the internet have tested theirs and the engine only comes on a couple of minutes at a time to recharge the hv drive battery, so I don't understand your description. The question is whether there is enough power, I believe.

See: Running an Inverter off a Prius for Backup Power | Peak Prosperity - "As long as the vehicle is "started," or turned on so to speak, electricity is taken from the high voltage battery pack, and passed through a DC-DC converter. "

Using a Hybrid vehicle as a Generator - "the gas engine ran roughly five minutes every half hour to charge the drive battery. Over the four days we ran the house from the Prius, we used about 17 kilowatt hours of energy, and the car burned about five gallons of gas. "
 

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Then if you tie into the hv drive battery, you can run a specialized 3-5 kwt inverter.
See: Running Our House on Prius Power - GreenBuildingAdvisor - "The inverter takes as input the DC current from the hybrid battery. As the hybrid battery loses its charge, the Prius’s gas engine turns on to recharge the hybrid battery.
If there is only a small appliance load on the inverter, the gas engine turns on infrequently. We only had a few hundred watts of power being drawn, so we used little gasoline."
 

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All of those units you've linked appear to tap into the battery, not the HV system. I've removed the link.
... snip ...
I thought they were talking about a Gen 9 Hybrid here. The many Prius examples on the internet have tested theirs and the engine only comes on a couple of minutes at a time to recharge the hv drive battery, so I don't understand your description. The question is whether there is enough power, I believe.

See: Running an Inverter off a Prius for Backup Power | Peak Prosperity - "As long as the vehicle is "started," or turned on so to speak, electricity is taken from the high voltage battery pack, and passed through a DC-DC converter. "

Using a Hybrid vehicle as a Generator - "the gas engine ran roughly five minutes every half hour to charge the drive battery. Over the four days we ran the house from the Prius, we used about 17 kilowatt hours of energy, and the car burned about five gallons of gas. "
When I answered that 6 months ago, the links they supplied were to devices that use the 12V battery, not the HV. That is what spawned my remarks.

So long as that's what you, too, understood, then I don't quite understand why you quoted only the tail end of my post.

I don't have a hybrid so I can't comment any further than I did, other than to ask if it might shorten the life expectancy of the HV battery. I'd guess that it wouldn't shorten it appreciably or those Prius owners would have had a cow by now.
 

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"Anyone try to power their house from their Malibu HYBRID?":D

My link that was removed was examples of how Prius owners utilized their unique HYBRID power source through a hookup to the 12 v battery. Of course they could not run 3-5 kw inverters, but some hybrid owners out there were using 1 kw to power certain circuits in their homes - a practical use, with little downside.
Is there anybody out there that knows that a hybrid does not have an alternator, but a dc to dc "Converter". Please let us know some info here besides what we cannot do.
What is the output to the 12 v battery that we can work with for supplying a 1 - 1.5 kw inverter? What protections are needed of the inverter or would you have to install an inline fuse/circuit breaker? Yes, we want to connect to the 12 v battery. We don't want to perform major surgery to the high voltage circuit. We want to have a temporary emergency hookup, maybe with a quick disconnect Anderson plug, so that when the lights come back on, we unplug and drive.
If anybody has access to the 12 v battery circuit specs of the Malibu HYBRID, please give us a hand here. Surely, you do not think that a Prius is unique for this kind of adaptation/use.
 

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This is the the best example of adding an inverter to a hybrid car 12v battery along with a copious discussion from many, some that do and some that do not understand hybrid charging circuits (not that I do):

Of course, this is again a Prius. If someone can determine from a schematic that shows the current supply to the 12v battery of a Malibu HYBRID, it may give us a comparison so that we could determine what inverter it will support. This video comments that a Prius has a 140 amp fused supply to the 12v battery. He seems to imply that that is his limiting factor for an inverter, using a 100 amp fuse on his positive lead to the inverter. It would be great if we could support a 1,500 to 2,000 watt ac inverter, but I am only wishing. If you really are venturous, go to plugoutpower.com for info on 3-5 kwt inverter hookups to a hybrid hv traction battery - mostly for a Prius again.
I would like to pull the trigger on this if someone could clear up my questions. I hope there is someone that is still following this post that can lend some support.
 

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I watched this the other day and thought about this thread:

 

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I watched this the other day and thought about this thread:

Wow, he lost me after 30 seconds. I would need a week reading a transcript along with pictures of that video.
"DrivenDaily" or any other circuit friendly reader out there, if you are this deep; how about my request for the charging circuit for my 2016 hybrid 12v battery. Do you have access to the fusing/limitations of taking power from this for emergency power? There are so many misconceptions that are commented on that Prius video above. I still don't know if the fuse/breaker before the 12v battery determines my limitation, or what amperage is on a Malibu Hybrid circuit. Remember, there is no alternator. The recharging for the 12v accessory battery comes from a converter from the high voltage traction battery. Anyone care to dig into this? Evidently there are as many hybrid owners out there as hen's have teeth - I hear an echo from my post - LOL.
 

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12v car charging system is usually a 140 A alternator. Issue is how many amps inverter is pulling under load.
A larger inverter, over 2k watts is going to need to be hard wired to car battery, car engine will need to be kept running to support loads of appliances or anything bigger than a USB charger for any length of time and still maintain car's battery charge level for proper restarting and car needs its' alternator power to run fuel pump, cooling fans, etc..
Vehicles use a little less than a gallon per hour of gas on average.
All hybrid car 12v systems are no different than a non hybrid car.
Even these mad scientists trying to tap into a hybrids high voltage system are nuts. Basically not cost effective over a dedicated generator and highly dangerous to be hacking into the HV of a hybrid. Don't forget how does this hack affect the computer system of the hybrids HV system.
Using a inverter for blackout's to power your house is a band aid at the minimum. Not enough to run heating and cooling system start up loads of 1/3 and 1/2 hp motors. When those start up my 5600w / 8k surge gen. set lets you know when it lugs down when furnace and microwave start up. 10k Generac stationary at my camp even lugs slightly.
Low voltage start up drops on 120v equipment will damage it. Service tech. experience there.
Amps X volts = watts is the formula and works in any combination to calculate power draw.
Inverters are like using a garden hose to put out a forest fire.
 

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12v car charging system is usually a 140 A alternator. Issue is how many amps inverter is pulling under load.
A larger inverter, over 2k watts is going to need to be hard wired to car battery, car engine will need to be kept running to support loads of appliances or anything bigger than a USB charger for any length of time and still maintain car's battery charge level for proper restarting and car needs its' alternator power to run fuel pump, cooling fans, etc..
Vehicles use a little less than a gallon per hour of gas on average.
All hybrid car 12v systems are no different than a non hybrid car.
Thanks for your effort. A Malibu Hybrid does not have an alternator, or any other belt driven "appliance" except the HVAC. Nothing would be on except the inverter. The ICE comes on normally (while in "Ready" mode) ONLY when the HV traction battery goes down, whether from 12v accessories or to drive the car. When you read the dozens of examples of Prius owners who have done this with a 1kw inverter, they state that the engine may come on a couple of minutes in a half hour or so while using a 1 kw inverter- using minimal fuel and wear. For the once in two years that I would require emergency power during a S. Florida hurricane, I am not going to own a gas-powered generator with it's maintenance and noise.
I am only trying to compare a Malibu Hybrid with a Prius Hybrid, to see what it can support.
 

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Thanks for your effort. A Malibu Hybrid does not have an alternator, or any other belt driven "appliance" except the HVAC.
The HVAC in the Malibu is driven by an electric motor compressor driven from the high voltage battery. The belt you see is for the coolant pump only.

I've worked in electronics for 43 years. Simple specs on power draw don't tell the whole story. It's what you don't know (surges, transients) that can cause failures. The Prius owners might think they're getting away with something keen, but do they check to see how hot their charger circuit might be running or what life shortening effects are occurring? This video below states not to jump start a non-hybrid car from a hybrid (about 14 minutes into the video). I equate jump starting to connecting an inverter to your battery. The price to replace a damaged charging system (not to mention parts availability) would make me hesitate. What if the house inverter fails and shorts or back-feeds dangerous voltages to your car? I agree with repairman54.

Never do THIS to your Toyota Hybrid New edition! - YouTube
 

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Thanks, SandyRidgeMalibu, you are right about the pump, I had known that before and got off track. I appreciate your warnings, especially with my lack of electrical background. I will take serious note of your caveats. I just wish that the "other Malibu Hybrid owner"- ( LOL) out there will venture further to test these suppositions, which seem to mystify all of the ICE mechanics out there.
As EVs bankrupt the oil industry in the future, there will be many more options for us to benefit from. See the review of the coming Ioniq 5 which has a power takeoff designed for recreation for example.
 

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12v car charging system is usually a 140 A alternator. Issue is how many amps inverter is pulling under load.
A larger inverter, over 2k watts is going to need to be hard wired to car battery, car engine will need to be kept running to support loads of appliances or anything bigger than a USB charger for any length of time and still maintain car's battery charge level for proper restarting and car needs its' alternator power to run fuel pump, cooling fans, etc..
Vehicles use a little less than a gallon per hour of gas on average.
All hybrid car 12v systems are no different than a non hybrid car.
Even these mad scientists trying to tap into a hybrids high voltage system are nuts. Basically not cost effective over a dedicated generator and highly dangerous to be hacking into the HV of a hybrid. Don't forget how does this hack affect the computer system of the hybrids HV system.
Using a inverter for blackout's to power your house is a band aid at the minimum. Not enough to run heating and cooling system start up loads of 1/3 and 1/2 hp motors. When those start up my 5600w / 8k surge gen. set lets you know when it lugs down when furnace and microwave start up. 10k Generac stationary at my camp even lugs slightly.
Low voltage start up drops on 120v equipment will damage it. Service tech. experience there.
Amps X volts = watts is the formula and works in any combination to calculate power draw.
Inverters are like using a garden hose to put out a forest fire.
Thanks for your effort. A Malibu Hybrid does not have an alternator, or any other belt driven "appliance" except the HVAC. Nothing would be on except the inverter. The ICE comes on normally (while in "Ready" mode) ONLY when the HV traction battery goes down, whether from 12v accessories or to drive the car. When you read the dozens of examples of Prius owners who have done this with a 1kw inverter, they state that the engine may come on a couple of minutes in a half hour or so while using a 1 kw inverter- using minimal fuel and wear. For the once in two years that I would require emergency power during a S. Florida hurricane, I am not going to own a gas-powered generator with it's maintenance and noise.
I am only trying to compare a Malibu Hybrid with a Prius Hybrid, to see what it can support.
The HVAC in the Malibu is driven by an electric motor compressor driven from the high voltage battery. The belt you see is for the coolant pump only.

I've worked in electronics for 43 years. Simple specs on power draw don't tell the whole story. It's what you don't know (surges, transients) that can cause failures. The Prius owners might think they're getting away with something keen, but do they check to see how hot their charger circuit might be running or what life-shortening effects are occurring? This video below states not to jump start a non-hybrid car from a hybrid (about 14 minutes into the video). I equate jump starting to connecting an inverter to your battery. The price to replace a damaged charging system (not to mention parts availability) would make me hesitate. What if the house inverter fails and shorts or back-feeds dangerous voltages to your car? I agree with repairman54.

Never do THIS to your Toyota Hybrid New edition! - YouTube
I think the overall takeaway from that video I posted, the post from @repairman54, and the comments from @SandyRidgeMalibu, is this: If you need to power something in the house, get a whole-house generator that is built to take the punishment. If it fails, you still have your car to keep you warm and get you somewhere else.

Notice that R54 mentions 2 sizes of generators, a 5.6KW and a 10KW. The one that the tree-huggers (no offense) use is described as only 1KW. If you do the math, it takes at least 5 times the max rated ability of that little one to do anything respectable in a house.

You mention that the video I posted was kinda heady. It was, and I didn't understand it completely, but what I got the most sense of is where the fella plainly stated that you're tasking the little alternator in your car with something it wasn't meant to do. Its job is to keep your starting battery in good shape while also providing power to accessories as you drive. The charging device in a car with an HV battery is altogether different. I have no experience with them so I can't speak much more than I just said.

43 years of experience tells me that there is a lot to research. R54's repair career that he recently retired from was also a respectable number of years and he has always been a huge resource of intelligence when he comments.

I wanted to keep this kinda short, but here it is growing long already. Again...
 
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