1 Dec 12 update
In this video below I explain my theory of operation for
the generating station, transmission line, power distribution unit and substation.
YouTube responded to TubePress with an HTTP 410 - No longer available
23 Nov 12
After almost two weeks without electricity, hot water, heat and open gasoline stations, I decided that presuming power and gasoline will always be easily available is at the least, foolhardy and at most, could be fatal.
Gasoline and diesel will go bad quickly if stored and can be difficult to get in a crisis.
I just engineered my own electrical power generating plant, substation and distribution system, fueled by propane gas. It’s much more than “just” a generator. I can also get a hot shower and heat my house, safely, with propane.
I named the generating station for the street I live on…
It will cost about $100 a day for propane to run on this emergency power system.
The system will more than pay for itself the first time it preserves two refrigerator/freezers worth of food, or cools us off in the hot summer.
Before we get into it all, let’s look at my goal
– if possible, run it on a built-in long life battery or propane.
(This means Weber for cooking outdoors, iPad / iPhone for Internet,
propane indoor heat and propane showers).
I will use a small microwave indoors in bad weather.
– propane powered shower
$100 – BILLMELATER paid for this
Simply connect a standard water hose to the input
and you’re enjoying a hot shower outdoors in nice weather,
or, in winter, extend the shower head hose and put it through a
window into the bathroom shower stall. It will give many hot showers on a tank.
– propane safe indoor heater
$100 – BILLMELATER paid for this
This heater allows the tank to stay outside and is safe for indoor use.
It features low oxygen shutoff and high CO2 shutoff detectors. The tank will last a long time, depending on the outdoor temperature.
– I already own a Weber propane grill
(for outdoor cooking) – My wife is a magic chef and can cook a gourmet meal on this Weber.
Entertainment is Important
We may use iPads for TVs when on emergency power as 70 channels are now supported by FIOS.
iPad/iPhone/PC – Local broadcast Television reception is now possible – if you’re on Long Island or NYC.
I signed up for the $8 a month plan, it gives me:
– 40 hours DVR
– Watch TV on my iPad/iPhone/PC
– Many local channels from NYC
Internet and Phone
We have Verizon LTE hotspots and AT&T 3G iPads.
We have an emergency Verizon phone that is battery powered and works on the 3G network, but allows us to connect a standard cordless phone.
We have 3G and LTE Verizon smartphones that can become WI-FI hotspots.
Most generators output very dirty power, with a variable frequency and voltage.
Dirty power won’t run some devices and can shorten the life of, or even
damage, sensitive electronics (TVs, computers, etc.)
High end generators output true sine wave 60 Hz regulated, 120 volt stabilized AC voltage and can even come on automatically when commercial power fails (200 Amp automatic transfer switch), but such systems are very expensive ($5000 before installation) and they are typically natural gas, gasoline or diesel powered. Another disadvantage of an “all-in-one” high end integrated generator is that when a component fails, your power system is offline, unless you have a spare generator…
Here is a Generac natural gas generator, 20 KW, it will run your whole house and it switch in and out automatically:
– it costs $4000 before shipping and installation
– it requires a licensed electrician to install and connect the 200 Amp automatic transfer switch
– if the natural gas is cut off, you better have a propane tank around
– By the time it’s bought, shipped, delivered, concrete pad poured and installed, you’ll be looking at maybe $10,000.00 for the whole solution. Quite an expensive insurance policy.
I decided to build my own true AC power plant, powered by nothing more than BBQ propane tanks: generating facility, transmission lines, substation, distribution system and regulated stabilized 60 Hz 120 Volt AC always-on true sine wave output for TVs and computers (800 Watt total capacity for such devices), with the capability to switch out generators in only a few moments. In fact, my modular design means I can swap out any component when necessary.
My total home solution ran $1700 and is totally power by BBQ propane tanks – it will heat the house safely, allow for hot showers, outdoor cooking, powering refrigerators, a microwave, television, Internet and computers (but not all at once on this small 3500 Watt generator – I will buy a big 7500 Watt generator for summer). I don’t need any gasoline or diesel. The 3500 Watt generator gives me 22 Amps of power at 110 Volts.
This 3500 Watt generator will be the emergency backup spare generator, when I get the 7500 Watt unit for summer.
It is worthy to note that there are many types of generators and connections, so here are
some helpful tips:
– most portable generators are either floating neutral or bonded neutral. Make sure you understand what this means – if you don’t, you need an electrician.
– most portable generators require an earth ground, driven and connected to local code and NEC requirements.
– running long extension cords from the generator to devices can result in destroyed devices, fires and might even damage your generator (due to voltage and current drops).
– many people have NO IDEA how to safely use a portable generator – use the huge L14-30 connector and an approved cable to get the power to a mating weathertight plug on the exterior of the dwelling – the other side on the interior of the dwelling is to connect the substation, or power distribution unit.
– Is your generator putting out true sine wave power that is regulated and filtered? If so, the manual will tell you. If it doesn’t say that in the manual, you better get a true online UPS to run TVs and computers or you may damage those devices. I list such a device here.
– my system is completely safe: it doesn’t connect to the house power system; I plug in refrigerators and televisions into the generator substation in the house. There is no way for this design to feed power back onto the AC mains.
On the way from Walmart and Amazon are the following items:
– propane powered generator (APG3535CN)
$600 with 3 yr. warranty / repairs
(this I paid for out of pocket)
I already have a sheltered concrete pad and the code mandated Earth ground rod and connecting ground cable in place for the generator.
I plan to run synthetic oil in the generator for longer service.
Since the generator has no gasoline or diesel, I will store it indoors when not in use.
Of course, all propane tanks will stay outdoors, as will the generator when in use.
My design allows me to use any generator with a standard L14-30 plug to power the substation and distribution system.
- 6.5HP OHV engine
- Runs 8 hrs at 1/2 load on 5gal/20lbs of fuel
- Operating noise 68dB
- Two AC 120V outlets, one AC 120V/240 twist-lock, one 12V DC
- Propane fuel hose included
- EPA & CETL Approved
- Cleaner Air,Cleaner Environment,& More Efficient
- Peak power 3500w
- Rated power 2800w
- AC rated voltage/Frequency 120V/60Hz
- AC rated current 23.3A @ 120v, 11.6A @ 240v
- DC rated voltage 12V
- DC rated current 8.3A
- Fuel type Propane
- Start Recoil Start
– 50 ft cable to get power from generator into house
$140- GE loaned me the money
- NEMA L14-30 L1430 Plug and Receptacle connectors
- 50 foot long Generator power cord for up to 7500 Watt Generators
- L14-30 Socket on one end, L14-30 Plug on the other
- 10 Gage, Rubber Coated 4 conductor stranded copper cord for full loads.
- Excellent flexibility even in cold weather (rated to -40 deg C (and -40 F)
- Two of these weatherproof outlets below, inside and outside the house (installed by a licensed electrician) will get the generator power into the house in a safe and orderly manner to feed the substation ($49 each) – the one pictured is male for outside, a female outlet will be in the house.
– indoor substation / power distribution unit to get (8) 115V outlets from generator
$200 – GE loaned me the money
30A, 125/250 V generator outlets can now be converted to an extremely compact, portable GFCI and breaker protected power distribution unit, providing standard, usable 125V power. The Mini X-Treme™ Box offers a NEMA Type-1 enclosure with 4 NEMA 5-20R 20A, circuit breaker and GFCI protected outlets on the front panel; 4 NEMA 5-20R 20A, circuit breaker and GFCI protected outlets on back panel; and 1 NEMA L14-30P inlet on the side panel.
Features & Benefits
• OSHA and NEC Compliant, c(ETL)us Listed, and Certified to CAN/CSA
• Reduces electrical hookup and labor time
• 8 overload, circuit-breaker protected 20 amp straight blade outlets.
• All outlets GFCI protected with open neutral and over-voltage protection
• Compact size for ease of use
• May be used in vertical or horizontal positions
– Online UPS to correct dirty power to true sine wave for TVs, computers
$500 – GE loaned me the money
From the Manufacturer
Do you need to protect mission-critical electronic equipment such as servers, networking equipment and telecom systems against data loss, downtime and equipment damage due to power outages, voltage fluctuations and transient surges? Tripp Lite’s SU1000XLa SmartOnline™ Tower UPS System is the solution! Featuring true on-line operation with pure sine wave output and zero transfer time to battery, it provides the highest level of power protection for mission-critical equipment. The SU1000XLa’s large internal battery set supports connected equipment during blackouts, and runtime is expandable with optional external battery packs. The SU1000XLa has six outlets including two that are individually controllable to reboot select equipment on demand or maximize battery runtime for mission-critical equipment. USB and DB9 communication ports support messaging of detailed UPS operational parameters and line power status. Included PowerAlert power management software supports an unlimited number of network UPS systems.
|SU1000XLa Tower UPS System Offers:
- The highest level of protection for servers, telecom systems and more
- True on-line operation with pure sine wave output and zero transfer time to battery
- 6 battery-supported AC outlets
- Included PowerAlert software for complete network power management and control
- $250,000 Ultimate Lifetime Insurance; 2-year warranty
Ideal for Protection of Mission-Critical Equipment
LEDs, USB/DB9 Ports and Tel/Ethernet Surge Suppression
Ideal for Protection of Mission-Critical Equipment
The SU1000XLa provides true on-line operation, reliable battery backup and comprehensive power management capability in a compact tower form factor. Featuring six 5-15R outlets, USB/DB9 ports and a slot for an optional SNMPWEBCARD, the SU1000XLa offers a complete power protection solution for servers, storage devices, telecom systems and other mission-critical applications.
True On-Line Operation with Zero Transfer Time
The SU1000XLa provides the highest level of protection available for mission-critical equipment. It actively converts raw incoming AC power to DC, then re-converts it back to regulated, filtered AC output with a pure sine wave, completely isolating connected components from all power problems. Zero transfer time between AC and battery operation maintains continuous output and further protects connected equipment from the disruptive effects of blackouts and severe low-voltage conditions. Sine wave output guarantees compatibility with all equipment types.
Individually Controllable Outlets
The SU1000XLa includes two outlets that are individually controllable via a software interface for remote reboot of locked-up equipment or load shedding to maximize battery backup time for mission-critical equipment.
Reliable, Expandable Battery Backup
UPS battery backup keeps connected equipment operational through short power failures, and provides time to save data and perform an orderly system shutdown in case of a prolonged blackout. The SU1000XLa features a large internal battery set that provides 4.5 minutes of battery support for a full load (800 watts) and 14 minutes for a half-load (400 watts). During normal operation, incoming utility power keeps the UPS battery fully charged so that backup power will always be available if needed. For mission-critical applications demanding continuous uptime, the fully scalable SU1000XLa can provide expandable runtime with optional external battery packs, sold separately. Compatible battery packs: BP24V15RT2U (limit 1), BP24V28-2U (limit 1) or BP24V70-3U (multi-pack compatible).
AC Line and Tel/Ethernet Surge Suppression
A sudden power surge or spike can damage or destroy electronic components and wipe out irreplaceable data. The SU1000XLa features a 570-joule surge suppression rating to protect connected components and data from the harmful effects of power surges. One set of tel/Ethernet (RJ45) jacks provides surge protection for a standard phone or network connection (cable not included).
EMI/RFI Line Noise Filtering
Various electrical and radio sources can cause disruptive interference on the AC line. This line noise is a common cause of incremental hardware damage, data corruption and audio/video performance problems. The SU1000XLa incorporates technology that filters out disruptive line noise, preventing it from affecting your equipment.
LED Status Display and Audible Alarm
The SU1000XLa features a front-panel, 14-LED display that enables IT personnel to monitor line power, on-line mode, bypass mode, on-battery, overload, battery low, replace battery and fault status information. The LEDs are supplemented by an audible alarm that signals UPS startup, power failure, low battery, overload, UPS fault and remote shutdown conditions.
USB/DB9 Ports, SNMP Capability and Included PowerAlert Software
The SU1000XLa features an HID-enabled USB port and a DB9 port (cables included). Used with Tripp Lite’s included PowerAlert software these communication ports provide comprehensive network power monitoring and control. Capabilities include UPS and line power status messaging (on battery, low-battery, power restored, AC line voltage, DC battery voltage and remaining battery capacity), timed inverter shutoff after unattended shutdown, and UPS output power control for delayed or immediate reboot of connected devices. The SU1000XLa also accepts an optional SNMPWEBCARD accessory that enables the UPS to operate as a managed device on the network.
Emergency Power-Off (EPO) Capability
The SU1000XLa features an EPO (RJ11) interface port that supports emergency shutoff in large facilities (cable included).
Versatile Installation Options
The SU1000XLa’s compact tower form factor makes it easy to integrate with a wide range of home, business, commercial, industrial and IT applications.
Peace of Mind
The SU1000XLa comes with $250,000 Ultimate Lifetime Insurance coverage for connected equipment and a 2-year warranty.
It all runs from typical propane bbq grill tanks.
Now, when the power goes out, I’ll be a bit better prepared.
Next up – a month of food for four people – with a 25 year shelf life.
Oh – not familiar with LIPA? That’s the Long Island Power Authority, dis-servicing a million customers…
Here is my emergency lighting system:
Six hand-held long life AAA (X3) powered LED lights and a 66 hour Coleman room lantern.
Well, what do you think of my generating station? How would you improve it?
It’s totally portable and can fit into my SUV.
This, below, will be my main generator for summer
it has true sine wave output
This will connect DIRECTLY to my L14-30 feed to the substation in the house.
$800 before tax, shipping
||7,000 Watt Propane Generator – Connects right to your barbeque grill propane tank. Includes propane hose with swivel fitting for easyhook-up!Propane fueled.
Connects to your barbeque grill tank in seconds.This brand new propane generator has clean sine wave power for running your sensitive electronic equipment and features a premium 14 HP propane engine, main line circuit breaker, deluxe receptacle panel with hour meter, 120/240 V full power output, turn-key electric start, all-terrain wheel kit w/ rubber tires and propane hose with swivel fitting for easy hook-up!
Not for sale in California
|Load Amperage at 120 volts
|Load Amperage at 240 volts
|Sound Level @ 23 ft(7 m) at full load
||OHV 4 Stroke
||Approx. 1.1 Qts
||Aluminum w/ Cast Iron Sleeve
||1″ OD Muffler Outlet
|Low Oil Pressure Shutdown
|Consumption at 1/2 load
|Consumption at 3/4 load
|Consumption at full load
|A. On/Off Switch
|B. Hour Meter
|C. Low Oil Indicator
|D. 120 V Duplex NEMA#5-20R
|E.120V Twistlock NEMA# L5-30R
||25 Amp – Resetable
|H.120/240 V Twistlock NEMA# L14-30R
||1/2″ Male Flare Quick Connect
|Fuel Inlet Pressure
||11-14″ Water Column
||1″ OD Muffler Outlet
|Exhaust Location & Direction
|Oil Fill: Right-Side
Air Filter: Front-Side
Spark Plug: Left-Side
|Power Output Location
|Minimum Cord Size
||0-50 Feet: 10 AWG
51-100 Feet: 8 AWG
101-150 Feet: 6 AWG
||Approx. 1.1 Qts
|Engine Oil Type
|100% Coverage for Parts & Labor
|Central Maine Diesel
1594-D Outer Hammond St.
Bangor, ME 04401Toll-Free: 1-888-899-0603