Thursday, March 29, 2012

Connecting Emergency Power Systems: Part One: Renewable Sources

There are two basic forms of emergency power sources, the alternate energy: Solar, Wind, Water, etc and regular gas generators. Keep in mind that if you are like me and don't have experience in hooking up electrical devices you may want to leave this to the professionals. These are oversimplified instructions that may change based on the type of power system or model you buy.

Emergency generator or turbine

Deep cycle battery

Watt inverter

Charge controller

Double pole-double throw transfer switch

Grounding rod


Emergency distribution sub-panel

Power transfer cord

Whether it is a hurricane, blizzard or other disaster, your supply of electricity is one disaster away from being cut off. Preparedness is the key. Some choose to install solar, wind or water turbines to generate a battery bank full of power for when these events happen. These sources are at best a temporary solution. Connecting your own emergency power system will have its pluses and minuses in terms of keeping your power on. It's always best to have an electrical contractor perform these tasks, but if you know what you are doing, you can save some money.

Connecting Emergency Power Systems Using Renewable Energy

Turn off the main breaker before connecting the emergency supply to the house. Choose the source of the emergency-generated power. Some choose the electric generator, which is powered by gasoline. The drawbacks are obvious in that in an emergency situation, it is not always possible to run to the store to get fuel. Storage of fuel in a generator for long periods of time between uses can also be bad for the generator itself.

Connect the turbine (wind, solar or water) to the charge controller by connecting positive (red) wires to the positive terminals on the turbine. Connect the negative wires (black) on the turbine to the negative terminals on the charge controller. The charge controller will prevent the batteries from overloading by shutting off the power flow when each battery is fully charged.

Plug the charge controller into the battery bank again, connecting positive to positive and negative to negative. One battery will serve as the lead battery and will "pass on" the continuing charge when it is fully charged. Each battery in the battery bank must be connected to the charge controller.

Connect the wiring from the battery bank to the watt inverter (again positive to positive and negative to negative), which will change the current generated by the turbine into the type used by your home electrical appliances. You can plug cords directly into the inverter or run power cords into the home from the inverter to power systems for a limited time.


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