Get Emergency 120 Volt Ac Power Anywhere

Are you out of power because of a natural disaster or basically any other reason? Or do you just want to be able to use your appliances anywhere? Well here’s the simple solution. Does this Spark an idea?


1. If you want some standard house power (120 volt 60Hz AC power) out in the woods or something, you’ll need to do this whole process ahead of time before you leave. Otherwise you can actually wait for a storm to hit or whatever and then do it but it’s a good idea to do it ahead of time anyway because one of the steps is to go to your local car battery selling location and buy a battery or two. If they’re out of power, they’re probably not open for business so you should probably pick up the gear ahead of time.

2. Before you go battery shopping though, first you need to know what type and how many to buy. So first, make a list of what you’ll need to power. Keep it limited to what you absolutely need. If you can get behind your refrigerator to the plug, then that’s probably a good one but I’ll warn you right now, it probably will need more power than you can supply using this method.

3. Once you have your list, find the power requirements of the devices on your list. Most devices will list the watts or amps on a black plate where the power cord enters the device. You need the watts so if is say 0.8A that’s 0.8 amps which means you need to multiply it by 120 volts to get the wattage. So that would be a 96 watt device. Now add up all the values. Let’s say you have a 100 watt lamp and 800 watt mini-air conditioner, and 60 watt laptop you want to run. That would be 960 watts total. Keep that number in mind for shopping.

4. Now the question is, do you need one or ten batteries? Well, it depends how many watts you’ll be using and for how long. Batteries are rated in amp hours and you have watts. But that’s no problem. Batteries run at 12 volts so divide your total watts from before by 12. My example of the 960 watt total would mean I need 80 amps. One single car battery can usually output over 700 amps so the actual current isn’t an issue. How long the batteries will last before running out is the real problem. Most car batteries are around 100 amp hours which means it can last 1 hour if something is pulling 100 amps and then it would be empty. Or it can run something at 1 amp for 100 hours or 25 amps for 4 hours. So as you calculate, add batteries in groups of 100 amp hours just as a rough estimate.

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5. I could power my 960 watt example for just over an hour. Well I want to use it all day so I’d either need to buy A LOT of car batteries or switch out the air conditioner for a 200 watt fan instead. Also take into account usage. If you’re only going to use your fan for half the day or keep it at half speed, count it as half the watts or amps. So if you need to just run 200 watts, it will be drawing 17 amps so one car battery could run it for (100AH divided by 17 amps equals) 5.8 hours before the battery runs out.

6. Before you set the amps estimate in stone though, remember that most devices, especially electronics, pull less than they say they do. So you can cut a little bit off that estimate. You’ll also turn everything off if you have to leave for a short time so it will last longer that way too. With a final estimate of 10 amps total needed over two days for example, I’d probably only buy 2 car batteries even though 10 amps for 12 hours a day times two days is 240AH and 3 batteries would be 300AH. If you hate math and numbers and estimating, you can just buy one or two batteries and run them until they’re empty too. That or go get one out of your car when the others run out but that will reset your clock and radio settings and possibly even stored settings like air/fuel mixes and automatic shifting settings. It won’t break anything in your car though to leave it without a battery so if it comes to that, do it.

7. As for which battery to buy, it really doesn’t matter so go cheap. It’s not worth it to get some high end batteries from a good brand name. The only fancy feature you should look for are deep cycle batteries (commonly used in marine/boating systems) because they maintain 12 volts for longer instead of slowly fading. If you can’t find any, a normal battery will work fine though. At Walmart they have very cheap batteries. In fact, last I saw they have a riding lawn mower battery for just $20! It’s at least half the capacity of a car battery but you might be able to find a car battery for $40 so you might as well go for the full sized one. You can also get generic ones from hardware stores for cheap. So according to your estimate or according to your budget, buy as many batteries as you need.

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8. Here’s the rest of the shopping list while you’re there. If you don’t have a set or two of jumper cables, you’ll need one pair for every extra battery you buy in order to connect them to each other. So if you buy 3 batteries, you’ll need one pair of cables. If you buy 5, you’ll need 4. Now that you have the power, you need the device that will turn it from 12 volt DC to 120 volts AC. If you know electronics, you already know that that’s called an inverter. Walmart and some hardware stores, won’t have a good enough equipment. They rarely if ever have an inverter that can supply more than 400 watts. According to your estimation in step 3, that may be enough but more than likely, you’ll need 800 watts or even 1600 watts. Be aware that running 750 watts on an 800 watt inverter will often set off the alarm and/or shut it off so don’t cut it too close. An 800 watt inverter usually won’t be able to run any household heater or any hairdryer so you may want to go bigger. Luckily, most auto part stores have 800 and 1600 watt inverters in stock at all times. Advance Auto Parts for sure has them and most other chains do too. Occasionally I see some at hardware stores too so do look around.

9. So you’ve got the batteries, the jumper cables to link them together, and a properly capable inverter. Now just make sure you have a power strip if necessary and that’s about all you need. To hook it all together, plug the power strip into the inverter and keep it switched off. There should be jumper cable clamps on cables attached to rings that screw into terminals on the inverter so attach those. Clamp them onto the battery terminals with the black cable to negative and red to positive, or as marked if they’re not color coded. The connect any other batteries, positive to positive and negative to negative, with the jumper cables for any other batteries. If you accidentally cross them to opposite terminals, you’ll melt the jumper cables. The order should be battery, jumper cables, battery, jumper cables, etc, then battery, inverter hookup cables, and inverter, all linked together with all the negatives together and all the positives together.

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10. Now just flip the inverter on and it should be supplying power. If it sounds like it’s on, plug something inexpensive and simple into the power strip like a lamp, not a computer. If the lamp turns on, then everything is working and you can add the rest of your appliances as needed. Just remember the capacity and time limit. If you hear an alarm-like noise or everything shuts off, you overloaded the inverter by pulling too much power at one time or the batteries are close to running out. Most inverters will work down to an extremely low 10.4 volts though and car batteries don’t get that low until they’re extremely depleted.

11. Now enjoy being the only one on the block with lights and TV and video games and computers and whatever else. Your TV will turn on but cable TV probably won’t work. Satellite TV probably will if you can also power your dish if necessary. Broadcast TV through an antenna might work if the power isn’t out at the transmission tower. DSL internet has a small chance of working because of the way the phone infrastructure was set up but cable probably won’t. Either way, modems barely take up any power so you might as well try. Just remember to use the power sparingly and be very careful not to short out the terminals or disconnect them from the inverter. And finally, get your hands on a car battery recharger when the power comes back on and recharge all the batteries.