Saturday, February 04, 2012

Winter Power Backup

We try to rely on renewable resources using solar, wind, and thermoelectric power, but on occasion we need a generator to give our batteries a good charge. If they drop too low, especially in the winter, it's very difficult to get them recharged enough to use our cabin electrical system.

Our first gas generator is an older portable Coleman. It has 1400 watts of output and still provides us with power options, especially when we want to use power hungry tools such as a circular saw.

We just purchased a new Yamaha EF1000iS, mainly because it is quieter and more fuel efficient. To the left, one of the AC outlets is being used with a plug-in 12V slow trickle charger attached to our secondary battery bank in Wayne's remodeled boat. There is also a DC connector for a fast charge. However, it's recommended not to use both at the same time.

Because there are two AC outlets, the 1000 watt capacity can run two trickle chargers at the same time. This allows us to efficiently boost the batteries in the boat's isolated system and the cabin's electrical cabinet at the same time.

The Yamaha has a "Smart Throttle" that is load sensing and can automatically change the rpm to match the need. The result is a lower (and quieter) engine speed for most applications.

The following video is at full power while using the CD charger.

While charging is going on, we still want to use electrical devices in the cabin. An additional heavy-duty extension cord from the second AC plug bypasses the inverter and plugs the generator directly into the cabin's electrical system. This way we can recharge our portable Nautilus battery pack, computers, cell phones, gameboys and have lights without affecting our battery banks.

Managing power sources and needs during short winter days is a challenge, but one we enjoy. It allows us to live a simple lifestyle off the grid with a few comforts of home. -- Margy


  1. That is a lot of wires don't get them mixed up(LOL)
    Looking forward to coffee.

  2. I'm glad you hav a back up!

  3. Betty - It was wonderful seeing you today at the Village Books presentation. Hope all goes well in Seattle. Let me know when you get back and we will do coffee.

    Sine - Yes, these short and often cloudy winter days just don't generate enough power. Fortunately, we don't have to use it every day. We do love our peace and quiet.



We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy