Can I use car batteries to power household appliances? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Is it possible to convert 7-year car batteries so that they can power household appliances? This is for people who can't afford inverters or a lot of costly widgets.

-- Lona Ann White (, December 23, 1998


The main problem is that household appliances use Alternating Current and car batteries use Direct Current.

Another is that most car batteries are 12 volts and most house electricity is 120 V in the USA and 220 volts in Europe.

Car batteries are designed to deliver a large amount of power in a very short period of time. That's why car batteries carry things like 850 cold cranking amps. They are not generally designed to run an appliance for a long period of time. (That's why, if you leave your lights on all night, your car battery runs down.)

Perhaps we need to be looking at:

1. DC appliances. 2. Battery technology being applied to things like electric cars.

Glen Austin

-- Glen Austin (, December 23, 1998.

You should get a deep cycle battery for this useage. In a real pinch, you could use a small DC light and hook it up to the battery, but it won't last very long.

I personally have gone through great hassle and trouble while dealing with the y2k problem as it relates to power and water.

I ended setting up a small solar rig to run my DC powered well pump, and provide basic small appliance useage. I did it without buying an inverter.

Some appliances can run off of DC power, and some, especially the rechargeable ones, already use Ni-cad batteries internally.

My concept is to use devices that can run directly off the 12v Nicad battery bank, or off of the solar array. I also have some small panels that can be used to charge the small devices seperately.

I have several LED task lights setup, and plenty of ni-cads to run radios, drill, DC powered fan, etc.

Anything that uses AC power I won't be able to use, but I can largely get around that. Have wood heat, and basic lighting, and water, with some ability to help neighbors if I choose to. So I can't use the oil-furnace, or the Air conditioner. Oh well...

-- Bill (, December 24, 1998.

I have moved out to a small shack in the boonies of Queensland, Australia. None of the houses in this area have the AC mains power connected because the power company asks more than $10,000 to connect a line to any of the properties. Instead we get by with a few solar panels on the roof running to a set of deep-cycle lead acid batteries. I run 12 volt dc neon lights for the shack straight from the batteries, and I have a 600 watt inverter which gives me the Australian a/c mains voltage of 240 volts. This powers a modest twin- tub washing machine, a laptop pc and printer, or a colour TV and video recorder. Oh yes, I can also operate my ham radio transcievers off the 12 volts directly. Some homes are wired for 24, 36 or even 48 volts dc -- which suits some specially-made refrigerators. With the higher voltages, less power is wasted as heat while being carried through long lengths of cable. Have a look on the Web for the Rainbow Power Company of Nimbin, New South Wales, Australia. They specialise in such stuff, but I am sure you will find suppliers in the USA also. (Nimbin was a place chosen for a hippy festival about 30 years ago. A Few hundred people liked the area and stayed on, and it has been an alternate culture and lifestyle influenced place ever since. Nice. :-) )

-- David Harvey (, December 24, 1998.

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