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Turn Your Car Into a Generator

You can turn your car into a generator during a power outage.

In this article I will explain how to use your vehicle as an emergency generator. This emergency generator can be used to power lights. Run a radio or television. Power your router, modem and lap top computer.

YouTube Video Showing You How To Turn Your Car Into a Generator

Power Outage

This emergency generator set up is not magic. It isn't designed to power your refrigerator, conditioner, heating or central heat and air unit. It is designed to provide light. Run a box fan during hot weather. Provide power to operate a small modern television or radio and power your lap top computer, modem and router during a power outage.

The name of the game is efficiency. A LED light bulb is far more efficient than an incandescent light bulb. For instance, a 40 watt incandescent light bulb consumes 40 watts of energy.  An equivalent size LED bulb is approximately 5.5 watts and consumes 5.5 watts. I'm not suggesting you use 5.5 watt LED light bulbs unless you need that much light. In most cases you will not need that much light. In the interest of efficiency, you only need as much light as is necessary to keep you from stumbling over the furniture or stubbing your toe on the coffee table and exposing your children, and the whole neighborhood, to several adjectives that are best not pronounced in mixed company.

The Name of the Game is Efficiency

Efficiency is the most important factor when using any alternative power source. The bottom line is: The more efficient each light and piece of electronic equipment is, the more items you can attach to the system or the less power required to operate the system. That, in turn translates to, the longer the power source will last.


•A word about safety and the use of internal combustion engines. NEVER run your vehicle in an enclosed garage. Don't even run it with the door open.  At a minimum, move the rear portion of your vehicle out of the garage to allow carbon monoxide to escape into the atmosphere. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer. It tends to collect in enclosed spaces even when it has a way to escape. NEVER EVER RUN YOUR VEHICLE IN AN ENCLOSED GARAGE!

Equipment Needed To Turn Your Car Into A Generator

–If you want to buy these items through Amazon and support this website and YouTube channel, I have placed the links for each item in this equipment list. –I thank you.–

  • 1 Plastic tote. Best bought locally. I can't tell you how important it is to have the equipment needed, where you need it, when you need it. If you keep the needed items where they are supposed to be and never use anything out of it until a power outage, you don't have to be concerned about having the equipment, when you need it, to turn your car into a generator. If it's kept in a single tote, it will be in one place and will take only a few minutes to have lights, a police scanner, weather radio and a small TV on and running so you can be informed of an evolving disaster.
  • 1- 410 watt Schumacher power inverter. I suggest the Schumacher power inverter because they have a proven record of excellence in design and function. I suggest the 410 watt inverter because your vehicle can only produce so much power from the alternator.
  • 2- or more extension cords. You will need enough extension cords to run from your vehicle into the house. The longer the distance, the larger gauge cord you will need.
  • 4- 2.5 watt LED light bulbs. This the size bulb you will want to use most of the time in order to conserve power. Buy these at Wal-Mart. They are much less expensive!
  • 1-  5.5 watt LED light bulb. This brighter bulb is for the rare occasion when you need a brighter light.
  • 2- small LED flashlights with batteries. For the times you need to venture into parts of your home that doesn't have lights.
  • 2- LED lanterns with batteries. For when you need to venture out side to check on your car or home.
  • 1- LED rope light. LED rope lights can light up a hallway and 2 rooms.
  • 2- 3 Outlet AC splitter plugs.

How To Turn Your Car Into A Generator

No matter how inept you feel about electrical work, you can assemble this emergency generator.

•Do remember that the voltage the power inverter puts out is the same AC voltage that is in your home. It can kill you dead, dead, dead! Treat it with the same respect as you do the electricity in your home.

The most complicated thing about constructing this emergency generator system is attaching the power inverter to the battery, and that's not complicated. Anyone can do it!

The power inverter comes with 2 sets of power leads. A cigarette lighter socket and a set of clamps like small jumper cables. Discard the  cigarette lighter socket plug. The inverter can consume more power than the cigarette lighter plug can produce and will blow the fuse in your car. You want to use the clamps that connect directly to the battery. Go ahead and connect the battery clamps to the power inverter with the round washer type ends attaching to the 2 posts on the back of the inverter.

Also attach the inverter to a board of suitable size that you can store it but large enough to keep the inverter from falling into the engine compartment and becoming entangled in the belts or fan. Leave both of them them attached  while stored. No since in having to fumble around in the dark trying to attach them during a storm.


Back your vehicle out of the garage and pop the hood. Attach the inverter to the battery by clamping the red clamp to the positive post of the battery (Normally the positive post will be marked with a plus sign). Attach the black clamp to the negative post.  (Normally the negative post will be marked with a minus sign). Flip the switch to the on position. The red light will light up momentarily then go off. The green light will come on and stay on. This tells you that the inverter is attached properly and is ready for use. You are now ready to run the extension cords into the house. I do this by opening a window and laying a rolled up towel on the windowsill, then running the first cord through and laying another rolled towel on top of the first towel and cord and letting the window down to keep weather and bugs out. After attaching the first cord and putting through the window, go inside and attach the lights, modem, router, small TV and any other low power demand items you want to run, making sure to not exceed 75% of the rated output of the power inverter. I always try to not push the limits of electrical equipment. Electrical equipment lasts longer if you don't push it to it's limits.

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