The Phaserl


Backup Electric Power Design Considerations

by Duliskov, Survival Blog:

This article covers a complex area, and to keep myself focused I will break it into three sections. In the following I would like to share what I learned researching and building an emergency power station. The content below assumes that the reader understands the basics of electricity (AC and DC), batteries, and solar power. I have no affiliation with any of the sellers of products I provided links to; the links are for your convenience only. I have no engineering degree and reserve the right to be completely wrong. It is possible to build the systems in many different alternative ways. My approach may not be the optimal one, but it should get you started.

General Advice

Building a flexible backup power station is an expensive proposition. Therefore, you would want to understand your power consumption and true needs, how the system is sized and configured, and how to optimize its use and build a low-maintenance system. You would benefit from building it yourself, because this will allow easy re-configuration, extension, and troubleshooting. Also in the process of acquiring equipment, materials, and skills, you will establish valuable relationships with suppliers and professionals that could benefit your other projects as well.

You will be working with strong DC currents and high voltage AC, so be very careful and thoughtful how you approach your work. Plan ahead each step. If possible have someone with you who can give you a hand or call for help if you get yourself in trouble.

The most important decision you will have to make is what type of power disruption you are planning to handle. It is unlikely that electronics in chargers and inverters will survive an EMP/solar flare event; therefore, prepping for that event with any substantial power generating capability is basically out of the question for an average person. While newer battery chemistries offer significant advantages over lead acid batteries, they are more susceptible to an EMP/solar flare event, because the battery bank requires extensive electronic monitoring/management/balancing to avoid catastrophic failures and to maximize efficiency. These regulators are either built into each individual battery or are in a central unit. The lead acid batteries do not have or need any built-in electronics.

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