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The delightful folks at Pacific Gas & Electric are replacing a bunch of electrical equipment in our area this summer. Of course they have to do it in the middle of the day. Outages can be anywhere from a few minutes to most of the day.

I have an inexpensive DC 12V to AC 120V inverter that I've used a handful of times in the Bolt, mainly to charge my laptop while driving. I attached it into the cigarette lighter plug and it has worked fine for that purpose.

My question is whether there's anything special I need to do when running the inverter for an extended period. I don't plan on putting more than ~100W load - 80W for laptop, 20W for DSL modem and misc odds and ends. I gather standard practice is to put the car in neutral (with the wheels chocked), and exit from the passenger door. Beyond that, anything I should be aware of? My main concern is accidentally overloading/draining the 12V battery.

(Another option is of course a portable battery pack, but it feels kind of weird to spend $500-$1000 on a 0.5kWh-1.0kWh battery when I have an already-paid-for 60kWh battery sitting in my garage)

Thanks.
 

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I've run a cpap machine for a family member with such an inverter. Start the car, then set the brake, put it in neutral and go out the passenger door. It will run at least eight hours.
 

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The delightful folks at Pacific Gas & Electric are replacing a bunch of electrical equipment in our area this summer. Of course they have to do it in the middle of the day. Outages can be anywhere from a few minutes to most of the day.

I have an inexpensive DC 12V to AC 120V inverter that I've used a handful of times in the Bolt, mainly to charge my laptop while driving. I attached it into the cigarette lighter plug and it has worked fine for that purpose.

My question is whether there's anything special I need to do when running the inverter for an extended period. I don't plan on putting more than ~100W load - 80W for laptop, 20W for DSL modem and misc odds and ends. I gather standard practice is to put the car in neutral (with the wheels chocked), and exit from the passenger door. Beyond that, anything I should be aware of? My main concern is accidentally overloading/draining the 12V battery.

(Another option is of course a portable battery pack, but it feels kind of weird to spend $500-$1000 on a 0.5kWh-1.0kWh battery when I have an already-paid-for 60kWh battery sitting in my garage)

Thanks.
I carry a jump starter at all times just in case the 12V battery dies for some reason. I got this one TACKLIFE T8 800A Peak 18000mAh Car Jump Starter. Most of these have a 12V socket too, as well as USB outlets. I've never had to use it on the Bolt, but I did use it on my neighbors V8 SUV and it worked great. The lithium models are small and have a good capacity. I think it is a good idea just to have it for the Bolt, but something like this might work well for your needs to. I have another that I carry in my truck, and it has saved me multiple times and has allowed me to easily help others.
 

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I carry a jump starter at all times just in case the 12V battery dies for some reason. I got this one TACKLIFE T8 800A Peak 18000mAh Car Jump Starter. Most of these have a 12V socket too, as well as USB outlets. I've never had to use it on the Bolt, but I did use it on my neighbors V8 SUV and it worked great. The lithium models are small and have a good capacity. I think it is a good idea just to have it for the Bolt, but something like this might work well for your needs to. I have another that I carry in my truck, and it has saved me multiple times and has allowed me to easily help others.
Thanks for the pointer. Yes, I have almost the same kit (different name but same capacity/form factor). It's saved me a couple of times with my ICE. Unfortunately it's not very helpful for powering a bunch of small appliances because it only outputs to one device at a time, and in any case 18000mAh isn't actually that much (I recharged my laptop once and that was basically half of the capacity right there).

We had an 8 hour outage today. I used the 12V DC to AC inverter + extension cord to a power strip with all the important electronics hooked to it (phone, DSL modem, laptop, small light) - 50-100W. Initially I left the Bolt in neutral, but having the DRLs on was distracting (and it seemed to also be running some pump?) so after a couple hours I switched it to park and set myself a timer to go out every 55 minutes and wake it up. It all worked great - I used ~2.4% of the Bolt's battery capacity. Overall I think the Bolt's own electronics were the lion's share of that draw.

In short, the Bolt + cheap inverter was a good emergency backup. I was considering getting a bigger inverter but this setup is a good enough stopgap that I'll probably just wait until we get solar installed before worrying about such things again.
 

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I haven't used one in the Bolt yet but in our Forester a few times it worked well on road trips. The better aluminum body type. I will say that a few years back we drove to Florida and back, two days each way and used the "cheap" plastic type and killed two of those along with the usual ozone smell and hot case. Glad it was a rental car. I would suggest a quality unit and do the math to make sure you aren't exceeding its load rating and you should be fine.
 
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