Rustic Cabin - Watts Out There?

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Old 01-12-17, 06:43 PM
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Question Rustic Cabin - Watts Out There?

OK folks, I know just enough info to get me into trouble, I fill in the unknown with Google....I mean research, extensive and thorough research, so here I am reaching out to you all!

I have a rustic hunting cabin in The Great White North, (Canada – yup freezing temperatures and snow throughout the winter months, please keep this in mind for future reference) that is currently running off of a GP7500E Generac Generator. This feeds several lights, a radio and phone chargers and in the morning a toaster and kettle, a wood stove takes care of heating. The generator is in its own outbuilding and is not heated, in fact the whole cabin and out buildings are left for lengthy periods of time...yes, in the frosty temperatures.

I am looking for the most efficient and cost effective way to power the lights, and only lights...ok maybe a radio and a phone charger or two, in the evening without running the generator. I am currently checking into 2 ways; battery backup with inverter, transfer switch and all that jazz, OR a UPS, yes a Uninterrupted Power Supply.

I am leaning towards the UPS for it seems like a better bang for my buck but I worry about the temperature issues (UPS will be in main cabin). I would have the generator go to the main panel which would take care of the ‘daytime’ needs and the UPS would have its own feed for the ‘nighttime’ wants. I am in the early planning stages and grateful for any advice or guidance in the right direction.

Thanks in advance!
Seragilo

Added thought: Still looking into the exact wattage per hour wanted/needed and plan on using only LED lights.
 
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Old 01-12-17, 07:50 PM
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I don't know of any UPSes that will run for more than an hour or two, even with low-load. They just aren't designed to do that, so the internal circuitry runs it down even without a load attached.

I would assume a battery and inverter would be the way to go, but I don't have enough experience to make any suggestions along those lines.

I assume you've also considered a smaller inverter type generator. They are much more fuel efficient and quieter, especially compared to a 7.5Kw generator that probably makes quite a racket. Since it also doesn't seem like you really need that much power.

I've also seen solar panels with battery and inverters used. Certainly much quieter, and easier to handle the battery charging since the panels are already lower voltage.

Again - just other possible solutions to think about!
 
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Old 01-12-17, 08:16 PM
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The most efficient thing you could do is to use 12 volt led lighting from a deep cycle battery and a small generator to recharge the battery as needed.
You could also run an inverter to power short term 120 volt loads.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]75740[/ATTACH]
A Zantrex HF 1000 inverter/charger works much like a UPS.
You connect it to a 12 volt battery and plug a 120 volt cord from it into a generator.
You then plug whatever 120 volt loads you are running into it.....when the generator is running it will feed the 120 volt receptacle and when you shut down the generator it will switch to inverter mode to seamlessly power the loads.
This one has a 20 amp battery charger built in to eliminate the need for a separate charger.

I have this model in my 5th wheel camper and it works well when power is not available.
 
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Old 01-13-17, 07:37 AM
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I am looking for the most efficient and cost effective way to power the lights, and only lights...ok maybe a radio and a phone charger or two...
If you REALLY can stick to this minimalist plan the most efficient would be to run a 2nd set of 12V lights and a few 12V sockets for charging phones & powering a radio. Think of it as an RV inside your cabin.
 
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Old 01-15-17, 03:17 PM
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Thank you for the replies!

I was thinking about treating this like a trailer/boat scenario but started getting carried away with the 'house panel' kind of thought.

Again, thank you for the specifics, I will be looking into this!

Seragilo
 
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Old 01-16-17, 09:53 AM
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I'd definitely go with a small 12V RV set-up for after hours or a small Honda inverter generator. The biggest problem with any major battery solution like a UPS or battery grid plus inverter is that your batteries simply will not perform that well in the cold, and keeping a large number of them inside in the heat is a safety hazard due to hydrogen gas venting.
 
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Old 01-16-17, 06:39 PM
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Good Evening!

I had no idea that an inverter/generator even existed, so thank you for that information. In all honesty that is looking like a pretty good idea, but the main concern is of course the cold/freezing temperatures. Would the inverter/generator be able to handle the colder temperatures? The generator is in its own out building and we will need to run the cords a small distance, what would be the best way to run the cords/cables? We were thinking of running conduit overhead but that was when we looked at it as 'home' kind of reno, if we simply use this inverter or inverter combo type unit we will essentially be running extension cords....no?

as always, your guidance is always appreciated!
Seragilo
 
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Old 01-16-17, 07:45 PM
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Better to hard wire from an inlet at the geny shed to receptacles in the house. You wouldn't need a panel. Cords are only intended for temporary use and would be exposed to possible damage.
 
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Old 01-17-17, 08:37 AM
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The inverter generator units just have small gasoline engines in them. As long as it's warm enough for a gas engine to run, it will be fine. Multi weight synthetic oil is always a good choice for cold weather operation. I usually put full synthetic 5w-30 in my small engines that need to start reliably in the winter. It's rated for -30F which is good enough for here; not sure how far north you are but if it gets colder than that you would want to preheat the generator a little bit before starting. Luckily these inverter units are about the size of a beer cooler, so you can bring it in to warm up prior to taking it outside to start it.
 
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