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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Zacchai

Backup and supplemental power systems

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

Primary electrical backup power is provided by 400W of 12VDC charge controlled into 4 deep cycle batteries and inverted to 3000W 120VAC power. This will run lighting, internet, refrigeration and deep freezer (as well as any other smaller electrical needs)

Well pump requires 240V and currently must be run by generator, but two 30 minute generator cycles per day are enough to refill water containers, flush toilets, and

recharge batteries in the event that they have been depleted by excessive use, clouds or some other unforeseen idiocy.

Instead of the usual 3 way switch between backup power and grid, I opted to wire a separate emergency power circuit through the house which can be energized by solar or generator during an outage. (simply requiring re plugging of all necessary appliances into the emergency circuit. This has the added benefit of forcing me to be aware of everything that is on backup power, and eliminating surprises.)

I installed a generator plug as an interrupter in the well pump circuit which can be safely disconnected from the grid and twist-locked into a 240V generator line during an outage.

Maine is cold as hell, sometimes for many months at a time. The first house modification we made after purchase, was the transition from primary oil heat to wood with the installation of a quality wood stove into the fireplace space. The bricks heat up and radiate long after the fire has died out on long winter nights.

Domestic hot water and baseboard central heating system was transitioned to an on-demand high efficiency propane boiler which SHOULD be able to run on emergency power systems as soon as I get my head out of my ass and learn more about sine waves. d'oh.

Kitchen stove is also propane and functions as-is off or on grid. Additionally exhausted backup batteries can be connected in my truck to a solenoid-controlled power source that recharges when operating the vehicle or running the engine. This serves as a redundant system if the generator should fail.


All emergency radio communications systems (VHF/UHF/HF), as well as laptops and low power internet access is still available during a power outage via under-counter backup battery that provides UPS uninterruptible power and then additional deep cycle 12VDC power for several hours.

After that, direct 12vdc solar grid batteries can be switched out indefinitely in the event of extended outage or zombie apocalypse.

100W Worldwide HF radio communications are also possible to a more limited degree, or during generator powered recharge periods.

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