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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Recent natural disasters and the upcoming winter have me thinking about using the Volt as a source of 120V AC power for the house... just enough to run the fridge and the boiler. I did some research and found that there is a kit available but it seemed rather pricey and being a DIY sort of fellow decided to tackle it myself. Turned out to be very easy.

The starting materials:

1) Gen 2 Volt.
2) An inverter of your choosing (I despise made in China garbage with inflated specs, so I went with a Made In USA Exceltech 1100 Watt (2200 3 second surge) pure sine, scored like new off ebay for $175 shipped
3) Power cable set... I used "Rough Country RS107 Quick Disconnect Winch Power Cable Set", normally $65 or so, scored from ebay "scratch and dent" for $45 shipped.
4) 2 8mm ID nuts which I had laying around
5) some zip ties which I had laying around
6) basic hand tools
7) A battery charger (optional)

Step 1:

Attach your battery charger to the charge posts under the hood. Preferably a dumb charger. This will keep the various computer memories happy when you disconnect the battery later.

IMG_20171103_095206647.jpg

Step 2:

Open up the back trunk, lift out the carpet, remove the cover of the left side cubby.

Step 3:

Remove the hand-screw holding the tire inflator and gently lift out the styrofoam insert from the trunk area. There are several plastic clip which will just pop out.

IMG_20171103_100013365.jpg

Step 4: Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery. It takes a 10mm socket or wrench

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Step 5: Fish the wires from your quick disconnect through the front of the cubby and down through into the trunk area

IMG_20171103_095604033.jpg

Step 6: Attach the wires directly to the 12V converter module using the extra 8mm nuts, right on top of the existing wires.

IMG_20171103_095619272.jpg

Step 7: Zip tie the wires in place as shown in step 5

Step 8: Put everything back together, and attach the other end of the wire set to your inverter. Enjoy! my inverter was able to power a 1500 Watt nominal space heater drawing a measured 117 Amps. (117*13.6 volts = 1591 watts). Ran for several minutes before I turned it off, which is darned good for a 1100 watt inverter. It was also able to start and run my full-size refrigerator without any problem.

A note on fuses: Some astute readers may notice that I neglected to include a fuse. Is this naughty? No. The DC-DC converter contains it's own protections and will shut down in the event of a short. It is attached to the battery through a 200 Amp fuse (visible in the battery photo above) so a short circuit in the inverter cannot pull more than 200 amps from the battery. In effect by wiring the inverter this way I am piggy backing off the DC-DC converter fuse.

Almost forgot the most important part: To use the inverter, "start" the car, set the parking brake, and shift into neutral. If left in park, the car will shut itself off after a period of time and then the 12V battery will drain.
 

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Very cool! Seems like a fairly straightforward install process. We don't get many power outages here, but this would be useful for travelling if 120v power is needed somewhere.
 

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Thanks for the details and the pics! I'm sure some will find this useful.

I may need to do something similar with my 2011. Though I have a gas generator, the power they provide is dirty. I'd prefer something cleaner for my computers, and the like.
 

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Thanks for the details and the pics! I'm sure some will find this useful.

I may need to do something similar with my 2011. Though I have a gas generator, the power they provide is dirty. I'd prefer something cleaner for my computers, and the like.
The Volt is the best gas generator available, because you can drive it, too!
 

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I used the EVExtend kit on my 2012 for 36 hrs this week. Was able to power my main large fridge, a small fridge, modem/router, laptop for TV use and a regular lamp (led bulb) and keep 2 smartphones charged. The 3/4 charged battery lasted 24 hrs then a third of a gallon was used for final 12 hrs. Had to keep the shifter button depressed with duct tape to prevent Volt from shutting off every 2 hrs with E-brake on and in Park. This has to be the most efficient generator one could ever own. Pure Sine inverter had 2,000w surge rating.
 

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I'd give you an "A" for the installation and an "A+", for being a good shopper.

I see that the inverter, Exceltech 1100 Watt, you found on ebay normally sells for $750-$800 !
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks! For anyone else looking for this inverter, it is actually spelled "Exeltech" (no c). They do pop up on ebay now and then. There are other good made in USA brands like "Sensata" but they seem to get more money, perhaps because they are more well known brand.
 

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Sorry for the ignorant question, but for temporary use what is wrong with connecting the inverter directly to the 12v battery using heavy gauge cables with alligator clips?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry for the ignorant question, but for temporary use what is wrong with connecting the inverter directly to the 12v battery using heavy gauge cables with alligator clips?
You can do it this way, but alligator clips don't always make a solid connection. I wouldn't recommend it for continuous high amperage use. Also you would be giving up fuse protection, and it might not be the kind of setup you would want a family member to perform if you weren't there.
 

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How the DC TO DC ACCESORY POWER gets cooled in Gen2 ?. In gen1 is with air moved by a fan... so I like to keep the trunk open for cooling purpose , if I use an inverter. Any risk of overheating of the DC/DC inverter ?.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
In the Gen 2, the DC DC converter is water cooled. You can see the coolant hoses on the module in photo 5 of my original post. With the car on, the module should be cooled, no need to open up the trunk area.

I strongly recommend attaching the cables directly to the converter, as I've shown, vs directly to the battery. It gives the most direct, lowest resistance path from the power source and provides the greatest amount of safety. Once installed, it is very unobtrusive.
 

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I used the EVExtend kit on my 2012 for 36 hrs this week. Was able to power my main large fridge, a small fridge, modem/router, laptop for TV use and a regular lamp (led bulb) and keep 2 smartphones charged. The 3/4 charged battery lasted 24 hrs then a third of a gallon was used for final 12 hrs. Had to keep the shifter button depressed with duct tape to prevent Volt from shutting off every 2 hrs with E-brake on and in Park. This has to be the most efficient generator one could ever own. Pure Sine inverter had 2,000w surge rating.
I really miss my EVExtend, which I pulled out when my Volt lease ended one year ago!

I have contacted them and trying to encourage them to build out one for the Bolt EV!
 

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The starting materials:

2) An inverter of your choosing (I despise made in China garbage with inflated specs, so I went with a Made In USA Exceltech 1100 Watt (2200 3 second surge) pure sine, scored like new off ebay for $175 shipped
What does your label show as date of manufacture? The only similar ("new") 1100W Exeltech unit currently on Ebay for that price shows a manufacturing date of 1997. If yours really is new at that price (with a warranty), as Optimist posted, you really did score.

A note on fuses: Some astute readers may notice that I neglected to include a fuse. Is this naughty? No. The DC-DC converter contains it's own protections and will shut down in the event of a short. It is attached to the battery through a 200 Amp fuse (visible in the battery photo above) so a short circuit in the inverter cannot pull more than 200 amps from the battery. In effect by wiring the inverter this way I am piggy backing off the DC-DC converter fuse.
Doesn't your setup allow for un-fused current to flow directly from the converter to the inverter in addition to the 200A max from the battery?

Almost forgot the most important part: To use the inverter, "start" the car, set the parking brake, and shift into neutral. If left in park, the car will shut itself off after a period of time and then the 12V battery will drain.
As noted by
MrEnergyCzar, a better approach is to leave the car in Park but use a heavy rubber band to depress the button on the shifter and thus fool the car into thinking it is NOT in Park.
. . . . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Any reason why you used a second nut, instead of putting the new wire on top of the existing ones under the existing nut?
Putting the cables under one nut was my original intention. However both cables are quite thick and would mechanically interfere with each other. There is enough thread left on the post, that using another nut works quite neatly and makes a secure mechanical and electrical connection without disturbing the original connection. In the end it just worked better than trying to cram two cables on under one nut.

What does your label show as date of manufacture? The only similar ("new") 1100W Exeltech unit currently on Ebay for that price shows a manufacturing date of 1997. If yours really is new at that price (with a warranty), as Optimist posted, you really did score.
Mine was manufactured 2007. It was not listed as new, but it appears to be unused and shipped in the original box. The seller has emailed me that he purchased it on a whim and never used it. I don't have a warranty though, obviously.

Doesn't your setup allow for un-fused current to flow directly from the converter to the inverter in addition to the 200A max from the battery?
Yes. If I recall, I believe the DC-DC converter can supply 175 amps. At somewhere around 13.5-14.5 volts or thereabouts. If this current is exceed, the voltage will drop below battery voltage and the battery will supply up to 200 amps before the fuse blows. So the maximum theoretical current before blowing the fuse is 375 amps, but this would have to be tested, it does depend upon exactly how the DC-DC converter behaves at it's current limit. I'm not sure if it behaves as a "CV-CC" power supply (constant voltage until current limit is reached, then a constant current at decreasing voltage) or if hitting the current limit triggers a fault and a shutdown. I suspect it's the former. In any case, I don't expect to reach that current in my use with this inverter. And I consider the fuse protection to be adequate, it would blow the fuse in the event of a dead short. I should note, that the installation guide states that the maximum peak current draw from the inverter is 219.8 Amps. If you want to be extra cautious, you could install an additional fuse around 250 Amps inline with the inverter. I didn't feel it was necessary.

As noted by MrEnergyCzar, a better approach is to leave the car in Park but use a heavy rubber band to depress the button on the shifter and thus fool the car into thinking it is NOT in Park.
This may be the case. I'm not familiar enough with the relative advantages and disadvantages of each method, I only know that setting the parking brake and shifting into neutral does work as well. I suspect that he is worried about the parking brake not holding, if the car is on a hill?
 

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The fuse/breaker is to protect the wire from the source (the Volt DC/DC in your case) to the external DC/AC inverter. Imagine a worst case scenario when your thick DC cable is shorted, either to either other or to chassis ground. Without a fuse to disrupt the flow, the wires will get red hot, melting the insulation and can cause a fire. It would not be a pretty scenario giving the gas tank and all that lithium batteries near by. Be safe and put in a fuse. You can use 100A ANL fuse, which allows brief over current. I would prefer a breaker, as you can turn off so you won't have a live wire.
 
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