Is a power inverter possible when on battery/solar power?

Discussion in 'Other Gear & Equipment' started by Ken & Peggy, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    We just spent about 10 days in Shenandoah NP, which, btw, was amazing. It was our first trip using the Dometic and the new solar panel (Zamp 120w), along with the newly upgraded larger CampInn battery (72ah?). Our campsite was pretty shady, so we never really got full sun on the panel. I did have to run the tow vehicle one morning to give the battery a bit of a boost. Other than that it seemed to do OK. In the future we'll be picking sites that have access to full sun somewhere within 30 feet of the trailer.

    We used a French press for making coffee, but as Peg drinks decaf and I drink real coffee, we had to take turns using it. Assuming we have access to full sun, would it be feasible to use a power inverter with our setup to power a small electric coffee maker? It would also occasionally be used to power a laptop, but I'm thinking the heating element in the coffee maker would be the biggest draw to deal with.

    Or would an inverter just be too much of a strain on our battery / solar setup?

    From what I've read, if an inverter is feasible with our setup, the pure sine wave type is the only way to go. Any recommendation on a brand would be appreciated.
     
  2. rotus8

    rotus8 Junior Ranger Donating Member

    You can certainly use an inverter in your situation, however you would be much better off finding a 12V coffee maker. Do a search on Amazon for "12v coffee maker" and you will find lots of choices. While the inverter could be used with a conventional coffee maker, you will lose a significant amount of power in the inversion process. You certainly don't need the expense of a pure sine wave inverter for a coffee maker, it really doesn't care.

    My advice on the laptop is almost the same: you can probably find a 12v power supply brick for your laptop if you look around. If you must use an inverter to power your laptop, this case probably warrants a pure sine one.
     
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  3. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Thanks for the quick reply! I haven't looked at prices for inverters, but it sounds like the pure sine wave type isn't cheap. I was hoping to be able to use the existing coffee maker, just to avoid buying another. But if a 12v coffee maker is much cheaper than a pure sine wave inverter I'll likely go that route.

    Are watts shown on 120v coffee makers somewhere? I'm not where I can see mine right now, and would like to price an appropriate inverter to see just how expensive it'd be.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. rotus8

    rotus8 Junior Ranger Donating Member

    There should be a label on the coffee maker somewhere, usually on the bottom or on the back near where the power cord goes in. It is usually a sticker so may have come off. A coffee maker is pretty power hungry, but it actually doesn't run for a long time unless you leave it set to keep a pot warm.
     
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  5. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Thanks, I'll check ours when I get home. The 12v coffee makers I'm seeing so far aren't scoring high marks for reliability, but I've just started my search...
     
  6. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    My laptop power supply output shows 19V and what looks like 3.42A. Would a 12V system work with this laptop?

    Also, Peg was able to look at the coffee maker - it's 650W. So I guess I'll check out 750-1000W inverters to see how much they might be had for. Any brands that can be recommended? Avoided?

    Thanks
     
  7. jfocallag

    jfocallag Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Ken,

    For coffee, wouldn't it be cheaper to buy another french press? I assume that you have the kettle to heat the water...

    You don't say what type of laptop you have. I have a Macbook pro and found a twelve volt power cord for it.
     
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  8. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Of COURSE it would be cheaper, but then I wouldn't be able to look at inverters... :)

    Do you know the output of your Macbook Pro's charger? I'm not sure if mine being 19V (an Asus Windows OS) stops me from being able to power it with the camper battery or not.
     
  9. jfocallag

    jfocallag Junior Ranger Donating Member

    This is what the sticker says:

    Car Adapter 85W
    Input DC 12-16 max 10A
    Output: 18.5V 4.6, continuous
    With USB port 5V 1.5A

    I have not tried to charge my laptop when hooked up to solar only so I cannot tell you the impact on the battery. I have used it in the car and plugged into a 12 volt outlet in the camper when plugged in.
     
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  10. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Output voltage is similar to the output on my 110V wall charger, so I assume a 12V charger like yours should be available for my Asus , too. I don't understand though how it can Output MORE than the Input...
    Thanks.
     
  11. jfocallag

    jfocallag Junior Ranger Donating Member

  12. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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