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Old 04-29-2013, 02:05 PM   #1
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Dc inverter question.

Forgive me if this is a stupid question but I'm electrically ignorant. My 23b has a cigarette socket that is that says it is for tv power. Can i plug a portable inverter in it and run something like a coffee maker or charge a cell phone? I dry camped for the first time and didn't realize the ac plugs wouldn't work on low voltage items like cell phone charge or rechargeable flashlights.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:03 PM   #2
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Hello DP,

Not a stupid question at all. These electrical issues trip up people all the time.

The short answer to your question is: Charging cell phone: Yes. Running a Coffee Maker - No.

The more complicated answer is that a cigarette lighter will put out just under 200 watts of power. A typical coffee maker I would guess is more like 600 to 700 watts. If you tried to run your coffee maker, even if you had an inverter that could handle 700 watts, you would blow the fuse in your cigarette lighter.

Hope that helps,
Kris
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:00 PM   #3
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Here is what some folks might do to get some emergency power for a few things in the trailer like the home entertainment center, cellphone/computer chargers, NOAH WX radio, maybe a fan and light, I've even run a electric blanket for the wife while watching HDTV. I started out with a 300WATT PURE SINE WAVE Inverter but after getting used to having this capability I kept adding more things to the power strip. Ended up with a 600WATT Pure Since Wave Inverter. The idea here is to run a 120VAC drop cord to the home entertainment center location and a second 120VAC drop cord to the bed night stand area.

You could hook your trailer up something like this typical small trailer.


My trailer has a larger battery bank and my game plan was to have all of the 120VAC and 12VDC items i wanted to run when camping off the power grid and have a battery bank large enough to handle this load for the one day/night camping run off the batteries. Then the next morning I will re-charge my batteries using my 2KW Honda Generator with the trailer 30AMP shore power cable connected directly to the generator and using the on board smart mode converter/charger can re-charge my batteries back up to their 90% charge state in as little as three hours so that I can do all of this all over again the next day/night camping run.

We always make our fresh ground bean coffee for the day when running the generator and pour it up into a thermos.

Roy Ken
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by LkptRvPilot View Post
Hello DP,

Not a stupid question at all. These electrical issues trip up people all the time.

The short answer to your question is: Charging cell phone: Yes. Running a Coffee Maker - No.

The more complicated answer is that a cigarette lighter will put out just under 200 watts of power. A typical coffee maker I would guess is more like 600 to 700 watts. If you tried to run your coffee maker, even if you had an inverter that could handle 700 watts, you would blow the fuse in your cigarette lighter.

Hope that helps,
Kris
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:15 PM   #5
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Roy -- question -- for a more primitive, temporary set-up, assuming you just wanted to run a couple of minor items such as TV or computer, could you employ a 300-600 watt inverter having direct-to-battery cables, where the inverter is attached to a spare 12V battery (not a coach battery; both outside the trailer), and an AC extension cord is fed through the 30/50amp cord opening to the desired device(s)? As you know, when installing a permanent inverter, a fuse is used to protect the inverter in the case of an overload and the battery switch will allow you to isolate the batteries (as you have drawn). But what about the primitive set-up? Beyond the inconvenience issues, any safety issues?
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:42 PM   #6
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Dc inverter question.

Thanks for the responses. I guess I need to look into a more permanent solution like above. My 3 basic functions I'm hoping to get out of this is coffee maker, re-charge cell phone and re-charge kids game boys. I don't have the money for a honda or Yamaha generator. I currently have dual group 24 12V batteries so my amp hours should be sufficient. I do a fair amount of boondocking fishing trips for 2-3 days at a time and making enough coffee for 6-7 adults with an 8 cup percolator is a PIA.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:23 PM   #7
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I think I can safely state that if you're planning to run a coffee-maker and a re-charging station via an inverter, along with all your other normal DC loads, you may need to have a generator (or some other means of re-charging your batteries) if boondocking for 2-3 days. Two (2) group 24 12V batteries will only provide approximately 150 amp/hrs, and you should NOT go below 75 amp/hrs (50% of total capacity) to avoid damaging your batteries.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:42 PM   #8
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Dc inverter question.

Have you considered the folgers single serve coffee packs? You drop them in hot water, just like you would do with tea bags. It make a capable cup of coffee and all you have to do is heat the water on the gas stove.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:17 PM   #9
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Using a inverter to run anything, but especially a coffee maker will produce a serious drain on your batteries. Inverters aren't particularly efficient, so even charging cell/game batteries for a few hours will significantly consume Ahr. Therefore you really need a way to recharge before you deploy an inverter strategy.

You say you can't afford a Yamaha or Honda generator, that's understand able. However please don't by a noisy contractor grade generator, nothing worse than setting up camp within ear shot of one of those. I got my Honda on Craig's list for $600, still not cheap but a whole lot better than $1k.

Lastly make sure you get a pure sinewave inverter. A modified sinewave inverter is really hard on electronics, like cell/computer/video games.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:00 AM   #10
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Dc inverter question.

I guess this is an example of where my electrical ignorance is showing. I guess i had no idea making a pot of coffee and dumping it into thermos would be so taxing. I've read people powering their HDTV's through an inverter so i just assumed. And no worries about the lawnmower generator. I hate them as much as anybody else does. I'll keep an eye out for a used one though.
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