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Old 11-13-2019, 11:10 AM   #1
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12v Kettle with Solar

I searched before posting this so I apologize if this has been discussed previously.

Are any of you (with the solar panels) using a 12v electric kettle?
We bought a 19 and have 2 190 watt solar panels with the factory installed batteries and set up. Heating up water on the stove causes a LOT of condensation from the propane as well as heating the water. I know that the kettle will be a big draw for a short time. I am learning more and more about the solar and I completely understand that it is a trickle charge to the batteries and that using a 12v appliance would be a direct draw on the batteries. I need more information. Searching the internet has too many factors since it is for other set ups that I am not familiar with nor understand yet. So I thought it best to talk to the people that have the same system/set up and get a better idea of the viability.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:22 AM   #2
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I fail to see how boiling water via propane or electric would cause more or less condensation inside, depending on which type of heat used. Either way, you can crack a widow and open the o/h fan to dissipate such. The electric has a watt rating which you can do the math to figure the draw from your batteries, but I think propane is more efficient and gives you more btu's to use.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:24 PM   #3
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I fail to see how boiling water via propane or electric would cause more or less condensation inside, depending on which type of heat used. Either way, you can crack a widow and open the o/h fan to dissipate such. The electric has a watt rating which you can do the math to figure the draw from your batteries, but I think propane is more efficient and gives you more btu's to use.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:27 PM   #4
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We set the Maxxfan to OUT when boiling water. Less noisy than the range hood.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I fail to see how boiling water via propane or electric would cause more or less condensation inside, depending on which type of heat used.
Products of complete combustion of propane include CO2 and H2O, so propane does add moisture to the interior air. How much more than boiling water, I do not know.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:52 PM   #6
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We use one without issue. Like all battery use it will come down to the details of how long and how often along with how much sun you are getting. We found running the kettle to take water to tea/coffee level takes ~10% out of the battery. Note we do most of our traveling in the shoulder seasons so the water is probably 50-60 degrees to start with. If it's sunny, doing that a couple of times is not an issue. (We have dual solar also) If its raining you wont put that back to the battery very quickly so you would want to limit the number of times you do it along with what other draws you are doing.

We will often run the microwave on travel days to heat up a meal via the battery/inverter. Sometimes the solar has the batteries back to full charge before we are back on the road and if not usually within an hour or two.

EDIT - I see you are specifically referring to a 12v kettle. To be clear we are using a 120v version via the inverter.
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:08 PM   #7
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A kettle running directly on 12 volts DC will be slightly more efficient than one running on 12 volts AC from the inverter, due to inverter inefficiency. The problem is that a typical kettle runs at 1500 watts, which would be 125 amps at 12 volts; that means you either
  1. have a hugely thick power cord for the kettle (and similar cable all the way to the battery) plugged in with something that looks like it should be used to weld or start a car, or
  2. settle for a lower-powered kettle and thus slower boiling (and perhaps more total energy loss to the surrounding air).
Due to this issue, readily available 12 volt DC kettles are typically very low-powered, intended to run from the 10 amps (so 120 watts, some as high as 150 watts) available from a car's accessory socket. That might be okay for one mug of water, but if that's all you're doing burning the propane wouldn't add much moisture.
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:04 PM   #8
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The propane burners have such low BTUs that a 120V kettle running on the inverter heats water in about half the time. We did use our instant kettle for awhile, but gave up as we used it most in the dark mornings and it was disconcerting to see the amp use with nothing going in. We still use the instant pot as we will start it while the sun is shining and the amps get replaced while they are being burned up.
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