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Old 06-21-2018, 12:57 PM   #1
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Battery depletion after using inverter

We like to wake up to hot coffee and chose the inverter option primarily to be able to make drip coffee while still lying in bed (isn't it strange what some people care about and are willing to pay for!). I recently read a post about the batteries being depleted by more than 40% by running the inverter to make coffee, and that because they were parked in the shade, the solar panel was ineffective in recovery.

We do have a generator, so we can recharge without solar --- but we really, really don't want to use it. So, my question is, IF we have sun shining on the solar panels during the day, can we reasonably expect the batteries to be recharged in time for dinner?

Again, many thanks for any light you can shed on me!
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:19 PM   #2
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Yes there should be no problem. We use our coffee maker and electric toaster some mornings and with sun on the solar panel the batteries are charged before lunch.
We did buy a 90 watt solar panel from Costco and use that as a portable panel that can be moved to a sunny location if we’re parked in a shady spot.

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Old 06-21-2018, 01:49 PM   #3
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When running heater & coffee maker we see the readout on our Go Power controller show 66, yet when we turn off inverter it immediately jumps way up. We've not had a problem in almost 4 years of using it every day we camp which is 100+ days/year. Also sprung for a portable panel recently and have yet to need it; the roof 160W keeps us charged.
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Old 06-21-2018, 02:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egraham View Post
We like to wake up to hot coffee and chose the inverter option primarily to be able to make drip coffee while still lying in bed (isn't it strange what some people care about and are willing to pay for!). I recently read a post about the batteries being depleted by more than 40% by running the inverter to make coffee, and that because they were parked in the shade, the solar panel was ineffective in recovery.

We do have a generator, so we can recharge without solar --- but we really, really don't want to use it. So, my question is, IF we have sun shining on the solar panels during the day, can we reasonably expect the batteries to be recharged in time for dinner?

Again, many thanks for any light you can shed on me!
It depends on your coffee maker, length of day, angle of the sun, the state of charge of your batteries by morning, and what else you use. In the case of my 5 cup drip coffee maker, it draws 600 watts during the brewing process (about 10 minutes), and then switched a 100 watt load off & on to keep the pot warm. Since I generally make my coffee & then shut off the coffee maker, I use about 6 - 8 amp hours of battery, an easy recovery under all but the worst solar conditions.

A 10 cup drip coffee maker or a Keurig will use close to twice this, and if you leave the pot on the the warmer, even more. As long as your batteries are showing 12.5 - 12.7 volts (before the sun hits the solar panel) I don't think you will have a problem, but if the voltage is much lower than that & you expect shade or clouds, you might want to make your hot water on the stove.

On a good day you can expect to get 25 - 40 amp hours from a 160 watt panel, again depending on the day length & solar angle. Tilting the panels the proper angle for your location can improve the output as much as 300%, but doing that is a bit of a project. (I have photos of the process at my trailer modification page)

Whether you can use all the panel produces depends on the state of your battery charge. If it is down in the 50% range, the controller will likely go in the bulk mode, putting everything the panel can produce into the battery. On the other hand, if the batteries are only down 20% or so, the controller will likely skip the bulk stage & go into the absorption stage, which will limit the charging current to the batteries. You can't push too much amperage into a mostly full battery without causing over heating and off gassing.

The short answer (as you can see, I hate short answers) is making a pot of coffee most of the time is not going to be a problem.
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Old 06-21-2018, 04:11 PM   #5
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my home 8 cup coffee maker uses like 1500 watts but brews a pot in a couple minutes, and shuts off about a minute later, lets call it 5 minutes total. It has no hot plate, rather the carafe is a stainless thermos. This Bonavita BV1900TS makes awesome good coffee.

so... lets call it 5 minutes at 1500 watts. 1500 watts at 12VDC is 125 amps, so 5 minutes is about 10 amp*hours. if you have the dual golf cart battery, you have about 110 AH to play without over discharging the batteries (50% of 220 AH total discharge). one hour of direct sunshine on a 160W solar panel should easily recharge the battery from this.
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:10 PM   #6
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Since 2006, I have been reading about battery types, battery charging (no one told us we needed a 3-stage charger when we bought our Casita in 2007), and now solar chargers and inverters. Getting solid information is challenging largely because the writers use the words "many" "often" "usually", and "sometimes" --- but what I want to know is how stuff works, what the constraints are, and how to figure stuff out myself. I found much of what was posted here very helpful. Thanks.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:21 PM   #7
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We have the Bonavita too and love it! However I don't like the counter space a coffee maker uses so we use a drip method. We do use the inverter to grind our beans without any problem. Then we make it into this carafe which keeps it hot for hours. You could use an aeropress too, but we find drip to be just as tasty and quicker.
https://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-Pre...623084&sr=8-14

It's a great solution for us as we still have super coffee but minimize battery use and storage.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:40 PM   #8
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We have the Bonavita too and love it! However I don't like the counter space a coffee maker uses ....
yeah, our Bonavita stays at home. camp coffee is made with an Aeropress, usually sitting outside. water is boiled either on a kettle on the stove, or via my Jetboil outside.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:59 PM   #9
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I will put in another vote for the Bonavita electric coffee makers. Their claim to fame is their ability to produce a hot cup of coffee. However, when camping, the Bonavita stays home and we substitute a retro coffee maker from Revere Ware. You may recall the advertising for Revere Ware, the copper bottom coffee pot.

This is a drip coffee maker that requires you to pour boiling water over coarse coffee grounds and wait for the natural brewing. For heating the water we use another Revere Ware product, their copper bottom tea pot.

Both of these products are from the 1950's when the Revere Ware name was still respected as a quality product.
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File Type: jpg Teapot.jpg (8.8 KB, 193 views)
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Old 06-22-2018, 08:21 AM   #10
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Paul,
Seeing your "retro" Revere ware reminds me of the early years of our marriage (70's) when Earline and I would take Revere ware back to the factory in Illinois, where it would be refurbed in the back room to like-new condition in just a few minutes. Might have been free, too.
Bill
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