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Old 05-06-2014, 10:11 AM   #31
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Well, we did a dry run overnight with one of the CPAP machines. We ran through the inverter because we don't yet have DC power cords.
The machine we used was the one that draws 3.75 amps. We had great results.
We really just noted the battery strength as displayed on the solar power monitor. Aside from the CPAP there were only 2 led lights running for part of the time. I know there are lots of other measurements and monitors we could employ but we were just going for simple....
After 4 hours battery strength was at 95% and after 8 hours continuous usage it was at 90%. Within 30 minutes of sunrise it was already back up to 95%. We never saw the graph on the inverter display go below 12.6 volts.

We'll give it a try with both machines later this week in Moab and report back!

Oh, btw, the batteries are 6V, 232amp hours.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:01 AM   #32
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Thanks for the update - should be even less draw down on the batteries with out going through the inverter, if I understand those things correctly.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:08 AM   #33
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Thanks for the update - should be even less draw down on the batteries with out going through the inverter, if I understand those things correctly.
That's what I've heard too. We'll try that as soon as we get the specialized (for each CPAP) DC cables we ordered.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:12 AM   #34
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Thanks for the update - should be even less draw down on the batteries with out going through the inverter, if I understand those things correctly.
You've got that right; the normal losses for coverting one voltage to another is what produces the normal heating of the converting device (inverter in this case.)
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:01 PM   #35
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Ran across this item designed for coolers but could be helpful for CPAP users trying to avoid running the batteries down too low - cuts off battery power when battery drops below 11 volts.

12-Volt Battery Saver for Koolatron 12 Volt Coolers - 70110
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:41 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by tractors1 View Post
Ran across this item designed for coolers but could be helpful for CPAP users trying to avoid running the batteries down too low - cuts off battery power when battery drops below 11 volts.

12-Volt Battery Saver for Koolatron 12 Volt Coolers - 70110
This makes sense, but I tried a similar device and it did not work well. I was running an electric cooler (may actually be a Koolatron) from our van when camping with a trailer not having power, and it still ran the van's battery down. It seems that when the voltage dropped the device would cut off, then the battery voltage would bounce back up a bit, then the device would switch back on... and after many cycles the cooler managed to drive the van's battery down to the point of not being able to start the vehicle. Since I purchased and used this device for exactly the purpose of avoiding this situation, which is exactly the intended purpose of the device, I was not happy.

The idea is sound; I would just be cautious about expectations for any specific device until it is proven in testing.
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:19 AM   #37
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I had a bad experience with a 12 V cooler running the vehicle battery dead once. Was out fishing/tent camping way back in the mountains in the Fernie area with my brother who owned the truck and the cooler. It must have been his fist experience using it? When we got back from a couple hour walk/wade down the river the battery was dead. Those coolers must draw a lot from the battery?
At least we caught a couple of cutthroat trout, but it was a catch and release river. The food in the cooler was still cold so we did have something to eat!

Moral of the story - always carry a set of jumper cables.
We did not have a set of jumper cables either.
It was way too far to walk out. I had my bike but was not looking forward to the prospect of riding it all the way back to Fernie - too far.
Fortunately for us there was another couple of fishers at the same spot where we were and they found a set of jumper cables in their truck when they finally got back. Saved.
Never did plug the cooler back in after that.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:22 AM   #38
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a tad off topic

Just had to post this search result.....a bit spendy, though........

Solar Powered Generator - 3.240 Kilowatt Max Output - 19ft Trailer - 24 Panels - NEMA 4X Enclosure - Larson Electronics
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:23 PM   #39
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A little CPAP info

I have been a CPAP user for about 5 years now. When diagnosed with OSA I had been awake for a week and was going crazy from lack of sleep. Every time I would doze off my airway would collapse and no air could enter my lungs. This happened within seconds of dozing, so I could never fall asleep. The purpose of the CPAP is to inflate ones airway keeping it open by applying air pressure while one inhales. The pressure drops during exhalation so you don't have to exhale against the pressure. These are just fancy air compressors in a sense, but life savers for those that need them.

My first machine was a Respironics M series, and the newer one is a system 1 Respironics. Both machines are very thrifty with the electrical draw when the humidifier is turned off. The newer Respironics machines have a heated hose feature which may add to the power consumption. I don't know if it can be switched off manually. If not, stay away from those for camping. Also the earlier Respironics machines run at 12v as native voltage, so work with a simple cigarette lighter plug with no conversion. I also have a 20' cord with alligator clips so CPAP could be used in tents, and hooked to vehicle battery. The newer Respironics units use a different part number lighter adaptor which tells me the new machine may have a different current draw, and or native voltage. It is probably higher current for the hose heater.
My machine typically will take my group 27 RV battery from 100% to 88% over night. I find it best to recharge the battery on the second night when considering charge time, as a deeper discharged battery can absorb more current than a shallow one. With a generator doing the job time is more of a consideration than using solar, as solar works silently and for free. A generator may take 4 hours just to top off that 12%. It may take only six hours to do 24% on the second night due to better absorption rate. Solar is clearly the way to fly in sunny areas.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:48 PM   #40
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We have had a CPAP in our Escape for several years. It was one reason (charging iPads and iPhones was another) for going to solar. Power usage during the night will vary from user to user depending on the pressure settings the user will require and how long they use the machine during the night.

This is an excellent example of solar making travel that much easier.
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