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Old 01-23-2019, 12:59 PM   #1
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how many watts for how long

Solar is new to me, but it appears to work. My question is, can we use our instant pot
of 700 watts for 15 to 20 minutes with the factory solar setup of 2018? The standard panel and dual batteries with 1500 watt inverter. Also we have LED's and no other demands on the battery except the hidden ones, refridge, etc. It would be nice to recover quickly after the draw. I'm trying to come up with new ideas for Nancy to cook. If this will work then maybe our small George Forman will also work for me.
Thanks for any help.
Azjack
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:19 PM   #2
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Get one of those kill-a-watt device and measure it at home, and you will have a better idea what the actual wattage is, then convert it to 12V watt hours and you get some idea of how much battery you will end up using.. I did something like that for our little 3Qt instant pot, can't remembered the number I got off hand but it was doable, but I didn't think it was worth the effort so I scrap the idea.


Also unless you are cooking while the sun is high up most of your cooking power will be from the battery, which means how quickly you can recover the next day.. (what is the weather like tomorrow)
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:28 PM   #3
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IF the instant pot is a steady 700W the whole time its on, 20 minutes would use about 230 watt*hours, which is about 20 amp hours at 12V, or 1/10th of the total capacity of a dual GC2 setup (so about 1/5th of the safe 50% capacity). typically heating appliances like that are NOT on constantly, they get hot then cycle on/off with some duty cycle to maintain a constant temperature, so they use less power overall.
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:01 PM   #4
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Drawing 70 amps from a pair of 6V batteries is more than the amperage the 20 amp hour rate is figured at (which would be around a 10 amp load). When you draw more than the amount used to rate batteries, it will lessen the available amp hours (Check Peukert's Law for a full explanation).

If you are starting with full batteries, 20 minutes @ 700 watts is probably possible, but I'd want full sun for the rest of the day to put most of the usage back in the batteries. You may find that the inverter alarms due to low voltage, or even shuts down if your batteries don't start out full.
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:06 PM   #5
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We used the small instant pot many times. It does draw 700 watts sometimes, but fluctuates up and down in watt draw. Heating to pressure cook is almost a steady 700 watts, about 10 minutes. Then pressure cooking it even shuts off at times, and never approaches 700 watts while maintaining pressure. The voltage decline was disturbing as we watched, we saw a low of 12.0 V several times. After the instant pot shut off there was a rapid rise in voltage again as the batteries were no longer experiencing a draw. We used the instant pot fairly regularly with no ill effects on the battery state after fixing dinner. The next morning the batteries were at the same resting voltage that they were when the instant pot was not used. We really like the instant pot and it fits with our boondocking, never plugging in style. Another device we use is an instant kettle, simular heating element, 1000 watts, and it will boil almost a quart of water in less than 5 minutes. It is considerably faster than a normal kettle on the propane burner. The inverter is only 1500 watts, so we do not use any electrical gadget that draws more than 1000 watts. The key to using these appliances is that they are on such a short time.
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:08 PM   #6
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I'd just heat a can of Campbell's Chunky Pepper Steak and Potato soup on the propane stove top.
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azjack View Post
Solar is new to me, but it appears to work. My question is, can we use our instant pot
of 700 watts for 15 to 20 minutes with the factory solar setup of 2018? The standard panel and dual batteries with 1500 watt inverter. Also we have LED's and no other demands on the battery except the hidden ones, refridge, etc. It would be nice to recover quickly after the draw. I'm trying to come up with new ideas for Nancy to cook. If this will work then maybe our small George Forman will also work for me.
Thanks for any help.
Azjack
Using the instant pot would probably work on solar but why? The instant pot is just a electric pressure cooker with a timer. A regular pressure cooker on the range is more energy efficient and uses no electricity.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00006ISG6...00002N601?th=1
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:14 PM   #8
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Inverter use

Good to hear from you, Jack.
On using the inverter with solar, just give it a try with whatever you have in mind. You can monitor battery percentage and voltage as it drops from your use if you have a good view of the monitor. Don't be too alarmed when you see a low level while the appliance is drawing electricity. The read-out seems to bounce back up to a reasonable number as soon as the device is unplugged or turned off.

I did notice on a trip this last week that the lower winter sun makes a difference as does a cloudy day, but if the battery is at 100% from whatever charging you are getting, I'd still feel brave enough to withdraw a little of your stored power.

If you go too far, there is a mildly irritating squeal that indicates you are too low on voltage reading, or drawing more than you should or your battery cables are loose or have become un-crimped somewhat.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azjack View Post
Solar is new to me, but it appears to work. My question is, can we use our instant pot
of 700 watts for 15 to 20 minutes with the factory solar setup of 2018?
...
Azjack
Some considerations to keep in mind. Specifically, when and where are you doing this cooking.

Here in Denver, CO, a standard Escape roof mounted solar panel of a nominal 160 watts will put out 30 watts in early January at noon.

Using 700 watts for the pot and 100 for inverter overhead, the ratio of 30 to 800 is 1 to 26. So for each minute of cooking you will need 26 minutes of charging, or for 20 minutes you will need over 8 hours of full sun charging to replace what you used to cook with. We just don't have 8 hours of full sun here in the Mile High city in mid-winter.

You may have a bit more power down in Arizona, but in general you will need more sun than you get in a day's time in mid-winter. As a few other folks have discovered the hard way - one roof panel is barely enough to cover lights, 'fridge, furnace, and incidentals. To cook with electricity you might consider adding a portable panel that you can aim at the sun. This time of year, aiming at the sun can triple the output of a solar panel and makes it practical to use solar for cooking.

So even though it makes my stomach do flips, the canned soup option may be the most practical solution for a while.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
The instant pot is just a electric pressure cooker with a timer. A regular pressure cooker on the range is more energy efficient and uses no electricity.
While it's very true that a regular stove top pressure cooker uses no electricity, an Instant Pot is not just an electric pressure cooker with a timer. It's a rice cooker, porridge or cereal maker, yogurt maker, steamer, sanitizer, saute pan, pressure cooker, slow cooker, and can even roast and sear meats.

It's also MUCH safer than a stove top pressure cooker because the internal pressure is lower, and because there are built in safeguards to prevent opening it when there is any pressure inside.

I would probably not attempt to use ours with no hookups, but I just wanted to point out that pressure cooking is only part of it's functionality. I've even baked a cake with it.
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