Slow cookers using solar panel and small inverter - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 07-27-2016, 11:07 PM   #11
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Location: Arvada, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Ruthe View Post
We have a 95 watt solar panel and a small inverter (think it's 600 watts) I'm thinking about taking the crockpot ...

...My small one is 200 watts and the larger one is 240 -- This time we won't be alone -- there will at times be a crowd of adult children and I'm hoping to be able to make stews that simmer all day
The math is not favorable.

If "simmer all day" equates to cooking continuously for 6 hours then 440 watts times 6 hours is 2640 watt-hours which is 220 amp-hours. (This is assuming 100% conversion in the inverter. Lets ignore inverter and wire losses for this discussion.)

If you have the dual battery option than your dinner will essentially use up all your battery - minus what the 95 watt solar panel can replace - in "too much shade". Which in the worst case - shade and rain - is nothing.

One option to consider, if pocket book and gear space allow; an additional solar panel, to be used on cooking days. If you can manage a second 95 watt panel then the two - 190 watts total - will offset half the cooking power - assuming sun for 8 hours. Then your battery is only half empty and will fill up the next day. Not great but doable. The bottom line is that using 110v heating appliances is very hard on the energy equation.


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Old 07-27-2016, 11:41 PM   #12
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
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You can use
  • a moderate amount of power (a couple hundred watts into a slow cooker) for hours, totalling a couple kilowatt-hours (a couple thousand watt-hours or 150 amp-hours), or
  • a high power level for an hour or (regular electric oven, micowave oven, electric cooktop), totalling a couple kilowatt-hours or 150 amp-hours, or
  • enough energy to heat litres of water to boiling, so it can cook on the stored heat for hours... about a kilowatt-hour or 80 amp-hours per litre
When it comes to energy, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

For leave-it-unattended cooking, the last approach (as Zardoz described) sounds appealing to me.

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Old 07-28-2016, 02:05 AM   #13
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We alter our cooking method depending on whether or not we have hookups. We've used the crock pot when boondocking, and our batteries did take a good hit. It's doable with 160 watts of solar and dual 6v batteries, but we tend to not use anything electrical to cook when not hooked up. The can cookers work great, requiring only about an hour on a camp stove with a full pot of food. Then there's always cooking over a good ole campfire. One of my favorite camping meals is to combine meat, potatoes, veggies and seasoning in an aluminum foil pouch and just cook it on the coals.
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy an RV. And that is pretty close."
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Old 07-28-2016, 10:59 AM   #14
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Location: Highland Park, New Jersey
Trailer: Escape 19 February 2014
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I'm going to forget about the crockpot for this trip and look into the can cooker for next summer --we'll use our stoves and see what kind of grills are there. Even though I've been cooking meat for a few years now (after 30 years of vegetarian food) I still have a lot to learn about cooking with meat on the road. Thanks for the suggestions.

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