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Old 06-03-2020, 02:32 PM   #1
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What can inverter run?

If I have an inverter, what can I run on 12V that I couldn't do without it? Specifically wondering how much a coffee maker would drain batteries down.
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Old 06-03-2020, 02:43 PM   #2
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You can start here to better understand your 12v system, both parts 1 and 2
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 06-03-2020, 02:49 PM   #3
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I'm not an inverter person as others will say. Having a 12v on board system is great and if you plan your use correct, it should be all you will ever need when away from home. Other than air conditioning, you do not need 120v. My television and computers operate off DC current as most do. That little black brick attached to your home unit is converting your 120v to DC behind your back. Propane for heat and heating water and for refrigeration is great, 12v for water pump, furnace, maxxair fan, and LED lights and everything else is great. Your have a stove for cooking why bring an electric appliance unless you have hookups. I have a stove top coffee maker and a campfire coffeemaker and I carry a 120v coffee maker if I have hookups. Save your self the $1000 fee for the inverter, and purchase a stove top unit for coffee.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I'm not an inverter person as others will say. Having a 12v on board system is great and if you plan your use correct, it should be all you will ever need when away from home. Other than air conditioning, you do not need 120v. My television and computers operate off DC current as most do. That little black brick attached to your home unit is converting your 120v to DC behind your back. Propane for heat and heating water and for refrigeration is great, 12v for water pump, furnace, maxxair fan, and LED lights and everything else is great. Your have a stove for cooking why bring an electric appliance unless you have hookups. I have a stove top coffee maker and a campfire coffeemaker and I carry a 120v coffee maker if I have hookups. Save your self the $1000 fee for the inverter, and purchase a stove top unit for coffee.
True, I manage fine now without it. Just wondering but I think I will do without. Much of the time I do have hookups, though, so I end up carrying two sets of equipment. But I can put that $600 to better use.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:20 PM   #5
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...Specifically wondering how much a coffee maker would drain batteries down.
Specifically: A 12V-DC coffee maker should use roughly the same amount of battery power as a 110V-AC coffee maker powered by an inverter.

This is true because it takes the same amount of energy to heat a cup of hot water regardless of the heat source. Which, if I don't say it - someone else will: Propane is a more "camper-friendly" source of energy for most of us. You carry far more total energy in your propane tanks than in your batteries.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:35 PM   #6
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The inverter is very popular for microwave oven. I don't believe there is any 12volt microwave. most everything else could done in other ways on 12 volt or gas. on my order I talked myself into more options than i probably need, but i couldn't talk myself into the converter .we don't like microwave food and i don't drink coffee . I could only think of one item I would use it for a toaster . seemed to be a lot of money to spend on toast.I may add a small one later to charge things .
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:41 PM   #7
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I should have added: That same cup of hot water heated in the microwave (powered by the inverter) will use roughly the same amount of battery power.
No free lunch here.


(I solved my coffee heating power issues by going to cold brew. )
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:53 PM   #8
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Specifically: A 12V-DC coffee maker should use roughly the same amount of battery power as a 110V-AC coffee maker powered by an inverter.

This is true because it takes the same amount of energy to heat a cup of hot water regardless of the heat source. Which, if I don't say it - someone else will: Propane is a more "camper-friendly" source of energy for most of us. You carry far more total energy in your propane tanks than in your batteries.
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is it possible that the 12v-dc coffee maker would burn less Battery energy? the go power inverter is 91% efficient. so if i understand this correctly 9% of the power would be lost in the inversion from 12v-dc to 110V . I am not sure
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Old 06-03-2020, 04:14 PM   #9
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Combining the 1500 watt GoPower inverter with a pair of 223 amp hour 6V Interstate batteries (the Escape inverter option) and assuming you are starting with fully charged batteries will let you make a pot of drip coffee each morning, make a couple of pieces of toast in a pop up toaster, and maybe run the microwave for 3-5 minutes, depending on how much you ran the furnace the night before. You might be looking at 30 - 40 amp hours taken from the batteries by the end of breakfast & your overnight use.

Somehow, during the day you need to put back what you took out during the morning (and night) as well as what you use during the day. A single 190 watt solar panel will usually do it unless you are parked in the shade, or have a string of cloudy days or go overboard on the microwave, TV, etc. Towing the trailer 200-300 miles will put most of your normal use back, as will a couple of hours of generator run.

I found that if I used the microwave for dinner, ran the furnace for an hour overnight, made coffee & toast, I was not able to use the microwave until later in the day due to low battery voltage. My solution was to switch to lithium batteries and 480 watts of solar, but only because I spend a couple of months dry camping without moving. 78 days last winter at Quartzsite...
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Old 06-03-2020, 04:33 PM   #10
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We have 2 inverters , a 400 watt portable and a 1500 watt in our Escape
Have never used either one in over 8 years so I can’t tell you what their good for besides adding weight to the trailer and taking up space .
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Old 06-03-2020, 04:36 PM   #11
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I figure it is not going to be worth it. And I've managed without it all this time, why change now?
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:51 PM   #12
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I'm not an inverter person as others will say. Having a 12v on board system is great and if you plan your use correct, it should be all you will ever need when away from home. Other than air conditioning, you do not need 120v. My television and computers operate off DC current as most do. That little black brick attached to your home unit is converting your 120v to DC behind your back. Propane for heat and heating water and for refrigeration is great, 12v for water pump, furnace, maxxair fan, and LED lights and everything else is great. Your have a stove for cooking why bring an electric appliance unless you have hookups. I have a stove top coffee maker and a campfire coffeemaker and I carry a 120v coffee maker if I have hookups. Save your self the $1000 fee for the inverter, and purchase a stove top unit for coffee.
Or go to Amazon and purchase the Bonavita drip coffee maker. It uses 1500 watts so I wouldn’t use it unless there are hookups available. But the beauty of the Bonavita is that the filter basket sits atop the carafe; it doesn’t hang above it from rails. In the absence of 120 ac voltage, the carafe and filter basket can serve as a pour-over coffee maker if you heat the water using the propane stove. It is one unit that can be used two ways. And as an electric drip coffee maker, it makes great tasting coffee. And 12v coffee makers are notoriously slow and the coffee.....well, might as well drink instant coffee.
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:57 PM   #13
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Specifically: A 12V-DC coffee maker should use roughly the same amount of battery power as a 110V-AC coffee maker powered by an inverter.
True, but the problems with a 12V DC coffee maker are:
  1. finding one with power (and thus brewing speed) comparable to a typical 120 V AC coffeemaker, and
  2. setting up the high-current 12 V DC outlet necessary to run an appliance at that power; or,
  3. making do with less power.
For example, the really cheap (Black&Decker, from Walmart) coffee maker on the counter in front of me takes 650 watts (at 120 V AC); to run that on about 12 V would take 54 amps, or several times what a typical accessory socket can handle, and even more than the three lowest-rated types of Andersen Powerpoles (15A, 30A, 45A).

You can use 12 V DC appliances, and they do take about the same amount of energy to do the same task as 120 V AC appliances, but most are not very capable because they are limited to what a typical car's "lighter socket" can deliver.

Yes, burning propane is a more practical heat source for most purposes, if all you need is heat to cook something.
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Old 06-03-2020, 07:10 PM   #14
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I don't believe there is any 12volt microwave.
There is (or was... it may have been discontinued), but it is expensive and not very good compared to 120 V AC microwaves.
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Old 06-03-2020, 07:12 PM   #15
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Two answers to what does an inverter run (a) from $600 to $1000 and (b) your batteries down
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:41 PM   #16
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is it possible that the 12v-dc coffee maker would burn less Battery energy? the go power inverter is 91% efficient. so if i understand this correctly 9% of the power would be lost in the inversion from 12v-dc to 110V . I am not sure
Well, I was hoping the word "roughly" would give me a pass on worrying about conversion losses. How many amp-hours are lost at 91% efficiency and 5 minutes run time? Sorry, not enough coffee to compute that...
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:49 PM   #17
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We have 2 inverters , a 400 watt portable and a 1500 watt in our Escape
Have never used either one in over 8 years so I canít tell you what their good for besides adding weight to the trailer and taking up space .
I can. My 400 watt inverter powers all my AC-only chargers when the unreliable power fails in Big Bend, AND runs my oh-so-cozy & quiet electric blanket when boondocking. The blanket specs at 250 watts and at a low setting roughly 25% duty cycle. The standard solar keeps up with that demand. That's pure luxury.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:18 PM   #18
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I can. My 400 watt inverter powers all my AC-only chargers when the unreliable power fails in Big Bend, AND runs my oh-so-cozy & quiet electric blanket when boondocking. The blanket specs at 250 watts and at a low setting roughly 25% duty cycle. The standard solar keeps up with that demand. That's pure luxury.
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Alan, If you happen to have an Amazon link for that 12V electric blanket, I'd be grateful. Shopped for them the other day, and couldn't quite sort the wheat from the chaff...
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:28 PM   #19
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Alan, If you happen to have an Amazon link for that 12V electric blanket, I'd be grateful. Shopped for them the other day, and couldn't quite sort the wheat from the chaff...
Clarification: It is a 110V-AC electric blanket powered by my small inverter. Nothing particularly special...
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:25 PM   #20
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If I have an inverter, what can I run on 12V that I couldn't do without it? Specifically wondering how much a coffee maker would drain batteries down.
We have a portable 300 W inverter that we use to charge our laptops and smaller things. Because of this the 2 things we don't/can't use when we dry camp is our microwave & AC and so far this has worked out well. In fact, we leave our microwave home - less weight! If you get the permanent inverter from ETI, then you could use it for microwave (and coffee maker, etc) but not the AC. We tend to get battery anxiety so we decided to keep it simple for now and if we change our minds, we can add a bigger one later. Oh, and for the record, ETI told us they can install an inverter with power to ALL the outlets only during the building process - not afterwards. After a trailer is built, if you want to add an inverter, they can install an inverter for you but only with ONE outlet.

We don't drink coffee but my sister does and likes to use this:https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-20000...40174&sr=8-178. She sets it all up at night so all she has to do when she wakes up in her trailer is turn on her stove and then crawls back back in bed until it's done. I do the same but with a kettle of water for tea. We like it cuz it works no matter where we camp and our batteries stay happy. -Bea
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