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Old 06-17-2009, 06:21 PM   #197
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I ran my stereo for a couple hours a day all weekend and it didn't even make a dent in the battery charge (according to my entry level charge controller)

This was with partly cloudy skies.

I seem to pull 2amps when the sky is completely void of blue and seven under direct sunlight.

I also don't really spend a lot of time in my trailer - I'm young, single (as in not married or living with someone) , and enjoy drinking socially so I probably spend 3-4 waking hours a day in the thing max. The most draw I have currently is a 1960's fan that seems to draw a solid 400 watts which I use when its hot and I want to sleep. I'm going to upgrade that to a newer fan which should cut the draw in half.

I generally sleep 6 hours a night with a good 30 min on each end of running the fan.

I also like staying at girl's house which means that I'm on average only home 4 nights a week. (if that)

I don't think my 128 is going to be a problem . . . If things get unnaturally rainy I can always just plug in.

I'm interested to see what my oil based electric radiator draws for the winter months, but I can't imagine it being worse than my vintage fan.

so . . . can I plug straight into an outlet to power the beast? or is that scientifically proven to be a poor move?
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:03 PM   #198
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I think you will find your oil based heater uses many, many more watts than a fan. There should be a plate on it telling how many watts or if, not amps (amps x volts = watts). I imagine you could add batteries to store more power during the day.

There are good reasons (besides laws) not to back feed into the power company's lines without the proper interface, but that's not your problem at present.

If you have an inverter, isn't it wired into the 120 v. system? Or is it small portable one? If it's wired in, it should power the 120 v. outlets. If it's a portable one, one end gets plugged into a 12 v. outlet and the other has one or more 120 v. receptacles. The inverter should have on it the capacity.

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Old 06-18-2009, 12:12 AM   #199
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yes - I would not try to plug 12V into a 110v power grid - despide the fact that I have made decisions that have had obviously negative outcomes in the past, I am not an idiot, and have a general understanding of how electricity works
<minirant>
(and not to pull the age card, but if you consider how young I am and how little formal education I've had on such things, I'm a pretty handy kid . . . in fact I'm probably the type of kid you sit around camp sites wishing we had more of in america these days.)
</minirant>

<completely different mini rant>
ALABAMA doesn't allow you to put (caps lock doesn't work on numbers) 110V power back into the system despite the fact that you are just giving the power company more product to sell FOR FREE because of some bull$h!t in our constitution (which is larger than the bible for whatever reason, If everyone ever involved in christianity can put the word of god into a brief thousand pages then you'd think my state could do the same)

So in Ohio they pay you something like $0.30 a killawatt for power that you put back into the system - because honestly, everyone who buys enough solar to more than cover their power use is just helping the state burn less fossil fuels (I'm pretty sure ohio doesn't use nuclear power, but I could be wrong)

so ohio cares

and Alabama makes helpling the power company (not being an idiot and trying to connect 12v power to a 110v system) criminal

so here I am wondering if pluging into a closed system through what would normally be used as a power OUTLET would power all of the other outlets without dire consequences.

as a thank you for your time I have linked you to some contemprary popular lovey dovey hippie music

YouTube - MGMT - Kids

muchos gracias
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Old 06-18-2009, 12:46 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by Cursh View Post
The most draw I have currently is a 1960's fan that seems to draw a solid 400 watts which I use when its hot and I want to sleep. I'm going to upgrade that to a newer fan which should cut the draw in half.

I'm interested to see what my oil based electric radiator draws for the winter months, but I can't imagine it being worse than my vintage fan.

Hi, Cursh. My oil filled radiator/heaters all draw about 1500 watts each on high mode.
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:20 AM   #201
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so here I am wondering if pluging into a closed system through what would normally be used as a power OUTLET would power all of the other outlets without dire consequences.


muchos gracias
No matter HOW the power gets into a system, it goes everywhere it is not stopped by a circuit breaker. Make sure that you are not feeding more AMPS into that outlet then it's wire is rated to handle.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:46 AM   #202
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I gotta say, I've had so much fun reading this thread. I've been afraid (from the first sight of the hitch setup), I've laughed, I've cried (well not really, but sad all the same when reading Cursh broke his Scapula). Honestly I don't know who is more entertaining, Cursh or everyone he winds up. One of my favorite moments was when 62overlander accused Cursh of smoking weed and vowed to unsubscribe.

Kevin
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:05 AM   #203
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One of my favorite moments was when 62overlander accused Cursh of smoking weed and vowed to unsubscribe.

Kevin
Maybe Cursh should've smoked some before his last post.

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Old 06-18-2009, 12:52 PM   #204
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Maybe Cursh should've smoked some before his last post.

Gene
He does seem a little up-tight about not being able to put power on the grid. I used to work for a fortune 50 company that operates several power plants. I was in the computer, networking and database side, but I am vaguely familiar with how a power plant works and the power is distributed.

It's hard enough to maintain a stable power grid without lots of people on the other end trying to put their .5 amp of 110v into the system. It's not completely based on big business monopolizing a commodity.

I'm not saying we shouldn't move in that direction though.
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Old 06-19-2009, 03:51 PM   #205
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I'm just mad because ohio let me do it ='(

Roberts - you are crushing my soul (but in a positive, informative way) I will just have to find an intelligent, funny, warm southern belle to keep me warm in the winter to keep my power usage down.

Father of Dakota - thanks. Thats what I was thinking. as long as I don't get too large an inverter I should be alright then =)
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:05 PM   #206
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I am sure Alabama will let you do it, but MY guess is they won't let you do it the way you want. Big difference. There is a WHOLE lot more involved in "back feeding" your "extra" power onto the grid it's not funny. The biggest problem most "small producers" is that their power is not clean enough to put on the grid. So it has to be "conditioned", It also has to be syncronized with a digital controller, because 60 cycles means just that, and well, there is a timing issue to those cycles. If the power you put "on" the grid is out of time.. well, bad things happen to inocent refridgerators down the block. There is also the fact that you need a special meter, most standard meters will actually "charge" you for power going in OR out, they don't know the difference. Then there is a need for a safety interlock, (transfer switch) so your system can't put power into the grid if it's down, endangering any line men etc. working on repairs...

If you are going to use an inverter to change 12v to 120v.. and you are going to run a computer, or any appliance with digital controls, make sue you get a "pure/true sine wave" inverter. plain ones will run lots of handy things like lights and tools, but anything that can't won't except a square wave, it's going to kill it.
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:43 PM   #207
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you are all so smart with knowledge.

I will stop bama bashing then, and look into this True Sine Wave inverter of which you speak.

I'm almost out of money so maybe I will just have to do something sneaky like run a second 110v system for the big sexy things that need shore power (like computers and large format plotters and electric pianos.)
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Old 06-21-2009, 03:09 PM   #208
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better yet - this is what I want

I would like for my shore power to not kick in until I actually needed it. I would like to wait until my batteries are drained for it to start charging them.

Is my best bet just staying unplugged until I need it? (or maybe even throwing an inline switch in the shore power cable?)

muchos grasias
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Old 06-21-2009, 03:57 PM   #209
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The batteries should not be discharged below 50% or you will shorten their life. Some things run on 120 v. and some on 12 v. and some on both, or maybe even propane. It's hard to come up with a combination that is the most environmentally responsible. For example, what if the 120 v. comes from a coal fired power plant? Or, a hydroelectric plant? But a hydroelectric plant may cause serious environmental problems downstream. Some power companies allow you to pay a little more to buy power from wind farms. In Alabama you may be getting power from a TVA hydroelectric plant, but I think they also have coal plants and maybe a nuclear plant.

Insulation and other weather proofing helps by keeping heat inside in the winter, outside in the summer. Using as little as possible also helps. Those are the simplest and cheapest ways to save power. Using PV to keep batteries charged certainly helps, but when you are plugged into shore power, does the converter draw from the batteries first or the solar system for 12 v. appliances and lights? I have no idea how it works in our trailer. You can watch the monitor(s) for the batteries to make sure you are not discharging them too much because dead batteries get expensive and disposing of batteries is another environmental problem.

I'm sure there are electronic switches and other sophisticated toys that can help you manage electricity very efficiently, but the price may not be worth it. A switch that changes the source of power when the batteries reach 50% would be useful. Good luck—you have the chance to educate us.

Gene
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:16 AM   #210
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The batteries should not be discharged below 50% or you will shorten their life. ...
Gene, 50% is a little restrictive. Lead-acid batteries are pretty resilient down to about 20% of remaining charge--below that, you are definitely eating away at battery life. If you limit yourself to 50% discharge, you're hauling around a lot of battery weight for not much available stored energy.

A well cared for battery can be routinely discharged to 20% and still give you 5 years of life. This is particularly true for the kinds of use a battery sees in an RV, that is, relatively slow discharge rates (we're not starting a cold V-8 here). For lead-acid, you never want to discharge at a rate higher than using 80% of the charge in 2 hours. In the electric vehicle world of the 90s this was a real problem, so battery life was a major concern.

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