We all have them – electric kettles; coffee machines; toasters; hair dryers; washing machines; air conditioners and even pop corn machines. But, can you take them camping and run them off your battery? It can be done, but you may be better off rationalising what you expect to use.
But, can you take them camping and run them off your battery?
Well…. yes…. but….
First, you need to convert (using an inverter) the 12 volts in your battery to the 240 volts that’ll power the appliance.
You’d do this through an inverter.
Then, it’s a matter of drawing from your battery to provide the amps required to run the appliance.
This is where the fun begins. You see a 1000 watt appliance (say) will draw about 4 amps when plugged into a 240 volt supply. But, it’ll draw about 80 amps when powered from a 12 volt supply (like a battery).
Amps = Watts / Volts
Now, if you have a 100 amp hour battery, you’d be flat out powering that 1000 watt appliance about 30 minutes. This is because you don’t want to draw all the power from your battery – wet batteries, AGM and Lithium will vary.
So you can power some high watt appliances for short periods of time through the right inverter. Your inverter size will need to match or exceed your wattage demand.
Other factors you need to consider:
• charging the battery (by solar or while driving) while it’s being used will help to ‘top up’ the battery;
• the size of your solar panel/s in watts will determine how fast your battery will be charged (replenished);
• the charge from the solar panel/s during the day will depend on the season, clouds and shade;
• similarly, if you’re using the appliance at night or in cloudy conditions, you won’t be charging the battery from solar while it’s being used;
• running two or more appliances at the same time (eg your toaster and coffee machine) will have a compounding effect that needs to be considered;
• the inverter will not be 100% effective (through design and temperature) and some power (watts) will be lost in the process.
So, have a look at the wattage of the appliance you intend using (it’ll be marked somewhere) and how long you intend using it for.
I’ll be posting a more detailed blog shortly on my website – www.campandtravel.com.au
Keep safe and power on – and perhaps leave the more ‘power hungry’ appliances at home.