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Posted: 12/14/2012 7:06:58 PM EDT
After Sandy pushed me into the dark ages I've decided to firm up my preps.

I rent where I live so I can't do anything all too permanent or things that my landlord won't approve. I figure I'll always have my vehicle so I want to try to keep things 12Vdc based so my truck can power whatever devices I'm trying to run. I intend on upgrading the factory alternator (reduce charging time?) and adding a spare battery (increase capacity?). I'm thinking of a Diehard Platinum Deep Cycle Marine.


I've bought an ARB 50 Quart Fridge. This will run on 12Vdc or 110Vac. I have read that it will draw between 5.0 -.87 Amps on 12Vdc. I assume these numbers are amps/hour. I've read that these can run for three or four days in 90*F without completely draining a deep cycle battery.


From their website:

"Two separate power cords are included, one for AC operation (120 volt) at home, and one for DC operation (12/24 volt) in your vehicle. The all-new 50 qt model is able to maintain sub-freezing temperatures in 90° F heat, while only drawing 0.87 amps per hour from a 12 volt power source… that’s less than a single headlamp draws!"

Would the battery I selected be a good match for this fridge?
Link Posted: 12/15/2012 8:36:57 AM EDT
Sorry, my thoughts weren't complete. I wasn't thinking clearly last night. I should have waited for my fever to break before posting.

My idea is to keep everything based around the truck. The appliances and a good power system would allow me to enjoy some luxury car camping and have some good BOV capabilities.

I plan on installing a mean-green hi output alternator in the truck to help with charging duties. I’ve asked mean-green for the Amp output of the alternator and what RPM is it measured at. I also plan on adding another battery to the truck for a total of two.

I would also like to construct a portable power station like CJan_NH has shown us. Eventually, I'd like some solar capabilities to help me recharge the batteries without burning gasoline. I’m not oppossed to mounting panels to my truck.

My idea is to use as many 12V dc based appliances, lights, conveniences as I can. I can either run the truck to recharge them or I can also supplement charging duties with my Honda EU20001 generator along with a suitable battery charger.

I've already bought some handheld lights from BAYCO that I can recharge from either 110Vac or 12Vdc.

I have the ARB fridge/freezer and the little Honda genny. I’m looking for ideas on what batteries to use, what 110Vac battery charger to use with them.

Thanks - sorry for the confusion.
Link Posted: 12/15/2012 9:32:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2012 9:33:17 AM EDT by ilbob]
amps/hour is not a meaningful unit. my guess is someone not clued in wrote the blurb from their web site.

I think your basic idea is at least doable.

I would be inclined to separate the two batteries so the alternator can charge both of them but all the auxiliary loads run off the secondary battery so that you do not end up with a dead battery and can't start your truck. These are available from RV stores and auto parts places. Maybe even Walmart.

Solar power is probably going to turn out to not be especially helpful for your situation. Just takes up too much real estate.

Link Posted: 12/15/2012 9:46:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2012 9:47:08 AM EDT by mylt1]
4 6v golf cart batteries wired in 2 sets of 2 will give you 440ah's or so(depending on which 6v batteries you go with). you could run one set while the other is charging. another option for charging is one of the alternator chargers made from a 1 wire GM alternator and a bottom shaft 4 stroke motor like off a push mower. the plans for it are on the interweb, i had it bookmarked but that was on my old PC. during sandy i ran my TV, sat box, and a house light(60w) off a 400w inverter for 4 or 5 hours. battery started at 12.3v and after that time was down to 11.9v. that was using a 12v deep cycle battery.
Link Posted: 12/15/2012 10:17:46 AM EDT
DC isn't very good for transmission distance. I don't know how far your truck is from your other used appliances (the ARB being able to be close to your car), but I would imagine that it isn't insignificant (from the garage to the kitchen most likely). So, I'd opt for a high efficiency AC transformer to convert the 12VDC to 110VAC. Then use 10/12/14g extension (depends on distance) to where you need to.

Of course, if you plan on lugging the batteries inside, this doesn't matter. Or if you plan on operating in close proximity to your truck, you're good to go as well.

I've never seen an ARB , but I might have to get one after reading those reviews!



Link Posted: 12/15/2012 11:10:46 AM EDT
I guess the amp hour blurb is propaganda. It's always tough to separate what's meaningful info when you don't know what your reading about

Yes, I plan on isolating the batteries. I've seen a couple of passive setups that look pretty good (but cost more ) I just did a little research and it seems that I need to get one that will allow for my batteries to be different sizes and capacities.

I think I'd rather stick to 12V batteries. I assume they take up less space and weigh less than golf cart batteries. I'm sorry to read that solar won't be helpful, maybe in a decade or two.

I'm happy to read that a battery and an power inverter can prove so helpful. It's nice to have a quiet power source. I can always run the genny, or the truck, if I can afford to make noise.

After reading the manual the ARB Fridge/Freezer can also run on 24V and draw half the amps. I don't think my truck will end up with three batteries in it. I'd rather just make up a portable power station to use outside of the truck or indoors.

I've had the fridge running on 110Vac since last night and it's very quiet and seems to maintain temperature very well. It also comes with a cigarette lighter plug in for 12Vdc operation. I think they also sell a socket so it can be hard wired into a system.

Is anyone using the Diehard Platinums?
Link Posted: 12/15/2012 11:29:40 AM EDT
Use a relay type idolater not one solid state types. The solid state types.cause a voltage drop in batteries.

Something like this one will be perfect for what.you want.to.do.
http://www.powerwerx.com/emergency-vehicle/battery-separator-auxiliary-batteries-200-amps.html

Link Posted: 12/15/2012 5:49:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 308endurdebate:
DC Low voltage isn't very good for transmission distance. I don't know how far your truck is from your other used appliances (the ARB being able to be close to your car), but I would imagine that it isn't insignificant (from the garage to the kitchen most likely). So, I'd opt for a high efficiency AC transformer inverter to convert the 12VDC to 110VAC. Then use 10/12/14g extension (depends on distance) to where you need to.

Of course, if you plan on lugging the batteries inside, this doesn't matter. Or if you plan on operating in close proximity to your truck, you're good to go as well.

I've never seen an ARB , but I might have to get one after reading those reviews!

FIFY


OP, using a truck to recharge batteries is relatively cheap but it isn't very efficient. That's a lot of engine for relatively little electrical output from your alternator. Assuming you don't overload your alternator, it will work, but you'll use a lot of gas in the process.
Link Posted: 12/15/2012 6:44:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2012 6:45:07 PM EDT by Hanz]
Thanks!

I like that battery isolator. It allows for a manual override to couple the batteries if needed to jump start myself or heavy battery loads.

I agree on the lack of efficiency. It makes the most sense if I'm driving the truck. If I'm stationary I guess it would be best to use the genny and battery charger.

I think I'm going to pick up this charger:


It's AGM compatible and has a trickle setting I can use to maintain the portable power station I will put together.
Link Posted: 12/15/2012 8:23:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By mylt1:
4 6v golf cart batteries wired in 2 sets of 2 will give you 440ah's or so(depending on which 6v batteries you go with). you could run one set while the other is charging. another option for charging is one of the alternator chargers made from a 1 wire GM alternator and a bottom shaft 4 stroke motor like off a push mower. the plans for it are on the interweb, i had it bookmarked but that was on my old PC. during sandy i ran my TV, sat box, and a house light(60w) off a 400w inverter for 4 or 5 hours. battery started at 12.3v and after that time was down to 11.9v. that was using a 12v deep cycle battery.


This is what you are looking for.
Link Posted: 12/15/2012 9:40:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By JoeRedman:
Originally Posted By mylt1:
4 6v golf cart batteries wired in 2 sets of 2 will give you 440ah's or so(depending on which 6v batteries you go with). you could run one set while the other is charging. another option for charging is one of the alternator chargers made from a 1 wire GM alternator and a bottom shaft 4 stroke motor like off a push mower. the plans for it are on the interweb, i had it bookmarked but that was on my old PC. during sandy i ran my TV, sat box, and a house light(60w) off a 400w inverter for 4 or 5 hours. battery started at 12.3v and after that time was down to 11.9v. that was using a 12v deep cycle battery.


This is what you are looking for.


thats it.
Link Posted: 12/16/2012 5:22:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2012 5:30:29 AM EDT by HankZudd]
I'd go to the survival podcast; they just had several shows on this very subject.

the guy that does them has his own website also, (Steve Harris-Battery1234.com)

on one show he talks about batteries & chargers ALOT; then next show discusses
how to hook everything up. (this is for a portable battery backup/power supply)

there was an eariler show about running your house off an inverter & extension cords
during an emergency.

looks like your on the right track.
Link Posted: 12/16/2012 12:49:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2012 12:51:22 PM EDT by ilbob]
Originally Posted By Hanz:
I'm sorry to read that solar won't be helpful, maybe in a decade or two.


Won't matter how long you wait it won't make any real difference. There is only so much solar energy per square yard that comes from the sun.

It takes a lot of area to get any useful amount of electricity from the sun.
Link Posted: 12/16/2012 6:22:17 PM EDT
Thanks for the tips guys. Looks like I have a bit more studying to do.
Link Posted: 12/17/2012 8:35:25 AM EDT
Diehard Platinum Deep Cycle Marine.


I put one in my jeep.....junk
Link Posted: 12/17/2012 3:54:30 PM EDT
Get a used ENG vehicle from a local TV station at auction that has one of the Auragen or RoadPower generator units installed. They switched from standalone generators to those units fairly recently so the supply will be a bit limited currently but you should be able to find some.
Link Posted: 12/28/2012 1:54:20 PM EDT
What vehicle are you doing this too?

Some have easy places to stick a 2nd battery and if it is a fullsize pickup there may have been diesel versions that came with 2 batteries.

I don't know if I would change out the alternator or not. That honda can charge your battery up pretty quickly with a good charger.

I would play on expediton portal to see what folks have done with that specific fridge and how their run times went and what not.

If your vehicle does not have a good place to mount a 2nd battery you might want to consider a setup that is easy to remove from the truck.

A lot of folks on expedition portal use their little vehicle fridge for a garage or office fridge when it is not in the vehicle.

Since you have an apartment and are wanting something for when the power is out I wonder how hard it would be to make something that could be hauled to the apartment.

Having the battery setup like the little battery/invertor boxes that are so popular on here would be one trip. Carrying the fridge up would be trip 2.

Having the battery in the back of the suv during normal times and running some wires so you can let the vehicle alternator keep it charged up should be doable. Make connectors so you can unplug it from the vehicle and carry it to the apartment.

And using that honda to recharge it with a good battery charger might save a lot of time and would certainly save fuel if you did not need to run your vehicle for some other reason.

Some of the folding solar panels have people making little frames out of pvc pipe so they can angle them to the sun and get what power they can get. Of course I would worry about others messing with my stuff if I was in an apartment and the solar setup was downstairs at the vehicle so this is one of those things to consider depending on your situation.

One of the reasons the golf cart batteries are quickly mentioned is because a starting battery for a vehicle is different than a deep cycle for running stuff off grid. They are made differently and both do their specific jobs well, but don't really do the other jobs well.

If you were on the first floor of the apartment building then setting things up to go on a 2 wheel dolley would make moving a fridge and battery super easy with all the handicap ramps out there today.

I would figure out what you really want to keep cold and you should be able to buy a kil a watt meter to start seeing what the fridge really needs power wise if you already own it.
Link Posted: 12/28/2012 3:00:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2012 3:02:05 PM EDT by GlutealCleft]
OP, my two cents:

1) Golf cart batteries. Greatly more "deep cycle" than the ill-named "deep cycle" batteries.
2) Amp-hours, amp-hour, amp-hours.
3) More amp-hours.

Since you can get golf-cart batteries in 6V, buy two 200AH units and put them in series to get a 200AH, 12V battery. Then, if you want to increase capacity, repeat, and put the next set in parallel with the first.

Not only can you use your truck to power stuff, you can also use it to charge the batteries.

There is another option, one of the UPS makers (APC? Tripp-Lite?) make some charger/inverter combos to which you add your own batteries. They can be configured to charge only, invert only, or charge AND invert when the power is out (making them act like a UPS.) Use one of those to keep your batteries charged normally, and you can power your 120V stuff off of it as well when the power is out.
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