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  • operating a chest cooler from one 12 volt battery

    I live in very sunny Florida and am planning an off grid road trip up the east coast. I drive a regular cab 2012 Ram 1500 pickup truck v8 Hemi. The truck's 12 volt battery is larger than a regular cars battery, i think 90AH. Under the hood over my battery, i have a 1200 Watt inverter attached

    The bed on the truck has a hard plastic toneau cover and under that that cover I have a four inch mattress and 600 Watt microwave that operates well when connected to the inverter while the truck is running. Yes it's tight and cozy, but I've slept there with no issues before. I have a 4 day cooler in the back and a low amp 12 volt Endless Breeze fan that can run for three 6 hour nights before the battery is depleted too far down. I've used ice and the cooler to run a crude swamp A/C to keep me cool on warm summer nights. The solution works well but the problem is I need ice.


    I'm looking for a way to make ice with a small chest refrigerator (maybe 3.2 Cubic Feet) during the day using a single solar panel and my trucks existing battery. However, most configurations I see on youtube have two 12 volt batteries. Are two batteries necessary and why? Also, does my battery need to be deep cell? I've heard of people running deep cell as a car starting battery for years with no issues. If possible, I'm not looking to have more than one battery in the system.

    FYI: Side note that my trucks generator will also feed my battery while driving at night and so also make ice, but do not want to factor that into my question or design.

    My plan is to only turn on the inverter and charger while sitting in direct sunlight. The freezer will only operate during peak sun hours (about 8 hours) which I think should be enough to freeze 2 liter bottles of water to keep some perishables cold and provide ice for my simple swamp cooler A/C.

    Can you offer any insight, suggeston or a simple designs for a single battery/panel configuration . Any considerations for protecting my battery and the system from the trucks alternator?

    Thank You! truckbed.JPG

    Attached Files
    Last edited by cyberpine; 01-01-2017, 11:08 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by cyberpine View Post
    I'm looking for a way to make ice with a small chest refrigerator (maybe 3.2 Cubic Feet) during the day using a single solar panel and my trucks existing battery. However, most configurations I see on youtube have two 12 volt batteries. Are two batteries necessary and why? Also, does my battery need to be deep cell? I've heard of people running deep cell as a car starting battery for years with no issues. If possible, I'm not looking to have more than one battery in the system.
    Howdy and welcome. Quit watching youtube. Right quick you have no need for solar. It would be complete waste of money.

    All you need is a pair 6 volt Golf Cart batteries, and an Electronic Battery Isolator to isolate your SLI battery from house battery. Your truck alternator can generate more energy in 30 minutes that a truck full of panels can do in a couple of days.

    You use 2 batteries for capacity, but you should never use 2-12 volt batteries in parallel as you are seeing fools on youtube doing. They do not know what they are doing or talking about. You do not use SLI batteries as Deep Cycle batteries and vice versa. They are made to do two different things. Press a SLI battery into cycle service and it will only last a short time. You can certainly abuse a Deep Cycle battery and try to use it for a starting lightning and ignition battery in summer, but you will learn a very important lesson if you ever have winter, or hear click click smoke, then look to see your battery term post burnt off.

    There is also a third type battery called a hybrid. It tries to be both deep cycle and SLI doing neither job very well. Hybrid batteries come with all kinds of names like Trolling, Marine, RV, Golf Cart, Leisure and on and on the list goes. SLI batteries use Lead Calcium alloy plates with a lot of very thin plates that produces a lot surface area, thus can deliver short burst of very high amounts of current to crank an engine, then be recharged super fast. Press those thin lead calcium plates into cycle service. and in two months you will be replacing them youtube fans. Deep Cycle batteries use lead antimony alloy with heavy thick plates that last a long time but not capable of delivering 10C starting currents, more like C/10.

    So get yourself a pair 6-volt golf cart batteries to power your Inverter and a Battery Isolator to charge them with. Forget solar and get on the road. I just saved you over $500 with something that actually works. Regardless of if you use Solar or not, still requires the same battery and Isolator. The solar is just dead wait transferred out of your wallet to the top of your truck doing nothing for you. But I will sell you all the panels you want and give you a pink feather so you are tickled pink while I laugh all the way to the bank with your money.

    Last edited by Sunking; 01-01-2017, 01:02 PM.
    MSEE, PE

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Sunking View Post

      Howdy and welcome. Quit watching youtube. Right quick you have no need for solar. It would be complete waste of money.
      . Regardless of if you use Solar or not, still requires the same battery and Isolator. The solar is just dead wait transferred out of your wallet to the top of your truck doing nothing for you.

      Hello and thanks for your suggestion. I've actually given that option some thought before. The challenge with a battery bank for me is space. I need the bed for sleeping and tools and not sure I want 6 batteries in there with me overnight. And keep in mind i only plan to run the freezer during daylight hours to freeze ice for overnight use.

      I can't seem to get a straight answer on Amazon or Igloo on the power rating but the freezer is tiny. I'm thinking as low as 3amp draw with 7 amp peak, but not for sure.

      https://www.amazon.com/Igloo-FRF110-...ords=igloo+1.1

      I've also heard of guys running 120AH deep cell batteries on their truck for years with no issues. With my current 80 AH battery I've run a 3amp fan overnight and does not appear to even make a dent in available Amp hours or cranking power.

      Thanks!

      something like this.. can it handle/maintain a 5 - 7 amp draw during peak florida sun if my battery is only 80AH??
      solarsetup.JPG

      Attached Files
      Last edited by cyberpine; 01-01-2017, 02:13 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by cyberpine View Post
        The challenge with a battery bank for me is space. I need the bed for sleeping and tools and not sure I want 6 batteries in there with me overnight.
        Who said anything about 6 batteries in the bed of your truck.. Batteries are sized to do the job. Would you use your truck to pull a train, or use your cell phone battery to start the truck?

        In an application like yours, you can size the battery to as little as 50% depth of discharge (DOD) per day, but has some serious drawbacks like will not last near as long as say 30% DOD//day or capable of running large loads like a monster 1200 watt inverter very long if at all with a microwave sucking power. Look it makes no difference if you have solar or not, you still need the battery.

        So determine what size battery you need. Find your gizmo's current or power rating. Say they all total up 10 amps, and you want to run them 10 hours. 10 amps x 10 hours = 100 AH. You would need at least a 200 AH battery or a pair of 6-volt 200 AH golf cart batteries. If you are worried about Flooded Lead Acid, then use AGM.

        As for location, well my company had 2 Dodge Ram HD 2500's and a 1500 with crew cabs. Each had a pair of golf cart batteries inside the cab just behind and at the ends of the back bench seat. The one smaller Chevy my partner drove just used the bottom of the tool box. Look you can use new AGM Hybrid as your SLI battery if you want to take the risk of being stuck. Makes me no difference, I am not going to stop and give you a jump start or give a crap.
        Last edited by Sunking; 01-01-2017, 02:05 PM.
        MSEE, PE

        Comment


        • #5
          LOL. I carry a stanley jumper (https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-JC509...y+jump+starter) $69 in the back. And its been solid when I've needed.

          My amp draw might be a lot less than 10amp. might be closer to 5amps / hour it seems. You see any risk sleeping right next to AGM batteries that are in use? Any advantage to two 6v vs one 12 volt?

          For self Notes: Lots of testing and questions that may never be answered until I try.. like

          1. how long it would take to fully charge a drained 200AH AGM in parallel with my alternator
          2. how long to make ice blocks and what % of the 200AH would be consumed,
          3. Life of a AGM that is only used like this 12 times a year. Which is why I was thinking of just using the SLI

          Yeah, In a perfect world a fully charged 200AH battery would serve me two full days/nights without needing solar. Two four hour days making blocks (~40 AH) making ice and two nights running a 3 amp fan for 6 hours each ( ~40AH).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by cyberpine View Post
            My amp draw might be a lot less than 10amp. might be closer to 5 amps / hour it seems. You see any risk sleeping right next to AGM batteries that are in use? Any advantage to two 6v vs one 12 volt?
            All about capacity and how much you need. Example if you need 200 AH, try finding a 12 volt @ 200 AH battery. There are a couple out AGM's out there that size if you can lift them up and afford AGM. But note AGMM cost twice as much and only last half as long as Flooded Lead Acid.

            But a good example for you is again the 12-volt 200 FLA battery capacity model. You can use two 12-Volt 100 AH in parallel to get 200 AH. Doing so is going to shorten cycle life. Each 12 volt battery is going to weigh in around 60 pounds each and cost roughly $150 each for a total weight of 120 pounds and cost $300. Or you can use two 6-volt 200 AH wired in series and get the exact same 12 volt 200 AH battery that weighs and cost the same. Difference is using the 6-Volt battery is going to last longer and work better.

            For self Notes: Lots of testing and questions that may never be answered until I try.. like

            1. how long it would take to fully charge a drained 200AH AGM in parallel with my alternator
            2. how long to make ice blocks and what % of the 200AH would be consumed,
            3. Life of a AGM that is only used like this 12 times a year. Which is why I was thinking of just using the SLI[/QUOTE]

            A1. Depends on how deeply discharged the battery is and the size of the alternator. Example a 200 AH battery with a 100 AH alternator (common size in trucks) around 1.5 hours if the isolator is rated for 100 amps. . With a 100 watt solar panel with PWM controller you show around 10 to 14 days and only if you park where there is no shade from sun up to sun down on a hot summer day in FL. Longer elsewhere. All you really need to know. Quit watching youtube.

            A2. Bests me, no one can answer because you have not provided any information and the question is unrealistic. No electric ice chest you buy from Amazon can make a block of ice. A 12 volt 200 AH battery has a total capacity of 12 volts x 200 AH = 2400 watt and only half that is usable or 1200 watt hours aka 1.2 Kwh. About what an efficient Energy Star full size fridge uses in a day after it has cooled down for a day or two and stabilized if you keep the door closed. I gallon of water weighs 8.33 pounds. To freeze a gallon of room temp water with 100% efficiency and no heat losses (impossible) requires roughly 3500 BTU's if I remember the formula correctly. It takes roughly 1000 watt hours about half of the energy in a 12 volt 200 AH battery.

            A3. Whatever you want to do.

            Originally posted by cyberpine View Post
            You see any risk sleeping right next to AGM batteries that are in use?
            Nope same as any battery type. people do it every night in an RV and off-griders.
            MSEE, PE

            Comment


            • #7
              You will need more panels then you think, I'm figuring three 100 watt because the fridge will need full power for several hours to make ice. regardless of storing energy for later use.
              I think you will save money and skip some headaches buying ice.


              Dennis
              SE5000 18 each SW185

              Comment


              • #8
                Mobile ice maker - I don't see how that's going to work. Ever. The little mini-fridge dorm units are nearly useless toys when plugged at a house. The latches (magnetic door seal) are weak, and the "freezing chamber" is small. Not sure how the ice tray is NOT going to slop water all over the place. The one possible advantage, you may have access to the cooling coils on the back and be able to improve on the heat exchange, and get some more BTU's moving and save a bit of energy.
                Are you making ice while parked, or while rolling? Me, I'd just buy ice or dry ice.
                Without the specs on the freezer, no idea what the power draw would be on batteries.

                Batteries - got any place under the truck bed between frame rails you can stash them ? 2, 6v-200ah deep cycle golf cart batteries are much better then parallel 12V batteries,
                Parallel batteries have issues with cycling and equal load sharing, one wears out quicker and then pulls the other one down even faster.

                Sealed batteries don't have regular gas issues, but in case of a fault, they will belch gas just like flooded, which stink. Trying to build a well vented box in the bed is a pretty tight space, I'll look for a spot between frame rails.

                Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dennis461 View Post
                  I think you will save money and skip some headaches buying ice.
                  Yep for 12 days a year a with a cheap ice chest with 3 - $2 bags of ice for 2 weeks. Get a good cooler and 2 bags of ice. That would be the smart money. Heck just the money saved on a conventional Ice Chest wil pay for 10 years of ice. which is about $50 worth of ice over 10 years.

                  But heck this is a solar forum where money is no object, not an economic advisory forum. So please encourage members to spend money, lots of money. Most do not know they can do what they want for a micro fraction of the cost of solar. Someone has to pay my bills and it is not going to be me. Sp please encourage him to spends thousands please. He does not need to know he can do this for less $50. We solar folks should not ever tell him that or we would be out of a job. Imagine if politicians were honest and did things logically, most would be out of a job without the citizens being dependent on them and telling them what they need. Then give it to them for nothing.
                  Last edited by Sunking; 01-01-2017, 09:03 PM.
                  MSEE, PE

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                    ....But heck this is a solar forum where money is no object, not an economic advisory forum. So please encourage members to spend money, lots of money. Most do not know they can do what they want for a micro fraction of the cost of solar. Someone has to pay my bills and it is not going to be me. Sp please encourage him to spends thousands please. He does not need to know he can do this for less $50. We solar folks should not ever tell him that or we would be out of a job. Imagine if politicians were honest and did things logically, most would be out of a job without the citizens being dependent on them and telling them what they need. Then give it to them for nothing.
                    I think I liked the old SK.

                    Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post

                      I think I liked the old SK.
                      At least he hasn't gone to the "dark side" and become more PC.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                        But heck this is a solar forum where money is no object, not an economic advisory forum.
                        Seems to me that dennis461 was in fact agreeing with Sunking (OP is better off simply buying ice as needed). Dennis's reply was poorly worded and Sunking took it as an endorsement to go solar.




                        Dave W. Gilbert AZ
                        6.63kW grid-tie owner

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by azdave View Post

                          Seems to me that dennis461 was in fact agreeing with Sunking (OP is better off simply buying ice as needed). Dennis's reply was poorly worded and Sunking took it as an endorsement to go solar.



                          Nah. Maybe SK has seen the light (from solar) and is just saying what people say on other solar website although he did use the "Comic Sans Font" which I use when I want to be sarcastic.

                          We should all support solar even if it is not economically viable for most people.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by azdave View Post

                            Seems to me that dennis461 was in fact agreeing with Sunking (OP is better off simply buying ice as needed). Dennis's reply was poorly worded and Sunking took it as an endorsement to go solar.
                            No SK has had a change of heart. He wants everyone to go solar and go broke doing it. It is the PC thing to do.

                            MSEE, PE

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by azdave View Post
                              Seems to me that dennis461 was in fact agreeing with Sunking (OP is better off simply buying ice as needed).
                              I knew that and I think Dennis knew that. I think even the OP knows that or should by now. Read all my responses. I pretty much lay it all out so the OP can make an informed decision. Then I had some fun with it and demonstrated how silly stupid folks can be about solar. Go to that other Solar Forum and they would have sold him $2000 worth of equipment right now to cool down his beer.

                              Its the new improved SK for 2017. No more 100% honestly or truth. JUST PC satire. You will never know which answer is real or fabrication.
                              MSEE, PE

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