How many actually use 120VAC when off-grid?

zelseman

Observer
With the information provided it sounds like it needs to go. We are full time so our mileage is different, obviously. Charging laptops, drill, wife's nutri-bullit thing are about the only 120 uses we have.
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
I use a 400w modified square wave inverter mostly for laptop charging. I went through quite a few 12v-19v laptop power adapters, from cheap to expensive...they all eventually failed (usually melted).
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Really want PSW for electronics, may work but wasting lots of energy.

But again, DC-DC conversion is best, not at all rocket science, of course lots of rubbish out there, especially in the cheap Chinese arena.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
My rubbish is working just fine. 1000W Chinesium. Along with an Aux battery, roof mounted folding solar panel than can be readily dismounted and used on the ground, 1/0 cable to a rear power box with all manner of power ports and USB and Anderson connections for a couple different hobbies. Power laptops, various other 110VAC chargers. And a blender. Slushly Margaritas are a big hit in SoCal summer heat.
I've also used it for powered hand tools in many situations and in fact just used it this morning to chop up a 20' piece of 1/2" rebar with a Chinesium angle grinder so I could get it home inside my Sub.
I was ground zero for the '94 Northridge quake, just a block west and south of the apt buildings where most of the deaths occurred. Wrecked my house and I had nothing in the way of equipment or supplies on-hand. It was a very difficult couple of days until I could GTFO of there. I've been a 'prepper' ever since.
I like having lots of flexibility / power options, rather than looking for faults or justifications to NOT have them.






Then there was the time I drove to Vandenberg to witness the first west coast SpaceX rocket return to Land, had lots of camera stuff plugged into the inverter, battery rechargers etc. My pictures and video turned out poorly, but I had plenty of AC power!

 
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dwh

Tail-End Charlie
Really want PSW for electronics, may work but wasting lots of energy.
Not "may work"..."does work". The inverters in APC computer UPS units are MSW. "Electronics" mostly don't care. They generally run off power supplies, which almost never have any issues with MSW.

I have way more solar/batteries/generator than I need. I couldn't care less about a couple of percentage points of "efficiency". The solar puts out more power to the batteries than I use, so there is no power "wasted" at all, unless you want to count hundreds of watt*hours not harvested because the batteries are full.


But again, DC-DC conversion is best, not at all rocket science, of course lots of rubbish out there, especially in the cheap Chinese arena.
And even the good 12v stuff fails. But rarely do the 120v power bricks fail.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Yes, off grid power inputs usually surplus to your needs gives plenty of headroom, makes such inefficiencies a minor issue.

Others need to cut consumption when inputs aren't enough, need to be more conservative and maximize efficiency.

And then some strive for the latter out of principal.

Different strokes. . .
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
Yes, off grid power inputs usually surplus to your needs gives plenty of headroom, makes such inefficiencies a minor issue.
A non-issue actually.


Others need to cut consumption when inputs aren't enough, need to be more conservative and maximize efficiency.

And then some strive for the latter out of principal.
I guess I'm just unprincipled then.


Different strokes. . .
Exactly, and that touches upon the heart of the matter. I generally try to address the question that was asked, and/or try to work with what is already in place.

Others tend to just spout off their recommendations based on their view of "what's best".

In this case, the OP wants to get rid of a big inverter that he doesn't need, and use a small inverter for a few small things (though I have no idea what his wife's "nutri-bullit" thing is). That's fine.

But a few people around here tend to always recommend the 12v power gizmos for laptops. I've tried a bunch and they all crapped out. And not just on my giant 17" HP portable workstation laptop - the stupid things failed powering my HP netbook and my super-efficient power miser (9w running/14w charging, reported by acpid in Linux) Acer netbook as well. So I finally said to hell with it and just use a small cheapo inverter instead. Works great. No failures. So I spoke up and said so.

To be fair, the failures almost all happened in the 12v plugs where they go into the lighter socket, which is of course a common and well-known place where overheating happens.

Some would no doubt recommend rewiring with Anderson connectors and blah blah blah. I simply say, "You've got a small inverter already. Use that for the laptop and don't waste your money on the 12v laptop crap."





And then, predictable as the sunrise...some joker comes along to "correct" me...
 

Verkstad

Raggarkung
The inverters in APC computer UPS units are MSW.
”Modified”for sure. Lots of small UPS units dont even output an alternating polarity.
If one examines their innards. They may find its battery negative connected directly to neutral pin of the receptacle.

At my job, I used TrippLite UPS connected to the 12V truck as an inverter. Soldering, charge computer, cordless tool batteries...
Provided did not lean on it too hard, its 7Ah battery would even run 1”rotohammer long enough to set four 1/4” anchors and penetrate 6” wall 5/8”Ø.
Aside from having to stab an awl thru its pizeo sounder, it worked fine albeit its output is low about 106V
 
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FlipperFla

Active member
We run a 2KW pure sine wave inverter. Coffeemaker, micro, fridge, A/V system, chargers, basically just like when we are at home. 2 AGM group 31s, 180W solar, ACR with HD alt. and a 20A dual bank charger when plugged into shore power or a Yamaha 2K inverter/charger when boondocking.
 

Happy Joe

Apprentice Geezer
I really only use 12 (13.8) volts for recharging the tent battery.
My in tent lighting is 120 volts (because I can use standard easily available parts, plugs and hardware, and have a wide selection of light outputs and color temperature for the LED bulbs ; the same ones I use in the table lamps at home).
While optimizing the system performance (in the early days of wallymart LED bulbs I found that the cheap Harbor Freight inverters had definite preferences as to which bulbs ran the most efficiently...so i use one or two 450+ lumen 120 volt 2500 to 2800 K color temperature, bulbs in side the tent (depending on which tent and the length of stay).
If I need to recharge USB toys the inverter has a USB connection that works for the purpose.
...In the last 30 years of running off batteries for lighting (since the fluorescent tube days) I have not found that 12 volts works as well (tried several times; 120 volts is just less hassle)... note; first inverter was a UPS, with disabled beeper...
504776
35 amp hour, lead acid , with a modified 80 watt inverter good for about a week of off grid camping- lighting (gotta watch the power usage though) ~$100... will not run a fridge more than overnight (not a biggie since the advent of good coolers).

Water gets heated and Coffee gets made on the propane stove, food gets cooked over the campfire... Tunes are now USB (used to be 120 volts then 12 volts) recharged from the inverter.
If I were to need more electricity; the nears silent Yamaha genny is available (though more trouble to carry and operate than its worth, IMO).
Tried induction cooking camping too much hassle, for me; the same with a fridge.

Enjoy!

Edit; when going out for more than about 5 days I typically bring along a couple of small solar panels to trickle charge the battery (or it can be recharged from the vehicle).
504916

Enjoy!
 
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Reactions: WVI

loonwheeler

Adventurer
Common 120 VAC uses for us are rice cooker, pressure cooker (some trips), charging laptops, hair dryer, and hot water kettle (saves propane provided we have enough power in the battery bank). The inverter is a large appliance and takes up some room, but then again we are not really hurting that much for space since we normally take shorter trips and do not live in the vehicle full time. We personally use the inverter for each trip we take. Suits our needs and camping style.
 

Fierokid

New member
In my 28ft travel trailer (I do basecamp for hunting/fishing/exploring and space is nice with a young and growing family) we don't have an inverter for 120V built in, sometimes I wish I did for running smaller things like charging power tools, or running a small TV/DVD player for the kids on a rainy day. Any other 120V 'needs' are handled by a generator due to power consumption. A/C when it's super hot, Microwave when it's been a long day and need quick food, to run my pancake air compressor when needed and top off batteries. I'm wanting to move away from using the compressor so much but unsure what all I can move off of it without going crazy on a battery bank/solar (mainly A/C or microwave. Looking into a 12V compressor)

Ultimately its your use that would determine if it's worth removing it for space (what would fit in its place)
 

plh

Explorer
Pulled out my Xantrax 1000W and put in a cheap 400W (on a switch & rarely use it), added shore power and a better solar controller. 12VDC and propane power nearly everything.
 

hour

Observer
I've blown up an air mattress a handful of times over the course of 5+ years. Only because integrated 120v pump. Generator runs solely to convert to DC. Can't really think of any reason I have anymore to carry an inverter.
 
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