Portable power units

Submitted: Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1122 Views:3412 Replies:8 FollowUps:6
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Pros and cons and recommendation as between a portable power unit such as a WAECO blue apple and a second battery wired into the car
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Reply By: paul - Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00

We need to know you power usage. If you have a fridge give size and motor details, running lights ? stereo ? etc. How long to you plan to be stationary ? etc
AnswerID: 3493

Reply By: jono - Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00
My only suggestion would be that if possible run everything from the battery as a generator can annoy other campers etc. you also have to carry fuel for it. Cheers, jono.
AnswerID: 3497

Reply By: DennisN - Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00
G'day Colin,

Hopefully you will get a wide variety of replies. I will speak for the Waeco.

I run a Waeco CF50 fridge from a Waeco Blue Apple Thumper. reason being it was too much trouble to fit a second battery to my vehicle.

I am quite happy with the choice. the longest I have run the fridge from the battery is 43 hours, and the battery was still showing "fully charged" on the idiot lights at front.

I also carry a Honda EU10i to top up power if needed. They are so quiet they surely could not offend anybody with their "noise". Even then, commons courtesy would dictate only using it at times when most people are awake.

Enjoy the bush

AnswerID: 3504

Follow Up By: Slunnie - Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00
At work we also use the Honda EU10i. Honestly, we set this thing up under a hutchie just out of camp and we have to stop and listen really hard if we are going to hear it. It also burns so lean that you cant smell it and there is no smoke. An excellent generator.
FollowupID: 1419

Reply By: Bob - Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 13, 2002 at 00:00
Colin you need to know the size of battery and the drain of the appliances. I use a small battery Projecta 17amp. I run a fluoro light which draws under 1 amp therefore it would go for over 20 hours. I also use a CPAP machine which draws a little over 1 amp. Thus in one night my battery is about half discharged. It recharges in a couple of hours from the car. Main and huge advantage is I don't have to run a lead from the car to the tent and the light can go anywhere. I used to have to put my vehicle close to the tent (or keep everyone in the vicinity awake with snoring! LOL)
AnswerID: 3508

Reply By: Paul - Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 00:00

Seeing as everyone else has thrown in 5c I'll just say with the portable power products you are paying for lack of knowledge of batteries and convenience - now I don't mean lack of knowledge in an insulting way otherwise i'd be building my own fourby, but they are all essentially what you can put together for a fraction of the price - just takes a little care and acquiring the knowledge of what you are doing and what you need. For example, I used to run with a 33 amp hour sealed deep cycle battery ($130) in the back section to which I connected my Waeco fridge. I bought a multimeter from Dick Smith for about $18 and wired up a plug to go from my accessory socket onto some battery clamps. My Waeco would happily plug away all night and most of the day on the battery, when I went driving I plugedg the battery into the spare socket with the fridge on the other plug. I measured how much the battery used and how much it needed to be recharged with the multimeter so i don't overcharge the battery, of course i would set the fridge on a colder setting in the wagon so it needed less cycling when on the battery on its own. Then of course i graduated to inverters and soldering better plugs and stuff and now I have a Optima yellow top that is also a starting battery (and for the electric winch when I get it) and so now I go to parties and talk about starting batteries and deep cycle batteries and round wound glass mat batteries and diodes and soldering techniques and solar panels and regulators and petrol chargers etc etc, yes, sad man i think i sometimes have become and i also now own both a Honda 10EUi and a Les Christie charger (clearly more money than sense - anyone wanna buy a beautifully maintained Honda 10EUi), sooo in retrospect, maybe it is better to go with the Waeco Blue Apple or you may end up like me - I walk past all these 16x9 wide screened televisions and looking at the price and think - what if i'd been satisfied with a portable power pack ?
AnswerID: 3522

Follow Up By: Paul#2 - Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 00:00
Nice story, sounds like someone i know.
Just wondering on your thoughts on the Les christies Genny. Are they as good as they say they are? How long do theu run on a tank full?? How noisy are they?? how big are they realy?? Yoyr thought are greatly apreciated , as i am thinking of going down the same road.
FollowupID: 1430

Follow Up By: Macca - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Interested in your genny if you want to sell. I'm in Perth - email is
dive00@hotmail.com. Thanks
FollowupID: 1503

Reply By: Clay Golledge - Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 00:00
Congratulations Paul on that witty reply and for constructing the worlds longest sentence. I endorse all the comments about the little Honda...a great piece of equipment.
AnswerID: 3534

Reply By: Paul #1 - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
Hey Paul #2

The les christie battery charger is amazing, but yes it is noisy. Now this is the interesting bit that is not widely known, the Les Christie machine has exactly, and I mean to precise model exactness, engine as the Honda EU10i. The difference between the two in terms of noise is the EU10i's amazing insulation which Les has been unable to reproduce and no they don't just bolt on. So Les's machine is more noisy, but then i followed les's advice and went to a Mitre 10 hardware store and bought a 3/4" corner copper pipe connection from the plumbing section and then got them to saw off about 14" of 3/4" copper pipe and that all fits off the exhaust into a hole in the ground which you cover with not too much dirt and that cuts the sound problem down to a EU10i's level (well it will be when i get someone to braze the connections together, i hope). Extra cost? about $6.

As for how long does a tank last ? I don't know as I have never run it to bottom. But as it has a throttle you can control how much it uses and being exactly the same GXH 50cc Honda engine as the EU10i i guess if you think the EU10i is economical then so is the Les Christie machine. And its lighter and i think it looks better, though my gurl prefers the EU10i. funny that, boy likes raw looking engine, gurl likes shiny plastic round red thing.
AnswerID: 3556

Follow Up By: Colin - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for your comments. they have allowed me to define my query as follows: will a power battery allow me to run a fridge and a light over night and start the car in the morning if the primary battery under the bonnet fails? The other side to this question is: if I put a second battery under the bonnet will it enable me to run a fridge at night and start the car if the primary battery fails?? I have a 40ltr Engel fridge and intend to buy a small fluorescent light. Colin
FollowupID: 1435

Reply By: paul - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
If by "power battery" you mean a portable power pack then try this. Find out your Engel model's current draw by looking at the metal compliance plate underneath or on the side and it will say probably either 2.7 amps or 3.9 amps or whatever the old ones were. If you stop driving at say 6pm and the fridge is being used as a fridge and not a freezer and it is cycled down to cold when you unplug it from the car onto the portable power pack, from 6pm to say 8am when you head off again is about 20 hours. If say your current draw was 2.7 amps and you don't live north of Byron Bay (figuring temperature into the matter) then the nights are cold and you fridge will need less heat extracted from it to get to desired temperate so I expect you may need the current draw for say 20% of the time which is say 4 hours which multiplied by 2.7 amps is 10.8 amps overnight. Your portable power pack is good for about 80% of its amp hour capacity so if you have a 20amp hour portable pack and you have used 10.8 amps by 8am I believe you will have no trouble starting a wagon with a flat battery. According to the 80% rule of thumb you therefore also have another say 5 amps to run a 1 amp per hour flouro for 5 hours. But that is cutting it very fine so go for a portable power pack with a greater safety margin as the cold cranking amps needed to start a wagon on a cold morning will not last very long if you only have a battery with 10% capacity left in it. Ideally go in the above example for the biggest power pack you can afford with say a min. of 35 - 30 amps. If you go into the tropics in summer you may want two. That said a cheap alternative is to replace your starting battery with a heavier duty battery and use that battery for all your power needs overnight and carry a cheaper power pack in the back only for use as an emergency jump starting battery if your under body battery fails to start the car in the morning.

AnswerID: 3562

Follow Up By: Paul#2 - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for the reply.
very informative and you talked me into one.
You dont hapen to work for Les christie (only joking).
i wish my boss would give me such a complete answer.

Thanks again
FollowupID: 1445

Follow Up By: Colin - Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for all the help. I have decided to get a Blue apple. It amazess me since I recently came on the 4WD scene how contradictory advice can be even among professioinals. For example i spoke to an Automechanic and told him I was going to get a Thumper and he said it would only run my Engel for 2 hours!!Futhermore it would not be able to start a car if it had been used to run the Engel over night.
FollowupID: 1480

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