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Old 10-26-2020, 03:33 PM   #1
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Battery power when boondocking

We have a 2017 17 ft Viking (like the Clipper) the we purchased used. Is there a way to get some outlets to run off the batteries?
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Old 10-26-2020, 03:40 PM   #2
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in order to get 120v ac power from a 12v dc battery you will need an Inverter. This can be as simple as a small (car cig lighter) plug in model ($20-$50) or a whole house Inverter with a transfer switch (several hundred). Ultimately you need to figure out what you are trying to run to see what set up you need. However, regardless of system design, your batteries will be the limiting factor.
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Old 10-26-2020, 04:21 PM   #3
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We have a 2017 17 ft Viking (like the Clipper) the we purchased used. Is there a way to get some outlets to run off the batteries?
What are you wanting to run off the outlets? As was said, an inverter that plugs into the 12v socket, is the easiest solution. A whole house inverter will be a big job to set up.
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Old 10-26-2020, 04:48 PM   #4
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As the other respondents have said, you need an inverter which you attach to your battery. The size depends on what you want to power? The best type are "pure sign" inverters. Expect to pay some good money for a good one. Also, expect to lose 10 percent of the power drawn in the process of changing DC to AC.
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Old 10-26-2020, 05:43 PM   #5
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Thanks! We're just looking to run a coffee maker and maybe a TV. That's about it.
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Old 10-26-2020, 06:10 PM   #6
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Dave, I also have been looking into getting an inverter to do those things. I have been thinking of two possibilities.


Firstly, I have been thinking of getting a little solar generator that has a built in inverter that would nicely store in the interior coach. Google Solar generator-some very interesting stuff there with many applications. It is lake having an extra lithium battery on hand in your coach.

Secondly, I have thought of just getting a 1500-2000 watt pure sign Inverter and setting it up near my batteries in my storage bay and running a power cord into the coach for TV and coffee.
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Old 10-27-2020, 07:14 AM   #7
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Thanks! We're just looking to run a coffee maker and maybe a TV. That's about it.
The TV is pretty easy. They are typically less than 100 watts. A coffee maker however is another thing. They are big energy users and require a much larger inverter and battery bank.

I use a pour through coffee maker to keep from draining batteries.

https://www.amazon.com/Presto-02835-...n%2C212&sr=8-2
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Old 10-27-2020, 07:19 AM   #8
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The TV is pretty easy. They are typically less than 100 watts. A coffee maker however is another thing. They are big energy users and require a much larger inverter and battery bank.

I use a pour through coffee maker to keep from draining batteries.

https://www.amazon.com/Presto-02835-...n%2C212&sr=8-2
TVs may take less current, but they draw that current for many more hours. When determining the drain from any given device, calculate the amp-hours. Also, bear in mind that TVs are always on. They may draw far less when you turn them “off”, but they are still power vampires.
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Old 10-27-2020, 07:23 AM   #9
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Secondly, I have thought of just getting a 1500-2000 watt pure sign Inverter and setting it up near my batteries in my storage bay and running a power cord into the coach for TV and coffee.
Not sure how familiar you are with 12v systems and inverters. But keep in mind that an inverter producing 1000w of 120v AC current is pulling 80+ amps per hour from you battery. You will drain a single 24 series battery very quickly.

Most coffee makers I've seen are between 800-1200 watts.
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Old 10-27-2020, 07:35 AM   #10
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A few things to remember prior to spending money to accomplish your goal. Check your battery many TT come with dual purpose battery ( many timed called marine deep cycle) that have about 80AHrs of capacity. You should only use about 50% to maximize battery life so you have about 40AHrs. For each amp of 110VAC power you will use 10A of 12VDC power. A coffee maker using 8A AC will draw 80A from your battery. You will need a good solar set up or a small generator to recharge the batteries and likely an additional battery. You will probably be happier with a small inverter generator for the high demand items.
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Old 10-27-2020, 07:46 AM   #11
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Things that produce heat use a LOT of power.
Coffee maker, toaster, microwave oven, blow drier etc.
A stove top percolator is old school but they work GREAT and are relatively cheap. Find one in the camping isle of your favorite big box store. You can also find a cute little stove top toaster same place.
As others have mentioned- if you have the batteries- a cigarette socket plug in inverter can power a small/med TV for a few hours.
Walmart.com and search for "camp coffee pot".
Here's an example of one that will last you for..... forever probably! Less than $13 bucks!
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Tra...-Pot/393404594
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Old 10-27-2020, 12:09 PM   #12
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Not sure how familiar you are with 12v systems and inverters. But keep in mind that an inverter producing 1000w of 120v AC current is pulling 80+ amps per hour from you battery. You will drain a single 24 series battery very quickly.

Most coffee makers I've seen are between 800-1200 watts.

My GenX (I don't have one) wattage sheet calls for 1500 watts for a coffee maker, and that is one of the reasons I still drink instant coffee, LOL. The long and short of it is that you have to have a large size battery bank. I have 2400 watt hours of usable wattage and expect to soon get some more.


I assume that the coffee maker won't run more than 15 minutes; does that sound right? If so that is only 375 watts. If you have usable solar that will easily fill that void. All these inverters, at least the ones that I am aware of, can be turned off when not in use. As always, when boondocking you have to plan your electrical use. It is not much different than following a financial weekly budget.
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Old 10-27-2020, 01:24 PM   #13
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Thanks! We're just looking to run a coffee maker and maybe a TV. That's about it.
As was said, a coffeemaker is a high draw item.
There are other ways of making coffee, that don't need electricity.

For Keurig, Google the "MyJo".
For a pot of coffee, look at the Coleman stovetop coffeemaker.
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Old 10-27-2020, 01:32 PM   #14
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TVs may take less current, but they draw that current for many more hours. When determining the drain from any given device, calculate the amp-hours. Also, bear in mind that TVs are always on. They may draw far less when you turn them “off”, but they are still power vampires.
Very true. When I installed my 2kw inverter I found that the Microwave drew around 125 amps. According to my Victron monitor this amounted to right around 2 amp hours per minute of operation.

I run my TV and DVD player from a 300 watt True Sine Wave inverter and the combined current draw is ~5 amp. A movie of 2+ hours will use over 10 amp hours. The popcorn adds another 3 amp hours from the microwave

As you said, it's not how much current is being consumed, but how long it is being consumed.

When boondocking however I find that reading a book at night only uses about one amp per hour.
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Old 10-27-2020, 02:29 PM   #15
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A single 12V battery of good size...Group 27 or 31 can power a single 60 watt light bulb for 20 hours.
A simple Mr. Coffee uses TEN times that energy...and if all things were equal could run for 2 hours. But the FASTER you draw energy from a batt...the LESS total energy you will get out. This is calculated under Peukarts law and the answer in this case is that you COULD run a Mr. Coffee for 25 minutes before your battery was DEAD FLAT.
Now you can only run your battery till 50% discharged without damage so you would need a PAIR of 100amphour batts (of 6 volts pair) to safely run a Mr. Coffee for 25 minutes.

My advice is that if you want to run Coffee Pots, Microwaves, Hair Dryers or Portable Heaters or Air Conditioners...you need a GENERATOR...not an inverter. If you want to charge a cell phone, run a small TV or PC etc. then a couple of batts and an inverter will work...but you'll need to replace that energy before you get below 50% which means SUFFICIENT solar panels (rule of thumb 100 watts solar provides 25 amp hours a DAY in sunshine so 400 watts to replace 200 amp hours used) ... or a genny.
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Old 10-27-2020, 02:47 PM   #16
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A single 12V battery of good size...Group 27 or 31 can power a single 60 watt light bulb for 20 hours.
A simple Mr. Coffee uses TEN times that energy...and if all things were equal could run for 2 hours. But the FASTER you draw energy from a batt...the LESS total energy you will get out. This is calculated under Peukarts law and the answer in this case is that you COULD run a Mr. Coffee for 25 minutes before your battery was DEAD FLAT.
Now you can only run your battery till 50% discharged without damage so you would need a PAIR of 100amphour batts (of 6 volts pair) to safely run a Mr. Coffee for 25 minutes.

My advice is that if you want to run Coffee Pots, Microwaves, Hair Dryers or Portable Heaters or Air Conditioners...you need a GENERATOR...not an inverter. If you want to charge a cell phone, run a small TV or PC etc. then a couple of batts and an inverter will work...but you'll need to replace that energy before you get below 50% which means SUFFICIENT solar panels (rule of thumb 100 watts solar provides 25 amp hours a DAY in sunshine so 400 watts to replace 200 amp hours used) ... or a genny.

One note, a Mr Coffee uses a lot of power to heat and drip brew a pot of coffee. A Keuring uses a lot of power to brew a single cup. When I start mine in the morning for my "wake-up cup" (at home) it takes only a couple minutes to preheat and maybe a minute to brew the cup. Of the two I'd say the Keuring is less of an energy hog unless the whole family is lined up to get their "wake-up cup".

Even though I have the ability use a coffee maker I still use a Presto MyJoe. Stovetop heating of the water works just fine and doesn't make any noise if others are sleeping.
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Old 10-27-2020, 03:23 PM   #17
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The old adage still applies. If you want heat, burn something.
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Old 10-27-2020, 04:03 PM   #18
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Installing an outlet

Since Coachmen trailers don't come with 12 volt outlets, you will have to install one to plug in the inverter to run your tv. I spliced into the power to the radio, and installed a triple 12 volt outlet (from Amazon) under the overhead cabinets. I also added a digital voltmeter in the panel above the radio, and a switch to shut off power to the radio so I don't have that hideous blue light shining at night.

I don't have a tv, but I use the outlets to power a 12 volt fan and a USB plug-in to charge my phone and tablet. LCD tvs are power hogs, but the newer, small LED ones only consume about 20 watts. You can run that all evening with very little draw on your batteries.
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Old 10-27-2020, 04:17 PM   #19
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I installed a 2000w inverter about three ft from the batteries and two ft from the outside wall. Installed a reciptical directly in the wall. Just plug trailer into the plug and I have AC power to the whole trailer. Turn everything off except bkr to the outlets. Installed a remote on/off switch to the inverter. Want a cup of coffee quickly, hit switch and turn on 4 cup drip, makes quick then off with coffee maker and inverter. Coffee into thermos. Same procedure with microwave and toaster. Never have had a problem. Especially in the summer. 300 w roof solar with 200w portable that parallels roof units when plugged in. Only have 2 6v deep cycle batteries. Use this system year round. In the winter I plug in the portable solar to catch the low winter sun. Don't watch TV when boondocking. I do get a lot of strange looks when I plug the trailer into it's shelf if anyone is around.
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Old 10-27-2020, 04:35 PM   #20
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I do get a lot of strange looks when I plug the trailer into it's shelf if anyone is around.
I got a lot of funny looks last weekend when I did similar. Didn't install a receptacle from my inverter but just a long piece of 10-3 SO Cord with 30 amp RV cap.

May use your method.
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