Power Invertor Arranhement

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I'm off again to Baja and some remote desert camping in Nevada and I need take a low power 12vdc/120vac power inverter to charge my laptop and camera. I obviously do not want to strain or drain my battery and be stranded yet I don't have the inclination right now to do the full second battery thing. Might I just carry a charged spare battery? Is there a workable and safe arrangement?
 

lovetoski

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If you could do the charging while the truck is running, then you don't need a second battery. Just plug in the inverter, and off you go.

However, if you need to recharge the laptop/camera while the truck is off, that's a different story. Since it's baja, could you use a solar panel?
 
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NAPA has a900 cca jump start battery on sale for 70 bucks that would run your laptop all day and half way through the night. You can charge it when you run the engine and it is portable unlike a car battery. A solar pannel is a good idea as well. I have a small cell, foldable 12"x12" , that charges C, D, AA, AAA, cell phones and other smaller batteries in 10 hours of sunlight. There are others that are more effective and for larger applications but it works well for small jobs. Got it at REI. Coleman makes a bunch as well.:cheers:
 
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It would be fairly simple to buy the second battery tray from cdan, and the washer bottle relocation kit from slee, and install a second battery with no wiring. You could charge the second battery fully before you trip. You would then know in that in the worst case if you over discharge your starting battery you could self jump yourself.
 
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Rich said:
It would be fairly simple to buy the second battery tray from cdan, and the washer bottle relocation kit from slee, and install a second battery with no wiring. You could charge the second battery fully before you trip. You would then know in that in the worst case if you over discharge your starting battery you could self jump yourself.

Yes, in fact I had almost decided on doing just this. Then I found the Costco power pack (about $80). It will jump start a truck, has a built in compressor, a 400w inverter and it will charge from the truck when driving. There is room for it under the hood without moving any stuff.

This seems a good solution. Can anyone see any problems?

Mike
 
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If you're going to use an inverter, just make sure you're alternator is keeping up with it while you're running, and you shut it off while you're not. We have inverters on every rig in our fleet, and when the guys forget to shut them off, their batteries are dead in no time at all.

I'm not sure of our (80) alternator output, but my fleet is running dual OEM 130 amp alternators, and with the a/c blowers, lights, stereos and inverters running, at low engine rpm, we are burning up diodes in the alternators. They can't dissipate the heat they're creating fast enough to stay cool.

--Eddie
 
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How do you determine whether your alternator is keeping up? Or that you aren't damaging it? I have a 800w inverter I ordered and will get it in the next week, don't want to screw anything up. :)
 
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Our rigs have amp meters and volt meters, so usually the amp gauge is in the neutral area, and the volt meter is usually around 13 to 14 volts. As we increase the load, meaning turning on lights, blowers, and the inverter, etc, provided the rpms are high enough, the apm meter will show the load on it that we're pulling, and the volt meter (hopefully) will be no less than 12 volts, meaning the alternators are supplying the load and not creating a battery discharge.

If the rpms decrease, say while at idle in park, or while going through town, the alternator has to be able to supply the amperage, or else you go into a battery discharge state. The amp gauge will begin to drop and show negative amperage, and you're battery will be supplying the amps for your load. We've created up to 190 negative on the amp gauge, and pulled our batteries down to 9 to 10 volts. That kills some of our electronics that are volt-sensitive.

Once the rpms increase back up, the alternators are not only trying to recharge the batteries, but also supply the load, they overheat tremendously, and burn themselves up. Just because we're running a combined potential capacity of 230 amps, that's not for idle speeds and for anything more than momentary.

Course, I'm not a mechanic, and that's what I understand from our fleet mechanics. Our Fords have automatic idle adjuster/load managers, and with the parking brake on, will adjust the rpms to handle the load, then reduce them back down. That doesn't work while driving through town, though.

If it were me, getting an inverter, or if I had a big stereo or a winch, I'd get the OEM Toyota throttle adjuster.

Hope that helped.

--Eddie
 
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The deal above is for just an inverter - not a power pack.

The auto power packs from Costco and others that I referred too have their own internal batteries that charge from the trucks alternator when driving. When the inverter is used it draws on its own battery and does NOT draw from the trucks battery. An integrated alarm/low power switch turns the power pack off when its internal battery gets low so as not to draw from the trucks battery.
 

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