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Old 05-22-2015, 12:32 PM   #11
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You may want to keep the fridge on a dedicated inverter, not used for any other loads. Other loads can be run on inverters that you turn on and off as needed.
That may be a good idea, especially if the fridge-only inverter has higher efficiency or lower power consumption (the inverter itself consumes power) as compared to a single inverter sized to do everything.

Something I may do on my bus is install an extra temperature sensor in the fridge so that it can call for the inverter to turn on when the fridge needs to run, and then turn the inverter off again when the fridge finishes its cycle. I haven't figured out yet how much power that would actually save as compared to just leaving the inverter on all the time.
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Old 05-22-2015, 02:14 PM   #12
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We were thinking we would keep it plugged in on an extension cord overnight. I am going to test the generator with the ice shaver today. I could also plug in a fridge we have in the garage to make sure the generator can handle both. I have a Kill-A-Watt meter that I can also use. We may not even need to run the freezer while out selling our wares. It should have several ice blocks inside and it will be closed the majority of the time. These are things we are going to have to figure out as we go. I would prefer the inverter and batteries option rather than the generator. The generator is definitely in the few hundred dollar range and not thousands.
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Old 05-22-2015, 03:04 PM   #13
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I would think house batteries and generator would be best so that you don't stress out the actual bus/van batteries or alternator? Then you don't have to worry about starting or moving the bus/van cause the concession/house requirement's drain it?
It is just an opinion but even if it takes more money and salvage time and work I want the two seperate that way if the bus don't start I know where to trouble shoot, if the house don't work then I can always crank up and go home to work on it if I can't solve it where I am at
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Old 05-22-2015, 03:34 PM   #14
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Good points. The generator we have is supposed to run for 12 hours on a tank of gas. If we were at an event rather than off selling cold treats, we could have the bus not running and just running off of the generator or an extension cord. Run on sentence? Perhaps. I would possibly like the option of an inverter as well as additional power. How many batteries would everyone advise in a battery bank? I would like to have Optima gel cells, but that might be a hard sell to the board. Lol
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Old 05-22-2015, 03:37 PM   #15
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I am also trying to picture how I would wire up the generator to the batteries. The generator puts out AC. Maybe it puts out 12VDC at a certain wattage as well. I would not think I would need to have an AC to DC converter from the generator to the battery bank and then DC to AC for the equipment.
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Old 05-22-2015, 03:56 PM   #16
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I was also just looking at this.

Mobile Inverter | DC to AC Power Inverter | Mobile Food Trucks
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Old 05-22-2015, 04:01 PM   #17
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How many batteries would everyone advise in a battery bank? I would like to have Optima gel cells, but that might be a hard sell to the board. Lol
Optima is a nice battery that does have its special place in the world.. but for this kind of application, I get the idea its dollars-per-available-amp-hour figure isn't very good. Plain old deep-cycle lead, or fancy new LiFePo are worth a look. Bank size is a very personal choice; it depends entirely on what you need to run (how much power is needed) and for how long. That said, it usually works out to "as many batteries as your bus and wallet have room for!"

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I am also trying to picture how I would wire up the generator to the batteries. The generator puts out AC. Maybe it puts out 12VDC at a certain wattage as well. I would not think I would need to have an AC to DC converter from the generator to the battery bank and then DC to AC for the equipment.
For some reason generators always have a battery charge output, but it's always useless because it's unregulated, there's no charge controller, and has a very low current capability. Instead, get a mains-powered charger and run it off the 120V generator output. In case you end up with a 12V bank, there's a Black & Decker branded 40 amp charger that nat_ster and myself are quite fond of.

You can buy the pieces separately (charger/converter, inverter, transfer switch) or integrated (hybrid inverter for example).
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Old 05-22-2015, 04:04 PM   #18
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I can't afford the batteries and verter's I want right now but I am changing 120 to 12 on most and only a fridge and water heater on 120. If everything you are running is 120 then a generator on a good extension cord 10 guage is probably the best if you can run on a genny and need 12 without a verter and don't have money for batteries like me a good battery charger (50-60$) for me with a GFCI will work.
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Old 05-22-2015, 04:31 PM   #19
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Snowball! Are you trying to do a food truck, ice cream? There are many option's depending on what you are attempting to do? I have references for a lot of HVAC equipment cause I do it commercialy? If I know your exact application I can give give you contact info that can help get it right once without guessing and less money in the long run. I think that is what we are all after
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Old 05-22-2015, 04:48 PM   #20
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when using your house batteries you dont want to pull more than about 10% of their capacity, so if you have a single 100ah battery then you want your drain to be 10amps or less.
remember that 1amp Ac is equal to 10 amps DC, so see what your fridge pulls in amps then multiply by 10 to get its need in DC
if the fridge pulls 3 amps Ac, then its DC pull will be 30amps, then you will need a 300ah battery bank at the very least, 400 will be better, also you should only use 50% or less of your batteries so a 300ah bank should not be pulled down more than half.
so with the 30amp pull will last perhaps 4 hours on a 300ah battery bank, assuming it pulls 30 amps constantly, best to test it with a killawatt meter
the inverter needs to be within just a few feet of the batteries,
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