car battery for power source?

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car battery for power source?

Postby shimgotit » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:06 pm

I had the following idea and would be stoked at some feedback!!

I was thinking of getting a car battery at walmart in reno and using it as our main power supply source for lights and basic electric. like maybe an electric water kettle and/or electric stove. but mainly for lights in/around our dome. the best part is, if the battery dies, just recharge is in my car for an hour and its as good as new...
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:32 pm

Buy a 115AH deep cycle battery from costco for $90.

Any electric appliance that heats is a controled short circuit and will suck up all your power.

Find another way to heat things. 8)
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby captain mcguiver » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:52 pm

You also need a power inverter to allow you to plug in "normal" lights and such into a car battery.

I suggest LED lights, and even 12 volt lights meant for a battery. It will be more efficient and allow you to run lights longer.

Also, you should get a meter and monitor your battery voltage. Draining it under 50% will damage it.

As FIg said, don't use anything electric to heat. Use a gas powered stove/whatever.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby maladroit » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:08 pm

You could buy three Coleman stoves for the price of a deep cycle battery, if you look around on Craigslist. The Coleman stoves will actually work, too. Always a plus.

The lights etc could be battery powered lanterns and such.

You could get deep cycle batteries, an inverter, and all that jazz, but it's not for the faint of heart and you don't have much time.

Now, I DO have a deep cycle and solar setup, but I'm just nuts.

Third option: go buy a small, ultra quiet gas generator. That is a plug and play solution.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby darius » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:53 pm

maladroit wrote:
Now, I DO have a deep cycle and solar setup, but I'm just nuts.



Hmm, nope...not nuts, just smart. It's not THAT complicated. It's way less complex than most people think. Time and patience required, sure.

maladroit wrote:
Third option: go buy a small, ultra quiet gas generator. That is a plug and play solution.


Worst. Advice. Ever. Gas generators are obnoxious, I don't care how quiet they are. We can do better! Certainly not worth annoying your neighbors to run a few xmas lights. Get some LED strings with built in battery packs if you're going for quick and dirty. And I agree with gas for heating things. Much better use of energy.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby BBadger » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:06 pm

Generators do have their place for power-hungry devices such as speakers, or heating, or stuff like that. Still, many camps can do better. I think the first mistake many people make with power is too many unnecessary power-hungry devices. That extra gas money could probably be better spent on more efficient devices--for example replacing 3W/ft incandescent rope lights with LED rope lights that use about 0.5W per foot. Even if you don't use less power, you'll have more light.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby justfred » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:40 pm

Batteries work well for LED lights. For cooking, why not use propane - much hotter and easier to use energy-wise.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby BBadger » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:53 am

I actually cringe at using electricity for cooking on the playa, but we did use some for crock pots to reheat some pulled pork so we didn't need to monitor them. The genny was already running, so no real additional harm done.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby trilobyte » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:34 am

Darius, I'm so glad you can do better for us. You're welcome to buy me a solar and battery rig capable of providing 2 kilowatts of power daytime/nighttime, until then I'll continue to use our camp's whisper-quiet generator for our power needs.

shimgotit, what did you end up doing? I'm with the others, energy and cost efficiency-wise I think the cooking should be done via propane. How you solve the rest depends largely on how big your camp is. I've known people who've milked their car battery successfully (using an inverter with the battery, I think), as well as those who drained the car and ended up having to replace the car battery in the wake of their failed attempts. It's worth noting that those who were successful did end up going with a different solution the following year. One went to a whisper quiet generator that he shared with his camp, the other went to a small solar rig to charge devices and power LED lighting. Both used propane for cooking.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:59 am

darius wrote:
maladroit wrote:
Third option: go buy a small, ultra quiet gas generator. That is a plug and play solution.


Worst. Advice. Ever. Gas generators are obnoxious, I don't care how quiet they are. We can do better! Certainly not worth annoying your neighbors to run a few xmas lights. Get some LED strings with built in battery packs if you're going for quick and dirty. And I agree with gas for heating things. Much better use of energy.

I'd love to go solar or wind, but there is no fucking way I'd give up generator power, as a back up at least, as part of my mobility solution. And since we use the gennies in camp itself, rather than in some no man's land between us and the next camp, we aren't annoying the neighbors--unless they are very much princesses and peas.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby nixiebunny » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:32 pm

I've been attending BM for years without a generator. I use a car battery sometimes, if the load is less than 2 amps continuous, or even smaller SLA batteries for intermittent, small loads. A 75W solar panel will keep things charged up.

This year I used a 100W panel on top of my bike which has a 300W Class D sound system, and it was more than enough to keep the batteries charged. I also charged the car battery with it when the bike was full. Then I had to put the car battery in the car, as its old battery died on Thursday night as expected.

But I'm an electrical engineer and have a good feel for battery charge, and I keep a voltmeter handy and know what it means, so I may be an anomaly.

Don't keep food cold or make it hot with electricity when camping. Not worth it. Use propane. You get about a hundred car batteries' worth of energy in a gallon of propane.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby gyre » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:11 am

Speakers power hungry?
Depends on how insane you think normal volume is.

My home systems draw 1 watt or less before annoying the neighbors.
And there are hyper efficient amps these days.

A background system for a camp can easily run on battery.
More bass and it becomes a question.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby Ratty » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:07 pm

I love my little butane stove. It comes in a plastic case. Single burner. Auto pilot, (it lights when you turn it on). They sell em at Asian Markets. Granted, I don't cook much. A $3.00 canister lasts all week and the whole thing weighs nothing. 3 years and no issues.

I'm all about weight when packing my van.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby Trishntek » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:25 pm

We burned 300W/hr continuous. When the PONY was used and abused, that adds another 80W alone. Bar blenders, vibrators, violet wands would add additional, intermittent requirements.

We have TWO 5kWhr Solar/wind power arrays. On the three windiest days/nights, we only ran the genset to make coffee in the morning and recharge 40 camp-members worth of gadgets. Just the wind turbine alone was making more power than we burned continuously.
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On the less windy days, we ran the genset for 3-5 hours. Not bad for burning ~6kW per day. But I would never go to the playa without my 7kW generator. Cloudy days with little or no wind, without Ol' Reliable, you are screwed.
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby EspressoDude » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:33 am

trishntek is just a blowhard.......
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby ygmir » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:37 am

EspressoDude wrote:trishntek is just a blowhard.......


certified, though!
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby Trishntek » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:10 am

ygmir wrote:
EspressoDude wrote:trishntek is just a blowhard.......


certified, though!


Certified sucker actually, but it is all relative,,, 8)
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:29 pm

Learned a new trick today!

No need for a hydometer!

You can check the individual cells of your 12 volt battery by removing the caps and touching the positive probe of your volt meter to the positive pole on the battery, then dip the negative probe in each individual cell and get a reading.

If each cell has the same voltage and is about 2.2 volts, the battery is good.

If any cells are lower than the rest or they are all different, it's time for a new battery!!! 8)
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby Trishntek » Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:02 pm

The voltage is the same per-cell for 6V batteries too. My array is Four 6V golf cart batteries. They are in series for a 24V setup.

@FigJam, I hope you know there are many younguns that have no idea where to find the fluid in a lead-acid battery. Some of 'em cannot even read an analog clock,,, no untoward intention of innuendo to the OP,,, jus' sayin'
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Re: car battery for power source?

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:25 pm

It's tricky making a post with just enough info that people who "know" can use the info while the totally uninformed won't even try, and wind up hurting themselves. :lol:
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