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gary_watson
29-06-2011, 08:37 PM
Wondering what people are using in the way of inverters to give themselves 240v in a mobile situation for doing out door events. Some people may just say, use a "genny" but i am specifically interested in an inverter. I have done some homework and the possibilities are...

Square wave vs pure sine wave inverter.
Normal car battery vs deep cycle battery

You could go the whole hog and spend a load of money buying Pure sine wave with deep cycle battery. Is this necessary or is it "best practice" ?

I dont like the idea of running from a "fag lighter"

The equipment running from it would be a HiTi 520 and a laptop

Thanks
Gary

Stuart Morley
30-06-2011, 08:18 AM
Hi Gary

You are limited to 150w from a "fag lighter" as the wiring in the car only usually supports enough for a "fag lighter".

The HiTi 510 (they don't make a 520) printer will use a maximum of 400watts (40w at standby) and almost any 400w inverter will do the job. It is worth buying the inverter from someone who will give you a refund if it doesn't do the job.

Tip: Buy your battery from an agricultural suppliers (tractor batteries are v good) and get the biggest you can carry and afford. Don't pay high street prices. Usually anything agricultural is 1/2 the high street price, anything Marine is 2 x high street price !

In the evening just charge from a conventional battery charger and if you leave it for a long period without use then use a battery conditioner (the ones sold for motorbikes are very good) or charge every month or so.

Hope that helps

Stu

www.systeminsight.co.uk (http://www.systeminsight.co.uk)

ian griffiths
30-06-2011, 08:37 AM
Hi,

I'm afraid my experience of invertors is not a good one, 10 years ago when we first started recruiting teams, two of the guys tried the invert0r route and both failed miserably with inconsistant power supply, batteries not able to last a full a day and one with an exploding invertor resulting in a small fire in his van during an event (Gary "I know what I'm doing" Johnson)

Even before they went wrong both had reported huge amounts of heat as being a side effect of their prolonged use, they had to switch things off when customers were not at the vans just to get through the day.

Neither of these were cheap system and both required large, heavy and very expensive batteries, at the time we were told you cannot use car type batteries as they are designed to deliver a high out-put for a short period of time, a leisure battery is designed to operate the other way around.

A friend of my in-laws has a long boat, he and his wife live on it for 4-6 months a year and have done so for about 15 years, they had a very expensive system installed, in the region of 6k and this still has it's limitations so they usually end up using the invertor whilst on the move with the engine recharging the batteries and a Honda 2.0 (LPG) suitcase generator for when they are moored, as far they are concerned much more reliable.

Get information from everywhere, technology has probably changed in the last 10 years so things may be different now.

Drew Hadwin
30-06-2011, 08:47 AM
.

Mark Amies
30-06-2011, 08:54 AM
Perhaps, like the generator question , one that deserves a serious market review from EPS? A kind of Which? report.

ian griffiths
30-06-2011, 09:05 AM
Damn Drew, it was you who "Sold out the Boot" he didn't deserve that he had a sole you know!

Drew Hadwin
30-06-2011, 09:09 AM
.

ian griffiths
30-06-2011, 09:17 AM
I was told he was well heeled?

Stuart Morley
30-06-2011, 09:22 AM
Ian,

Yes I guess things have moved on a lot, but it's the old adage "do it right or don't bother doing it" - is that an old adage? if not it should be :)

We have a 2200w Inverter in the photobus with two big 50kg batteries all professionally wired in, well wired in by me, but professional checked :)

It is a charger inverter, so charges when mains is applied and connected to the engine so that if the batteries need recharging away from mains power then the engine can be started.

Cost was almost 1000 for the inverter alone. Total install was about 2,000


Mark,

I think this is an area that anyone looking to get into should get professional expert advice (I did) and where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Doing a Which style report would a) take a lot of time and effort and b) only tell half the story IMHO, but if you can find someone (with the correct knowledge) who is prepared to spend the time for free (or would the EPS pay for their time?)

I also think that not many people go down the inverter route so, the effort required / benefits wouldn't possibly be worth it?

Nothing wrong with people sharing what they use of course and their experiences.

Stu

http://www.systeminsight.co.uk

gary_watson
30-06-2011, 09:29 AM
Damn!!! always getting that printer model number wrong, going to get it tattooed on my hand :lol:
Inverter is definitely the best option for me, on retirement i can take it to gambia with me when i move there, hook it up to a solar power system and battery. It can then power my drinks cooler next to the sun bed :lol:

Thanks for the tip about agricultural suppliers. Its all marine suppliers here on the devon coast but there are alot of farmers as well!!

I was also thinking about pure sine wave because i read that normal square wave gives a dirty signal that laptops and printers do not like. Is this true?

Cheers
Gary

ian griffiths
30-06-2011, 09:39 AM
Hi Gary,

No not true of most equipment that we would use.

The power supply on a laptop is just a battery charger, we have run Mitsubishi printers for over 10 years on ordinary open frame generators, I would say that getting a generator that has 100% redundancy over your needs is good advice, this way the supply stays very stable.

We use the SE3200 (2.7kva) running on LPG we have 25+ of these among our guys and have never had any issues whatsoever. As a "plucked from the air" average 500+ outdoor events a year over 10 years.....

gary_watson
30-06-2011, 02:55 PM
Hi Ian
I spoke to the guy at Stephill Generators. I got the link off one of the old Threads. Without me saying anything, he asked me what i would be running from it, i told him, and he said he would not run it without a AVR (voltage regulator). do you have those fitted to your generators?

I know its probably a pucker system. If you do not need an AVR, the price is on a par with a Pure sine wave inverter and deep cycle battery.
Cheers
GAry

ian griffiths
30-06-2011, 03:00 PM
Hi Gary,

I don't think we don't use such a device, unless it's built in to the generator from new?

Mike Weeks
30-06-2011, 03:12 PM
Gary,

most suitcase generators have a pure sine wave output, framed generators do not generally feature such a level of refinement. An AVR or a UPS could provide similar functionality. Even at indoor events using the customers power I put an anti surge socket inline.

Whilst a framed generator wont damage your power tools, the sorts of devices they are designed to power, there is an element of risk when using with IT equipment and just because you have not had an issue, not having the protection could make life interesting.

Mike

ian griffiths
30-06-2011, 03:31 PM
Whilst I'm not guaranteeing anything, I think if using an open frame generator was going to cause a problem, after 10+ years and all the thousands of events we've covered I think we'd have found out by now?

Plus of course just because it's an open frame does not mean it can't be fitted with a run quiet exhaust, AVR or anything else, suitcase units are nice but they are expensive by comparison and as far as I'm aware, you can't get much past 2kva with a suitcase type?

Mark Amies
30-06-2011, 03:37 PM
Ian,

Yes I guess things have moved on a lot, but it's the old adage "do it right or don't bother doing it" - is that an old adage? if not it should be :)

We have a 2200w Inverter in the photobus with two big 50kg batteries all professionally wired in, well wired in by me, but professional checked :)

It is a charger inverter, so charges when mains is applied and connected to the engine so that if the batteries need recharging away from mains power then the engine can be started.

Cost was almost 1000 for the inverter alone. Total install was about 2,000


Mark,

I think this is an area that anyone looking to get into should get professional expert advice (I did) and where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Doing a Which style report would a) take a lot of time and effort and b) only tell half the story IMHO, but if you can find someone (with the correct knowledge) who is prepared to spend the time for free (or would the EPS pay for their time?)

I also think that not many people go down the inverter route so, the effort required / benefits wouldn't possibly be worth it?

Nothing wrong with people sharing what they use of course and their experiences.

Stu

http://www.systeminsight.co.uk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Well yeah sure, whatever. A bit of education would help.

gary_watson
30-06-2011, 04:02 PM
Hmmm, food for thought. I guess there is no "best practice" as such and there are lots of people running different systems that suit there needs.

It would seem to me that a guy like myself that is running a small setup (printer and laptop) doing the odd out door event is probably best suited too Inverter and deep cycle batteries and spike/surge protectors for insurance. At this stage i have no plans for doing loads of outdoor events (i will suck it and see) and mainly stick to the indoor events.

People who are running lots of equipment outdoors are more suited to the "genny" route. One thing about a big "Genny" is that you can sell your excess electricity back to the grid, in this case the grid being the burger van next door :rofl:

Cheers
Gary

ian griffiths
30-06-2011, 04:15 PM
Hey Gary, it has happend!

But a cautionary tale is needed, perhaps Mark Eaton can fill in? :rofl:

Amanda Wigmore
01-07-2011, 07:23 AM
I've not got a Generator (it's on the list of things to buy).
Last week I did a Horse Show using a laptop and the HiTi 510 both running from a 400w Inverter which was connected directly to the Car battery (not the cigar lighter). We started the car up every 2 hours for a round 10 minutes just to be sure but everything ran smoothly for around 8 hours and the car started as normal at the end of the day.
I know nothing about how much power things take and wouldn't be confident running more on the Inverter but, as I said, 400w from a car battery seemed to cope very well.

x.

gary_watson
01-07-2011, 07:28 AM
Thanks Amanda
Thats great! First hand experience from someone with exactly the same as what i want to run. Cant get much better.

All the best

Gary

Mark Eaton
01-07-2011, 08:01 AM
Very funny Ian!

For everyone else a warning - beware lovely ladies from the Red Cross come baring tea urn leads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark

barry derbyshire
01-07-2011, 11:09 PM
Hi All, Just come across this post late.

For my set-up it was based on the System Insite Bus, using their theory of power from batteries and inverters. I started off by speaking with a friend who as a consultant for Rail Track, he was designing power supplies for signal boxes. I set him the task of designing me a system My wish list was a server, two monitors for the sales area, three computers with touch screens attached. The system needed to run at least two Sony UP-DR 150s. for printing, and all the computers were full size machines not laptops.

He was told that the system needed enough power to work for around an 8hr day and have the capability to recharge itself within 6 hrs. [Its no good having to wait 3 days for a recharge if you have a 2 or 3 day show]

He came up with a formula and suggesting we use a marine inverter/charger system, the ones that big power boats use to run instruments and lighting. He suggested these as this is what he had been using in a much larger scale to power signal boxes miles from nowhere out in the sticks. This Unit cost me 1200 although there are cheaper smaller ones available, but he suggested this model for my needs.

Having got the inverter/ charger [a cracking bit of kit which has got a lot of features] I approached a national battery company called ManBat for advice. These people can supply top of the range batteries well above the leisure battery standard. They suggested gel filled batteries that have extra thick plates and enjoy being rapidly discharged and recharged They are not cheap and I think mine were about 500 for the two, They are big and takes two people to lift them, not that we ever need to move them.

The next step having got the kit was to get 'Experts' to fit it all out for you. The Inverter/Charger I let my mate fix as the electricians I spoke to, both Vehicle and Household were not all too sure about it all. As we are dealing with 240 volt electricity, I tasked a household electrician to fit me a ring main around the van and Pat test everything on-board.

Where I made my biggest mistake was to turn a qualified Auto Electrician loose on the van to get the van to charge the batteries when they were getting low. He got it all wrong, almost destroyed the vans other electrical system and cost me a lot of needless money. So beware even the reputable experts can get it wrong.

Like somebody said earlier in these posts you do get what you pay for. This setup on the van has not let me down once in 3 yrs. The inverter/charger was until recently giving up to 10hrs pure sinewave electrical power on one charge. We have recently changed and added more computers and this has now dropped to 7hrs. I am currently looking at a Kipor 2600 Sine wave Genny for top-up purposes for the longer events.

Hope this is of use to those contemplating this type of system

Barry