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car power inverter "generator?"

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by osagebow, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    Had no hiccups from Sandy, but got me thinking -

    I have a small 600W power inverter for camping use in my car - would running a 10' extension cord to it help me buy some time with a chest freezer in a blackout? Have a basement window next to it close to where I can get a car. Thinking running it an hour or so might buy the chest freezer several more hours?

    just a thought...Anybody else ever do this to run lights or a small AC for a bit?

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  2. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    Don't think 600W would handle a freezer. Check the plate on the freezer for watts or amps used.
  3. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

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    I have a pure sine wave inverter for use with my pellet stove. Check your electrical data plate on the freezer to determine watts needed. You may have to times volts x amps to find the wattage requirement. Mine is 2,000 watts, which I plan to run until everything is warm then shut it off til everything gets cold.
  4. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I doubt 600W is enough to run a freezer and you will burn out your freezer if the inverter can't handle the load.
  5. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    Agreed, not enough juice. I bet when the compressor kicks on, its in the 1500w range.
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    You might be suprizedd how little power the freezer uses actually if its relatively recent. I had my small basement chest freezer running on the generator transfer panel and the watt meeter was < 300 or so. The full size fridge pulled ~ 400.

    I'd be concerned about the car battery. Starting batteries are not designed for deep discharge use and you could kill it in under an hour. You would need to start and run the car periodically.

    If you want to keep a setup like this for backup you might want a dedicated deep cycle battery.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  7. TheMightyMoe

    TheMightyMoe Minister of Fire

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    I run the car the whole time I run the inverter.
  8. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    +1

    The compressor has a starting wattage that more than likely would be over 600 watts. I'm sure the base load would be enough (they don't use much) but starting the compressor is the dangerous part. You could burn out your compressor and/or your inverter. See if your inverter has a surge rating.
  9. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    ok - Thanks all !
    I knew wouldn't run it "full bore", but I did NOT know running less juice into it would screw it up.:eek:
    That's why I ask before doing something that could be....stupid
  10. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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  11. FanMan

    FanMan Feeling the Heat

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    I have a 650W Honda generator and it will barely run either my refrigerator or freezer.

    600W is a big inverter... that would draw 50A at 12VDC.
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a 700w which claims to peak at 1200 for loads. I used it run a big stereo amp on the back of a pickup during a parade, and it worked like a charm. I keep it around for a back backup backup....
    btuser likes this.
  13. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I used a modified sine wave inverter on a small table top refrigerator, run wattage was well under the rating on the inverter. While it started the compressor OK, after a short while the thermal breaker on the refrig tripped. I also have done the same to power a circulator under backup on power failure. The circ ran, but it really got hot and it buzzed audibly. I think the modified sine wave is the culprit. I would be wary of using a msw inverter with motors and the like, as well as some electronics, especially those without voltage regulation and line filtering or conditioning.

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