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Need Help guys.....


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As many of you know, I produce the 40lbs of wings at the DTC every tailgate, which this year I would like to do right at the tailgate fresh... some of you may also know that I am working on the DTC site, and will be implementing live chat directly from our tailgates. Which will allow people to talk to us online.

So here is my problem. I need to find some sort of power source that will last the entire tailgate (many hours) to supply power to my Dep Fryer, my laptop and any other items needing power. I would rather not get a noisy generator that will irritate everyone.. Also I am afraid if I try to use my car's battery, that it will "go dry"

Any suggestions?

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I'll ask my electrical engineering roommate for ya when he gets back from class.

EDIT: I decided that an engineering grad is better than an engineering student. I just shot an email to my brother who works at Motorola. Hopefully he'll have some bright idea.

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I would rather not use my car if possible... How long can power go off a car battery before you have to start to worry?

I always remember my parents screaming at me "turn off the radio.. you'll drain the car battery" when the car was off

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Hey pez, my brother just replied to my email. Here's his response:

"Most laptops come with car adapters, or you can buy one, so why not use that directly? But on my business trips I've used a power inverter for my laptop no problem. The laptop's AC adapter can deal with any crap the inverter throws its way.

Now, my inverter is good for 300W, meaning small TV's, VCRs, camcorders, small appliances and little power tools. Anything that does heating or cooling requires lots of power, and depending on what 'any other items' are, and how many things he expects to use at one time, and if that deep fryer does a wing at a time or all 40lbs at once, he just may have to resign himself to a generator. Newer ones are probably pretty quiet, but rental places might not have the latest and greatest. Perhaps it would only have to be on to operate the heavy duty stuff. If he really wants quiet, he could buy a second car battery and see what that lets him do.

For the car (engine off) or standalone battery, the reserve capacity (RC) of

the battery will give an idea of how long it will last - it's the number of

minutes it can be discharged at 25 amps and stay above 10.5V. 25A is what a 300W load draws (call it 250W to account for the inverter), so if he wants to run a 1000W microwave on a battery with a 1 hour reserve capacity it will last 15 minutes.

The average car electrical system will produce 60A with the motor running,

but that doesn't assume constant idle - sustained draw at idle is probably

more like 40A, with nothing on (headlights, A/C, etc). Depends on the car, of course (trucks have bigger electrical systems than Kias, etc) and the only way to know is to look at the alternator and take about 70% of the 'hot' value given.

It's all about power (and a little about peak currents) and there are no

shortcuts - compare the demand of what you want to power with whatever you plan to use and that's your answer."

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Get a propane burning deep fryer. If you got one of the big ones for turkeys you could probably do 20 pounds of wings at a time. They aren't terribly expensive. Your car battery should easily be able to handle just a laptop.

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The suggestions for the inverter are good. I have one I used during the hurricane to run TV, light, and laptop. RVs use these to run their electrical appliances.

They don't use the battery, they use the power your car produces with its alternator. They just convert the power to AC.

They are also cheap. I paid less than $200 for mine, far less than a generator and they are smaller and make no noise. You do have to run your engine though.

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Originally posted by pez

One of the guys at our tailgate told me, he just has an additional battery that he attaches an inverter to and uses that standalone....

What do you guys think?

I think it will work, since the inverter only needs a 12 volt DC source (thats what a car battery is), the key question is how long will it power your needs? As I recall, you were talking about wings, which I assume are fried in some sort of fryer. Most electrical cooking appliances use up to 1500 watts, so make sure your inverter is at least 1000 watts, probably will need 2000 watts to cover the fryer and other stuff.

To provide 2000 watts for 2 hours, you would need 4000 watt hours

Voltsxamps=watts for DC power, so a 12V 100 amp-hour battery would only give you 1200 watt hours, or enough to power a 1500 watt fryer for less than one hour. You also have to account for the efficiency of the inverter, which does not convert 100 percent of the battery power to AC power.

Most of these considerations go away if you use the inverter with the car running.

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