How to add a small microwave oven to a vehicle

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by DJ Niner, Sep 26, 2020.

  1. Haldor

    Haldor Formerly retired EE.

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    I wonder what gauge wire that would take?
     
  2. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm not stuck on running it off the battery alone; for the short period of time I will need it (3-4 minutes, a couple of times per day) I plan on running the vehicle's engine to provide power to the inverter, with the battery acting more as a buffer.

    No one has yet told me that this will not work, including some folks who seemed pretty knowledgeable about how this stuff works. Are you telling me that running the engine to power a larger inverter will not work?

    If you have any links to such info, please provide them so I can figure this out. Thanks!

    .
     

  3. Haldor

    Haldor Formerly retired EE.

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    Check out Iceco. They use Danfoss compressors and are a lot cheaper than Arb.

    I have an Iceco GO20 that has both a fridge and a freezer section and I really like it. Being able to have ice cream or make ice is wonderful. Very efficient too. It is really small capacity (20 liters), but is just big enough for 1 person for a weekend or drinks during a road trip. I would get a bigger one since it is two of you.

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=iceco+fr...11140679&tag=hydsma-20&ref=pd_sl_41loqclama_e
     
  4. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Staff Member Moderator

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    VERY helpful! Thanks for taking the time/effort to post that.
    I may well end up with a very similar system, and I like the fact that most of it can be removed between trips, so it's not being subjected to everyday pothole bumps and such unnecessarily.
     
  5. ranger1968

    ranger1968

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    The ARB is a nice unit, but we are actually going with a Sno- Master; they are pricey ( even compared to the ARB offerings) but they are very, very good.
     
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  6. wyntrout

    wyntrout

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    Before I broke down and added the battery isolator, I could only brew about 4 cups of coffee before the inverter squealed low power. A smaller unit with less wattage like the $20 or even the $40 ones from Walmart would get more cups before the battery needed charging. The latter one is only 1,000 watts, so would probably get 6 or 7 cups.
    I had to carry around an extension cord and charger to recharge!
    You can't start the vehicle with this setup, though my jumper cables are long enough, if needed, to reach from the auxiliary to the engine's battery. I haven't had to do that, yet, but it's comforting to have the capability.
    My van's generator is 145 AMP, so plenty of power. The option list says generator.
    The kit I bought runs about $115 on Amazon.com. IMG_9635.JPG IMG_9637.JPG
     
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  7. wyntrout

    wyntrout

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    Most DC/cigarette lighter outlets are fused for 10 amps or less. My 1,500-watt coffeemaker would draw over 115 amps at 13 volts DC, so it doesn't take long to run a battery down. The Yellow Top Optima only has 55 Amp Hours capacity!
    Inverter battery cables are $5-$6 a foot or more!
     
  8. Haldor

    Haldor Formerly retired EE.

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    Depends on your alternator. Ambulances use a second, much beefier alternator just to power the inverter. Some RVs do the same.

    I am installing a 2000 VA inverter with a 3000 WH, 24V lithium house battery in my Ford Econoline campervan. Charging will be by a 300W solar panel, plus 400W alternator charging using a DC to DC charge controller.

    Note you can cook an alternator by drawing lots of current while the engine is idling. You get very little airflow if the vehicle is not moving and the alternator can easily overheat.
     
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  9. wyntrout

    wyntrout

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    I'm enthused by the LiFe PO4 batteries available now. They require special chargers, though.
    I would love to get one of the new Ford Transit AWD Van Coachmen RV's now with the Li3 Lithium battery setup... 8 hrs with the engine off and the A/C running before charging with the dual alternators and/or solar power... no gen needed. They have a new 20K BTU a/c that's very quiet and uses less power, so could overnight in rest area or Walmart parking lot without running the engine... as I've done a few times with my van.
     
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  10. Deltic

    Deltic

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    Do not go fooling with your cars electrical system unless you really know what you are doing.
    Use MRE heaters and butane stoves. MRE heaters can be used to heat anything that will fit inside, wrap a towel around it or use the box to keep the heat in. Use them out side because they give off some stinky vapor. The prices of butane and the stoves can really vary a lot. Check the Asian grocery stores for the best price.
    [​IMG]

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu6txjwIOzU

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Deltic

    Deltic

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  12. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Staff Member Moderator

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    I haven't posted this factoid yet, but due to the nature of some of the responses, I guess I need to. The vehicle is a passenger/cargo-type combo van (a smallish one), and for that reason I will not carry any flammable liquids or gasses (camp stove fuel, propane/butane, etc.) with me when travelling. Call it a phobia if you want, it goes back to some incidents I saw many years ago.

    I already have a camp stove and propane burner available, and even if I didn't mind carrying the fuel, you can't use either inside a mostly closed-up small van (ventilation!) in inclement/falling weather without scorching the headliner and/or killing yourself with CO. I'll be doing a lot of this in winter weather in the northern plains, and bouncing out of your shelter to play with a fire and cook is less fun in those conditions. I've run my Sterno Stove inside a van before for short periods, it can be safely done if you're careful, and the fuel is probably as safe as it gets for flammables (spare individual cans are stored in a mil-surp ammo can). I also have small outdoor fold-up twig-burning jet stoves and such, but they are really for back-up to the Sterno Stove, which I want to be the back-up to a quick-N-easy small microwave.

    I enjoy being in the outdoors as much as any of you, but I'm getting old, and screwing around with camp stoves, campfires, pine-cone-fed jet stoves, and such, has lost its luster. Same with screwing with wet tents, wet gear, building fires in wet weather, putting out fires when done, putting up camp, tearing down camp, etc. I want to pull-in, get out, grab my gear, lock the doors and go birding, and after returning and watching the sunset from my comfy camp chair while talking with the "neighbors", shuffle some stuff around inside the van to make room to stretch out, and go to bed. Get up, nuke breakfast, go birding, and if the birding sucks or the weather sucks, I turn the key and drive to the next spot, hitting a gas station, grocery store, and maybe an occasional fast food joint or diner along the way. Low cost, low impact, and max time spent doing what I enjoy, with minimal time spent doing things I don't enjoy.

    I thought a microwave might simplify food prep as I'm a simple guy with simple tastes, and don't mind eating shelf-stable prepared foods (like Compleats -- search on the name) and hot-water-rehydrated freeze-dried stuff, but it sounds like a microwave may not be worth the overall trouble/cost for as often as I'd use it. I've eaten the Compleats or pop-top canned foods on warmer days by just wrapping the item in a black rag and leaving it on the dash to warm in the sun. When you get back from your morning trip, lunch/brunch is already ready!

    I VERY MUCH appreciate the input I've gotten from almost everyone in this thread, it has clarified many options, added a few, and really given me some more ideas/things to consider.

    If anyone else can add something, please do, I'm reading every post and making list(s).

    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  13. Deltic

    Deltic

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    A roof rack or a storage rack on the back door may be an option.
     
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  14. Deltic

    Deltic

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    An Esbit type solid fuel stove might work for you.
    [​IMG]
    This one is $5.99 with fuel tabs.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Staff Member Moderator

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    Eventually, I may have a receiver hitch installed, and that opens-up some options for more safely transporting stuff I won't put inside the vehicle. But even then, you have set-up + clean-up + tear-down + possible theft from external storage; one-third of my meals are usually eaten cold on purpose (sandwiches, etc.), so the above is a lot of trouble for very little actual use. The microwave would be a lot of initial trouble/cost, but after that, very quick and easy to use, and a permanently installed inverter would definitely be useful for other items (charging my laptop or camera batteries while driving, for instance).

    .
     
  16. cougar_ml

    cougar_ml

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    unfortunately you're using a 12V system, if you had 24V available then the military has a heater that would work for this particular situation. It's low draw (15A at 24V), so it takes a while to heat up, but it gets there eventually. Might possibly be able to use a 12-24V (larger than 30 amp) buck converter and a couple of batteries wired in series to give you the 24V you need to run it and to be able to charge it when the van is running.


    24-28V DC RAK15/2 MRE heater crock pot
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Staff Member Moderator

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    I've got a few of the German (?) mil-surplus models of those, and they DO work, but have you ever ruptured one of the fuel-tab packages? They must make that fuel from August-road-killed fish guts, because it is absolutely NASTY smelling! I had one in my emergency pack, and one of the tab packages ruptured, and it stunk-up that pack and the contents so badly that I threw some of the stuff away (including a pair of nicely-broken-in leather-palm pilot gloves) as I could NOT get the smell out of a few of the items!

    .
     
  18. cougar_ml

    cougar_ml

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    For charging electronics like that you'd be better off with a higher priced/better quality pure sine wave inverter.
    For comparison, the ryobi battery charger plugged in took about half again as long to charge up batteries when plugged into a modified sine wave inverter, and was noticeably warm to touch compared to being plugged into a pure sine wave inverter. I've owned the one below for almost 4 years now, still working great.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003FWPU7I/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
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  19. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Staff Member Moderator

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    Yeah, if I go that route, I'll bite the bullet and get a pure sine wave inverter.
    IF I can find one as large as I need (big PSW inverters seem to be harder to find).
    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  20. ruffhunter

    ruffhunter

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    Camp Chef Propane Camp Oven and Stove
    12.5''L x 21''W x 18''H package
    $234 at cabelas

    upload_2020-9-28_2-58-10.png
     
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