NissanLeafCamper
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Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Thu May 28, 2015 11:30 am

Just wondering guys if it would be possible to run the smallest and most efficient electric operated refrigerator in the leaf? I was suggested by someone to buy a pure sinewave inverter and connect it directly to the starter car battery. I have not checked for any refrigerators just yet and seen what kind of wattage they draw, but really I'd only want something small. About the size of a small box just to hold like a sandwich and a couple of drinks.

Would it also be possible to change the starter battery for an AGM deep cycle battery? I was suggested an odyssey brand deep cycle agm as they seem to be really heavy duty and are able to handle high dc recharging. I believe the dc to dc converter pumps about 1.5k watts? I'm not sure how the computer charges the battery. Not sure if it waits to a certain voltage before juicing it or if it constantly tops it off? Does anyone know? Does the regenerative breaking recharge the car battery or the lithium ion pack?

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JimSouCal
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Re: Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Thu May 28, 2015 11:34 am

NissanLeafCamper wrote:Just wondering guys if it would be possible to run the smallest and most efficient electric operated refrigerator in the leaf? I was suggested by someone to buy a pure sinewave inverter and connect it directly to the starter car battery. I have not checked for any refrigerators just yet and seen what kind of wattage they draw, but really I'd only want something small. About the size of a small box just to hold like a sandwich and a couple of drinks.

Would it also be possible to change the starter battery for an AGM deep cycle battery? I was suggested an odyssey brand deep cycle agm as they seem to be really heavy duty and are able to handle high dc recharging. I believe the dc to dc converter pumps about 1.5k watts? I'm not sure how the computer charges the battery. Not sure if it waits to a certain voltage before juicing it or if it constantly tops it off? Does anyone know? Does the regenerative breaking recharge the car battery or the lithium ion pack?
I purchased a 12v solid state cooler, sized exactly for a drink and a sandwich, for just the exact purpose... Surely they are still available... Perhaps that way you can skip the inverter loss and the mechanical loss of energy..?

Also, I see you may be using the cooler when to car is not "on". My understanding in the 12V needs the LEAF to be "on" (in some kind of mode may vary by model year) to recharge via the large traction battery. Draining the 12V battery will disable the critical electronics of the LEAF, and you will need a jump.

Take care when thinking this through. A cooler with a block of ice may be end up as your tried and true method...

KillaWhat
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Re: Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Thu May 28, 2015 3:16 pm

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TomT
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Re: Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Thu May 28, 2015 3:32 pm

The problem is that they are generally Peltier coolers and very inefficient...
JimSouCal wrote:I purchased a 12v solid state cooler, sized exactly for a drink and a sandwich, for just the exact purpose...
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mbender
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Re: Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Thu May 28, 2015 4:04 pm

JimSouCal wrote:Take care when thinking this through. A cooler with a block of ice may be end up as your tried and true method...
+1
Ice and blue ice coolers (three for $10 on eBay) are the urban camper's friend. :)
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GRA
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Re: Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Thu May 28, 2015 4:31 pm

mbender wrote:
JimSouCal wrote:Take care when thinking this through. A cooler with a block of ice may be end up as your tried and true method...
+1
Ice and blue ice coolers (three for $10 on eBay) are the urban camper's friend. :)
Indeed. I had a customer many years ago who wanted me to design a inverter-based system for his RV, for the occasional weekend a year when he had lots of people to provide drinks and food for. I told him, "Frank, you're nuts. That would cost you a couple grand for the inverter and batteries, just to run your refrigerator and freezer. You aren't living in this thing full-time, so why not just buy yourself an extra cooler or two and enough bags of ice or blue-ice blocks to get you through the weekend? It's not as if you're planning to go dry camping out in the middle of nowhere."
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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BrockWI
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Re: Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Thu May 28, 2015 6:09 pm

TomT wrote:The problem is that they are generally Peltier coolers and very inefficient...
While I agree peltier's are not efficient, they are far less expensive, smaller and lighter than a compressor version. Comparing a peltier to a 120vac small cube fridge with the losses from an inverter are probably more than the peltier.

We use a unit similar to this one

http://www.amazon.com/Koolatron-P25-26- ... 593&sr=1-3

On trips often running it 3 to 4 days straight in hotels off mains or in the van off the automotive power. It is really nice to have fruit or other items not all wet and not having to think about getting ice.
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NissanLeafCamper
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Re: Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Thu May 28, 2015 10:42 pm

JimSouCal wrote:I purchased a 12v solid state cooler, sized exactly for a drink and a sandwich, for just the exact purpose... Surely they are still available... Perhaps that way you can skip the inverter loss and the mechanical loss of energy..?

Also, I see you may be using the cooler when to car is not "on". My understanding in the 12V needs the LEAF to be "on" (in some kind of mode may vary by model year) to recharge via the large traction battery. Draining the 12V battery will disable the critical electronics of the LEAF, and you will need a jump.

Take care when thinking this through. A cooler with a block of ice may be end up as your tried and true method...
Thanks Jim! Something I forgot to mention is that I'd like to get the inverter because I would love to pick up a small induction cooker. I spend about the whole day in my car and would really enjoy being able to cook a small soup or toast up a sandwich before eating. Right now I am spending more than I'd like by eating at restaurants, because I am out all day, so it would be as big saver for me if I could make quick simple things inside for a meal. Scrambled eggs would be amazing.... The lowest watt induction cooker I saw was 1300 watt which I believe will need a large inverter anyway. While I thought about it I figured somewhere small to keep things cool would be great. I will unplug the cooler when using the induction cooker as to avoid needing to buy a 10,000 watt inverter :o .

I'm not sure on the cig lighter. I'd rather not want to fry something inside the leaf since I don't know how heavy duty it is. I think a pure sinewave inverter of adequate size would be more reliable since I will be using it when i am in the car and... that is pretty much the whole day; 16 hour work days? Think... two full time jobs.

I was thinking if it would be ok to switch the car's starter battery with a deep cycle agm to reduce the amount of time the car needs to be on? I believe I herd that wwhen the leaf is 'on' the onboard electronics also drain some wattage around 300 watts? So I wanted to lessen that if possible by using a deep cycle. I would just need a way to track the status on the battery as it drains perhaps with a voltage meter or some other device ran to the inside of the leaf. I will likely just leave the electric cooler unplugged over night when I sleep if it would be too much for a single deep cycle agm (Odyssey brand). The rest of the time I will be in the car which is just about the whole day.
Thank you so much! Someone had linked me to that thread before and that is what motivated me. I wouldn't power up a large fridge, but a nice electric cooler would be nice... plus an induction cooker when I am hungry :(. I'm just not exactly sure on what size inverter I could need. Perhaps 3,000w inverter would be a safe bet?
TomT wrote:The problem is that they are generally Peltier coolers and very inefficient...

What is your suggestion? The electric cooler seems to be the easier route though more expensive than buying a non-electric cooler. Like picking one up from the 99 cents store would be pretty easy. The thing is that I would like to be able to use an induction cooker too when hugry so I figured I could just get an electric cooler also....
mbender wrote: Ice and blue ice coolers (three for $10 on eBay) are the urban camper's friend. :)

Thanks for the link. I have seen some coolers at the 99 cents store... I could settle for this before I get the leaf which will be in a couple of months. Though I'd really rather get an electric one though I have no idea which would be a good option. Hopefully one that is good but not too expensive.
GRA wrote: Indeed. I had a customer many years ago who wanted me to design a inverter-based system for his RV, for the occasional weekend a year when he had lots of people to provide drinks and food for. I told him, "Frank, you're nuts. That would cost you a couple grand for the inverter and batteries, just to run your refrigerator and freezer. You aren't living in this thing full-time, so why not just buy yourself an extra cooler or two and enough bags of ice or blue-ice blocks to get you through the weekend? It's not as if you're planning to go dry camping out in the middle of nowhere."
Thank you GRA though I actually do spend a lot of time in my car, about 16 hours, so I think it would be put to better use in my situation. What would your suggestion be on an inverter to run an electric cooler and an induction cooker? Though I wouldn't run both at the same time. I'd unplug the cooler when running the induction cooker. I'd probably only use it for about 10 minutes at the most.
BrockWI wrote: While I agree peltier's are not efficient, they are far less expensive, smaller and lighter than a compressor version. Comparing a peltier to a 120vac small cube fridge with the losses from an inverter are probably more than the peltier.

We use a unit similar to this one

http://www.amazon.com/Koolatron-P25-26- ... 593&sr=1-3

On trips often running it 3 to 4 days straight in hotels off mains or in the van off the automotive power. It is really nice to have fruit or other items not all wet and not having to think about getting ice.
Are there coolers with compressors? I'm just not sure about using the cig lighter for the cooler as I will be using it... a lot and I am not sure how well the system of a used 2013 leaf will do. If possible I'd also would enjoy being able to use an induction cooker just to heat up a few things and maybe cook up a little soup for me to eat. That will = saving big bucks instead of spending 15$ at the restaurant.

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TomT
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Re: Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Fri May 29, 2015 7:20 am

We have a refrigerator on our boat with a 12 volt DC compressor. It pulls surprisingly little power and is very efficient. And quiet too.
BrockWI wrote:Comparing a peltier to a 120vac small cube fridge with the losses from an inverter are probably more than the peltier.
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BrockWI
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Re: Inverter for a small refrigerator for the leaf?

Fri May 29, 2015 7:40 am

Yes a 12v compressor is the way to go, no doubt, but comparing cost a 45 quart peltier at $75 to a compressor version at $325 :)

In all fairness the disadvantage of a peltier is it runs 24x7 to keep the inside about 40F cooler than it's surrounding. So in 90F it will be 50F inside the cooler. When it's 50F outside the inside will likely freeze if left on and get to 20F. A compressor unit is more more like a traditional fridge, you can set a temp and forget it. Also a peltier takes a lot longer to cool down room temp items, where a compressor will cool down quicker.

The right tool for the right job... :)

As far as heating things up look for "trucker stove" there are quiet a few options for 12v as well.
3 kw solar pv - XW6048 - eight L16's
4 ton GSHP - 1 ton ASHP
2003 VW TDI 200k miles - 52 mpg lifetime
EVSE level 2 - Clipper Creek HSC-40
2013 S model with QC package Mar of 2013
lost first bar @ 72k
@90k miles - 54.71Ahr - 83.64SOH - 78.44Hx - 237GID

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