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Replacing battery charger, installing inverter, microwave...
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mcbbcn
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Joined: January 23, 2017
Posts: 65
Location: Oregon
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:47 am    Post subject: Replacing battery charger, installing inverter, microwave... Reply with quote

Hi Everyone,

It's been a long weekend. As a base for aux battery, I have a custom box with 2 x 235amp/hr 6v batteries (David's setup: https://1705.net/6-volt-battery-setup/) which gives me a total of 470amp/hr in 12v. But because they lead acid batteries, we know it less than that. Still, it has a good kick. I also have MPPT solar controller and flexible 160Watts foldable panel that I can position anywhere on the van, including having the van in the shade and the foldable panel on the sun. I can answer questions about these mods in a separate post if anyone is interested.

1. Battery charger: This weekend, I decided to replace my battery charger and put something better than the old Magnetek 3200. I decided to go with an old post from David (https://1705.net/converter-upgrade/) and get the Progressive Dynamics Intelli-Power model PD 9245C. I called Progressive Dynamics and ask them, if I ever wanted to replace my aux bank with lithium will this charger be able to manage lithium batteries and to my surprise, it does. They have done extensive testing and without doing anything, just setting the charger in normal mode, it will get the lithium battery to 80%, and you set it to boost mode with the remote pendant, it will top the lithium batteries off to 100%. So, off I went and here you can see the picture of the remote pendant, which I did not do it exactly as David, as I did not want to drill on the fuse plate. Here is the pic of the pendant installed: https://photos.app.goo.gl/WaSDEavhT7i7jDgy8

2. Inverter/Microwave project: I decided to go with Giandel 1200 watts Pure Sine inverter (like this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SWW6Y7D/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) for a few reasons. First, the $189 price seemed reasonable. Second, Microwaves are very finicky about power, so I wanted a true "Pure Sine" inverter". Third, I wanted to fit the inverter in my battery cabinet, so I wanted one that it was small enough size-wise but big enough to handle a microwave and this one fit the bill.

Microwave & inverter measurements: I had measure the microwave "continuous" current pull at 1065 watts and the Giandel could manage a "continous" current pull of 1200 watts and a peak (aka inrush aka surge) of 2400 watts.

Given that I had all the panels opened to replace the Magnetek, I ran a lighted extension cord of 10 feet from the battery compartment, all the way to my microwave location. You can see in the pictures in yellow.

Here is a picture of the microwave: https://photos.app.goo.gl/bTewdZd1hF7BCLxq7

Here is a picture of the remote control for the inverter which seats right across the microwave as you enter the van on the left side, right above the speaker: https://photos.app.goo.gl/X3LCtzZpbiDVqXkG9

The microwave can be powered with an electric hookup or with the inverter. Basically, I ran another extension cord from the electric hookup box to the microwave location. That was another project, and I basically installed a brand new electric outlet which is properly installed against one of the steel frame post in the van, fairly close to the electric hookup box, and from the electric outlet, I ran a short extension to the microwave location.

So, I can manually switch the microwave to run from the electric hookup or from the battery aux system using the inverter.

If I have the microwave connected to the inverter, it's cool to active the remote control for the inverter, and see the microwave turn on.

Here you can see the inverter inside battery cabinet (which I also modified using David' instructions: https://1705.net/adding-a-rear-hatch/), https://photos.app.goo.gl/dvswG4MXB56BDodL7

However, I ran a snag while I was trying the power of the microwave against the inverter. The inverter kept giving me an "OL" (overload) signal as soon as I was starting the microwave. I contacted Giandel in Australia and they told me that I needed to get a bigger inverter (which was then going to be more money and it would not fit inside my battery cabinet) and I kept telling them that it did not make any sense because I had taken the measurements and the inverter was more than enough to manage that continuous power. The only thing I had not measure was the "inrush" or "surge/peak" power from my microwave to the inverter, but in order to do that, you need to spend quite a bit of money ($300-$500) on a Fluke Clamp meter and I certainly did not want to do that. So, after some research I found this guy (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N38SN8C/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) for $40, and although there was a good chance it was not as perfect as a Fluke, I wanted to give it a shot because it could be used to measure other power tools and things like that. The Sperry measured 1435 watts integrated over 100 milliseconds when I turned my microwave at full power. So, I had the feeling the problem was not that the inverter was not big enough, but although this inverter has a soft-starter or an in-rush limiter built-in, I had the gut feeling it could not handle the initial surge from the microwave (despite my gut feeling, Giandel was telling me that I was wrong Smile ).

So, I set out to find a inrush limiter and I found that they are being used in the music industry for amplifiers. And given our American ingenuity, I contacted Gigaparts and I talked to a pretty hard-core electric guy and after some chat he said "This is a bit of an odd question [my question about the microwave], but in theory it should work". Now, you can see the inrush limiter (https://www.gigaparts.com/ameritron-icp-120.html) to the left of the inverter and to my delight, when I turn on the microwave full power, the inverter can manage the microwave with no problems. I notified Giandel of the finding and they appreciated the tip as it could help other customers.

Now, let's ask the question: Do I need a microwave when I'm out in the wild given that I have propane burners? The reality is that many folks will say "No, you don't" and I respect that opinion. For me, it's a convenience thing that if I want to warm some milk to do a latte, I don't have to mess with a pot that I will have to wash latter on and I can just warm it in my mug in 30 seconds, as well as all the other benefits of warming food and reducing the amount of mess and cleaning that goes along. I prefer to spend more time enjoying the surroundings and relaxing. Specially, if it's raining outside, it keeps things to a minimum inside. But although, I have talked a lot about the microwave, for me, it was the fun of tinkering, doing the project and actually, now that I have an AC line running from my inverter, I can use it for other things like power tools or anything that I may find myself in a crunch and I would to run anything from AC current.

I hope you enjoy the reading and whatever you decide, have fun!

Miquel
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Mookacb
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Joined: March 06, 2017
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Location: Portland, OR
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Replacing battery charger, installing inverter, microwave... Reply with quote

Thanks Miguel,

I would be curious about your solar modification. I have been considering something similar.
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mcbbcn
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Joined: January 23, 2017
Posts: 65
Location: Oregon
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Replacing battery charger, installing inverter, microwave... Reply with quote

Mookacb wrote:
Thanks Miguel,

I would be curious about your solar modification. I have been considering something similar.


Hey Mookacb,

I just did. Enjoy the reading and the project!

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=9146592#9146592

Miquel
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Broseph Stalin
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Location: Colorado
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Replacing battery charger, installing inverter, microwave... Reply with quote

Thanks Miquel!
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