Battery Powered Generator

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  #1  
Old 01-19-14, 10:03 PM
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Battery Powered Generator

Hello. First post and new to the forums! Have been lurking for awhile and finally need some input. I'm currently undergoing a project for my mobile detailing business to get a consistent power supply on the go. Rather than buying an expensive generator and buying gas. I was thinking of making a generator that ran off deep cycle batteries. The tools that I have to power "None are on at the same time ever" are.

Buffer - 900 watts
Compressor - 120V 10a (60hz) 1PH
Shop-Vac - 120V 10a (60Hz)
Blower - 120V 7a (60hz)
Pressure Washer - 125V 15a (60Hz) 1875 watts

My Plan was to buy 6-8 Deep Cycle Marine batteries. Connect all the batteries, and run it through a 2500 watt AC - DC converter. After done detailing come home and put the batteries on the charger.

Any thoughts if this would work? I know i've seen some reviews of hevy stuff being ran through the converters. I just dont know if the batteries are a logical idea? Thought id make a name here and ask a more Electrical savy crowd. Thanks in advance!

~Kirk
 
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  #2  
Old 01-19-14, 10:49 PM
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For what you're going to pay for all of that, you can get an inverter generator. They normally run on gas, but there are models on the market that run propane or natural gas as well. I've gotten over 10 hours of run time on one running my mini roller grill, radio, and some 23W floods.
 
  #3  
Old 01-19-14, 11:29 PM
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That pressure washer will be the killer if that 1875W rating is correct. However if it plugs into a 15A receptacle it is wrong. Nothing with a 15A plug will draw more than 12A continuously. You may be better off in the long run just selling your electric one and going with a gas one.

Do you run this out of a pickup truck, SUV, or utility truck? If so, it's actually doable in a lot of cases to install a high-output alternator that will provide the 200+ amps to run that size inverter (they are usually installed in ambulances, tow trucks, buses, etc). That way you only need one or two 'buffer' batteries (versus 8, which will cost over a grand and weigh like 400lbs) to absorb startup surges, and you don't have to worry about recharging them.

I'm not sure what your air demands are but you may be able to install a 12V or on-board belt-drive compressor with a storage tank if it's just for like airing up tires and such.
 

Last edited by taz420; 01-19-14 at 11:50 PM.
  #4  
Old 01-19-14, 11:38 PM
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I guess it depends on how long you plan to run those items. Remember that no inverter is 100% efficient so you'll have to allow some additional overhead for that. The pressure washer and the compressor will draw a lot of power on start-up. So you would want to check the peak power draw before buying your inverter. It's possible that the battery bank could work. Some other things to consider:

1. Calculate total power needed for the day. Include inverter efficiency in the calculation.
2. Consider how many charge cycles the batteries can take. (Which will tell you how often you have to replace the batteries.)
3. Consider extra space required to haul the batteries around and diminished fuel efficiency of your van due to the extra weight (could be several hundred pounds of added weight).

I like the idea, but I think the most cost effective solution would be to buy an efficient gas generator:

Honda - 2,000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator (50 state model)EU2000I

A gallon of gas a day might not be that high of a cost to pay. Plus, in some cases, could you simply plug into a nearby electrical outlet? If you are using a power-washer, you must have access to water. Maybe use the electrical source when you can and use generator when one is not available.

Consider buying a gas power washer. Electrical power washers kinda suck, or at least the ones that I have used are way under-powered compared to the gas version. Also, the idea of using generator to generate power which is then used to run an electric motor to turn a pump is less efficient than using a gas engine to turn the pump directly. Maybe if you do that, you can get away with using a smaller battery pack for your buffer if you do decide on the battery pack approach.
 
  #5  
Old 01-20-14, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by SlyMcGill View Post
A gallon of gas a day might not be that high of a cost to pay. Plus, in some cases, could you simply plug into a nearby electrical outlet? If you are using a power-washer, you must have access to water. Maybe use the electrical source when you can and use generator when one is not available.
Looks like we're on the same page..

This is probably true, but many mobile detailers prefer to be entirely self-contained - including onboard water - because you won't always be able to hook up to utilities for whatever reason. Some clients also want you to do it at their office or some other place where water and power aren't available (I know two people that do mobile detailing)..

It also conveys a more professional image to have everything you need rather than the first thing you say to a customer is 'where's the hose?'
 
  #6  
Old 01-20-14, 04:43 PM
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Yes I have some customers that let me user their outlets. In some cases my equipment pops their breaker. Id like to avoid this inconvenience. Plus its more professional. I wouldn't be using it all day everyday. The main reason is I don't want the smell of gas in my car at all, It makes me sick. Yes I detail out of a Van. I don't a couple hundred pounds would hurt.

I would run a buffer maybe 20 minutes on a car consistently. Turning it on and off for each panel. Shop-Vac for maybe 10-15 minutes. Compressor for insides 10 minutes. Half the time I don't even use my Pressure washer on the job But id say around 10 minutes, And the blower for 3-5 minutes to help dry the vehicle.

So it's not like I'm trying to run this equipment consistently all day. I just want the option to be able to have it when I need it. I wouldn't run any tool simultaneously with any other. There is no need for it.

Thanks for the input. You guys have helped. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
 
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