Author Topic: housing emergency - need advice/information on power inverter I bought just now  (Read 7166 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jaqie

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Country: 00
  • Genuine Girl Techie
title is too short to explain so I will sum up here.  I am not saying any of this to try to get pity or support or donations or any of that crap, just to get info on how much to worry about this purchase because I will be depending on it very strongly in a couple weeks.

crazy roommate decided to stop paying all the bills and save up cash and move out on us, utilities are being turned off as we speak - I am on the net through my blackberry cellphone, and within 3 weeks the rental company will be booting us out of this place.  We have not paid rent yet this month, the rental company will not take partial rent, and we dont have enough to pay full rent just our part... which is not enough.  We are going to rent a storage unit and put our stuff in it, then live in this apartment until we are booted out, then live the last week or so in our car, a 1991 ford probe, until next month when we will get our next income checks to move into a studio apartment, hopefully.  The internet through this blackberry on cricket provider is abysmal - it takes 30 seconds to load the main ebay page, even with me blocking all ads and flash... and pages only load half the time...

THAT BEING SAID...
I just used the last of our non-rent money to buy an inverter used from ebay, I need to know if I will be able to rely on it - does anyone have any information at all on this brand or maybe even model of inverter?

DIE HARD gold 425w inverter for US market.
Yes, that is it's model, apparently. no number alphabet soup for a model.  Anyone have any info?  Should we be careful about it or will this particular one probably be OK?  I know the horror stories of inverters, and with what little googling I could do with this crap-net service, I could find no info good or bad about it and am hoping no news is good news.

Thank you for listening and if you have info on this, giving me the info.  It would REALLY suck for it to immoblize our car during this, or even just to fail during this.
 

Offline Skimask

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1425
  • Country: us
425 watt power inverter...likely square wave output...unless for anything but turning on a few light bulbs, small chargers like a laptop/cell phone, etc.

425 watts input or output?  Likely 425 watts maximum output.
Either way, it'll kill a normal car battery in a matter of...no time flat...if it works at all without the engine running.
I didn't take it apart.
I turned it on.

The only stupid question is, well, most of them...

Save a fuse...Blow an electrician.
 

Offline GeoffS

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1267
  • Country: au
You should be able to pick up an inverter at your local electronics outlet, camping goods store or even department store. No waiting for eBay.

I have several inverters, all Chinese made with local outlet stickers on them. Unless you go to the very high end, high power devices, I think they are all pretty much the same.
As skimask said, it will flatten the battery if used without the motor running.
 

Offline Mechatrommer

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10315
  • Country: my
  • reassessing directives...
why should you worry its US made? as long as you dont exceed the power limit 425W. please also remember the blackberry uses electricity to get charged up. so does the inverter (fuel) if you are powering from car. and all that are money. OT but another suggestion is... things like candle, camping tent, multipurpose rambo knife and/or hunting bow are probaby usefull, also dont forget a compass, but you already have GPS in your blackberry arent you?. another option is live in "overunity" nearby a flowing river and setup a miniscale turbine :P no its not a joke, since i have little clue of your lifestyle and location, except the "Genuine Techies" thing. so i'm just assuming. ;)
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 03:50:43 am by Mechatrommer »
It's extremely difficult to start life.. one features of nature.. physical laws are mathematical theory of great beauty... You may wonder Why? our knowledge shows that nature is so constructed. We simply have to accept it. One could describe the situation by saying that... (Paul Dirac)
 

Offline Psi

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7824
  • Country: nz
Your biggest problem will be accidentally running the car battery flat (if using it with the engine off)

Using the full 425W you'll only get about 15-25 minutes max before the car battery is totally dead
Running just a small laptop, say 60W, you might get 3 hours.

If you need more time online for web/email you could use a raspberry pi with 12-5V switchmode reg and a small lcd screen.
It would use less energy than a laptop

If it was me, and i needed extra batter life in my car i'd probably buy a 2nd car battery and swap them around every morning and use jumper cables to start from the good battery. (Annoying to do but ok for a temporary solution)

Oh, and, when you connect up the inverter make sure the connection is good and not getting hot.
Those cigarette lighter plugs are often terrible and waste lots of energy due to bad connections.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 04:16:19 am by Psi »
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline jaqie

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Country: 00
  • Genuine Girl Techie
thanks all for the advice.  I grew up in rural illinois, so I know how to deal with living in the country, and already have a large pocketknife which will and always has been quite useful.

The inverter is 425w continuous 600w max, and I plan on wiring it up to the batt directly. it also supposedly has low batt cutoff so it wont flatten the batt, but we won't be relying on that.  I had hoped to get one that could power my high efficiency microwave, but no way I can afford one, and this is just a week or two.  We will mostly be using the inverter while traveling or warming the car up.  It is not square wave, it seems to be from what I can dig up stepped approximation which is enough for chargers and such.  My cellphone can be charged from the stereo which has a memstick usb input.

I mentioned it is for the US market meaning that it is 110v, not 220v, that's all.

Candles in a car are a recipe for disaster, and we will not be using a tent simply because we are both disabled and cannot really expend that much energy on a physical activity of setting up a campsite every night et cetra so we will be sleeping in reclined seats.

as for this inverter, it I got it for $40 used and it is a $50 new model, better than anything available locally for that kind of money, and we do have 2 weeks here to wait for it, prolly 3 weeks.
 

Online edy

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2236
  • Country: ca
    • DevHackMod Channel
I needed a backup battery solution for running some medical equipment in case of mains power failure. Nothing life-critical but still useful to have just for a few hours in case.

So I bought a 600w inverter for about $79 so that was a good deal you got. I ended up buying a regular car battery that is the same as my regular car battery just so I have a spare at least I can also have it for the car so I feel better about spending the money, but it turns out it would have been better to buy a marine type deep cycle battery. The car batteries will not last for heavy discharge cycles and don't charge up and get ruined if they discharge too much... The lead plates get warped, they are thin and damage permanently. So for running a backup that may take a long time and plan to use up all the battery juice, best to use deep cycle because you can't really use the full capacity of the car battery without ruining it.

I also got a charger and I need to charge up the battery about 1-2x per week from the outlet otherwise the battery also drains and gets ruined. Deep cycle battery would be better, but then I wouldn't really have a backup for my car. The advantage of car battery is it delivers high amps for the initial alternator draw needed for starting the car, just for a fraction of a second it can handle the load. Then it goes back down to normal amps, since it has more and thinner plates inside, but the problem is the warp and sulphide bridges (I think they are called) short the battery eventually and kill it, even the conditioning setting on the charger can't bring it back to life.

I would suggest buying another battery equivalent to your car, and charging it up right up until you have power from the outlet. Then if you have any access to an outlet from a friend or work or public place (if you can get away with it) rig up a suitcase with wheels and put the car battery and charger in there, and go charge it up when you need from mains power. I would be wary of using your car battery for too long because you will kill both your power and means for travel, especially if for survivalist strategy. You will be wasting money burning gas and that will start to add up too. Best to use another battery if you can get one, rather than rely on your only car battery. Maybe some mechanics in the area have some cheap batteries around.

If you are just charging up your Blackberry then it is fine, and maybe think about LED flashlight or even those hand-crank ones so you need no power at all. I would recommend one of those Eton radios with flashlight and crank and Usb plug which you can even use to charge devices as well. For heat I would suggest getting a bunch of warm clothes and many layers. Your body heat in the car and sleeping bags should provide plenty of warmth.

I don't suggest using a microwave oven. It is not critical and will waste a lot of power. Start thinking about how you are going to provide food, consider buying stuff you can eat at room temperature. It may not be ideal but you are trying to survive. Bread, peanut butter, cans of tuna or fish and other stuff, cereals, etc... There are lots of options that should keep you going for a few weeks and you won't starve. But running a microwave out of a car, not too sure as those are high watt items. If you kill your battery trying to heat up some food that cost $10 then you'll be pretty pissed. If you are in civilization consider asking someone to warm up your food for you, I'm sure they would not mind depending on who you know and where you will be parked while you are living out of a car.

Good luck, let us know how you make out.

YouTube: www.devhackmod.com LBRY: https://lbry.tv/@winegaming:b Bandcamp Music Link
"Ye cannae change the laws of physics, captain" - Scotty
 

Offline jaqie

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Country: 00
  • Genuine Girl Techie
I have wanted to convert a car to an electric vehicle for about 10 years now, I know quite a bit about batteries and the advantages and disadvantages of the different battery types, thank you for the info but you are preaching to the choir :)

I am waiting until rent is past due to spend rent money, after that point we will rent the storage shed and use the rest to finish preparing for this "adventure", including sleeping bags and other such things, maybe if we can find one a safe miniature kerosene heater but probably not.  I know how to deal with food, I have been homeless before, but I also have special nutritional needs because of my medical problems.

A spare battery for the car is not an option because this car takes a specialty battery, but I had planned on getting some jumper cables and a non-compatible battery which is capable of starting the car if we do run out of juice accidentally.  We already have three LED flashlights, two of which use 2x AA batteries, we already have 10 AA and 6 niMH rechargable AA for them, one of which is an LED converted maglite which uses a circuit akin to the joule thief - I know to be prepared. :)

As for the microwave, that was just something I wanted incase I had the need to, but it's not an option with this particular unit so we just will do without.  As for wasting money burning gas... no, we plan on using the inverter when warming up the car or going places to try to get this situation straightened out, both of which we would have to do anyway.  We will not be running the car just to run the inverter.

Thank you for your advice!

I still wish I could find someone that has looked inside one of these and can tell me if it's dangerous or not.
 

Offline sorin

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 267
  • Country: al
 

Offline jaqie

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Country: 00
  • Genuine Girl Techie
aw damn. must be an end of life model so it's being sold cheaply through third parties.  thanks for the info, bit too late now. :p

Honestly, Im rather surprised nobody has found any bad dirt on this, it may actually be a well made unit.  I'd much rather have found out I could have gotten it cheaper than I bought a dangerous turkey of a unit.  ^-^
 

Offline poorchava

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1620
  • Country: pl
  • Troll Cave Electronics!
Quote
I have wanted to convert a car to an electric vehicle for about 10 years now, I know quite a bit about batteries and the advantages and disadvantages of the different battery types, thank you for the info but you are preaching to the choir

That's nice idea, but parts to do that are terribly expensive. High voltage / high current semiconductors and the battery bank cost a small fortune.
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline jaqie

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Country: 00
  • Genuine Girl Techie
yeah, I was going to use the largest curtis controller available which is like $600 or something, and use nicad battery packs.... never got the money to even get a car, so... meh.  roommate has this ford probe.
 

Offline rr100

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 339
I never got into trouble despite getting quite a bunch of inverters, usually by the criteria "cheapest that can do this".
I started like 10-15 years ago and upgraded all the time for whatever features I wanted: oh, this can do refrigerator and destkop+computer at the same time; this one is even bigger and less noisier; oh maybe I need a "true sinus" one (read really expensive) because the power supply from the video camera doesn't like the "modified waveform one", oh, you can get some nice ones from some old APC UPSes (cheap and sinus), oh I need a really small one for when I rent a car or for when I fly (never flew with an airline that gives power to seats via those special plugs, at least to my economy seat, but I "had" to have it, just in case).

Long story short probably any inverter will do, and except for blowing a fuse I think it would rather destroy itself than do anything nasty (it could certainly fry a laptop power supply but I doubt it would happen, especially that you use a 120V inverter while the PS can probably handle 110-240V).

Another thing worth mentioning is that personally I drifted away from inverter use, I have it in the car but just don't use it ever. Phone has a DC-DC 5V power supply (more or less like your radio has for USB), laptop takes 12V (yes, I know "car voltage" isn't 12V...), portable fridge takes 12-24V. Portable "USB power pack" is again 12V-in so I can charge it from there. There are some fancy things like DSLR battery for which I don't have a low voltage battery but I don't use them that much and never had the need to recharge in the car.


Microwave/food heating is a waste of good electricity in this setup. What you need is a portable stove and some metal pots. I assume you do have some cookware so what about the stove? Apparently you can improvise a stove from some household items like an empty soda can and such (and you run it on denatured alcohol). I don't know how safe it is. I like to use a gas stove, the cheapest I could get, the one that uses small gas canisters by piercing them. Nothing fancy, stove+2 gas cans was something like 10$ (it was on sale and prices vary wildly).
 

Offline jaqie

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Country: 00
  • Genuine Girl Techie
If we have to I know how to make those soda can alcohol burners, but why do that when gas stations have a microwave in their food court? :)

This inverter like I said is more for charging up my laptop while we drive somewhere and such, running various stuff in the car while we drive... can opener since Im so arthritic I cant use a manual one, stuff like that.
 

Offline SeanB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 15465
  • Country: za
I will add as well have you got some thermal blankets, they are great for keeping you warm. I use old aluminised mylar bags from work and they work a treat. You break out sweating after a few minutes under them.

Ford seats are not bad for sleeping in, nice and comfortable. just crack a window open a bit for air, and hang a towel in the one facing sunrise if you want to sleep in a few minutes more.
 

Offline G7PSK

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3718
  • Country: gb
  • It is hot until proved not.
I have just got one of these boost converters in order to charge my wifes wheel chair while in the car, I tried an inverter and the battery charger but the volt drop on the line to the socket in the back of the car was such that the inverter would not work, I just wired this into the DC side of the charger after the rectifier and set it to 26 volts, the charger works perfectly and I dont have all the losses that you get with a 240 volt inveter unit.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/221165038948?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

It works so well that I have ordered another unit to run a laptop in the car, also have used a smaller one to supply 5 volts via a usb socket for charging phones etc.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 04:35:57 pm by G7PSK »
 

Offline jaqie

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Country: 00
  • Genuine Girl Techie
I'm not understanding the purpose of your post, G7PSK?
 

Offline G7PSK

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3718
  • Country: gb
  • It is hot until proved not.
Just suggesting that by using devices other than an inverter you will drain your battery less, DC to DC converters use less current. 
 

Offline XynxNet

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 183
  • Country: de
In my opinion you solve your problem the wrong way.
Sell your car, pay the rent, move to a cheaper appartment ....or ask some friends wheather you can live with them for month.
 

Offline jaqie

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Country: 00
  • Genuine Girl Techie
In my opinion you solve your problem the wrong way.
Sell your car, pay the rent, move to a cheaper appartment ....or ask some friends wheather you can live with them for month.

You can have your opinion and take it to the wishing well, because it's filled with false assumptions.  That is my roommate's car, I am disabled enough we need a car for me to get around, we need the car to get groceries with, we have no local friends as neither of us can get out much, and we already intend to find a cheaper apartment.  Besides all that how the hell are we supposed to move without some form of transportation?  Not everyone lives in an inner city.  Also the utilities are shutting off, getting them turned on again for one month is going to cost more than the car is worth in the first place, even if we could sell it.

Thanks for assuming, now get off your high horse and realize that our situation isn't going to be like you assume.

Now, how about posting something on topic?  Know anything about that inverter? No? then post somewhere else.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 05:30:34 pm by jaqie »
 

Offline XynxNet

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 183
  • Country: de
Sure, i know only the information you gave us.

Tell us if your inverter project worked out.
 

Offline GeoffS

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1267
  • Country: au
In my opinion you solve your problem the wrong way.
Sell your car, pay the rent, move to a cheaper appartment ....or ask some friends wheather you can live with them for month.

You can have your opinion and take it to the wishing well, because it's filled with false assumptions.  That is my roommate's car, I am disabled enough we need a car for me to get around, we need the car to get groceries with, we have no local friends as neither of us can get out much, and we already intend to find a cheaper apartment.  Besides all that how the hell are we supposed to move without some form of transportation?  Not everyone lives in an inner city.  Also the utilities are shutting off, getting them turned on again for one month is going to cost more than the car is worth in the first place, even if we could sell it.

Thanks for assuming, now get off your high horse and realize that our situation isn't going to be like you assume.

Now, how about posting something on topic?  Know anything about that inverter? No? then post somewhere else.

The post is on topic, it became the topic when you spent half of your original post explaining that you were going to be homeless and how you were going to solve this instead of just asking about inverters. Don't bitch about a subject you created.
 

Offline jaqie

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Country: 00
  • Genuine Girl Techie
I was "bitching" about someone assuming a bunch of things, and being on a high horse.

I posted the information as it was germane to why I needed to rely on this device so strongly and how important this information to me would be.
 

Offline Skimask

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1425
  • Country: us
Somehow I would think a handful of extra blankets, maybe bottles of water, loaf of bread, or two, etc. would be just a tad more important than keeping cell phones and laptops charged up.
I didn't take it apart.
I turned it on.

The only stupid question is, well, most of them...

Save a fuse...Blow an electrician.
 

Offline Corporate666

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 2007
  • Country: us
  • Remember, you are unique, just like everybody else
If you are living so close to the edge of financial despair that you can't afford transport, have no savings for emergencies, can't afford a temporary rent increase or to pay utilities, then why on earth do you have a cell phone plan with internet access? 

Priorities.
It's not always the most popular person who gets the job done.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf