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July 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm #37136
I need to vacuum the carpet in my caravan badly but have bad memories of an old car cigar socket powered hand vacuum I had years ago that was pretty much as good as a fan in a drainpipe. How do you vacuum or clean a carpet when you’re off-grid? Most 12v cleaners seem to have poor performance reviews when I search online. Can anyone recommend a good one they’ve had experience with?July 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm #42820
Frank you would be better off running a mains powered small vac powered through an inverter. First of all there are many more of them made so the price is lower per unit. When you need a replacement there is more choice and retail outlets.
You do not need a huge battery. Run your vehicle engine to charge ther battery while the inverter is powering the vac.
This is one place where its best to buy a consumer product that really sucks. The 12V devices don’t hack it. )))August 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm #42827
Thanks elnav. I’ve managed to find a 300w mains powered one on eBay for £5 (just waiting for it to arrive). I only have a 300w inverter so *hopefully* it’ll work. I’m going off grid at the moment primarily to save money and want to spend as little as possible so buying a 2000w inverter just to run a powerful vac seems a little against my overall purpose. But if I have to, I’ll have toAugust 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm #42828
300 – 600 watt inverter is what I had in mind. There are a few cordless models available that also work well. They are better than the 12V models. I had both kinds so a personal comparison was possible. Best of all the cordless models can be recharged from mains or inverter. Good luck!August 1, 2012 at 8:39 pm #42829
Although I design systems using 2kW – 9 kw inverters I often recommend to my clients to use several small inverters, each dedicated to one task. Inverters are most efficient when loaded to 80 – 90% of their rated capacity. Thus it makes no sense to run a 300 – 600 watt load with a ginormous 2kW or bigger inverter.August 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm #42830
I noticed the cordless ones, Dyson, Ryobi and Makita have great reviews and they’re what I would get if I could force myself to part with the money.
Great advice on the inverters. Don’t feel so bad on being a cheapskate and getting the lower rated one- ThanksAugust 4, 2012 at 7:49 pm #42831
It depends on the inverter. I had a UPG 1300 that would run a skilsaw and had an idle draw of only .09 amp. Now I have an XPower 3000 in the garage that only uses more power above a certain draw when the cooling fan kicks in, and is turned off when not in use, even though the idle current drain is small. Not as small as the UPG was. The front system is the main and has DR2424s with search mode that only uses 1 milliamp. We have a rechargeable battery powered G2 Swivel sweeper for non carpet areas and a CarpetPro Commercial for the main vacuum. 10amp, HEPA, highest rating with repairmen(they don’t see them). Previous vacuums, even the Kirby, were not built well enough to handle either modified sine wave power or occasional rocks.
The newer car lighter operated ones can have great suction, compared to the past. Oreck looks great.August 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm #42853
Hey I purchased a cobra 800 one on amazon for $47 with free shipping. it has two sockets and one usb which is a gift. It is quiet and small too. I ran wire from the battery and it works like a charm.
Link:August 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm #42856
That looks a good buy Jay. I’m in the UK so it may not be as cheap here but the USB ports are a good touch. I really regret not buying an inverter with USB ports on it. I tried to get around it by buying a cigarette socket with crocodile clips attached then using car cigarette plugs to convert it to USB but it burnt out.! Anyway, I’ve had the 300w Draper vacuum cleaner I won for £5 from eBay and it works really well. You can tell it lacks the power of the bigger ones but the money I’m saving on both its price and not needing to buy another inverter kind of justifies it to me at the moment.August 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm #42857
For the record USB power is 5V not 12V locally I have found adaptors that stick into a cigarette lighter socket and has a USB socket on the front. New retail price is $15. Last week I picked up a travel mug at the second hand store which contained a heater. Closer examination revealed the cigarette plug was actually an adaptor with a USB socket in the end.
For those who like to do their own thing. Do not connect LED lighting directly to your 12V battery. The normal charge / discharge cycling result in voltage swings that will shorten the life of the LED lights considerably. You need a regulated power supply. Every desk top computer has a bolt in box you can adapt as a great power supply. Most of these desk top power supplys are around 250 – 300 watts, so a 500 – 600 watt inverter will drive them.
The benefit being a computer supply will provide a rock steady ripple free source of both 5V and 12V at better than 10 Amps
I just cannibalized one supply that listed the 12V at 14A and the 5V at 22 amps. Just perfect for many projects.
Incidentally the bargain stores have many versions of low cost battery powered LED lights all of which use 3 batteries. 3X 1.5V = 4.5 volts so these lights will run on the 5V supply used in a desktop computer.
Considering how many computers are being junked and replaced with laptops there must be a whole lot of perfectly good power supplies you can salvage from the dumpster. Sounds like an opportunity for a DIY person to relight their place with low cost bargain store LED lights powered by a repurposed computer power supply giving stable regulated voltage.August 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm #42880
I found a lighter adapter with a USB plug on it for £1.95 which is pretty good. My plan is to go to the local breakers yard and take a cigarette lighter port from a car. Then wire it up (with a 15A inline fuse) to crocodile clips which I can then attach to the battery.
My mistake before was that I did a similar thing using a 3 port cigarette panel but used a cheap immersion heater element (to boil a cup of water). Although I measured its drain as being 11A it was enough to get everything melting! The wires were original so I’m suprised it passed any kind of EU regulatory check (it probably didn’t – it was cheap).
I decided to replace the cable with Automotive cable rated at 30A – with crocodile clips on the end.. I lost my confidence in cigarette lighter sockets.. going to leave them for low current uses.. phone chargers etcAugust 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm #42884
After blowing the fuse in a friends car by plugging in my laptop I discovered that the normal automotive standard for cigarette lighter outlets was 8 Amps max I took a look at the whole issue. As a marine electrician I must have installed dozen and dozens of such lighter outlets in boats but always wired them with fuses and wire gauge to handle 15 amps. The damn things are an anachronism dating back to WW2 when it was considered cool to light up while cruising down the road in your Studz Bearcat convertible looking like some Hollywood jerk in the movies.
BTW crocodile clips are not really suited for lots of amps, they are just convenient. There is insufficient contact area for a solid connection to carry all that current. When I worked for Xantrex we included a note in our product manual to cut off the cig plug and hard wire even our 300 watt product. the reason being at 300 watts @12V the DC current is 30 amps. The only reason we made small inverters with a cigarette plug was because a major retailer demanded these be included as a condition of them buying the small inverters by the truck load.
If you need plug-in convenience look for something called Anderson connectors. They make plugs rated as much as 200 amps DC and I have used them on 2000 watt inverters.
For an over view of what is available in small dimension connectors look at companies like MOLEX industrial catalog then find an electronics resale outlet who can order in small quantities. In North America Digikey is an excellent source but I am not familiar with UK retailers.
Sometimes you can improvise by cannibalizing old computers most of the connectors and pins used are good for 10A at 12V
Now that even older models of computers found in the rubbish bin have USB ports you can often find wire assemblies with A suitable USB socket suitable for other projects. Look for desk top computes having USB sockets in front panels. these invariably plug into the mother board with a wire harness. If you intend to carry a full 10A best upgrade the wire size. A normal USB current rating is under 1 amps. Wires used in computers may be as small as #22 or the metric equivalent. The wires coming out of most power supplies are #18 and can carry 10A.August 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm #42885
My Mariner has 3 “cigarette lighter” sockets but no lighters or even ashtrays, and a little 120W inverter outlet, plus USB and phone. For a 12VDC vacuum cleaner that is highest rated;
Otherwise that inverter plus the fuze and hardwires(~+$35), then the best power for a car vac is the Dirt Devil 7 amp (~800 watts, $23).
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