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Boondocking + induction cooktop


FTsince2000

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Hello,

 

After fulltiming for nearly 10 years, then going back to a stix & brix house for 5 years when my husband was ill, I'm about to hit the road again on my own.

 

I've ordered a new little motorhome, complete with three solar panels and two 6-volt house batts. When I placed the order, I assumed it would come with a regular ol' propane cooktop. I now see (from a photo) that they've installed a two "burner" induction cooktop. To the manufacturer's credit, they seem to be perfectly willing to swap the induction cooktop out for a propane cooktop, before I take possession.

 

I'm NOT a very good cook and, in fact, I really dislike cooking. But I'm wondering whether that induction cooktop will use huge amounts of my battery power when I'm boondocking.

 

I realize that I'll probably have to buy a new pan or two, which doesn't bother me. I also like the idea of the induction method of cooking being faster and much more eco-friendly. Also, I've seen these cooktops in several new motorhomes and they seem to be becoming more popular.

 

I'm interested in knowing if any of you are currently using an induction cooktop when boondocking. Any problems with using battery power to run it? Yes, I'll have a generator, but I would love to know if you're finding battery power adequate for induction cooking.

 

Thanks!

-- Connie

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I do know that my Daughter recently opted out of an induction cook top in her kitchen remodel because of the cost of replacing her high quality cookware with equal quality induction cookware. I know that wasn't your question but I thought I throw it in for consideration.

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I'd not plan on using the induction cooktop off battery, I don't have the power draw numbers for yours but it is likely going to draw enough to stress a pair of batteries before your dinner is done. If you start your generator it should do fine, otherwise the propane is going to be a better fit.

 

110 volt 2 - 1200 watt burners: http://smile.amazon.com/Burner-Electric-Cooktop-Black-Voltage/dp/B005IHNG5G/ref=sr_1_4

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I don't have any first hand experience with an induction stove top, but I DO know they drink a lot of juice. Something like 13-15 amps. I'm sure it varies to some degree, but most of what I have seen are 1500-1800 watt stoves. You didn't mention what type of 6v'rs you have, but with the best of them, I would imagine you only have 100ah's +/- (@ 50%) at your fingertips. That's a pretty hefty chunk of change... especially if you get a few cloudy days. You could certainly use your genset, but that seems to defeat the 'eco-friendly" aspects of an induction stove.

 

Personally.. in a boondocking situation, I would stick with a propane stove top.

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The one I linked to is 110 volts and could be run (2 x 1200) on a 3000 watt inverter but it is going to suck 200 plus amps. I'd want eight GC batteries for that load to keep the amp draw per battery reasonably low, for long cooking times you'd need more to keep the state of charge up.

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but it is going to suck 200 plus amps.

 

WOWwwzers!! That'll suck you dry in a heartbeat! Even on shore power at a CG (metered) I don't think I would want to try that. I could be wrong, but it almost seems more energy efficient to just nuke your food.

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Cherie and Chris of Technomadia.com are all electric, boondock and use an induction cooktop - http://www.technomadia.com/2014/11/rving-gear-that-keeps-us-hot-and-not-bothered/. They are in an old bus conversion, which is no Liberty Coach.

 

Edit: RVers do not need top of the line cookware and I know this $63 set from Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Spt-11pc-Stainless-Steel-Cookware/dp/B005GEYZ8S/, works with induction. We bought it for a niece to use with an induction cooktop and she uses it.

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You can use induction for cooking with solar. Just not a lot of it unless you have a large system. A portable we measured at the solar rally used 3 amps. That is a fair amount of power, but feasible for limited use of one burner on a medium system. Propane is still better for most people.

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Don't think Cherie and Chris heat electrically when boondocking.

 

Reed and Elaine

What does this have to do with induction cooking? Heating is another story and is covered in the blog post I linked. They do use a Buddy heater with LP bottles when needed.

On cooking they say, "We switched to an all electric kitchen setup instead, utilizing portable appliances stored in a new cabinet built where the oven once was."

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You can use induction for cooking with solar. Just not a lot of it unless you have a large system. A portable we measured at the solar rally used 3 amps. That is a fair amount of power, but feasible for limited use of one burner on a medium system. Propane is still better for most people.

 

Hey Jack,

 

Could you expound on the portable you measured a bit? 3 amps??

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Bill It has to do with the statement you posted "..Cherie and Chris of Technomadia.com are all electric, boondock and use an induction cooktop,,,". We use the microwave extensively. It takes about 1.7 kW. We also run the water heater and Dometic refrigerator on electric on sunny days and that takes even more power. Solar is "free" and propane is not. If induction cooking is only about 400 W, then it makes sense.

Reed and Elaine

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Everyone is different but I wouldn't let induction run me away from boon-docking, or vise-versa. We have been boon-docking 16 of the last 17 days and we have induction. If we want to warm something up or cook on the cooktop we just fire up the gen, no big deal. We don't eat before or after what might be quiet times in some places anyway, or we cook outside. We have a NuWave portable induction and have not tried it yet but will.

And the times we are on hookups (which for us is normally more than we are boon-docking) we certainly like the induction better than propane, but that's just us. Some like cooking on propane and it is what it is.

All electric and boon-docking CAN go hand in hand. Everything has one form or another of compromise regardless of what you have.

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Hey all, great topic! We are planning on 90% boondocking and recently purchased a single induction plate. We have already decided that when we retire, we're gonna change up our eating habits and have our main meal mid-afternoon and a light dinner later on. And with that we plan on cooking with the induction during the day while we are still recharging the batteries. We'll see how this works out.

 

Ruth

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Hey all, great topic! We are planning on 90% boondocking and recently purchased a single induction plate. We have already decided that when we retire, we're gonna change up our eating habits and have our main meal mid-afternoon and a light dinner later on. And with that we plan on cooking with the induction during the day while we are still recharging the batteries. We'll see how this works out.

 

Ruth

I think your plan makes a lot of sense. Most of us who like to boondock have already moved to solar and most solar systems are set up to charge the battery bank fully by about noon-ish. I always figure that any solar after noon is "free" power and use that to charge laptops, cell phones, scooters, etc.

 

If Jack Mayer's measurement of 3-amps (one assumes that's at 120 vac) then 400-watts is not that big a deal; but, of course, you would have that 400-watts on for a longer period of time for an induction cooker than for a microwave (I'd guess). I'd love to see more data about this power usage but I guess I could pony-up the $90 or so for a NuWave and plug it into my Kill-a-Watt and find out for myself. :P

 

We are actually happy cooking with propane. Our SnB has natural gas and we plan to put a gas stove into our new "apartment" we're preparing for our home-base once the DW retires from the school district. But, as Reed says, propane costs real money and since any solar after the battery bank is charged is free power (and "wasted" if you don't put it to use) your idea sounds pretty reasonable. (I plan to solar-up the apartment, too, since I have a huge rooftop on that shop (where the apartment occupies only about 600sq ft) that is aimed southwards with an almost perfect slant for this latitude.)

 

As far as the earlier main meal, we've also noticed that we are moving to a later (and bigger) "lunch" around 2pm and a lighter "dinner" later (often just a snack).

 

Good plan, I think.

 

WDR

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Yes the 3 amps was at 120 volts.

 

This is certainly "do-able" with a large system. As indicated - during the "free" solar time you might as well use it or it is wasted. And on a large battery bank reasonable use would be OK. But you cannot count on free sun and you cannot count on restoring your battery bank by noon. Pesky little things like watching TV late, days of clouds and rain, etc. interfere with the ideal scenarios. So I am hesitant to recommend an all electric rig for those that like to boondock extensively. Sure, it can be done if you run your genset some and make other compromises. But the addition of just a gas two-burner module solves all those issues. I like the combination of a gas module with an induction module. That gives you the best of both. And a real cooking capacity. A single portable burner may work for some, but it would not for us and many others. Now, on a diesel-only coach with the elimination of all gas having the propane cooktop won't fly so you either limit your cooking capabilities to the induction plate - which seems to be OK for some - or you run your genset sometimes. Or put in a diesel fired cooktop like on a boat. They do not typically offer much btu output, though.

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Use the induction cooktop while recharging your batteries, seldom do we use the induction cooktop or oven for over an hour to cook anything. Two days ago I cooked a 3# beef roast in our NuWave oven, 60 minutes cooked (I'm still learning) it to medium in the center to medium-well elsewhere. DW likes it that way, fits both our tastes. Sure takes longer than that to recharge a battery bank.

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We'll be keeping our propane stove and use that as back up, but hope to do most cooking either on the induction or over the fire. Of course this is all just in the planning stage, real life experience may vary, LOL. We are also looking at adding a homemade solar water heater that plumbs into the rigs existing system....got a couple ideas hanging out on my Pinterest board for that. Can't wait to hit the road and put these theories to work.

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If you use just the cooktop function of induction, their wattage demand is misleading. Re beer, there is very, very little electricity needed to get the food to cooking temp. It's close to "right now". After the cooking is done, it ceases using electricity instantly, with no remaining propane surging thru the line. Most importantly, the AmpHrs it uses in normal kitchen operation is low. For example, say you get a good one rated 1,800W. Over an hour, you'd take 15A out of your bank--far too much for your little system. However, with thought an pre-planning, I doubt you'll need it on for more than 12 mins for, say, breakfast. That's 1/5/ hr, or just 3 AmpHrs. That's doable given the conveniences gained.

 

Jerry

2008 Country Coach Allure 38' tag

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If you use just the cooktop function of induction, their wattage demand is misleading. Re beer, there is very, very little electricity needed to get the food to cooking temp. It's close to "right now". After the cooking is done, it ceases using electricity instantly, with no remaining propane surging thru the line. Most importantly, the AmpHrs it uses in normal kitchen operation is low. For example, say you get a good one rated 1,800W. Over an hour, you'd take 15A out of your bank--far too much for your little system. However, with thought an pre-planning, I doubt you'll need it on for more than 12 mins for, say, breakfast. That's 1/5/ hr, or just 3 AmpHrs. That's doable given the conveniences gained.

 

Jerry

2008 Country Coach Allure 38' tag

 

I think your math is off a bit. 1800 watts is 150 amps at 12 volts, and amount to 150 AH if used for an hour. That does not even account for the losses through the inverter nor the Peukert Effect. Even using one for 12 minutes would draw 150 amps and result in the use of 30 AH. It would take a very substantial battery bank to provide that much power.

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I went to an RV show yesterday near Tucson, AZ and was surprised at the number of units that had induction cooktops. Some were motorhomes but one or two were fifthwheels. My wife and I remarked on the practical use of this cooktop in a boondocking situation. Another surprising thing was the number of fifthwheels that had residential refrigerators. I bet Norcold and Dometic are concerned about this trend.

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