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Flameless cooking with battery power; how I am trying to do it...

916 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Happy Joe
Due to the dry conditions locally; there are fire bans which can prohibit, at higher ban levels; open flame and fuel using camp stoves.
(Edit; gas fueled stoves seem to be legal during stage 1 and stage 2 fire bans, in Colorado, as long as they can be turned off; flame/fires that cannot be turned off (wood/charcoal) seem to be largely forbidden under stage 2 fire bans)..

Accordingly, I am trying to use, in a very limited (small) way, some RV and trailer kitchen tech for vehicle tent camping.

I am, initially, tying to use A 100 Amp Hour (AH), with a 100 amp internal BMS (Battery management system) lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) battery (one of the safest chemistries, IMO).

To power, via a 1500 Watt inverter;
One at a time; a small (700 watt) microwave (actually draws 900 watts),
or a fair sized 1800 watt (see below) Induction hob/small small cook top.
Using induction compatible (magnetic surface) pans.

The hob normally would draw amperage exceeding the limits of the inverter, and the battery; however, this particular model of induction hob has the ability to limit the power it uses in adjustable stages, so I should be able to set the hob to draw less power than the battery, It's Battery Management System (BMS) and the inverter will supply.
The function of a BMS is to protect the battery from excessive input or outputs of electricity that could damage it. The BMS will typically shut the battery off temporarily if/when it experiences conditions outside of its allowable operating range. ( A 100 amp BMS should allow 100 amps to flow; 100 amps X 12 volts = 1200 watts)

Note; some 100 AH LiFePo4 batteries come with smaller 50 amp, internal, BMS's these will, probably not supply enough current to adequately power either the induction hob or the microwave. (50 amps X 12 volts = 600 watts).

Initial trial of the induction hob set at 7 out of 10 (70%?) 1260 watts? and trying to fry an egg for breakfast resulted in a very slowly cooking egg. I might have been exceeding the power limit of the BMS and experiencing a partial shutdown.

I reran the trial the next day using a setting of 6 and household current (1200 watts?) resulted in adequate frying heat.
and a good egg and cheese sandwich.

I will next try using the battery with a setting of 6 on the hob.

I was able to cook a hotdog in the microwave in a minute without problems.

! was also able to cook a bag of microwave popcorn in around 3 minutes The bag was too big for the microwave and kept getting hung up; I will go with small bags of microwave popcorn for this microwave (should be less fattening).

A Major concern is; How long can the battery support the inverter and hob/microwave in practice?
Since I expect to only use the hob or the microwave for short periods of time (minutes) in the field I expect that I may get several days (weekend?) of use before needing to recharge the battery.

I will be searching for minute recipes for breakfast, lunch and snacks to keep power usage down.

Toast may be an issue...

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After seeing the devastation of the wild fires we no longer have fires. We spend a lot of time in fire ban areas. Our white gas Coleman has still been allowed and I use it cautiously and not if it is very windy. It is very efficient and uses very little fuel. I commend you for trying flameless cooking. I Know you like to figure out new methods. I have 2- 200 amh KS2 Lithium batteries with 300 watts of solar and a 2000 w inverter. I won鈥檛 use an induction stove. I am not willing to shorten the life on my inverter. I also rarely use my 700 w microwave. It is too slow and uses too much power. It takes about 5 minutes to barely warm a bowl of soup. I created an doc. to track my power consumption. My 3 Qt Instant Pot is the most efficient way for me to cook. You can cook meals in the pot or use a pot in pot method using the batteries. It only draws power while it is heating then maintains temperature for quite a while.
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I have/am looking at insta-pots and pressure cooker+induction powered by inverter tech.
Personally, I don't worry about solid state device life as it can run over 20 years (likely longer than I will). Although; any thing can fail at any time (including me) if luck runs thin. (I keep hoping for a weather change, to wetter weather; which will render all of this moot).

So far I have enough new cooking toys to keep me more than occupied.
I keep running short on research time because life keeps interfering.
When I get familiar with these and find their limits, on battery power; I may (probably will) try insta-pot type cooking (there are some brands that use induction for heating, which is much more energy efficient than resistance heating).

The use of fueled stoves seems to be a little unclear as what I hear and what I can find documented vary... I will try to call the local Forest Service offices and get a verbal readout on propane stove usage.
Edit; gas fueled stoves seem to be legal durring stage one and stage 2 fire bans, in Colorado, as long as they can be turned off; flame/fires that cannot be turned off (wood/charcoal) seem to be forbidden under stage 3 fire bans..

The 700 watt microwave can heat a cup of coffee/water in a minute. Its the larger, family sized meals/quantities of food that they struggle with; and that propane or other fueled stoves excel on.
The same goes for the induction hob/mini cook top; the larger the quantities of food the longer cooking takes and the more battery power is used... I figure that I can get by, if its just my self or perhaps 2 of us for a couple of days (cold sandwiches and first day fried chicken buckets can help, as can make in a minute snacks) but a single 100 amp hour Li battery (w/ 100 amp BMS) is unlikely to allow cooking for many more, or over much longer periods of time, IMO. (especially since I prefer shady camp sites which make solar recharging problematic. I am assembling 400 watts of semi portable solar panels which I intend to carry folded on the vehicle roof, as the best (least undesirable) compromise; but fully expect that I will be forced into a larger battery/bank (atleast 200 Amp Hours with atleast 200 Amps of BMS capacity) for longer trips).
I also primarily base camp in one spot for the whole trip so running the vehicle just to recharge the battery is very inefficient. I can bring the low noise, low pollution (small gasoline engines can produce 11 times more polution than vehicle engines), propane genny but that raises the old bulk and fuel v.s. room issues.

I don't/won't camp where grid power is available; you may find me, off of a difficult jeep trail (4WD + lockers required) where cell and wi-fi are not available and neighbors are few/nonexistent.


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I finally got some mini bags of microwave popcorn (the cheap/compact 700 watt (wallymart) microwave is too small for the bigger size (they hang up/don't rotate).

I expected the small size would reduce the cooking time; but the cooking time is about the same (within about 30 seconds).

I tried some pressure cooked pasta (elbow macaroni) and instead of 15 minutes the time is reduced to about 9 minutes (not sure if the reduced time is enough to make battery powered induction cooking of pasta in a pressure cooker practical/worth while...
The pressure cooking did result in more tender pasta, which has always been a issue when cooking it at higher altitude in the mountains. I live at approximately 6,000 feet and like to camp at around 9,000 feet of altitude.

Battery power is saved but its looking more and more like I will be forced to go to, at least, two 100 Amp hour LiFePo4 (lithium phosphate) batteries (each with a 100 amp BMS) in parallel to make battery powered camp cooking practical.

Edit; ...time to start watching for a sale...

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I managed to fit both, the induction hob and the pans in a single large case; for portability;
still working on a case for the inverter...

Hood Gadget Computer hardware Automotive lighting Audio equipment

The lid is upside down and has the knob removed; to make it fit...
The propane stove heater is included, because there was a hole that just fit it.

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