Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

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bm_cricket
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Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by bm_cricket » Mon May 15, 2017 2:03 pm

Hi you damn dirty hippies!

My camp uses a Honda EU3000is generator to charge batteries, a 12v water pump for our drums, run small gadgets around the camp, etc, but we only run it for a few hours per day. We have a camp private space in a series of Costco barns that get used as a dining room/kitchen/bar. The generator generally isn't on during the evening and at night but we need light. I'm thinking of getting about 300 feet of LED rope light to be used for decorating and functional lighting inside the barns. Have people used 2-wire LED rope light and if so, how do you recommend connecting them to a 12v system? I imagine having something similar to a light switch at the "door" of the Costco barn so people walk in and turn the lights on for the whole space, then when they leave they (hopefully) turn it back off. I'm tempted to set this up on a timer so it only turns on for a few minutes at a time.

Have you done this? How does the math work out for your battery consumption on paper vs in real life?
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Joeln » Mon May 15, 2017 3:43 pm

This is very feasible and easily done.
One unit of "16.4ft 300 SMD 5050 LEDs Flexible Strip Lights, Daylight white" at your generic online retailer for $10 will light up a single carport quite nicely. In 2015 I used a deep cycle battery with this for my carport and the battery lasted for the whole burn.
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Meat Hunter » Mon May 15, 2017 3:59 pm

There are a good many folks on here that know whole lot more about this than I.

I suspect that you could run 100'+ string of little 12v LED lights all night long for the whole week on just one charge of a deep cell battery.

However, you might bring along a regular automobile-type battery charger and charge the battery whenever you run your generator.

No doubt about it, that there are many ways to skin and cook a dead possum.

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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by bm_cricket » Mon May 15, 2017 4:15 pm

We have been using the 5050 white LEDs for the last few years but they break and are really funky.. I'm looking into replacing them with heavy duty rope lights that may survive a few burns. The 5050 strips are so very cheap so we may just go that route again this year.

Have you used the rope lights like these in barn lighting powered from deep cycle battery?
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Joeln » Mon May 15, 2017 5:20 pm

I haven't used them, but pm me a link so I can see how much current they need.
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon May 15, 2017 5:39 pm

That's about the same amount of that LED rope light as I run on my MV, off of two marine type Costco batteries (charged by a pair of alternators) and a pure-sine-wave inveter.
Those lights draw about a watt per foot, you'll have a 300 watt power draw.
You'll kill a single standard deep cycle battery in about two hours. They're usually roughly 100 amp-hours but really once you run it down halfway, you're done.
300 watts is about 25 amps at 12 volts, two hours of that is 50 amp-hours, that's half a battery's capacity, which really is all of its capacity to actually work.

I'd suggest at least a pair of batteries, but here's the catch: unless you have a crazy powerful charger, you'll run your generator longer charging the batteries back up than you'll run the lights!
So why not just run the generator to power the lights?? It makes a lot more sense.
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by some seeing eye » Mon May 15, 2017 5:56 pm

Just for fun, you might look into a 12v passive infrared PIR occupancy sensor with a built in relay that can handle the amps of your lighting coupled with a 12V day night hour timer. It would turn on the lights when someone comes into the kitchen late hours for the time they are there.

If you have batteries, the next potential step is solar charging. You will need some panels and a charge controller. Panels are under $.80/peak Watt, expected to fall over the year. Visit the AEZ village and the Snow Koan camp for advice on playa.
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by bm_cricket » Tue May 16, 2017 8:39 am

Hi Captain Goddammit!

Goddammit you are probably right. I'll just set it up with the generator running almost the whole time. We will have a lot of other electrical stuff running anyway (chest freezers and such) so I can justify it that way anyway. I may still hook them up to a single deep cycle and have a 5 minute timer connected to them so people can go into the kitchen, get food, then head off to bed. If that happens a few times during the night it won't drain the battery too much and the next time the generator runs it will charge back up.

I may only set the lights up over the kitchen stove with the 5 minute timer (20-40 feet of light) and the rest only turns on when the generator kicks on.

BTW, my generator, the EU3000is, has a 12v output. Could I run the lights from that directly?
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue May 16, 2017 9:26 am

No, because it's a low-current 12V outlet, it won't provide enough power.
I haven't shopped it in a little while but I always found 120VAC lights cheaper and easier too. You can use smaller wires (less current) and you can use any ordinary extension cords.
In my experience LED lights don't like cheap modified sine wave inverters, they work right on pure sine wave.
In the situation you're describing I'd skip the whole running on a battery at night idea.
It's a bunch more money, more complication and junk to bring and set up and have trouble with, for almost no real benefit.
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by bm_cricket » Tue May 16, 2017 9:31 am

Thank you! I think that running the generator an extra few hours every night, doing a few extra oil changes, etc.. won't be that bad.

Your advice is appreciated.
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue May 16, 2017 9:55 am

And - hey how goes it!!!

I know burners love solar and batteries... but if you already have an EU3000, a little more gas is pocket change compared to setting up an additional 12V system, and you can buy gas out at Haymaker at 10:00 outside the outer ring.
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by bm_cricket » Tue May 16, 2017 10:10 am

Our camp uses about 40 gallons of gas for 7 days, running our generator about 12 hours per day. I'm tempted to bring another 20 gallons or so to push it into the evening. Most of those hours are during the Burn.

I guess I knew this was the answer all along. I'm usually against battery powered stuff. I use battery powered 12v pumps for our fresh water plumbing in camp because it needs to always work 24/7 and a pump with a battery will last for ever. All the other stuff gets complicated with generators and extension cords and so on.
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by AntiM » Wed May 17, 2017 5:10 am

We have a 12v florescent shop fixture with an on/off switch which is hooked to a battery. We have been given enough solar panels it has its own, which we hook up during the day. Bright as hell, lights the whole shade structure. It may have begin life as an RV fixture.

Because we are in Hushville, no generators. Even our swamp coolers have individual solar panels.

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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Token » Wed May 17, 2017 8:22 am

I know that there is allot of sexy about the simplicity of light strips and rope lights but at the end of the day they are power pigs.

Having a small number of 3W point lights is allot more efficient and in the end allot more durable.

A spot or flood light made from 3x1W LEDs will draw ~ 350mA at 12V and is plenty bright.

General rule of thumb for LED bulbs using the Cree/Luxeon type LEDs:

1W - 350mA
3W - 700mA
5W - 1A

And each cell usually runs at Vmax of 3.2 - 3.6V so you run 3 or 4 in series. If you build your own, you can run 4, if buying a pre-made bulb they generally have 3 and a resistor to limit current.

Plus its all kinds of fun to make these if your into that kind of geek.

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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by bm_cricket » Wed May 17, 2017 8:48 am

It is really just for lighting a kitchen. Bright and easy to use is better than pretty and colorful. It just needs to work.

That said, I've never found little LED spotlights to be as energy efficient as they claim to be. They also tend to break in my experience. Am I just getting the cheapest knock-off LEDs? Probably... :-)
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed May 17, 2017 9:29 am

And all that still costs more and is more hassle than just running the EU3000 that is already in place and doesn't require worrying about how much power the lights draw. Bring a chandelier! That would be the stylish thing to do!
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Token » Wed May 17, 2017 12:06 pm

bm_cricket wrote: That said, I've never found little LED spotlights to be as energy efficient as they claim to be. They also tend to break in my experience. Am I just getting the cheapest knock-off LEDs? Probably... :-)
You are getting the cheap crap from China.

The good stuff, like what they use for car daytime running lights in most new vehicles, that is what I use, but like the Captain said, waste of time and money if you got the genny to begin with.

That said, LED lights for off-road quads and carts are generally robust, if you are not inclined to build your own. But they cost more.

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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by maladroit » Wed May 17, 2017 3:20 pm

Would definitely go with something intended for lighting, rather than rope light (which is for decoration).

I like the MR16 style LED halogen replacements. Good quality light, aimed where you need it. Run on 12 volts. Expensive in stores, but cheap on the right websites.

Regarding "just run the generator" I can totally identify with only wanting to run the generator a few hours a day. Why run it all night, sucking in dust and accelerating that oil change schedule, just to occasionally operate 10 or 20 watts of LED lighting? Some people don't get off on setting up some kind of redundant AC power grid for their small camp. It's hard to beat the 24/7 silent availability of battery power. That's why flashlights use batteries rather than sporting AC power cords.

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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed May 17, 2017 4:28 pm

An oil change on an EU3000 is only a quart, and it's ridiculously easy to do.
Total non-issue.

How are expensive, heavy batteries "better" than a trivial amount of cheap gas? If a campmate occasionally wants to turn on the lights, man an EU3000 is electric start... you just hit the switch and you're quietly in business. He's not in Hushville with those silly people who truck tons of junk to the desert with gas and Diesel engines to be "green" and run dim solar lights for a week, saving about as much fuel as they burned in maybe 25 miles of their trip!

He's already got that Honda, adding batteries doesn't math out. Just press the button and use all the electricity you want, no need to go buy LEDs and light the place on 3 milliwatts.

Also, when else will this extra junk ever get used? It's money down the toilet. Been down that road...
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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by maladroit » Wed May 17, 2017 6:39 pm

I don't think anyone's trying to be green in here. But I have both a quiet generator and a small deep-cycle + solar panel setup, and both get used. The deep cycle battery runs hexayurt lights (wired with switches near the door), ventilation, and a CPAP machine, plus small random loads like USB chargers or occasionally toted over to run an electric trailer winch. The generator is used mostly for an air conditioner and for power tools or camp setup work lights. This year, it will also run a freezer for a several hours a day.

A generator poses a non-zero fire risk, requires maintenance and refueling, and outputs some amount of noise and exhaust smell especially in a dense camp. My nighttime power drain is less than 30 watts.

By having a solar+battery system, I:
  • Never wake up choking because the CPAP stopped and have to put clothes on, go out and refuel/restart the generator
  • Never flick the hexayurt light switch and get nothing, then go have to refuel/restart the generator
  • Have a backup source of power for essential functions in case the generator fails
  • Don't need to burn 500 Wh worth of gas every hour in eco mode just to power 20 Wh worth of load
  • Can get by with less than 15-20 gallons of gas for the week
Generators are great but if you're not using that much power, a solar + deep cycle system works well and probably saves volume and weight over the extra gas you'd need to transport to provide 24/7 power availability.

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Re: Deep cycle batteries to run kitchen lights

Post by Elliot » Wed May 17, 2017 7:07 pm

We run an EU-3000 24/8 for four refrigerators and whatnot. Lighting is by long strings of household indoor/outdoor white LED Christmas light from a cheap department store.

Last year I brought only four cans of gasoline, and refilled them a few times at Playa Petrol off the end of 10:00 Street (as was mentioned). I think Playa Petrol is BM's own operation. I set up an account beforehand, but with an overrun provision, and that worked splendidly.)

I have never changed the oil on Playa. And the air filter does not even become dirty to speak of. Nine or ten years now. It has begun running unevenly, so time to de-gunk the carburetor, I suppose. And it has become louder, so maybe the muffler burns out.

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