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Dave WH 262

Stove top invertor requirement

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I am thinking of adding an invertor to my 2001 262 CR to power my microwave and stovetop. Can you tell me what the wattage requirements are for the stovetop? Going a little bit further, the burner is an electric/alcohol., The previous owner didn't use the alcohol part saying it was too slow and he preferred to use a small propane burner. I am thinking it I would like to use it for cooking but have never used ne before. What are the pros and cons to the alcohol burner?



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Hi Dave

Inverters, batteries and cabling (especially at high loads) is a specialist field and you'd be better off talking to your marine electrician. It will be more expensive than a DIY but you will be able to take it back to him if it doesn't work the way you intended it to!

Here is a link for some info on designing inverter systems. It is basic but will give you a good primer on what to discuss (and sort out the BS - if you get any) http://www.donrowe.com/inverters/inverter_faq.html#size .
You should be able to find a lot of similar information on the web e.g. http://www.majorpower.com/inverters/inverter_faq.pdf
Also look under RV sites - they have similar issues to us boaties.

If you do decide to fit an inverter, you will need to decide what equipment you want to run at the same time. This will determine the size of the inverter, the battery bank, cable length and diameter. Don't forget you can expect normal wattage loads to reach at LEAST 2 times the normal running loads at start up. (Depending on the appliance this can be anywhere between 3 and 7 times!)

I don't know what is fitted to your 262 but assuming it is a Kenyon brand (see http://kenyonappliances.com/marine/alcelec.html) and a single burner, you need 110volts at 10 amps = 1100 watts add approx. 20% = 1320watts design. Closest commercial available will be say 1500watts continuous (and approx. 3000watts peak). If it was a 2 burner stove, you would need to double this and you would start to spend some SERIOUS $$$$$

Then you need to look at your batteries. You will need multiple batteries to run anywhere these loads for any length of time remembering that you should never discharge a deep cycle battery below 50%. To do so, seriously shortens the battery life. (Incidentally, think about where and how you will place the batteries. 3 x 150amp batts will leave the boat with a list if not fitted centrally)

Also inverters are very inefficient when not operating at or near their design loads so its not a good idea to run a single computer (typically 70 - 100 watts) on a system designed to run 1500 watts.

One final warning - inverters can kill - even though it "only" starts at 12volts - it comes out just like your AC supply at home.

As for the alcohol stove - I had a single Kenyon electric/alcohol type on a previous boat.
Yes, they are slower to cook (alcohol has a lower calorific content) but do a more than adequate job.
The biggest problem always seemed to be that pots and pans ended up with very dirty (sooty) bottoms. I was never sure if it was just the way I used it or inherent to alcohol stoves.

Why don’t you just try it and see how it goes. As it is already fitted, it won’t cost you anything (other tan 1 pint of alcohol fuel)

Other issues:
1. Depending on unit - you have to wait until stove cools down to refill - a real pain if the little tank ran out whilst you are in the middle of cooking.
2. It is often hard to see an alcohol flame. I was never sure if it was alight or not - especially in sunlight
3. It is expensive - but I guess you have to weigh up how much cooking you will really do

On the plus side
1. It is much safer then butane / propane below decks.
2. Can be stored below decks
3. You don't need a licenced plumber/gasfitter to fit propane / butane stoves below decks (it is a requirement here in Oz)

Hope it’s not too much information

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