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Can my Suburban handle a coffee maker with the right size inverter?



  • edited June 2013
    The second of the links I gave is actually a 10-cup model. I'd suspect it takes a bit longer to brew than a 120V coffee maker, but still will likely draw a lot less power than a power inverter big enough to power a home unit. According to the specs it has a 20A inline fuse. So it likely will be drawing about 10-15A I would guess. Most lighter sockets are probably fused at around 20A or a max of 25A. Should be safe. I'd make sure the engine is running when you use it unless you've got a pretty big battery. Certainly for $25 it's going to be a lot more cost effective than buying a power inverter that can deliver enough juice to run a 120V unit, or mucking about with a bulky stove, fuel, etc.

    I guess the simplest solution though would just be to brew coffee at home and put it in one or more big thermoses.
  • And if 'perk' coffee isn't your, well, cup of tea, one of the links also showed a Coleman propane-fueled drip coffee maker.
  • I run a 1000W inverter on my 2006 GMC 1500 5.3L with no problems it is wired to the battery. The truck has to running. I run a Canon printer and to laptops at the same time. Plus cell phone charger. I do keep a jump box just in case.
  • You would have to connect a 2000 watt inverter directly to a 100 amp/hour deep-cycle battery that is in turn connected to your vehicles alternator. You would have to run the engine at fast idle anytime the 36 cup coffee pot was in use..

    Not worth the effort..Coffee percolators are pretty much history..Today, it's hot water and instant coffee...Or a Mr.Coffee type machine which have a 12 cup size limit...
  • Just buy 4 of these, stop by the coffee shop on the way out, you're all set:
  • I have a friend who has a Ford Escape hybrid that has a 120 volt outlet in the car. When our band has a carry-in, he plugs in a crock pot with his specialty, scalloped potatoes, and we make the 15 mile trip. However, I don't think the crock pot draws as much power as a coffee maker.
    However, engines do generate heat and much of it is wasted. Maybe you could adapt the cooling system of the car to make the coffee. There should be a way to add coffee to the water in the radiator and keep it hot while driving. For winter freeze protection, you could add enough whiskey and have Irish coffee.
  • The larger inverters have clips that attach directly to the battery. I have one of the largest made for this purpose and have used it several times with similar loads. Just run the engine while the pot is brewing. What's that maybe 15 minutes tops? No biggie.
  • As noted, a 1200 watt coffee maker running off a 12v inverter means your alternator will be emitting around 100 amps.

    Most modern alternators are capable of producing 100 amps, but are they really designed to do so continuously?
  • It's not a continuous load at 100A. Initially, the tube has to heat up to begin the brewing process and the plate warmer is on full blast. But as the plate comes up to temp, the current demand drops off and then cycles on/off as necessary to maintain temp. The initial part of the process has the highest demand and how long does it take to brew a pot of coffee anyway?

    A 12 cup pot is around 1200 watts. If you're super concerned, downgrade to the 6 cup model and the power drops almost in half.
  • edited June 2013
    Instead of buying an inverter, go to a truck stop and buy a coffee maker with the right kind of power cord to plug into your vehicle's DC 12 volt outlet. Here some examples of what you can find: These aren't very large, but if you and some other parents get two or three of them going simultaneously, one on each vehicle, you should end up with a decent amount of coffee, and you can brew more while you sip on what has already brewed.

    It's amazing how much more efficient it is to use the power your vehicle provides, as opposed to an inverter, which is highly inefficient.

    When I was a truck driver, I was amazed at how many appliances I could get for my truck at truck stops. Things like electric heaters, microwaves, and electric coolers can run on a 12 volt outlet easily as long as you don't need anything to be hot or cold right away. The same goes for a simple coffee maker. It can easily run on a 12 volt outlet as long as you don't need it to brew quickly.

    If you're not comfortable with this, you can always get a flash pot for your vehicle and make instant coffee.

    I still have an AC/DC television, a DC electric cooler, and a DC flash pot from my truck driving days, but they're pretty useless now. The cooler would take about 24 hours of continuous power to get cold, but fortunately, in a semi, you can leave it plugged in 24/7. In my car, with it getting shut off at every fuel stop and restroom stop, the drinks in the cooler never get cold. The flash pot was good for heating up water for noodles, but I'm not a fan of instant coffee. Instant coffee is like cheap beer. Some may say they like it, but I'd rather have nothing.
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