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

My son in now a rower and we spend weekends on lakes and rivers without electrical outlets. There are 20 -30 parents who would love a cup of coffee. Can my suburban handle a large inverter to plug in a 36 cup coffee maker?

Let’s see, a coffeemaker uses 1200 watts @ 120Volts. That works out to about 10 amp at 120 volts and 100 amps at 12 volts. Not sure what a cigarette lighter would draw without blowing breakers, but I would not hazard it. The starter draw a lot more amps for a very short time.

Plugging a large coffee maker in for up to 1 hour takes a lot of power, like 100 ampere-hours. I think it would work if you hooked it up to a heavy duty battery directly with heavy cable and ran the engine to keep the battery charged.

I think 375 watt is as high as you can go for a power point inverter. Yoy can run higher wattage with larger cables as high as 1800 watts. Do you know how many amps or watts the coffee maker needs is the first question. It should be on there somewhere.

I agree with @Docknick - things like coffee makers use LOTS of amps, more than I’d like to burden a car with. You could buy a small generator, or several good Thermos bottles.

@FletcherJean The cheaper solution would be to fire up the Coleman stove on the tailgate and use 3 regular 12 cup stove top percolators! We do this all the time when we are camping out in the mountains with a group.

I looked at our 12 cup coffee maker, 950 watts, I like the colemann stove idea.

I have a 1200W generator to run the fridge in a power outage. To make coffee in my 10 cup “Mr. Coffee” type machine I had to unplug just about everything or the generator’s circuit breaker would blow. A 36 cup coffee maker would draw a lot of current and you’d have to run the Suburban all the time and it would be a heavy load on the alternator. If you have the heavy duty alternator (likely part of a towing package) you might get away with it. Otherwise go onto Northern Tool website and buy a 2 stroke generator, it is small compact and should make all the coffee you need for about $150 for the generator.

Or you could cut out the middleman and just buy something like this:

or this:

How about 6 or 7 thermos bottles? Take turns finding the nearest DD to fill them up.

Coleman stove sounds like the best, most cost-effective solution.

Easily pick one up on C-list for less than the cost of a 1200-ish W inverter. (Not to mention all the load you’re taking off your vehicle’s electrical system.

I’ve seen the single-cup coffee makers that plug into the lighter socket and even those make me nervous. I wouldn’t expect and part of the factory wiring to support a large coffee maker. I think the camp stove idea is the best.

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.