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Ice House Rocket Science???


bwtrout

Question

My drop down ice house has basically been an onshore cabin this season and I have had lots of time messing with its setup.

In my ice house I use my laptop computer for music, TV, and computing. I have a TV tuner card and it works great with my satellite dish, however the cheap 1200w generator I use creates a lot of electrical noise and the voltage varies. So I bought a UPS power strip, but the noise caused the UPS to run on its battery constantly. So I am trying this setup:

I run an automatic marine battery charger at 10amps to my in house battery. The in house battery runs my 12v lights, furnace and a 300w 110v inverter. I plugged my UPS into the inverter. Now I have UPS protection and that cleared up my noise issues.

When I ran everything straight from the generator I messed up my satellite receiver and was nervous that my computer could be next.

The UPS system shuts both down safely after 5min. of no power.

In the evening I switch to my Stay-N-Charge batteries in my vehicle and this setup also allows me to go outside turn off the generator and plug in to that for the night without having to power down and restart my toys.

I've tried this for two days so far, my marine battery and the UPS battery are staying fully charged. All seems well?

Anyone see any issues running like this?

I calculated my total watts and I'm not pushing anything too hard.

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The reason this works is because some small generators do not use damper bars in the rotors. This creates an AC sign wave that is "square". You laptop can probably handle this as it actually runs through a transformer. The UPS system is more sensitive to the power quality and won't run off of poor sign waves. Your Satellite receiver as well. The battery charger is a transformer and should clean up some of the sign wave and what it doesn't clean up will be taken care of by the batteries.

Obviously power quality does have an impact on electronics and thus the only sure way to test is to be able to look at the power. This is pretty expensive equipment and usually only people in the power industry will have it. So the only other way to watch it is by heat. Monitor your equipment and if it seems hotter than normal, than you may have an issue.

It sounds OK and if it were my situation I would probably run it as you have it set up.

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I think you are running on borrowed time with the generator and the electronics you have. Like H20 said, your generator is probably not putting out a quality signal and lacks the electronics to make it "clean" power. This is what I would to if I where you.

First off, you are on the right track with using the battery charger as an isolation transformer but you will still get EMI (electromagnetic interferance) aka "noise". Use two batteries with a battery selector switch. Charge one and run off the other, then switch back. It might be a pain but it's alot cheaper than what will probably happen to your laptop. I'd also purchase the 12volt adapter for the laptop instead of using the 120volt plug in. Your laptop runs on between 5-9 volts anyways so taking it off your inverter will help that out too. Leave your lights and furnace plugged in the way you have them. Instead of the battery selector you could have a female power socket hooked up on each battery then all you have to do is unplug and plug in.

I'm not sure but I'd be willing to bet that with two large high quality deep cell batteries you could go the weekend without charging them much.

Whatever you do, the key is to take the laptop off of the generator. If you must have it then you can either purchase a very high quality generator or a comercial grade UPS (uninterupted power source) designed for generator use. I have installed many of these and I'll tell you these UPS's are very heavy and very expensive.

Hope this helps.

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I run a 300w inverter off a deepcycle and get noise from it on AM stations or some UHF stations. I've noticed that if I change the position of the inverter it will affect the noise.

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Yes, that will happen. It's called "harmonics". One thing you should do is run all of your wires from the sensitive electronics away from the non-sensitive wires. Without getting to technical, it all comes down the the waveform patern. It should be a nice and smooth, up and down, up and down. Things that majorly affect it are computers, TV's, flourescent lighting, microwaves and everything else in your office. In worst case scenarios it causes anything from poor performance to "letting the smoke out". There are many books written on the subject and it's a growing problem and yet very few engineers understand it or seem to care. Just keep the expensive stuff away from the cheap stuff and that will help.

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I like your set up. It’s really the battery that is doing the most from an isolation standpoint. In electronics, capacitors are used to filter out noise and a battery is just one big friggin’ capacitor. mnfishinguy isn’t giving bad advice but I think it would be overkill to put in a UPS since that is essentially what you have already built.

I would not be afraid to run my laptop on your setup. As a matter of fact, you sound just like me when it comes to gadgets. I just hate to be too far from the fun toys!

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Please don't confuse a battery with a capacitor. Yes, they both store energy and they both have plates but thats all. A capacitor opposes a change of voltage (or is it current, it's been few years since electical theory) and when it lets go of it's stored charge it lets it all go. A capacitor will also effectivly block an AC signal, like a diode. Yes, a UPS is total overkill but there was mention of a "UPS power strip", so I brought this up. Yes, a Honda EU would fix the problem but one more battery is cheaper.

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Yup, it’s been almost 20 years since I had the theory myself. When I worked for the place that made battery chargers, we always looked at a battery as a huge filter and that is all I was trying to get across. I don’t want to relearn the theory at this stage of the game. Far too many brain cells gone in that period of time…. tongue.gif

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I hear ya on the brain cells. In fact, I think I'm going to go kill some right now! ooo.gif

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Thanks for the replys! I didn't intend to cause any pain wink.gif

This setup seems to be working for now. I was concerned about running power off a battery which was running off a charger. I did consider buying a power conditioner that is used for audio applications (the cheap ones run about $40) Sounds like I should do a little reading up as well!

The Honda generator would be the way to go, but I have too many other toys ahead of it on my list! I can use all these gagets for other things as well.

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you could also buy a capacitor to put in line with your setup, they make them for car stereos and you can get them at places like best buy or any car audio place they make them in 1/2 farad and up to i think 2 farad, which would deffinetly help, from the sounds of it your not using a ton of power so a 1/2 farad would probably work, they cost under 200 buck cheaper then a lap top just a idea for ya

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Quote:

wish i never would have started reading i now have a headache.


Then my job is done here cool.gif

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