Food truck power- batteries or generator?

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isaac85
Junior Burger
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2014/07/22 14:13:52 (permalink)

Food truck power- batteries or generator?

Hi Guys,
 
I'm reoutfitting an ancient 12 ft. Fiat that, until now, has only been used to sell crappy gyros. I'll now be the road-friendly outpost of our restaurant. My crew and I have set up plenty of restaurant kitchens, but we're all pretty new to doing it mobile-style.
 
All cooking equipment (grill, fryer, steam table) are gonna run on propane. My question is about the rest- fridge, low-boy, freezer, lights, register. In your experience, is it more efficient to run it off a silent generator (our Eastern European equivalent of the Honda EU2000i), or off deep cycle batteries? Occasionally we'll be able to plug into "shore power", but I want the truck to be self-sufficient.
 
For what it's worth, the age of the truck and condition of the transmission mean that it won't last more than another 2 years (the purchase wasn't my call- my crew is operating it for an absentee owner), so I'm not particularly interested in building an expensive, efficient system that will pay for itself in 5 years.
 
Thanks, all!
 
Isaac
#1

4 Replies Related Threads

    tmiles
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re: Food truck power- batteries or generator? 2014/07/22 16:20:47 (permalink)
    I have no experience in the food biz, but I do have experience with deep cycle batteries, and 12v refrigeration. Boats typically have a "double" electrical system. The engine charges both, but the "starting" battery is isolated so that it doesn't go dead by mistake. (How often and for how long will you run your main engine?) Boat refrigerators are typically small, and not often opened. They are well insulated, and (unopened) will stay cold for days, even with no power. You will be opening your reefer every few minutes when business is good, so I expect a large power draw, and you may need several units, drawing even more power.  Maybe you need 3 or 4 batteries. Some boats used "Servel" brand propane reefers, converted to run on CNG (compressed natural gas) CNG is lighter than air, and so does not settle in the bilge like propane. A bilge propane explosion would be good in an action movie, but I wouldn't want to be near it. Whatever you do, remember FUSES, and leave a way for leaking propane to drain from your enclosed space.
     
    BTW, they don't get really cold, but you can buy 120v ac/12v dc "dorm room" reefers around here for way less than $100. I've seen the really little ones that plug into a lighter for $29.99
     
    As a customer, thankyou for going with the QUIET gen set if you go in that direction. I've seen/heard plenty of loud ones, and the "tricks" to minimize the sound.......the "tricks" don't work.
     
    Ice is a good short term option. 
    post edited by tmiles - 2014/07/22 16:35:02
    #2
    chefbuba
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re: Food truck power- batteries or generator? 2014/07/22 20:08:32 (permalink)
    Go with the Honda equivalent.
    #3
    isaac85
    Junior Burger
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    Re: Food truck power- batteries or generator? 2014/08/05 09:45:26 (permalink)
    Thanks a lot, guys! Looks like we're gonna go with the generator.
    #4
    tmiles
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    Re: Food truck power- batteries or generator? 2014/08/20 17:15:31 (permalink)
    I thought of this post today when I ate at Ramblin Rose, Rt 2A, Gardner, Mass. I don't think that they move very often, but the truck is registered. They have what we call a "temp service", a 4x4 post with a meter and a plug, and then a cord to the truck. Around here, an electrician installs the temp service, and gets it inspected. I have a few low use services myself, that get only occasional use. They only cost $4 a month which is the minimum.
    #5
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