Hot!Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck

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lordjefe
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2011/08/12 13:00:50 (permalink)

Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck

What is the best way to stay powered up (refrigerators/freezer) while on the way to your location?  Sometimes you may be there in 20 minutes, sometimes 2 hours, Is it best to run an inverter from batteries powered by the alternator, or figure out a way to run your generator inside the truck while driving?  Or mount the generator outside the truck and run it while driving?  Is it against most health codes to run a generator inside the truck if there is an exhaust fan dedicated to its exhaust?  What is the most common solution to this issue?  Are there cheaper solutions than using an RV generator? 
post edited by lordjefe - 2011/08/12 13:43:57
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26 Replies Related Threads

    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2011/08/13 23:16:30 (permalink)
    a good inverter/charger and a twin battery bank dedicated just for the trips back and forth would be my advice...
    figure out what size your alternator is, want at least a 100 amp or better, a house switch to send all the alts juice to the house batteries, or back to the start battery if/when needed......
    a ship/shore switch to run off land power when home or when can be plugged up and you should be in business !
     
    if you want pro advice, contact a boat fitter and tell them what your doing, but get "land" grade parts to put it together 
    #2
    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2011/08/13 23:19:37 (permalink)
    if you want i can "draw" you up a system to use if you will give me the power needed for the different parts your going to be running off of it...... dont forget the roof a/c, that would make a nice cool start to the day if you already have everything inside chilled down to 70* instead of hauling a 90* trailer around and then trying to cool it off....
    #3
    lordjefe
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2011/08/15 11:29:22 (permalink)
    Thanks alot BackAlleyBurger.  I'm working on getting the start up and running amps of the equipment necessary to run while in transit. 
    #4
    mdcrider22
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/02/02 14:50:29 (permalink)
    Hello, I am looking to have an  18ft step van converted into a mobile kitchen and I am having a hard time finding someone to install a few things for me.  I am looking to have  a LP generator and 2 tanks under mounted along the side of the step van.  I am currently looking at a 7.5kw Generac Rv generator.  I have seen this done on several food trucks but do not have the electrical knowledge of how the system is set up to work.  I will run all my cooking appliances on Propane and any electrical off the generator.  I am looking to purchase the van and just have these things installed, and I will finish the rest of the van.  So a few questions?  Where can I find LP tanks that are horizontal undermount?  Who would install something like this, and ballpark cost?  Would like everything undermounted along the side with access panels for refilling the LP and access to the Generator. I figure mounting along the driver side would keep the tanks and any noise with the generator along the street side and not the serving side and easier to refill.  Plus I think this would be much safer.  Any thoughts, comments and help would be much appreciated. 
    #5
    mdcrider22
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/02/02 14:58:26 (permalink)
    Back Alley Burger I wold like to discuss a few things with you and pick your brain. Where are you located? I tired sending you a private message but since I am a new member I am not allowed.  My email is mdcrider22 at gmail.  I would really apprecieate your help, I have read several of your posts and you are very knowledgeable.  I have a few ideas that I think could benefit us both.  Thank you for your time.  Matt
    #6
    agmccall
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/02/03 07:08:29 (permalink)
    mdcrider22

    Hello, I am looking to have an  18ft step van converted into a mobile kitchen and I am having a hard time finding someone to install a few things for me.  I am looking to have  a LP generator and 2 tanks under mounted along the side of the step van.  I am currently looking at a 7.5kw Generac Rv generator.  I have seen this done on several food trucks but do not have the electrical knowledge of how the system is set up to work.  I will run all my cooking appliances on Propane and any electrical off the generator.  I am looking to purchase the van and just have these things installed, and I will finish the rest of the van.  So a few questions?  Where can I find LP tanks that are horizontal undermount?  Who would install something like this, and ballpark cost?  Would like everything undermounted along the side with access panels for refilling the LP and access to the Generator. I figure mounting along the driver side would keep the tanks and any noise with the generator along the street side and not the serving side and easier to refill.  Plus I think this would be much safer.  Any thoughts, comments and help would be much appreciated. 

    You should probably start a new thread with your question, and not try and take over this one
     
    Al
    #7
    mdcrider22
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/02/03 07:52:00 (permalink)
    Ok thank you, thats what I was trying to do but having a hard time finding how to start a new thread.  Do you have to be a member for a certain period of time or something?   Thanks Matt
    #8
    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/02/03 19:15:53 (permalink)
    hi Matt,
    i would be more then happy to share some ideas and help you out....
    lol, i dont know everything, but i know a little about most anything....
    give me a call sometime i will pm you my number, nice to see a "local" in here
    Bruce
    #9
    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/02/03 19:24:19 (permalink)
    dont let any old stiff lips in here run ya off....i think some have been here so long they forget they were new to forums at one time too, lol
    #10
    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/02/03 19:39:40 (permalink)
    mdcrider22

    Hello, I am looking to have an  18ft step van converted into a mobile kitchen and I am having a hard time finding someone to install a few things for me.
    well hell !...look no farther :)
    I am looking to have  a LP generator and 2 tanks under mounted along the side of the step van.  I am currently looking at a 7.5kw Generac Rv generator.  I have seen this done on several food trucks but do not have the electrical knowledge of how the system is set up to work.
    more so then just the knowledge of how its done, how/when to put it in is another thing..... you need at least wall studs up for the electrical parts and a pretty good idea of where everything is going in the truck also
    I will run all my cooking appliances on Propane and any electrical off the generator.  I am looking to purchase the van and just have these things installed,
    i can help you out here instead of paying a "pro" shop
    and I will finish the rest of the van.  So a few questions?  
     Who would install something like this, and ballpark cost?
    well, i am free most week ends and evenings....... we can talk :)
     Would like everything undermounted along the side with access panels for refilling the LP and access to the Generator. I figure mounting along the driver side would keep the tanks and any noise with the generator along the street side and not the serving side and easier to refill.  Plus I think this would be much safer.  Any thoughts, comments and help would be much appreciated.  

    your exactly right about keeping the genny on the street side of the truck, tanks wont matter so much, fresh and grey water can be located where they make the most sense, the under mount propane tank can be put about anywhere as well that it can be safely installed and where pipe routing will be easiest/make the most sense.......
    keeping in mind how you want to route the genny exhaust..... tap it into the truck exhaust, or run a high rise....but being a propane genset, it wont matter too much....
    i sent you a pm, looking forward to talking and swapping notes...
    post edited by BackAlleyBurger - 2012/02/03 19:45:47
    #11
    OurCoffeeTruck
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/08/29 20:29:39 (permalink)
    Hey BAB, I got super pumped about my own build after finding your thread! I'm doing a coffee truck, so not near as complicated as yours (i don't think), but still have major questions about electrical stuff. I'm pretty mechanical, but haven't really learned anything about electrical.
     
    Anyways regarding the generator, I was wondering if anyone has done a bigger battery bank and trickle charged it with the generator. Because i figure the generator will be burning a gallon or so an hour whether i'm serving drinks or not. so i really wanted something that could store all the energy from the generator and then shut off when the batteries are full. Don't want to be wasting $4/gal gasoline when i'm just running lights and a fridge.
     
    -joe
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    chefbuba
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/08/30 01:28:31 (permalink)
    BAB went into the witness protection program about 6 months ago.
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    DadsDogs
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/08/30 03:22:29 (permalink)
    LOL...It took me a while to learn look at the post dates too        DD
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    Buck & Vi's
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2012/08/30 16:48:04 (permalink)
    yup,... I hear he give up the truck and went to work consulting for the Obama re-election campaign, they want someone to furnish food for the workers on election nite.......and then a sous chef @ the white house.. 
    #15
    The SnoBall Effect
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/05/24 23:54:46 (permalink)
    Resurrecting this thread. I found this thread in a Google search. A wiring diagram of how to do this. We are working on a mobile snoball stand in a minibus. We have a gasoline powered generator, but I would prefer to go with a power inverter instead. It would need to be something that would be able to handle a shaved ice machine, a chest freezer and some other small items. Thank you for your help.
    post edited by The SnoBall Effect - 2015/05/24 23:57:57
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    edwmax
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/05/25 03:59:01 (permalink)
    This is an old thread   ....    but you also need to make sure the truck alternator is large enough to supply the power demand. It's likely you will need a bigger alternator ($800 to $1000).   ... Also, you need to consider the cost of running the truck engine all the time just for electrical power.   I think a gen set is more economical than repair of the truck engine and truck down time.
     
    To the OP question above (as a note):  A good frig or freezer should be able to maintain their cold for the much more than the trip times given above.     Powering these during the trip really should not be necessary.   Then using a gen set after setting up and shore power for overnight  should be sufficient.
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    RodBangkok
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/05/25 04:19:33 (permalink)
    Just to second what edwmax said, for the time stated by the OP, no need to go out of the way to add equipment to handle that situation.  If on occasion you run over that limit, simply stop and run your gen to cool things down if you cannot run it continuously.  
    We use a professional type custom reefer system used on commercial reefer trucks that runs off the truck engine compressor, or via an electric motor running a second compressor.  This allows us to run off shore power, gen power or truck power for our refrigeration.  But this is a very hot climate and its a very costly solution, but works great for us.  It powers a 2 cu meter freezer/fridge and supplies A/C for the kitchen, and its not even breathing heavy when it runs.  Freezer goes from room temp to -10°c in about 15 minutes.
    #18
    The SnoBall Effect
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/05/25 11:17:39 (permalink)
    Thank you. We have a 4000W gasoline powered generator that we will be working on mounting somewhere on the outside of the vehicle. Will we need a battery bank to support this or is that only if we are running a power inverter? We mostly have the ice shaver which is spec'd at 700W and the chest freezer which we could just have plugged in overnight for the most part. We were not sure if the generator would be enough.
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    edwmax
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/05/25 12:14:54 (permalink)
    Your gen set seems to be plenty big for your stated loads.    It is about 30 amp; 120/240 out put.   You don't need batteries & inverter.  But I would use one or two batteries & inverter to supply a computer; cash register; and some lighting.   This is to have a clean stable power supply to these sensitive items and for some lighting as 'power backup' in case of a power outage and/or for use without having to start the gen set.
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    The SnoBall Effect
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/05/25 17:59:28 (permalink)
    That sounds like a good idea. Thank you for your help. I will post when we get everything going. We do have a cash register, but probably nothing else at this time.
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    RodBangkok
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/05/25 18:51:50 (permalink)
    We use a second 12v battery with a Schottky battery isolator hooked to our alternator, this allows the truck system to charge the second battery without discharging the truck engine battery.  We then take an old UPS and use it as the inverter to run a portion of the electrics and 12v led lighting.  
    You can google ups as inverter to get some info on how to use the ups as an inverter.  The isolator diodes are readily available, used in a lot of big car stereo setups.
    This seems like overkill, but has proved handy to keep things running and lighting available during setup and changeovers, and its really not expensive, the UPS was free, the schottky diode and heat sink about $40 and a second 12V truck battery.
    #22
    The SnoBall Effect
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/05/27 22:08:02 (permalink)
    Do you happen to have a wiring diagram of this? Seems like a good way to go.
    #23
    The SnoBall Effect
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    Re:Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/06/09 22:58:48 (permalink)
    I have been researching the UPS option and am wondering if I need to be concerned about the rated wattage of the UPS or just go with whatever the battery can support. Again, I need 700W for the ice shaver and that may not be peak. We also have a freezer that we may not need to run while going through neighborhoods. We can leave it plugged in overnight and maybe plug it in a little during the day.
    #24
    djtomatoe
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    The SnoBall Effect
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    Re: Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/06/21 20:40:09 (permalink)
    The machine we use is 1048 Watts, so I would need at least that. I would like to hear from someone who has used an inverter to run equipment while on the go. I thought we needed 700 Watts minimum, but I was mistaken. Thank you.
    #26
    The SnoBall Effect
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    Re: Generator/Inverter, staying powered up? Food Truck 2015/07/07 10:44:35 (permalink)
    Typo above. Our machine shows to use 1248 Watts though the specs say 700 Watts. We ended up getting the below inverter from Harbor Freight.



    It seems to work well directly connected to the main battery and with the engine running. We have had a little problem if we are idling too low. I have just had to rev the engine a little to avoid the low idle. I think I even used it yesterday evening without the engine running, but it would drain the battery. We plan to add a small battery bank and a battery isolator.
    #27
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