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 Hood and Electrical Ideas

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fishscale28

  • Total Posts: 217
  • Joined: 2/21/2013
  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Hood and Electrical Ideas Thu, 02/21/13 10:43 PM (permalink)
Hola everyone-I'm getting into the food truck scene after years in the kitchen and this forum has been an amazing inspiration for thoughts and ideas for my journey to come.
 
I have two questions/ideas I wanted to run by everyone to see what your thoughts were.  First is the hood-I was very fortunate to spend lots of time with the Captive Aire guys on a restaurant build we did a few years ago and did a little learning from the process.  As I see with the available concession and low proximity hoods its simply exhaust only-which is fine as it does exactly as it should.  With an open (Screened) window or some roof vents/fans there is the constant influx of fresh air to supply the balance needed.  From what I understand those with AC (and I'm in South Florida, AC is a must...almost everyday!!!!) have issues keeping the truck/trailer cool due to the constant cycle of fresh air in from fans/vents and out through the hood.
 
My question would be the possibility of doing a make up air.  The hood companies have some options for rear plenums and for hood plenums but they take up a good bit of space and, since I'm 6'5", that's not so feasible.  Also it poses the issue of where to put a makeup fan, the ducting, etc.  My idea was to install two high output inline blower fans (nearly matching the CFM of the exhaust) and running that through some make shift ducting and running across the back of the equipment.  I would install the fans underneath the truck and with the duct running the length of the hood it will supply all the necessary air to have a fully balanced system-without pulling any of the "clean" and cool air from the cabin.  Simple inline fans, easy ducting, a filter on the intake side and diffused enough for even flow.  Low electrical draw too.  Thoughts on this?
 
As for the electrical I was originally going to go with a diesel generator and just have one large enough to run all the electrics.  After reading Reese's fantabulous thread I thought about going the battery method and then thought about doing a well developed (yet costly) hybrid system.  I want to have a big AC...between 24k-36k BTU (remember, South Florida and plus-I've been in 120 degree kitchens long enough...if I can I wouldn't mind a little AC if possible) and then the normal mix of things-lights (flourescent and led), TV, maybe stereo, pumps, hood fan/makeup air, etc.  Guestimating about 40ish amps or so at any given time.
 
Since the AC requires 240 my idea was to have a split phase inverter/charger that was fed from a 2 banks of 4ea  6v 255-350AH batteries (larger split phase inverters require 24V).  For on the road power I would have a normal/portable sized diesel generator with 240V output powering a 60 (maybe 100) amp charger that charges/maintaines the batteries.  That way, with a very reasonable load (and economical fuel usage) the batteries can stay charged enough to endure just about whatever I threw at them and can be re-charged as needed.  The inverter I was looking at (AIMS 6000W Inverter/Charger) has auto generator on and built in charger so when on shore power the batteries will be bypassed from usage but will be charged.  Auto transfer switch would feed shore power to electrical panel or would feed generator power to batteries/inverter/panel.
 
Very expensive initial investment-but I think fuel savings alone might make it worth while over the course of the year.  Plus the batteries will stay topped off enough to help keep them lasting longer than constant draining/charging so it might work out ok.  Thoughts?  Does that even make sense?
 
Sorry such a long first post but thanks in advance for any ideas or concerns.  I do appreciate ya!
 
#1
    chefbuba

    • Total Posts: 1951
    • Joined: 6/22/2009
    • Location: Near You, WA
    Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Thu, 02/21/13 11:38 PM (permalink)
    Sounds like you have deep pockets.
     
    #2
      Dr of BBQ

      • Total Posts: 3716
      • Joined: 10/11/2004
      • Location: Springfield, IL
      • Roadfood Insider
      Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Thu, 02/21/13 11:51 PM (permalink)
      Fish Scale,
      You said "The hood companies have some options for rear plenums and for hood plenums". I have to ask in your past experience have any of the kitchens you've worked in really been cool and comfortable?
       
      I think your idea is interesting (rear plenums) and forward looking but I doubt your really going to get a food truck (kitchen) comfortable in hot weather. Now you may if everything works well and you get the right balance of exhaust-incoming air- air conditioning, equipment location get your truck less hot than most but it'll always be a cooker during really hot weather. I'm fascinated by the idea of running your intake air across the back of your equipment (rear plenums) rather than near the front of your equipment. I have never seen that done before. I want know more.   
       
      Do you still have a relationship with Captive Aire if so they would be the ultimate people to ask. And I'd love to hear any advice they offer. Good luck and welcome to RF.
      jack
      <message edited by Dr of BBQ on Fri, 02/22/13 8:51 AM>
       
      #3
        RodBangkok

        • Total Posts: 384
        • Joined: 10/12/2008
        • Location: Bangkok Thailand, XX
        Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Fri, 02/22/13 1:04 AM (permalink)
        Take a look at the attached guideline, and note that the rear discharge method is what your talking about.  Bringing the air in from other than ducting within the hood should be no problem, its the location of the outlets thats important.  But be very careful about brining it in from a low location, especially anywhere near the truck exhaust, side up high will be better.  Putting the outlets low behind the equipment is a very good place.  The important thing is that the location of these vents is such that the makeup air is able to pass thru the exhaust hood leaving as much as possible the room air undisturbed.  If you look at the pictures in the attachments they show the spillage plumes of different configurations.  One of the best would be from the rear of the equipment.  Engineer your hood and makeup air, don't just pick parts and install them.  The avantage of a closed circuit system is that the exhaust and mua are already balanced, but the same can be done with seperate components.
        Calculate the exhaust cfm and mua cfm required and balance them.  You can then adjust this by using a damper on your mua intake.  One way to play with spillage is to use joss sticks to see where the air is going.  Venting your a/c such that it blows away from the exhaust hood will help from disturbing the air flow between the mua intake and the exhaust.  Keeping your service window small and easy to open and close.  The reason a lot of kitchens are hot is they do not properly engineer the makeup air, just buy stuff and put it in.  
        The worst most useless is a short circuit hood, as described in the attachments, yet they are sold by these so called professional companies every day!
        http://www.fishnick.com/v...ign_Guide_2_031504.pdf
         
        #4
          Dr of BBQ

          • Total Posts: 3716
          • Joined: 10/11/2004
          • Location: Springfield, IL
          • Roadfood Insider
          Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Fri, 02/22/13 8:51 AM (permalink)
          Impressive article. Now I'm not sure it wouldn't be well worth consulting an expert in this area to design a system. I don't know of anyone in my area that would have enough knowledge to really do a good job.
           
          #5
            edwmax

            • Total Posts: 2012
            • Joined: 1/1/2007
            • Location: Cairo, GA
            Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Fri, 02/22/13 9:48 AM (permalink)
            Exactly   ... most solutions given are for 'brick & Mortar' restaurants and will not work for Truck/Trailer concessions.    A simple hood with a veriable speed exhaust fan is the best for these situations.   Keep the distance between the front edge of the grill/range to the lower edge of the hood to a minimum; then watch for any (smoke/vapor) spillage at the hood ends.   Extend the ends down if needed or increase the fan speed.   ... Makeup air/cooling is thought the serving window OR though a separate vent located a far away from the hood as possible.   In most areas of the US, evaporative cooling units (swamp coolers) are the best option for economical cooling of the concession kitchen area.
             
             
            <message edited by edwmax on Fri, 02/22/13 10:07 AM>
             
            #6
              fishscale28

              • Total Posts: 217
              • Joined: 2/21/2013
              • Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
              Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Fri, 02/22/13 11:02 AM (permalink)
              Thanks for all your responses-I appreciate it!
               
              @Chefbubba-I wish I had deep pockets!  Actually i just want to try and iron the right systems out now before anything is wired and put in place.  It might be a sizeable investment now but I would rather do it now while I can properly budget for it than have to redo it later (and buy things twice).
               
              Dr-I'll keep you posted with pics, etc. when/if I go this route.  And as far as the Captive Aire guys go I fell out of touch with the guy I knew pretty well and it seems like he's moved to a different company/state.  Still trying to track him down and talked to some of the installers about the idea and they weren't much help as they didn't have that much info on why things work the way they do.  Bottom line is balance and that's seems to be what everyone is saying.  And believe it or not I have worked in some kitchens that were well air conditioned...not many but it happens.  And it all seemed to boil down to proper makeup air...so that's what we'll do!
               
              Great article as well-pretty much sums up everything I've heard and learned.  I will probably end up piecing all the parts together-not sure how yet or what would be best to do but I'm sure I'll finger something out.
               
              And I remember reading somewhere on these forums that "One learns to think outside of the box, to use standard equipment in non-standard ways" and this is no different.  I know most of the systems are designed for Brick and Mortar and aren't applicable to food trucks but I'm sure someone at some point said the same thing about sticking a fully autonomous kitchen in a step van...with some ingenuity and creativity anything is possible and I have a feeling this is one of those things.  I think with the right amount of planning, the right parts and proper placement this will be a very do-able idea and would work way better than relying on having an open window.  And with a properly balanced hood I think an AC of any size will work that much better.  I think the biggest problem is people are constantly sucking/exchanging the cabin's air every few minutes and there is nothing that can keep up with that...
               
              I'm thinking I can place two small vents on the roof or even sidewall and have the inline centrifugal fans (one on each side) forcing an equal amount of air into a rectangular duct along the back wall (and probably level with the wheel well since thats as low as it can go).  Not sure on the actual diffuser but most of the better hoods have full hood length diffusers with very small pinholes and baffles that can be moved around inside (aluminum pieces and I've even seen cardboard) to help focus or deflect the air where needed.  I'm just going to make sure there is an even, steady and comparable flow of fresh air running the length of the hood and allowing for a fully contained vent system with just enough negative pressure to be sure any other fumes are not allowed to leave the hood area.  Same principles as the restaurant counterpart just on a smaller scale and engineered in a bit differently.  
               
              Any thoughts on the power scenario?  Would I be better going with a larger 120V inverter and using a transformer for the split phase?  I would then be able to do a little smaller battery bank and wouldn't require 24V.
               
              Thanks again everyone!
               
              #7
                jeffwllms

                • Total Posts: 19
                • Joined: 4/18/2013
                • Location: Fort Worth, TX
                Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Fri, 04/26/13 3:21 PM (permalink)
                fishscale28

                And believe it or not I have worked in some kitchens that were well air conditioned...not many but it happens.  And it all seemed to boil down to proper makeup air...so that's what we'll do!

                 
                Great thread, keep us posted with what you find.  I to have worked in some nice kitchen, cool and comfortable.  All comes down to have the right setup.  There is no reason to be miserable all day long :).  Very interested to know what can be done in the food truck to keep things a pleasure to work.  with the exhaust and service windows open all the time.
                 
                #8
                  fishscale28

                  • Total Posts: 217
                  • Joined: 2/21/2013
                  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
                  Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Fri, 04/26/13 11:39 PM (permalink)
                  Thanks for your interest!  I didn't get much direction so decided to go with a large diesel generator instead of the batteries and installed two fans evenly spaced in front of my hood to supply the fresh air.  CFM to CFM it's almost a perfect match so should keep things in a nice circulation-as hoods are designed to be.  Eventually I'll go with two air curtains in front of the service windows and everything should stay comfortable...not cool by any means but I'm sure it will be ok.
                   
                  I'm also contemplating vents where the coolers are to help dissipate their heat...Also running a full blown mini split 30k btu ac...was going to go with two roof mounted ac units but the current draw was higher than the mini split and my generator is already putting out 240 so figured what the hell!
                   
                  #9
                    jeffwllms

                    • Total Posts: 19
                    • Joined: 4/18/2013
                    • Location: Fort Worth, TX
                    Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Sat, 04/27/13 12:11 PM (permalink)
                    fishscale28


                    Thanks for your interest!  I didn't get much direction so decided to go with a large diesel generator instead of the batteries and installed two fans evenly spaced in front of my hood to supply the fresh air.  CFM to CFM it's almost a perfect match so should keep things in a nice circulation-as hoods are designed to be.  Eventually I'll go with two air curtains in front of the service windows and everything should stay comfortable...not cool by any means but I'm sure it will be ok.

                    I'm also contemplating vents where the coolers are to help dissipate their heat...Also running a full blown mini split 30k btu ac...was going to go with two roof mounted ac units but the current draw was higher than the mini split and my generator is already putting out 240 so figured what the hell!

                     
                    Sounds like you will be moving a lot of air, when you get some picks put them up would like to see.  Did you exhaust out the top or to the side/back?
                     
                    #10
                      fishscale28

                      • Total Posts: 217
                      • Joined: 2/21/2013
                      • Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
                      Re:Hood and Electrical Ideas Mon, 04/29/13 10:19 PM (permalink)
                      I opted to go out the side using three small 10" shutter mounted fans.  All combined they're just over 1500 cfms and my two fresh air fans are variable speed up to 1800...so I've got some spare fresh air if needed (which for return air isn't always a good thing).  
                       
                      I actually had a killer 14" fan that I really, really, really wanted to use but it just didn't work out with my application...my hood was just a little too small...or the fan was a little too big...same difference!  The single fan was variable speed up to 2150CFM...talk about some air!!!
                       
                      As soon as I'm up on my 30 posts I'll get some pics going...some stuff isn't that pretty but I'm hoping for function more than anything.  Definitely learning a lot as I go (especially with this forum!!).
                       
                      Cheers!
                       
                      #11
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