Appliances for Living Off Grid

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Obviously there are certain appliances that you can't use in a minimalistic style alternate energy system. 240 volt appliances are out. That means no electric range, no electric dryer, no electric heater, etc.

I'll document what appliances I'm using, the power source they use and how they work as I go.


10 February 2011:

I purchased a Kill-a-Watt meter, I wanted to get a better idea of the energy consumption of various electrical appliances I've been using. While I have done some of these tests by running an amp meter ahead of my power inverters, this seemed a much easier and quicker way to get that data. P3 International makes the Kill-a-Watt, they have a variety of different meters, but the basic model P4400 did everything I needed it to, and it was less than $20 shipping included from Newegg.com.

Device Instant Watts Per Batch Notes
47" Visio HD TV 75 average   .4 Watts Off. Back light sensor set to medium.
LG BluRay Player 12   .3 Watts Off / Power used in net link mode.
TV & BluRay 79   Watching BluRay movie.
Home Theater 145   TV, BluRay and Sound System.
*Sangean Radio 1.6   On 12 volts, normal sound level.
Microwave (old-1100 Watt) 1614 81 (3 min.) 1 Watt in standby mode.
*Microwave 1000 Watt 1140   .6 Watt standby
*Whirlpool Washer 730 140  
2 Slice Toaster 843 43  
Washing Machine 500 to 600 260 W-hrs/load Older Kenmore full size top loader.
Laptop PC 24 - 48   24 watts on internet/48 watts gaming. 1.5 Watts off w/battery charged.
Desktop PC/monitor 110   Includes modem & router. 11 Watts with PC off.
Internet Modem 4.4    
Router 4.1    
4' Shop Light 45-55    
Vacuum 1030 110 W-hrs Average quick vacuum job. Riccar 4812 upright.
Lathe 930   Light load.
*LB White 60,000 btu 680 max 125 running  
Coffee Maker 980 90/160 W-hrs Batch used 90 Watts to brew, 160 Watts total keeping pot hot for 1 hour.
*Bread Maker 520 max 310/loaf  
4" Table Top Fan 20.6    
9" Osc. Fan 31/36/42   Best AC fan I have in terms of moving air vs. power usage.
20" Box Fan 60/94/190   Worthless fan, such a poor design it's hard to tell what side the air flow is from. Power hungry too.
*20" Blue Box Fan 63/74/87    
*Lasko 20" Pedestal Fan 68/79/93    
20" DC Box Fan 13   Converted Fan Blade to use on a 24 v. DC motor running at 12v. Best air flow vs. power of all my fans.
Small Fridge/Freezer 95 819 Whr/day Only opened twice during 17 hour test. Room temp 73 degrees.
*Amana 17 cu ft side/side 150 1750/day 2002 year model
*Criterion 5 cu ft ~ 160/day Freezer with new thermostat and used as refrigerator 2014 year model
*GE 5 cu ft ~ 550/day Freezer (190 Wh/day as fridge) 2014 year model
*GE 15 cu ft as fridge ~ 435/day 2001 year model. This freezer didn't like the remote thermostat. Must have a solenoid unloader on the return side of compressor.
Palm Sander 60   Under normal load.
Bench Drill Press 110-170   110 no load, 170 loaded.
Presto Multi Cooker 1180   1240 Watts until warmed up.
4" Angle Grinder 280   Under normal load. (Makita)
5 qt. Crock Pot 88, 128, 210   Keep warm, medium, high.
8,000 BTU Air Cond. 700-715 varies 710 Watts average on medium fan.
*8,000 BTU Air 650 varies 650 Watt average on low fan in power saver mode.2012 year model



Radio/Stereo:

I have 2 stereo systems, one goes with a surround sound system with my home theater, the other is stand alone for radio, CD's, PC sound, etc. Both of these run on 120 volt ac only. For the home theater system I'll have to power an inverter anyway, so I'll still use that sound system as is. I usually don't use the home theater for more than a movie or two a week, so the power requirements aren't that great.

I don't want to run my inverter just to listen to the radio, so I pulled out my old boom box I use in my shop. It's probably 20 years old, but still sounds good. Unfortunately it's either battery or 120 volt ac powered. But, the battery pack uses 8) D cells, which is 12 volts. So I soldered a new set of wires directly to the battery terminals, the wire is the plug end of an old extension cord, so I already had a plug on the end. Now I can plug the radio into any of my 12 volt outlets throughout the house.

The radio draws only .15 amps, or about 2 watts at normal volume levels. This is much less than running an inverter as the inverter alone uses about 8 Watts.

Here's the old boom box that's been converted to use external 12 volt power.

It was as simple as soldering 2 wires. I did cut a hole in the battery compartment door to allow the cord to exit. I also added a couple of wire ties inside the compartment to prevent stress on the solder connections.