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sue.stew...
sue.stew...

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:02am

Post Subject: Hairdryer Dilemma

Hi Tony I apologise in advance for asking this question but it is at the request of my daughter who seems to be unable to survive without a hairdryer on board. Is there a way that she could use a hairdryer (under 1000w) on board by using a small inverter (12v) that would plug into our boat system without us having to go to the extreme of buying a generator that we do not have the need for? If you can help advise us we would be very grateful. Many Thanks Sue

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:44pm

Post Subject: Hairdryer Dilemma

Dear Sue, no need to apologise. Its much better to get opinions before digging yourself into a hole and then having to spend more to get out of it. Small inverter aka Maplin £30 special - no way, They will only be about 150 watts. Luckily, unless the it uses electronic control, which I doubt, it should be fine on a modified sine wave inverter. I have just checked in a magazine and and they seem to cost around £200 or a 1000 watt inverter. This will draw about 100 amps when on full power so you will also need substantial battery cables, a large fuse and possibly a dedicated master switch. A "plug it into the cigarette lighter socket" type will not be anywhere near powerful enough. You also need to bear in mind that the shorter the cable runs the better. A further complication is that any vendor quoting inverter output in watts is not being exactly truthful unless they also give you a great deal more information. AC (mains) loads should really be rated in VA (Volt Amps) because of something known as the "power factor" of the equipment. Luckily most of the load of a hair dryer is simple resistance which has a power factor or 1 so you can consider the Watts quoted to be almost true. The motor part of the hair dryer will not have a power factor of less than 1 so a slightly more powerful inverter (say 1.1 or 1.2 kW) may be a better buy because it should also take care of the motor's starting surge current. You also need to look at the charging and battery side of things as well. If you restrict the use of the dryer to times when the engine is running at a fir speed the dryer will cause the alternator to go to maximum output so the alternator will be supplying some of the load, but if you have (say) a 50 amp alternator then a 1000 watt dryer would draw 100 amps leaving the batteries to supply the other 50 amps. This means you would have to run your engine for longer. One last thing. Are you sure about that 1000 watts. Argos only list one 800 watt dryer, the next one is 1200 watts then it jumps to 1800 with most being 2000 watts. It is all perfectly possible but not cheaply and depending upon your abilities it might need professional wiring. You can buy 12v hair dryers but at under 200 watts they will take a long time to dry hair and they might need a special socket wired for them, again as close to the batteries as possible. Sorry to go on. Tony Brooks

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