If you *ever* need anecdotal information about *any*thing, ask Fernie about it. Odds are he'll have a hilarious story where the object of your inquiry plays a prominent part. You don't even hafta listen with both ears and you'll learn plenty.
Howdy all, Fernie here, I was going to get around to this one as well, and maybe jcdh, can help me out on this one. I use to have a power inverter on an old van I had in Alaska. It was hooked up to the alternator. I could run any power tool, mostly my skilsaw, right off it, as soon as I pulled the trigger, it automaticly kicked the rpm up on the engine and I had full power. But, I coud run off a 100 cord and then the saw and power was reduced by almost half, still cut wood, but really hurt the saw. So now theres's a place called Harbor Fright out of Ca, that sells various sizes of inverters. So here's what one can do. Remember all those fancy 10 speed bikes, before everyone went to mountain bikes, get one. Now take the tire off the rim, I tried to deflate the tire and use it that way but it didn't work, came off. now get a huge V belt that will go around the rim, have at least two foot extra. Build a metal stand you can attatch to the axle of he back wheel, to hold it off the ground a few inches. I used wood, it works but soon, from your peddling, it wears out. I was in a hurry on this one so if I'd taken more time, I could have done a better job, I'd still use metal tho. Now mount the stand to a 2" x 10" about 4 foot long. With the V belt around the rim, and now a small 1" or 1 1/2 pulley on a car alternator, you can use the pulley on the alternator, but smaller is faster in revulations. and I used plumber strap to hold the alternator down, it's cheap and will come loose in time. Now start peddling, hooked up to a regulator you can run your refer, freezer, just about any thing you want. When I get a hair up my ass to do something, sometimes I just go nuts to butts on the project, without thinking it all the way through, this in one case. I'm not a metal worker of high skill, nor am I an electrician, I was just trying to hook this system up like the van was, only using the bike as the power source. I know it works, for I saw on a TV show once how a guy made his kids peddle a bike to power their tv, this way they might have a veggie brain, but they at least go the excersize they needed. As I recall, it worked on everything in the home. You just had to shift gears to get the rpm's up. I also plan some day to build a bigger house. When I do, I'm going to wire it for 12 volt as well as 110. If your really want to have light when camping, take your car headlight out, hook up two wires to the battary, and you got light for hours and it's bright, I plan on building this right into the house, and running all the night lights off 12 volts. One time on some property I owned (20 acres) I and a friend strung 24 headlights a total of 400 feet and had another friend land his ultralight out in my pasture, all off the battary in my truck. Worked like a charm. Ol Barney took off as well and came around again and landed, it really was cool. He had a CB on his plane and we would work on timing for as brief seconds and then shut down the lights, Back in those days, (77-78) we figuared all sorts of things to do, only on the militia level. But the main thing is car alternators are magic power sources, snap up a few at the junk yards. voltage regulaters are another thing you'll want to get. But 12 vote power is a very easy light source, and with these new Halagen lights things get even brighter. You all should have seen the neat campaign sign I made for one of our commissioners we got elected. It was 8' x 12' I ran three wires from the bottom plywood corner, up, over the top, down to the other bottom, then using tail lights out of junk cars, you can get them almost free from the junk yards, I wired them into the main wires, using one wire as ground, then I attatched the little flasher units, also free in junk yards, to the hot wires, and then to a car battary, I could drive all over town with this baby flashing bright enough that I had to switch my rearview mirror to offset. I got one hour off the battary before I'd have to switch with the one in the truck. Then some guy loaned me a huge industral heavy equiptment battary and it lasted all night. Every night I'd have a new place to park the trailer with the lights flashing all night long. Hey, it worked, we got the commissioner elected. When you use three lines you can hook up two different flashers, so it's like a Christmas tree twinky light deal, lights are always on one system of the other.
If you fill your freezer with milk jugs filled with water ( add a drop of bleach) and as you add food, or take food out add a jug or take one out. Then you don't have to peddle to much to keep your freezer working, as everything inside is frozen, it's easier to keep a solid object froze, the air space. My two units go on for a couple minutes two, three times a day, that it. Refers are a different story, I wouldn't even bother to keep one going.
Help me out here some all you electrical people, I'm weak in this department.