Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

chevensteinchevenstein Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
My fiancee and I are in the final stages of construction of our new home, which is off of the electrical grid. Our power system is fairly modest: 8x 135 watt Kyocera solar panels into 8x 6V golf cart batteries plus propane backup generator so we're trying to eliminate or completely remove electrical needs where possible. One place where we can't find a propane alternative that works in exactly the same way is the toaster oven.

Why not use the full size oven on the gas range, you ask? We can for some things, but, and I readily admit that this is pretty weird, for me nothing makes toast quite like a toaster oven and I haven't been able to replicate the exact taste and texture with any other means. The toaster oven itself is even key - it has to be a Black and Deckar Classic model or it doesn't come out right.

Is 1.5KW for five minutes on average once a day really the end of the world, especially if we install a second set of 8 panels and 8 golf cart batteries (or go to L16s) a year down the road? Not really, but I can cook almost everything else with no power on my gas range or the wood stove...but I really like toast!

The mechanics of it are probably the most useful: the B&D classic is more of an infrared cook and everything else I've tried is either contact transfer (frying pan) or convection (normal oven). Do I rig two Mr. Heater IR LP heater heads into some sort of off grid toast machine? Maybe, but that'd likely scorch the surface before it warms the bread all the way through. Also it would take a lot of counter space.

There are a lot of very bright people on this forum so I figured I'd ask.

Thanks!

Comments

  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

    If it is truly 5 minutes that is 125 watt hours a day that will be less then the idle draw of most inverters for the day I do not see it being any big deal. I say use the B+D classic and enjoy it
  • chevensteinchevenstein Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

    Yeah...I guess the load is on for such a short period of time that it really shouldn't be an issue. I posted more to learn if there's some sort of other low or no electricity cooking technology out there that I'm not aware of.
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

    The plus side is it is a resistive load. This means that a cheap MSW inverter can be used. Used one this summer when I had extra power to spare.

    OT: I also use a toaster oven to cook/heat my waffles, toaster strudel and french toast.
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

    You haven't mentioned an inverter (that I saw), but other than watching your peak load, go for it.

    The battery voltage will likely dip a bit, but come back up within a few minutes.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

    We've been perfecting the toaster off grid for years. (Coleman does make a LP powered toaster oven, sort of a small camping oven. It didn't work for toast at all, but probably would work OK as a small oven, but I don't think it would save any energy relative to a conventional insulatedgas oven).

    So we have tried every kind of camping/non electric toaster option out there. Far and away,,FAR AND AWAY! the best toaster option we have found is a small camping catalytic heater. The problem is that most of the new ones are round and not very conducive to toast which is,,square. My neighbour (also off grid) has a Coleman Canada model that I have coveted for years. It is rectangular, ~8"X6" with a wire grill 1/2" above the catalyst mat. (Just the right size for 2 pieces of toast! These have not been made in a number of years so they are VERY hard to find. It took me 5 years of regular searching to find one on Ebay! It works great! Light it, it glows red in about a minute, drop the toast on, turn it after about a minute and it is the nicest golden brown you can every imagine!

    Susan thinks I'm crazy the way I show my toaster off to folks who stop by, but I think it is the coolest thing since sliced bread. Previously I had made one out of a newer generation round Coleman heater, works, but not nearly as well.

    So search Ebay every now and again, look for a small square catalytic. If you find one, you will probably have to bid against me!

    Tony

    Remember, the ahs you burn up in a toaster are ahs you have to replace. You could argue that you like toast so much that adding extra Pv capacity to make it is worth it. In my case, I use about $1 worth of propane per year for perfect toast. Gotta make a lot of toast to justify $3/watt Pv.

    T
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,030 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

    If I missed this in a post forgive me. Have you people ever used a griddle to make toast? Learn to adapt your techniques. Bakers go thru hell learning to use propane at altitude and if they can do it..............................
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • crewzercrewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

    The toaster should work fine, and it may even make for the equivalent of a useful opportunity load in the summer. We use a Lodge cast iron grill/griddle over a gas stove to prepare toast (and other things) while camping... Yum!

    %7B774418DA-14FA-4650-AED4-BFA2817AE1B0%7D_LPGI3.jpg

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • WisJimWisJim Solar Expert Posts: 59 ✭✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

    When it is windy or sunny, we use the toaster oven, pop up toast, or waffle iron without hesitation. After all, if the amps are coming in, there is no problem. We used to use our waffle iron and the house lights as a dump load for our first wind generator, a 2.5 kw Wind Power 32 volt machine, as it had no field controls to reduce output, and we had no other regulation except to use excess power. We ate lots of waffles on windy winter days.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?
    crewzer wrote: »
    The toaster should work fine, and it may even make for the equivalent of a useful opportunity load in the summer. We use a Lodge cast iron grill/griddle over a gas stove to prepare toast (and other things) while camping... Yum!

    %7B774418DA-14FA-4650-AED4-BFA2817AE1B0%7D_LPGI3.jpg

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer

    I'm telling you guys, you're making this way too complicated. (Griddles work, but not as well as my catalytic toaster)

    The closest one that Coleman makes now is this one:http://www.colemancanada.ca/Catalog/HEATERS.en.products (Model No. 5038A800C)



    T

    It's like this one, only 1/2 as big, and it is angled ~45 degrees so the toast sits on it.http://cgi.ebay.ca/COLEMAN-PROPANE-CATALYTIC-HEATER-2000-to-4000-BTU_W0QQitemZ120490676838QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c0dcdd266 (sorry for the ebay link)

    I have used this one with a little shelf to hold the toast. Works pretty good, but it only does one at a time. My rectangular one (that is out of production) holds two perfectly.

    To Wisjim,

    My solution is great for those that have very small systems. Clearly a 1.5 kw toaster of waffle iron is not a really big load on a 2 kw PV system. On a 300 watt system it is way bigger as a percentage of daily harvest.
    Tony
  • PhilSPhilS Solar Expert Posts: 370 ✭✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?

    We've got one of these, Tony, but I never considered using it for any cooking.

    http://www.mrheater.com/product.aspx?catid=42&id=23

    I may, now. But our toaster would still be the easiest way under normal circumstances.

    Phil
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?
    WisJim wrote: »
    When it is windy or sunny, we use the toaster oven, pop up toast, or waffle iron without hesitation. After all, if the amps are coming in, there is no problem. We used to use our waffle iron and the house lights as a dump load for our first wind generator, a 2.5 kw Wind Power 32 volt machine, as it had no field controls to reduce output, and we had no other regulation except to use excess power. We ate lots of waffles on windy winter days.

    Did you also stay up late on windy nights?!?

    I was telling someone the other day that my electric bills have gotten so low I turn down the thermostat in the summer because I might as well -- neighbors are paying $300 / month, I'm paying $86.

    Making waffles and watching movies late sounds like more fun!
  • chevensteinchevenstein Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?
    tallgirl wrote: »
    You haven't mentioned an inverter (that I saw), but other than watching your peak load, go for it.

    The inverter is a Magnum energy 48V model. The thing is awesome - the charge feature works great and the inverter can start the 400 foot deep well pump (28A inrush per leg AC, 500A inrush on the DC side...~45A DC running). I got a good deal on the unit through our host and Magnum was very good to me when the unit arrived with a defective thermistor (thought it was overheating all the time, from the moment power was connected).
    icarus wrote: »
    We've been perfecting the toaster off grid for years. (Coleman does make a LP powered toaster oven, sort of a small camping oven. It didn't work for toast at all, but probably would work OK as a small oven, but I don't think it would save any energy relative to a conventional insulatedgas oven).

    So we have tried every kind of camping/non electric toaster option out there. Far and away,,FAR AND AWAY! the best toaster option we have found is a small camping catalytic heater.

    I knew I wasn't the only one crazy about perfect toast! I might just have to set up a saved search for this heater...

    Thanks, everyone!
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off grid/no electricity toaster oven?
    PhilS wrote: »
    We've got one of these, Tony, but I never considered using it for any cooking.

    http://www.mrheater.com/product.aspx?catid=42&id=23

    I may, now. But our toaster would still be the easiest way under normal circumstances.

    Phil


    Phil I have one of these as well, to heat my tool shed when I need to. Or more correctly heat me a bit when it is -30. I suppose you could make toast with one, but my guess it it would toast it WAY too fast. The great thing about the Coleman is that is toasts pretty slowly, about the same rate as a conventional electric toaster, so you don't have to watch it every second. When we do bacon and eggs, getting it all to come out on time!

    PS. I am sorta Kookoo for coco puffs over this. It has taken me 10 years to find one. Like I said, I coveted my neighbour's all these years, and limped along with the round model. Oh well, we all have our little things,,,,,



    Tony
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