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Old 09-19-2011, 01:54 PM   #1
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Electric Blanket

Many of us are looking for night time heating solutions. As I previously stated if we have hookups we usually only turn on our electric blanket, using other heat sources only when we're awake.

In the past when boondocking we just threw an extra blanket on the bed.

I have been wondering if it would be prudent to run our electric blanket off of our Inverter over night in terms of battery usage

Our blanket is a twin size with a single controller, wide enough for our Scamp bed. It appears to draw 100 watts maximum.

Other than turning it to high before we get into bed, we usually run it on 3-5, about half power. At this temperature it seems to have a 50% duty cycle.

I've been running a simple test. After four hours it's hardly made a dent in the battery.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:11 PM   #2
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I have a 12v version, yet to be used, so I'm curious of your test results with 120v version. Keep us posted.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:01 PM   #3
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Just buy two "cold Weather" sleeping bags that can be zipped together, for a warm toasty bed in any weather.

Or, ... buy one "0 degree" rated bag that can unzipped to create a full sized cold weather comforter.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:09 PM   #4
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Heat

We own bags but prefer the e-blanket.

We like getting into a warm bed, aging bones I guess. One thing that's nice about an e-blanket is that it's virtually a variable thickness blanket and very easy to store.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:59 PM   #5
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One thing to consider - many electric blanket controllers do not work on modified square wave inverters. Either use a sine wave inverter or try it before you need to depend on it...
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:14 PM   #6
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Inverters and Batteries

I'm not an expert in this area but I have yet to see anything that doesn't work on our non-sinewave inverters.

So far we've charged our phones, computers, run our TV and Satellite Receiver, run our coffee pot, run our AC refrigerator, run a stereo amplifier, and now we've run an electric blanket for 8 hours.

So far it seems to work on everything without producing any interference. Our 1200 watt Inverter's biggest load was starting the compressors fridge. We also carry two $19 100 watt Inverters for charging phones and the computer in the car. We also use these to run our LCD TV.

We probably use the small ones more frequently than the large one.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:41 PM   #7
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Sounds like you might be drawing about 4 to 5 amps. Look at the amp-hour rating on your battery, and figure how low you are willing to draw it down without damaging it. I bet you could usually get a couple of nights before recharging, but of course battery condition and how cold it gets will be factors too. Oh, and does the inverter use any of the juice to keep itself operating?

I just bought an ElectroWarmth 12v bed warmer. No inverter needed. It goes under the sleepers, not overtop, so the mattress feels warm faster. And it's probably somewhat more efficient since the blankets and people above it all help to conserve the heat, versus the electric blanket radiating much of its heat up and away.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
Sounds like you might be drawing about 4 to 5 amps. Look at the amp-hour rating on your battery, and figure how low you are willing to draw it down without damaging it. I bet you could usually get a couple of nights before recharging, but of course battery condition and how cold it gets will be factors too. Oh, and does the inverter use any of the juice to keep itself operating?

I just bought an ElectroWarmth 12v bed warmer. No inverter needed. It goes under the sleepers, not overtop, so the mattress feels warm faster. And it's probably somewhat more efficient since the blankets and people above it all help to conserve the heat, versus the electric blanket radiating much of its heat up and away.
We used to use those mattress warmer pads in the semi's, they do a pretty good job.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:54 PM   #9
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Conclusions

Mike,

I think your conclusion are correct. Definitely a 12 volt blanket or pad starts off with an efficiency advantage, not requiring the Inverter.

As to my test, it ran for eight hours. I simply left the blanket spread out over the couch, where normally we have a comforter on top. Definitely the comforter would have improved the efficiency.

We ran it for 8 hours and the battery voltage dropped from 12.5 volts to 12.2 volts. This represents about 20-30% of battery capacity.

I will repeat the test sometime this week using a comforter over the e-blanket to get a more accurate reading but as a first order test running the electric blanket off the inverter looks good.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:31 AM   #10
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Hi: All... One of the great features of our 5.0 Escape is the permenant queen size bed. We use a quilt my Mom n law made us for the warmer months and then a down filled duvet for early spring/late fall. It certainly won't preheat the bed...but gets quite warm quickly!!!
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:01 AM   #11
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Hi: All... Here's a couple more pic's of the 5.0 interior...but still no electric blanket. There are two 120 V. recpt. at the foot of the bed for a power blanky tho!!!
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:02 AM   #12
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Alf, where's your feet? The prior bunch had them!!!
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:03 AM   #13
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I love the electric blanket idea. When my feet and behind get cold out by the campfire, or in the house for that matter, no amount of blankets warms me up sufficiently to get to sleep. Often times it takes hours of lying very still in the same place in bed to get comfortable. That is why I've always insisted on having a heater which helps but does not solve the problem.

We do have a E blanket for when we use hook ups. I am interested in the end results of this experiment!
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:12 PM   #14
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Small Inverters

I attempted to re-run my test using a smaller Inverter, a 400 watt inverter.

The electric blanket reported an error when I plugged into the 400 watt inverter though it works perfectly fine on the 1200 watt Inverter. Both Inverters are non sine wave Inverters.
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by honda03842
I attempted to re-run my test using a smaller Inverter, a 400 watt inverter.

The electric blanket reported an error when I plugged into the 400 watt inverter though it works perfectly fine on the 1200 watt Inverter. Both Inverters are non sine wave Inverters.
Probably due to the initial draw of the blanket (inrush current ) being to much for the smaller inverter and causing a voltage drop giving you the error.
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:29 PM   #16
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I'm not saying that an electric blanket can't be used with an inverter, but that there have been enough reports by RVers that have had problems that I feel it was worth mentioning.

As to using an electric blanket, I feel it is a great idea. I have a rather expensive 120v input, low voltage output blanket from Amazon. My wife was nervous about a full voltage blanket, but felt this one was OK. I have a full size 1 controller version. I have not had the opportunity to try it on an inverter, but it works great on AC.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:36 PM   #17
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Andy,
It doesn't seem to be the in rush current. The cold resistance is 144 ohms which equates to about 100 watts cold at the max power setting.

I went out and tried it on a 100 watt inverter and it ran just fine at both high and low settings. There's something about the 400 watt Xantrex Inverter that makes the electric blankets controller report an error.

As a test I ran the TV on the 400 watt inverter and it operated just fine.

Jon,
We typically use the blanket on AC but will be doing some boondocking on our loop of the USA and will want to use the blanket with expectations of a cold winter.

If I had been smarter at the time of purchase I would have bought a 12 volt electric blanket and not even need the Inverter or AC.

We've been using the Inverters, mostly the 1200 watt and 100 watt for 5 years for our off grid camping without any Inverter issues. On the 1200 watter the highest wattage load is 600 watts for the coffee pot. We often use the 100 watter for computer or cell phones in the tow vehicle or the TV and Satellite Receiver at night.

Basically the low voltage blanket is a 12-18 volt blanket that has a transformer in plug, much like a computer charger.

Thanks for the thoughts
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:40 PM   #18
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Norm,
CW has the 12V versions on sale for $16 here Worldwide Merchandise Company - 12-Volt Travel Blanket - RV Linens & Sleep Systems - Camping World
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:10 PM   #19
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Norm, your blanket probably doesn't like the voltage or signal it's getting from that inverter. Weird. If the blankets work on the other 1200 watt inverter use it. I also use an inverter electric blanket and a solar battery maintainer. Never had a prob. Then again I don't run much. Cook on campfire or gas, no TV. Sat radio has minimal draw and is far more entertaining than television.
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:42 PM   #20
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I love my electric blanket when camping in the "cold" weather. Crank it up on high about 15 minutes before bedtime. Climb in and get warm, then lean over and unplug it. Hang the cord over the drawer pull next to the electric outlet. If I wake up in the middle of the night because I'm cold I can plug it back in for a few minutes, then unplug it again. I don't sleep under it when it's "on." I plan on taking it to the NOG next month.

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