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Infrared stove

  • Balliol Fowden
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21 Feb 2023 19:25 #1 by Balliol Fowden
Replied by Balliol Fowden on topic Infrared stove
No magic Peter! 8 x 6 volt Trojan T105 flooded lead acid leisure batteries, series/parallel.

To be honest I have been a little surprised that the results have been so good. I had actually made new battery trays for another group of four batteries to increase capacity from 450 a/h to 675 but have not bothered to order the batteries as yet.

However, we have always run on fewer batteries and a lesser charging capacity than most so-called experts recommend. Similarly our 30 odd hire boats always used to perform perfectly well on lesser capacity than many other fleets seemed to feel necessary. We too have historically achieved between 5 and  years out of these batteries, so it remains to be seen whether that continues to be the case.

Modern Victron units are highly efficient, and of course there are various installation good practices that increase efficiency. The same might be the case with induction hobs.

I can assure you that I eat very well!

Balliol.

 

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  • Peter Cawson
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21 Feb 2023 18:05 #2 by Peter Cawson
Replied by Peter Cawson on topic Infrared stove
Balliol - I think you must have found magic batteries - please let us into the secret!

My domestic batteries were 6 x 12 v 110 Ah "leisure" batteries but certainly not traction type or hugely costly. They lasted 5 years or so if carefully used and were never asked to provide juice for cooking, apart from the microwave oven, kettle or occasional toaster use.

If the original inefficient ceramic hob was used, it required too much current, so generator or shore supply was required. The later single induction hob could be used on battery for short periods, but it drew the battery down to the level I wanted to recharge it, rather than leave it overnight for a next day alternator recharge, as otherwise the fridge, freezer etc may cause the voltage to drop to the level where the cut-out deprived the boat of even power to charge phones!

The boat had 3 x large solar panels (total of 720 watt), so most evening would start with fully charged batteries, so where my system went so wrong compared with yours I have no idea! I always wished I had gas for cooking, though we did use the gas BBQ quite regularly, particularly when no shore supply was available.

Peter



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  • Anita St Onge
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21 Feb 2023 17:10 #3 by Anita St Onge
Replied by Anita St Onge on topic Infrared stove
Thank you so much for this very thorough reply - I am definitely going to look into converting when I return to France.

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  • Balliol Fowden
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21 Feb 2023 09:40 #4 by Balliol Fowden
Replied by Balliol Fowden on topic Infrared stove
I am afraid that I am a convert to electric cooking, and a great fan of induction hobs. We took the gas out of "Actief" this time last year and have now had a year of trials, both cruising and on 16 amp shore hook up on our home mooring, and the system is working really well, better than expected in fact!

Gas is potentially very dangerous in boats for all the well known reasons. Safety devices such as thermocouple shut-offs for gas rings are not reliable. Indeed the largest time component of a gas soundness inspection (as required regularly now on larger vessels in Europe) is the testing of the thermocouples because they are regarded as a major concern. Concerns are also now being raised about the possible dangers from poorly vented products of combustion (particulates) from burning propane in a confined space, and a proven fact often forgotten is that burning gas on an un-flued appliance releases a lot of water vapour into the cabin air. We certainly don't now get the same levels of condensation on windows etc, since we stopped burning gas. I don't spend my mornings wiping condensation from the windows.

The argument against cooking electric is the electricity consumption but we are simply not finding that to be a problem. We have not increased our battery capacity, which by most calculations was meagre beforehand at only 450 ampere hours (@24 volt). Many would say that is totally inadequate for a 100' 5 cabin barge, but that is what we have had for most of the last 39 years and it has been, and remains, perfectly satisfactory, on or off grid. We use a 50 amp charger off the mains and a 65 amp alternator on the main engine. We have no solar input as yet. We do now have a Victron Multiplus 5000va inverter/charger, and we do have a generator, but that is running no more hours than it did before the conversion from gas to electric. We run that when we need to power more than two large consumers such as washing machine, dryer, dishwasher etc. If in the future encounter any supply deficiency then I still have the option of giving over some deck space to solar, and we are still only about 50% LED on lighting, which is a big load on our ship. One of my concerns was whether (with the additional cooking load) the batteries would still keep up with electricity consumption in a heat wave (i.e. from the refrigerators) but we were on board and cruising during much of last year's heat wave and had no problems.

For a smaller boat with lesser demands (and you don't mention an oven) I would expect an efficient inverter to cope amply with normal cooking requirements. There are also other efficiency options. In a new installation now I would possibly not even bother installing an oven. When we changed to electric cooking I bought a cheap Asda George air fryer (£39.00) which my wife was reticent about (indeed opposed to, hence I only bought the cheapest!). She now likes them so much that she has just bought another one from Asda last week, which is our fourth unit since in effect we have four homes. We hardly use the range ovens at home now, and the new electric oven that I installed on the ship last year has barely been used. Induction hob cooking coupled with air fryer and microwave is extremely energy efficient, particularly when you factor in that most of your electricity is derived in a sense from (sort of) "free" supplies from your main engine alternator when cruising, and then of course there are the possibilities for solar power.

A further issue for some in respect of gas is the availability of the gas itself. This is becoming a problem in the UK where some of the smaller sizes of bottle are being withdrawn, and the retail availability of bulk gas (Autogas) is becoming much more limited. I recently bought a motorhome with a built in gas tank and am now having issues getting that tank filled. I don't think these bulk & bottle supply issues are affecting continental Europe as yet but, if nothing else, eliminating dependence on gas saves the hassle of crossing Euro borders where all EU states use different and usually non-interchangeable gas bottles. For us with the motorhome I am already scheming to fit an induction hob in that, the main difficulty there being that we are more limited on electrical capacity due to payload constraints for batteries in a van (not an issue in most boats) but I reckon that 300 a/h @ 12 volts (as opposed to the 100 a/h installed now) will be sufficient so long as we drive for an hour or so each day, and the extra weight of two more batteries (ca. 75kg) is probably not that much more than that of a full gas tank, which I can throw out.

Whilst professionally as an insurance claims investigator I see a sad number of gas incidents on boats every year I am not "afraid" of gas in a proper installation. I was a registered gas installer for many years. However, I am still relieved that we now have no gas on board our ship.

Balliol.
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  • Anita St Onge
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21 Feb 2023 01:14 #5 by Anita St Onge
Replied by Anita St Onge on topic Infrared stove
Sorry for the delay - I was thinking about electric but now I'm not sure. I guess I may have to wait until I get back to France.

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  • Chris Rowling
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05 Feb 2023 22:43 #6 by Chris Rowling
Replied by Chris Rowling on topic Infrared stove
Hi Anita

Are you considering at an electric (?halogen, electricity only) or gas (minimal electric requirement for lighting and sometimes touch controls/panels) infrared stove?

Regards
Chris
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  • Peter Milne
  • Quo Vadis
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05 Feb 2023 16:50 #7 by Peter Milne
Replied by Peter Milne on topic Infrared stove
Both Induction & Infrared stoves tend to have ceramic tops!  There's an interesting comparison HERE

Both rely on a good electricity supply - either shore or generator or big batteries (with some way to keep them charged.  Peter C is right to point out the advantage of a good, regularly checked gas installation. 

When I first bought a barge I considered induction until I realised we'd be running a generator too frequently as many nice moorings have no power.  Then I had a complete safe gas reinstallation done, not expensively, and regularly checked.  Stoves & ovens designed for boats will switch off the gas if a flame goes out, unlike a camping or domestic stove, so are inherently safe.  I'd advise a safety check on whatever is onboard at the moment if you plan to keep it, even short-term.    

Pete Milne, Quo Vadis & De Zwaan , Gent.
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  • Anita St Onge
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05 Feb 2023 16:18 #8 by Anita St Onge
Replied by Anita St Onge on topic Infrared stove
Infrared is different than ceramic - also different from induction - I don't know much about them but I have been hearing lots about how efficient they are.  I'm still learning about this.  There is a working propane stove but gas scares me a bit.  I may keep that for awhile until I figure things out.  I'm moving from owning a sailboat for over 25 years with no oven and only a single burner butane and a two burner propane stove so lots to learn. Thanks for your reply. 

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  • Peter Cawson
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05 Feb 2023 12:25 #9 by Peter Cawson
Replied by Peter Cawson on topic Infrared stove
Is what you call an infrared stove what we may call a ceramic hob? If so, why use this when induction hobs are more efficient, quicker and cleaner? I only ask because I see no online comparison between ceramic and infrared!

I switched from ceramic to induction on my boat, but had there been a good safely-installed and monitored gas hob already there, I'd have preferred that over either, because electric power is in very short supply unless plugged into a shore supply (often with limited current), or you run a noisy generator!

Peter



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  • Don Chesnut
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04 Feb 2023 17:29 #10 by Don Chesnut
Replied by Don Chesnut on topic Infrared stove
Hi Anita,

Oldtimer also lives in Castelserrasin for now (I'll arrive late April from Southern California) and I would suggest your best course is to wait until you are in France to make the purchase. Toulouse is just a short train ride away and there are many of the large appliance shops there that will gladly take your euros and deliver the stove to your boat. We purchased a new refrigerator from Dartry some years ago and the shopping and delivery experience were no problem. They even took the old cooler away gratis.

Don
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