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I am wondering if it is possible to use a microwave with the mdx, given that it has a 12v power outet? Anybody tried that before? Thanks.
 

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How many watts is the microwave?

You can get DC/AC rectifiers that either plug into the ACC outlets, or wire directly to the battery for higher wattage applications.

One of the larger DC/AC units might work with a very small low power microwave.
 

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Take a look at this.

600 Watt Inverter

600 Watts is a lot to ask from a car's standard alternator. That's 50 amps of 12 volt power (not counting the losses through the inverter).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
am i going 'harm' anything if i use a 600 or 700W inverter? it sounds like i may put too much stress on the alternator? trying to figure out if i can bring a microwave along in my next skiing trip :)
 

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You'll have to wire it with short very thick wire directly to the battery. The ACC outlets are fused at 10 amps.

I don't know about damaging the ALT, but I think I'd figure out another way to heat your food. (wrap in foil, place on exhaust manifold :D )
 

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It would seem to reason that a 600watt microwave would draw 600 watts of power. At least the several microwaves I have draw the amount of power they are rated at. (yes, I did check to make sure).

I have a 600 watt inverter and I have used it with several cars without a problem. It will actually take a 1200 watt surge and keep on going. It has to be direct wired ot the battery.

Another alternative: I wired it to work with one of those battery jump boxes. That way you don't tax your alternator or electrical system.

You can use the car to charge back the battery box... Although I wasn't using a 600 watt microwave, the laptop and printer and nebulizer lasted a very very long time using this method.
 

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That is a lot of power. I would install a second battery [using a battery isolator] and drive the microwave from the 2nd battery [as already suggested]. The battery isolator will prevent you from draining the vehicle battery with the microwave. Then, you can use the car alternator to recharge both the batteries [vehicle original and the "microwave battery"].

Make sure you use BIG wire running to the inverter. 50 AMPS is a lot of current. I am sure that someone on the site can tell you what size wire you're gonna need or you can research it. I suspect that you are down in the 6 AWG size [that is big wire].

Another option is to buy a small generator!!
 

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shorttrader said:
I am wondering if it is possible to use a microwave with the mdx, given that it has a 12v power outet? Anybody tried that before? Thanks.
Just say no. Got bad (micro)waves from this idea.
 

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Microwave?

Never mind a microwave, how about a deep-fryer?

(Sorry, a certain Simpsons episode comes to mind)
:5:
 

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My 792 cents

I don't want to scare anybody out of the idea, but you just have to decide how committed you are to the proposition.

It took me literally over 60 hours of agonizing effort to work out the issues involved in getting a 1600 watt blowdryer to work in the MDX for our camping/moteling trip to the Arctic. It came down to a a fairly simple solution, but I already had the advantage of a high power source at my custom installed amplifier under the driver's seat.

I will need to challenge some notions. But here goes:

I've recharged auxillary full-sized batteries, and even multi-battery arrays with a cable as thin as 14 gauge, and as thick as 4 ga. They both warm to about the same degree, and no the 14 ga. does not burn up, disintegrate and cause an electrical fire (seen those on competitor's systems as well). A depleted battery does not draw power the same way a motor would, it is very dependent on the resistance of the electron path and pulls gently. The performance difference is in the charge rate. With a 14 ga., it took several hours, with 4 ga only 30-40 minutes. When I switched to 8 ga. it didn't seem to make much difference. I used a 60 amp breaker in both cases and it never tripped, and 8 ga is just fine for delivering up to 60 amps continuous.

Where you need the heavy wiring is between the auxillary battery and the inverter, perhaps only 12 to 18 inches, if you choose to keep the inverter next to the battery. You need to get an inverter that is rated at least 10% higher than your appliance consumption, so I suggest you round up to 700 watts (surge won't matter here because you don't have major inertia to overcome, such as with a circular saw). Assuming a 35% inversion loss and surge margin, your 700watt inverter might draw up to 70 amps, so a 6 ga would provide an adequate margin.

It is very important that all the wiring is bolted to its attachment point. No plugs, no clamps (not even jumper cable type, didn't work for me).

Okay, forget all the math. What do you need to do? If you don't have experience in wiring up a car safely. Don't do it yourself.

1. Get a 700-800 watt inverter with a clamp-down wire attachment inputs.

2. Get two Monster Cable 60 amp magnetic circuit breakers (the only product you can use as both a breaker and a switch, the others will break if you force-trip them).

3. Get a sealed/vented automotive battery (most are sealed these days), or a 12 volt sealed lead acid battery no smaller than a smaller car battery. Brand name and shape doesn't matter, but a convenient carrying handle or carry strap is very useful. Size is up to you, but you won't know if you have adequate run-time until you actually test it. Based on my experience, I would expect 18-20 minutes per charge. The advantage of a sealed lead acid battery is that it won't vent gases or lead acid through its vents the way sealed/vented car batteries do, and it won't matter if it tips over.

4. Decide where you want to place the auxillary battery, probably in a plastic battery box, strapped in the cargo area.

5. Take these items to a stereo install shop (not franchized general electronics department store, but a specialty shop), or consult an RV place for a recommendation. Get an estimate for the following:
Ask them to mount one of the breakers on the inside of the plastic battery housing in the engine compartment, about 1/2 way down the panel so it is not easily visible. Specifyan 8 ga. run to the aux. battery/inverter location, terminating at the 2nd breaker. Specify 8 ga between the 2nd breaker and aux. battery, as well as for the negative grounding cable. However, between the the aux. battery and invertery, positive and negative, you want 6 ga. or better (if they insist on 4 ga. its okay, because most stereo shops don't carry 6 ga) .The inverter should not be wired to the breaker, but attached directly to the aux. batttery only. Ask if the inverter and breaker can be mounted to the battery case, or if it would be better to place all the components on a mounting board instead, even though it takes up more floor space.

6. Emphasize that you want to be able to dismantle and remove the battery/inverter assembly (if that is your intention) and to stow away the cable safely by attaching it to some custom dead point, perhaps on the floor area under the 3rd row seats (even after the breaker is switched off at the engine compartment, and the cable is supposedly no longer "live," its important to secure the cable tip in case some technician finds and turns on the breaker without knowing what it does.)

When you use the appliance, you switch off the rear breaker so that it is disconnected from the forward battery. It doesn't matter if the engine is on or off in when you use the appliance with the rear breaker off. But, don't run the engine if the breaker is in the "on" position.

When finished, don't switch the breaker on again until just before running the engine again. You don't want to have the rear battery reconnected for more than a few minutes before restarting the engine as the depleted battery may partially drain the primary battery and cause starting difficulty.

Why you don't want an isolator-
If you use a battery isolator you can dispense with switching the rear breaker on and off, but you need a breaker there anyhow. Plus, you don't want to bother with an isolator unless you make the entire contraption permanent, as it draws additional power loss, on top of the loss in the inverter itself. Also, disconnecting the inverter from the front alternator by switching off the rear breaker as i recommend will prevent you from accidentally overdrawing the alternator when using the appliance while running the engine, which you should not do.

Its going to involved a substantial investment in time, effort, and labor. Probably much more than the cost of the microwave itself. Let me know if you have any further questions.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
WOW! I didn't know it is so complicated until I read your detail post, Bruce; thanks. Is it much simpler if I just buy one of the jump boxes, connect an inverter to that and the microwave to inverter; how long is the microwave can be use until the jump box is depleted? I can then take the box and charge it with regular electrical inside house when I come back home. If I can get 10,15 mins, I am more than happy. Somehow, I think I am missing something here; I have no idea how these dc/ac conversion stuffs work!
 

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Appliances in MDX

Goto Walmart and in the camping supplies section they have a number of products for camping and which will run on the 12v battery. I have been using a refrigerator and few ligts for the last 6 onths and everything is good so far. I have heard there is a microwave alo available for vehicles.
 

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Another Option

I don't know if this will help but it certainly would be simpler. If the food you want to microwave can be prepared at home you can get an inexpensive little portable refrigerator chest - I have a Igloo 22-Quart Thermoelectric Cooler ($59.87 at walmart.com). Simply by reversing the plug it becomes a food warmer and will keep food warm for a pretty long time.
Meep Meep
 

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shorttrader said:
WOW! I didn't know it is so complicated until I read your detail post, Bruce; thanks. Is it much simpler if I just buy one of the jump boxes, connect an inverter to that and the microwave to inverter; how long is the microwave can be use until the jump box is depleted? I can then take the box and charge it with regular electrical inside house when I come back home. If I can get 10,15 mins, I am more than happy. Somehow, I think I am missing something here; I have no idea how these dc/ac conversion stuffs work!
Any inverter with a capacity over 600 watts will be a heavy duty industrial strength job. You will need 700/800 but most of these products will be available in a rounded figure of 1000 watts, which makes it a pretty large, heavy, unsightly beast.

The best price I could find for a name-brand line I trust is at www.provantage.com
PV 1000W Ultra Inverter 12VDC-120VAC 3-Outlet #PV1000HF (TRPI00R) $167.01

This device, as will all with similar capacity, will require direct bolted or compression clamped attachment. If you use a portable jumper device, you will need to cut off the jumper cable clamps, strip off 1 inch of insulation, twist and solder the tips to prevent fraying. These cable tips will then be inserted into the compression clamp attachements of the inverter and tightened with a screwdriver. It is detachable, but you need to apply some muscle with a screwdriver to attach and detach. You will not be able to make any kind of use out of the 12volt accessory plug outlet, at least not for the microwave. The wires to this outlet cannot supply the high current required of the inverter.

Run time? I assume the battery in the portable jumper device is a sealed lead acid design, about half the size of a conventional car battery. So assume a run time of 8 or 10 minutes, but no gurantees unless you actually test it, and you can't test it unless you remove the jumper clamps and direct wire the unit to the inverter. For lower power requirements a portable jumper might be very convenient, but for a 600 watt microwave, I think its really marginal.

My assumption was that you needed to recharge on the run, as if you were on the road for weeks at a time. If you only need one shot at a time, this makes the whole world a lot easier for you, and lot cheaper than previously described, as there are no cable runs, breakers, tedious cable terminations.

All you need is:
1. Full sized battery (with handle or strap), preferably sized for your MDX as it never hurts to have a spare you can actually use if you needed to. $60-90 You can even get an Acura OEM replacement if you need your car to stay absolutely factory stock.

2. The inverter as described above, $167

3. Battery charger (10 to 30 amps, higher power more convenient in case you need to charge a car before going to work after leaving any of the interior lights manually switched to on), $30-60

4. Positive and Negative battery cable/terminal clamp assembly from any auto parts store, $5-7 ea

No instructions necessary. You can do it yourself and it will be very obvious what you will need to do. Just remember to always wear vision safety devices whenever you do anything to a battery. I keep a set of goggles in all our family vehicles for this reason.

Because of the high power requirements of the microwave, there is no easy, inexpensive solution. Unless . . . you buy a very small, low-powered microwave. If you can find one that is rated at 450 watts or less, you can run a jaw-clamp-fitted inverter right off the car battery (with engine running, hood open), with a regular household extension cord to the microwave.
PV 500 500 Watts Power Inverter 3-Outlets w/Battery Clips $68.24
You can operate the microwave in this mode for as long as you have gas in your tank. The microwave will be less powerful, but since run-time is not an issue, you can just cook the food longer for the same effect.

Eh . . . , just curious . . . Why would you want to have a portable microwave? When I cook outdoors, I really like the experience that comes from a campfire, BBQ grill, or even a portable gas stove. Frozen TV dinners? What's up?
 

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This is the smaller inverter for continuous use on a running engine.

PV 500 500 Watts Power Inverter 3-Outlets w/Battery Clips $68.24
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for your help, Bruce. I found a xantrex powerpack that provides 1500W of power for about 15,20 mins; hope it will work! My kids like to have popcorn made during long trip, so I thought a microwave would do, and as long as power is there I may as well 'warm' other kind of food :)
 
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