Author Topic: Tech question about the M18™ TOP-OFF™ POWER SUPPLY for the electrical minded  (Read 847 times)

Offline Skywagon

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So after I ordered a M18™ TOP-OFF™ 175W POWER SUPPLY another possible use occurred to me that I would like to run past the electrical savvy.  Here is the setup: I have an electric start Honda generator at the cabin, it does not like to start when the temp gets close to the single digits, so I am wondering about installing a 125 watt pad heater on the engine, the question is how well would the Milwaukee power supply work to power this application?  If it would work, what size of M18 battery would be required to use the heater for 8 hours?  According to the numbers I worked on this, a 9 amp should do it, but do not trust my calculations, I would like to be sure before purchasing a bigger battery if this thing won't work.  Thank you for any thoughts from anyone that would not mind running the numbers to see if my thinking is flawed.

Offline winterbuddy

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For that application, I think you might be ahead if you found a DC pad heater.

I wonder about the efficiency converting to AC?  And, the additional complexity adds more opportunity for failure.

Offline matzilla

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what do you have for a starting battery on the honda?

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Offline Woody61

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I would just keep a trickle charger on it so you start at 100% battery. Do you use thinner oil in the winter?

Online hardwater diehard

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Pretty interesting video

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Offline badger132

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TO get back to your original question: How long will it last? If we assume that the battery rating is accurate, 18V * 9 A-Hours=162 Watt-hours.
Lets say the AC conversion is 90% efficient, 162*.9=146 W-hours

146watt-hours/125 watts=1.17 hours

You would do a little better with a DC heater, but not much. I assume all you need to do is warm it up enough to get it started, but I think you might do better to get this thing a tune up, and use some multi-vis oil to handle the cold.

If that does not work, my grandpa used to slide a flake of burning straw under his model t to warm up the engine on cold Wisconsin mornings, but your Honda might have too much plastic to allow that.  ;)

Offline Skywagon

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TO get back to your original question: How long will it last? If we assume that the battery rating is accurate, 18V * 9 A-Hours=162 Watt-hours.
Lets say the AC conversion is 90% efficient, 162*.9=146 W-hours

146watt-hours/125 watts=1.17 hours

You would do a little better with a DC heater, but not much. I assume all you need to do is warm it up enough to get it started, but I think you might do better to get this thing a tune up, and use some multi-vis oil to handle the cold.

If that does not work, my grandpa used to slide a flake of burning straw under his model t to warm up the engine on cold Wisconsin mornings, but your Honda might have too much plastic to allow that.  ;)

Thank you for the math (I was way off on that one).  I am already using thin oil and have a good starter battery in the Honda 7000, it runs great, it's just the 0 cold temps that really hurt it (Honda's start super easy, just not when they are cold).  Since I am fresh out of straw that won't work.  I have in the past been leaving a Honda 2000 generator in the cabin to warm up by the fire, then carrying it outside when the solar batteries need an extra boost, that may need to continue, or try putting a timer on a heating pad and hope it does not drain the solar batteries.  Always looking for an better/easier way of doing things.

Offline 3300

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My 24hp kohler is hard start in cold weather. So I use a small amount of ether. Starts right up super fast.

Offline badger132

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You might see how warm you can get it on 1 battery. I realize it is not ideal, but you might get away with running a battery worth of power into the heater, then trying it. Kind of the modern equivalent to my grandpas straw, but safer. You don't need to get it all the way to 100 degrees, just above freezing, I am guessing.

If I were going to try a setup for this, I would assume you have 3 issues at very cold temps:

1. The battery for your starting does not have as much current capacity when cold. We used to turn on the headlights for this in a car, then try to start. You could put the battery on a heating pad, or, if you used the starting battery to heat the engine a little, the load would heat the battery. I am assuming you have a smaller sealed battery to heat the Honda. If you borrowed the deep cycle battery from your boat for the winter, I bet you could spin the motor much faster, regardless of how thick the oil is.

2. The oil is cold, which slows cranking. You could put an inverter off the deep cycle battery, and run a heater like you originally planned. A deep cycle battery should have over 100 AH at 12V, which should be 1200 WH, much more than a tool battery. If you want lithium for the longer life, I just got a 105 AH LION lithium battery at Costco, but it was over $700

3. The fuel does not want to vaporize. Here the old solution was a can of ether, now we use fuel injection. There are just starting to be fuel injected generators- have not seen 7 KW yet. That is probably the solution you want longer term- I assume thatchy will also be more efficient, and a 7KW probably uses enough fuel that this would matter. The only other possibility is a propane system. I assume you don't have gas plumbed in, since you are on generator, but they can be converted to run on propane. These systems are designed to start when the power goes out, and I would bet they are tested to work when it is very cold.

 :tipup:

Online ran7ger

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The guys that run groomers up here will pull the oil when it's really cold and take it home over night.  Would be easy to do with a genny and a turkey baster.  Helps here with the log splitter too.

Offline Skywagon

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You might see how warm you can get it on 1 battery. I realize it is not ideal, but you might get away with running a battery worth of power into the heater, then trying it. Kind of the modern equivalent to my grandpas straw, but safer. You don't need to get it all the way to 100 degrees, just above freezing, I am guessing.

If I were going to try a setup for this, I would assume you have 3 issues at very cold temps:

1. The battery for your starting does not have as much current capacity when cold. We used to turn on the headlights for this in a car, then try to start. You could put the battery on a heating pad, or, if you used the starting battery to heat the engine a little, the load would heat the battery. I am assuming you have a smaller sealed battery to heat the Honda. If you borrowed the deep cycle battery from your boat for the winter, I bet you could spin the motor much faster, regardless of how thick the oil is.

2. The oil is cold, which slows cranking. You could put an inverter off the deep cycle battery, and run a heater like you originally planned. A deep cycle battery should have over 100 AH at 12V, which should be 1200 WH, much more than a tool battery. If you want lithium for the longer life, I just got a 105 AH LION lithium battery at Costco, but it was over $700

3. The fuel does not want to vaporize. Here the old solution was a can of ether, now we use fuel injection. There are just starting to be fuel injected generators- have not seen 7 KW yet. That is probably the solution you want longer term- I assume thatchy will also be more efficient, and a 7KW probably uses enough fuel that this would matter. The only other possibility is a propane system. I assume you don't have gas plumbed in, since you are on generator, but they can be converted to run on propane. These systems are designed to start when the power goes out, and I would bet they are tested to work when it is very cold.:

A lot of good thoughts Badger, actually my Honda EU7000IS generator is fuel injected.  I do keep a high capacity deep cycle battery at the the cabin for a small electric trolling motor anyway, so it would be easy enough (and a good idea) to just keep jumper cables on the two batteries.  I mentioned in the last reply to you that I was trying to make things easier, I am just being lazy not wanting to dress up to go out in the cold to take the 2000 Honda out and start it up.  I installed an aftermarket remote on the 7000 (works really slick) and if I can get that thing to start when it is -20 or colder it would be sweet.  I will probably order the pad-type block heater I mentioned, use a timer and try running it off of solar when I am at the cabin, not out much money if it doesn't work.  Obviously too much time on my hands these days, have been trying to make a fly-in location have all the comforts of home, no good/logical reason for it, just something to do that I enjoy.

Online hardwater diehard

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What about a small jump pack ..with some USB ports for a dual tasker ...along with the other suggestion .
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Offline Skywagon

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ran7ger, that would be a possibility in a dire situation, I have also heard of them doing that with planes in extreme cases, but you know how much fun that would be to do in our climate.... I have the small 2000 Honda as a backup, it would be easier just to carry that in and out of the cabin to warm it up.  I appreciate the tip.

hardwater diehard, I always carry a jumpstart in the snowmobile, just bought a new one last month, it is an Audew 2000 amp peak (was one of the highest rated ones in the reviews and tests, not cheap but you get what you pay for ), similar size to what I was carrying for 5 years.  Those things do a great job for what they were designed for, would for sure add a good boost to the Honda, would highly recommend them to everyone. 

Thank you for all the comments, will probably just end up using the Milwaukee unit for powering lights in the shacks.

Online hardwater diehard

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Thank you for all the comments, will probably just end up using the Milwaukee unit for powering lights in the shacks.

Do a review of the Top Off ..thinking about getting one for at home use ..got enough 12 v options for my on ice applications.
Give a man a fish he eats for a day .Teach a man to ice fish he has an obsession for a lifetime

Offline Skywagon

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Do a review of the Top Off ..thinking about getting one for at home use ..got enough 12 v options for my on ice applications.

Will do, still waiting on them to be shipped.  My home lake system (49000 acres) has been making ice for a while now, but my guess is it will be at least 3 weeks before I will be comfortable pulling the heavy shack out on it to try out the lights with the Top Off.  May have to go out and drill a hole off the end of the dock this afternoon just to see how thick the ice is as of now.

Offline matzilla

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Put an agm battery on the generator for starting
change the oil to a synthetic for cold weather use (I bet the lower cutoff on the current oil is 30ish degrees)
Adjust the carb for cold weather


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