Micorwave or no microwave, that is the question....

Submitted: Monday, Jan 17, 2005 at 22:43
ThreadID: 121732 Views:4851 Replies:4 FollowUps:2
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There has been some discussion on the Private Forum for someone planning their Bushtracker, as to whether or not to get a microwave... Possible some of you do not understand the benefits, thinking it is too hard on the batteries, or wanting to cook full roast in their microwave while on solar, both of which are off the track... I thought this would make a good general forum topic... So here you go...

Both Directors of Bushtracker are pro-microwave, wouldn't go without it... As to the worries about power, yes they can pull almost 100 Amps DC out of the batteries! But that is not amp hours! Think of it as amp minutes and put it into proper perspective....

Divide it by 60 minutes, and you get 1.67 amp hours out of the batteries per minute. That means the BBQ chook we bought in Alice, heated up in the West MacDonnell Ranges, for three minutes is only 5 amp hours out of the batteries... I have 4 - 80amp hour batteries and 5 amp hours out of them would hardly be noticed, especially if the sun is out... We use the microwave all the time, and with four batteries and four panels have never run out of power...

Better yet, I use it for a quick cup of coffee, don't even turn off the diesel anymore... It used to be a 20 minute ordeal cooling the diesel, filling the billing, turning on the gas, lighting the stove... etcetera... Now it is: Step into the van with a travel mug, in the microwave for one minute, back in the car and a quick cuppa in hand without even shutting the diesel off...

A quick re-batch of leftovers with a different sauce, extra steaks, extra rice, extra potatoes, whatever... Sure beats cooking from scratch for forty-five minutes in the hot country when you are trying to get somewhere.... We double batch food before the next leg of a trip, and put the extra in the fridge. A different sauce or batch method, 3 minutes in the microwave, beats slaving in the heat in the galley in hot weather, when you are trying to get somewhere... After eight years with my own Bushtracker, you can bet I will always have one.... Thumbs up! As long as you don't get carried away trying to do a full pot roast or something, just reheats and coffee or tea, you can't beat a Microwave for convenience and luxury... Rice or baked potatoes? Do them in camp on gas before the next leg of the journey, or on power, and put them into the fridge for a quick reheat on the trip... Microwaves are great, just don't overdo it!!!

There has also been a question about the 12v microwaves.... They are very expensive, and all they have is a built in inverter... Why get an expensive appliance like a TV with a built in inverter, a microwave with a built in inverter, and the rest... When if you get the inverter seperate, you can use it for anything including some handy bits like camcorder chargers, phone chargers, drills, grinders, whatever... Not to mention that the 240 appliances are about 1/4 the cost... And our inverters have been extremely reliable for many years...

As to which microwave is the best? While there have been the odd breakages reported, we have never had one fail or break. Wait until your layout is settled, and get one to suit the space and door swing....

Cheers from the Source at Bushtracker
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Reply By: Freewheelers - Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 at 00:10

Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 at 00:10
Hi Everyone,

Our 20ft BT is due in May, and we also have concerns about microwave, stemming from our boating experience. On our last boat it took up to 3 and sometimes 4 times longer to heat something in our 240V 800W microwave (powered by a generator) as it does to do the same job in our 240V 1000W microwave at home. I'm not talking heavy duty here; the biggest job would be to heat a supermarket lasagne for 2. So we had concerns that power savings by having a 800W m'wave would be wiped out by having to run it for so much longer to achieve the end result.

While on Christmas holidays in Port Macquarie, we discovered at Harvey Norman what we think might be a good compromise:

Panasonic 1000W 25L White Sub-Compact MWO (Model No. NN-S454WF)
Outside dimensions 304h x 510w x 380d Weight 11.5kg
Comes in white, white or white

It uses patented 'Inverter Technology' (not to be confused with the kind of inverters Steve refers to above) which replaces the conventional transformer technology, resulting in a smaller, lighter and faster microwave.

To quote from Panasonic ' The benefits of cooking with Inverter Technology are accentuated through the use of graduated cooking sequences, which control power levels directly and thereby allows more cooking control. e.g. on a high power setting, power levels are gradually reduced once food has reached the optimum cooking temperature to achieve best cooking results' (Transformer technology blasts 100% power on & off in alternate time cycles on all power levels other than high, to control cooking power levels)

The 'smaller, lighter' bit comes from replacing the bulky, heavy transformer with the Inverter Circuit, reducing overall dimensions, without reducing oven cavity dimensions. I won't quote the amps consumed, for fear of getting it wrong,(it's usually quoted on the edge of the m'wave door) but can say it's significantly less than that quoted on similar power conventional units on display, using transformer technology.

Like Steve, we really do believe there's a place for the microwave 'on the road', so have pretty much decided this is what we'll go for.

Any comments?


Stephen & Deborah

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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 at 02:24

Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 at 02:24
Sounds like the sort of Inverter technogogy now common in house air conditioners that use far less power than the old types.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Jan 21, 2005 at 00:20

Friday, Jan 21, 2005 at 00:20
Hello All,
Steven Gibbs here, Bushtracker,

I like the sounds of your new planned microwave!!!
Look, my interest and my hobby is ongoing R&D... That is what I do is experiment around with all kinds of things to stay on the edge of progress and research... And much of my information comes from good People like you... So, Stephen and Deborah, when this is up and running, please give me a report on power consumption and cooking power.!!! I am in touch with many times the Bushtracker Owners than just on this site, and share the information I gather from one and all, and you are part of my ongoing R&D.... It sounds really good!

For example my latest van under construction now, will be all LED inside and out with the latest high intesity LEDs that are brilliant white nn swivel eyes at about a 75% power savings. And a newly combined diesel forced air heater and 20 minute quick recovery hot water heater unit... Among other things... All when proven will become available...

"Always looking for better ways to do it..."


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Reply By: Ballina Trackers - Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 at 20:42

Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 at 20:42
Hi all, we have a panasonic NN-S453 in our van. Same as the one quoted, but must be an earlier model (1yr old). Have only used it on 240 and generator. One reason we were drawn to it was the light weight. Ours is power consumption 1,000W 4.5A Power required (Max) 1700W 7.4A.
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Reply By: SuziTracker - Friday, Jan 21, 2005 at 02:39

Friday, Jan 21, 2005 at 02:39
We have 23L Panasonic inverter microwave oven in our van. NN-S451WF,1000W but the book states Max 1625W at 7.8A, (IEC)What ever that means1120W at 5.0A.On the front door it talks about a normal microwave an quotes "It use just a single power level. Power level is regulated by switching on & off in pulses".
It then talks about inverter microwave an quotes "Inverter technology directly controls the power output. The result is much natural heating". If you go into a shop and look on the front door of the Panasonic inverter microwave , you will see two graphs and it will become quite clear how both work. The way I understnd it works in a normal microwave, the power stays the same but just switches its self on & off but the inverter reduces the power as it cooks. I think an inverter is the way to go.

Brian & Norma
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Reply By: SuziTracker - Friday, Jan 21, 2005 at 02:42

Friday, Jan 21, 2005 at 02:42
P.S. I use ours on 3/4 power an had no trouble.

Regards Brian
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