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  • Setting up coffee carts

    Quick question for the unitiated

    Why do mobile coffee vans need to have inverters in them?

    If they run off a gen-set that has an inverter - do they still need one?

    Cheers
    Melbuurn

  • #2
    Re: Setting up coffee carts

    I reckon its mainly in case you cant use the generator, you can still run the van off battery (leave the van running).

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    • #3
      Re: Setting up coffee carts

      so what happens when there is 240v available....would the inverter simply act as a filter for dirty power?

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      • #4
        Re: Setting up coffee carts

        Inverter really is a DC -> AC converter. So the inverters would be irrelevant in that case, and the van should have some sort of switch to accomodate you simply plugging into mains power.

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        • #5
          Re: Setting up coffee carts

          Depends on how it setup. Fridges may be run off the inverter or in some cases LPG. That way on the way to and from the job they keep cold.

          In most cases the machines need power from mains or a gen set but some are also LPG fired and just need the inverter for control s like boiler feed etc.

          In that case the inverter may be used for running the grinder, pump etc.

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          • #6
            Re: Setting up coffee carts

            thanks guys, im still confused.

            the way i see it, it would be 240v feed in, run through a RCD for safety - then tap off this the machine, grinder, fridges etc.

            The only time i see the need for an inverter is if there is no gen set or 240v, rather a heap of batteries to run everything. this is where the inverter would work.

            Originally posted by 0205010E060C19090E07600 link=1270821026/4#4 date=1270822554
            control s like boiler feed etc.
            When you mention boiler feed, what do you mean? Wouldnt the boiler be primed by the pump inside the machine?

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            • #7
              Re: Setting up coffee carts

              Originally posted by 676F66687F7F78640A0 link=1270821026/5#5 date=1270822894
              thanks guys, im still confused.

              the way i see it, it would be 240v feed in, run through a RCD for safety - then tap off this the machine, grinder, fridges etc.

              The only time i see the need for an inverter is if there is no gen set or 240v, rather a heap of batteries to run everything.  this is where the inverter would work.

              Originally posted by 0205010E060C19090E07600 link=1270821026/4#4 date=1270822554
              control s like boiler feed etc.
              When you mention boiler feed, what do you mean?  Wouldnt the boiler be primed by the pump inside the machine?
              No.... As BF said some times you have a mix and other times noise or the gen may not be able to be used...

              There is no one way to do it... It depends on ya needs.

              Besides... Ya run out of fuel... Ya stuffed.. When ya charging batteries the load is easer to manage on the generator... Not so many surges etc and if shit happens... Ya can still provide power to the critical products until ya get back to base.

              In some cases the machine may have an external pump and you may also have other pumps for washing and rinsing down etc..

              Lots of variability and ya have to always have a plan B... Those that dont suffer the fallout and the losses, as well as loosing clients.



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              • #8
                Re: Setting up coffee carts

                Each setup will be different as to how the switchover from inverter power and whatever it is running to mains/generator power. A few of the smart carts have some fancy auto switch over electrics.

                Also I think you may be considering that the inverter is running the machice, this is VERY unlikely as at 3000W+ you would need 3-500 kg of batteries for a days work

                Originally posted by 545C555B4C4C4B57390 link=1270821026/5#5 date=1270822894
                Wouldnt the boiler be primed by the pump inside the machine
                Not all pumps are internal to the machines and in the case of gas fired even if it is internal then the power has to come from somewhere even when it is on gas but the electric element is disabled.

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                • #9
                  Re: Setting up coffee carts

                  thanks for the tips guys...im starting to understand

                  so, in essence it is quite possible to simply run the machine and grinder, fridges etc with one leg off the boiler from a 10amp household GPO - but if youre busy suffer the downtime of waiting for it to reheat....

                  So, if you didnt want to have DR in place as BF mentioned with the batteries and simply ran it from mains power then you should be OK....

                  Failing that, the mains power could quiet easily comes from a gen-set - again at the mercy of breakdowns?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Setting up coffee carts

                    i dont think im overly comfortable with gas fired. also, the van im thinking of building wont be going into building sites, rather static at markets etc that can provide power

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                    • #11
                      Re: Setting up coffee carts

                      Why then have the expense of a van, either a cart that rolls on and off a trailer or one built into a trailer. Much cheaper and easier (trust me).

                      And if you want to run a generator later down the track you can incorporate it into the design.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Setting up coffee carts

                        I am with Moto with this. A cart is a more versitile option especially when teamed with a good easy to manage trailer. Couple of things for you to consider, especially as your in Melbourne.

                        Corporate work, trade shows, exibitions, etc. A cart will fit into a standard indoor 3m x 3m show space and will go into elevators and through standard doors. A trailer mounted or van mounted unit wont work for any of this unless outdoor.

                        Some market sites are smaller at 3x3 as well so your van wont fit or in some cases you may need 2 sites or a larger one so more unfront costs.

                        Just a few more bits to "help" your thought processes

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                        • #13
                          Re: Setting up coffee carts

                          thanks for all the tips guys.

                          The attraction of the van was that everything is on board and can be done reasonably cheaply (i.e. around $10k), park it during the week, Friday night reload stock and then head off to work Sat morning.

                          With a trailer, there is one for sale in Bendigo for 30k which is a bit rich.

                          On carts, the corporate market is attractive and good coin, but I am planning on keeping my day job for the fore-seeable future, so this may not be. There is a cart I know of for around 10k but have been told by their tech that it is a bit rich.

                          I dawdelled and missed 2 vans up for auction in QLD earlier this year.

                          Just wondering - have any of you seen a cart setup as I am curious to know how you get them to stay-put in the trailer, whether you need to take the machine off during transport etc.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Setting up coffee carts

                            Depending on the setup, 10k is cheap. Think about it.

                            -Coffee machine, around 3.5k depending on what one you got
                            -the cart itself is around 7.5k assuming you got one custom made and made to the mobile food vending code. The code requires hot water via a mixer tap so it can be used to wash hands, so youll need a small hot water heater, a pump, also a fridge to keep milk cold. It also needs to made of an impervious material such as food grade stainless steel. MVU sell theirs for around 8.5k (google MVU or mobile vending units)
                            -trailer would cost around 2 to 3k, particularly as youll require one with a pivot so as to allow it to be winched up.
                            -generator for the kind of power you need will require around 5.5kva, so youre looking at a Honda EM65is or similar which cost 5.5k to 6k

                            It quickly adds up

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                            • #15
                              Re: Setting up coffee carts

                              Courtesy of the bay of evil this pic is a MVU based set up going up on the trailer. This one is way over the top on price too :

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