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Thread: Going doolaly over power options for my coffee trailer. Suggestions appreciated!

  1. #1
    Junior Member CoffeeLoveVan's Avatar
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    Red face Going doolaly over power options for my coffee trailer. Suggestions appreciated!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey peeps!

    So delighted to find this forum. Now I don't feel quite so alone in all of this.

    I'm in Victoria, and working on my fit-out, power options etc. I have a lightweight fibreglass trailer imported from China. It arrived with a VIN-Plate for only 750kg weight, so I'm currently having the axle replaced and breaking system installed so I can go up a weight class.

    I am going a little doolally trying to work out a few things on my own. Particularly when it comes to power options:


    1. I'm going to be running a La Pavoni 2 group compact (semi-auto or fully auto, haven't decided yet). It draws 3500 Watts on start up. Also running a grinder (500 watts start up), display fridge (190 watts), and a storage fridge (100 watts). I'm afraid I'm not sure how to describe in amps, which I've seen elsewhere in this forum. I'm learning as I go!
    2. Electricians have been telling me I need to get either a Honda7000 or Yamaha6300 generator (Honda weighs 118kg and Yamaha weighs 91kg). Both appear to cost about $6K (which is okay if they are good and reasonably quiet). The weight of the generators means I will need to get a new A-frame because my imported tow bar is unlikely to pass vehicle inspection (storing generators on A-frame).
    3. I've seen a guy in Victoria who uses a combination of solar power and gas (he got his coffee machine converted to gas). I'd rather not use gas due to cost of converting, open flames, etc. But I love the idea of solar/PV panels alone. With the power up requirements of coffee machine, is that something viable and how can I find out for sure?
    4. Does it make sense for me to start out without any power, and simply hook into the land owners? It sounds like a risk to me, I'm a bit worried that I won't be able to get enough work if I haven't got my own power.
    5. I'm also wondering if I can use a small generator (like maybe the Honda3000) for my coffee machine, and power everything else up with solar? Or is that just overcomplicating things. I'm not made of money!


    Would love to hear the experts views!

    Elena
    CoffeeLoveVan (Mornington Peninsula, Vic)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeLoveVan View Post
    Hey peeps!
    I love the idea of solar/PV panels alone. With the power up requirements of coffee machine, is that something viable and how can I find out for sure?[*]Does it make sense for me to start out without any power, and simply hook into the land owners? It sounds like a risk to me, I'm a bit worried that I won't be able to get enough work if I haven't got my own power.
    The solar option isn't feasible. I have 20 solar panels on my house, each of which is approx 2 metres long by 1 wide. 20 of these gets you a 5kW system. On a perfectly sunny day, with the sun overhead, the power production peaks at around 4.2kW at midday, in summer.

    Unless your coffee van is being run out of a semi trailer, I cannot see how you could get anywhere close to enough panels, and even if you could, cloud cover can take you offline in an instant.

    I can't see it being feasible to tap off the landowners power either. In most cases the power outlets that you can access will be rated for 10amps, when your setup would need a 20amp. If you were to plug into the landowners outlet and trip their circuit breaker (or worse) I doubt they would have you back!

    Honestly, I think your best bet is to engage a professional for your fit out.
    Andy and Dimal like this.

  3. #3
    Junior Member CoffeeLoveVan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice! I'm having trouble finding anyone in Victoria who can do the whole job of getting me ready. It seems like everyone is in NSW and QLD!

    I have a trailer manufacturer who is upgrading/replacing my axle and tow, plus installing drum brakes and hand brake for safety and to comply with VicRoads.

    It would be really helpful to know what kinds of generators people are using with similar set up to mine (coffee machine, 1-2 fridges, grinder, lights, radio). I'm not cooking anything in the trailer, so it's basic coffee power requirements.

    Any good generator choices out there? Any to definitely stay away from?

  4. #4
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    I'm afraid I'm not sure how to describe in amps, which I've seen elsewhere in this forum]
    Amps = Watts / Volts

    So on your usage above of 4290 watts...
    18.6A = 4290W / 230V
    ...but if you are only getting 220v at the end of the extension lead then the amp draw goes up.

    As mentioned above by Herzog, the standard 10 Amp circuit won't handle that well so you will have to look at a lower usage in the coffee machine (ie: smaller element might be fitted) and even so, you might have to split your usage to 2 x 10 Amp connections if you can get them on different circuits.

    It gets complicated fast, you are doing the right thing asking questions before you plug it all in and wonder why you are popping fuses or worse, melting wires!

  5. #5
    Junior Member CoffeeLoveVan's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Thanks! I am relying on my electrician's expertise when it comes to the complicated bits. I tell you what, I thought working in an office was stressful. Trying to figure out the smallest things when it comes to this new business I'm getting into. My brain's about to explode I had a laugh.

    I agree wholeheartedly that I'm not the person to make decisions about electrics. So will rely on my professional.

    Will post another thread dedicated to my generator question... thanks to those who replied!



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