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Old 31-07-2011, 14:03   #1
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Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

I have read several threads about stoves and the different fuels of choice. I have yet to read anything about electric skillets. If there is a thread for me, please enlighten me. I will go there and avoid more babbling about the same topic.

Here's where I am. I plan to have a sailboat home in the next year,in the 27-30' range. I have still have yet to settle on which boat exactly. That will come. I am not concerned. I plan to live without the average conveniences, such as refrigeration and TV. I plan to have use solar panels and maybe some other natural form of power generation.

I was wondering about the cooking thing, though. I do plan to cook fresh fishies that jump into my boat.

Here is my question: Would it be possible to use a couple electric skillets instead of a stove. I could mount them in the same general area.

John
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Old 31-07-2011, 14:37   #2
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Re: Can you experienced types please enlighten me about an electric skillet?

Not likely. The electric skillet might be an option at the dock with shore power, but not too likely underway or on the hook.

Resistive loads are tough... they come on with high current draw and they don't go down... you would need quite a large solar / battery system to provide enough amp hours to cook even if only once a day.

Much better to look at the small non-pressure alcohol (Origo) stoves, or the cheap butane (not propane) stoves you can buy at camping stores.

Like this;



If you are going to live aboard permanently you WILL probably want to go with propane, but likely an installed system with a tank hanging from the rail (hard to make a proper propane locker on a boat in the size range you are looking at).

Electricity for heat/cooking is a tough sell on a small boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJtheteacher View Post
I have read several threads about stoves and the different fuels of choice. I have yet to read anything about electric skillets. If there is a thread for me, please enlighten me. I will go there and avoid more babbling about the same topic.

Here's where I am. I plan to have a sailboat home in the next year,in the 27-30' range. I have still have yet to settle on which boat exactly. That will come. I am not concerned. I plan to live without the average conveniences, such as refrigeration and TV. I plan to have use solar panels and maybe some other natural form of power generation.

I was wondering about the cooking thing, though. I do plan to cook fresh fishies that jump into my boat.

Here is my question: Would it be possible to use a couple electric skillets instead of a stove. I could mount them in the same general area.

John
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Old 31-07-2011, 14:47   #3
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Re: Can you experienced types please enlighten me about an electric skillet?

As above, an electric skillet on an inverter will consume huge anount of battery and not good on an inverter ..
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Old 31-07-2011, 15:05   #4
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Re: Can you experienced types please enlighten me about an electric skillet?

Thanks fellers. I will have to look into this further. Am I assuming correctly, the propane is just a longer lasting fuel source that requires more space to have it? Now, s/v 'Faith', you said "hanging from the rail." My inexperienced ears hear that a an impediment to the act of sailing.
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Old 31-07-2011, 15:06   #5
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Re: Can you experienced types please enlighten me about an electric skillet?

A lot of energy contained in a small volume with propane stoves. You could start with a small stove top such as this:

Ranger II Blind Stove - Camp Chef - The Way to Cook Outdoors

powered by little green bottles, then gradually evolve the system to fixed cooking facilities with a fixed propane source.

Michael
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Old 31-07-2011, 15:08   #6
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Re: Can you experienced types please enlighten me about an electric skillet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJtheteacher View Post
. . . Here's where I am. I plan to have a sailboat home in the next year,in the 27-30' range. I have still have yet to settle on which boat exactly. That will come. I am not concerned. I plan to live without the average conveniences, such as refrigeration and TV. I plan to have use solar panels and maybe some other natural form of power generation. . . . John
If you are serious about moving to a full time live-a-board lifestyle on a boat, you will basically have to also get rid of a lot of "living on land" habits and mindsets.
- - Living without TV is one thing but living without refrigeration is going to be a major shock to your system as you can only eat canned or daily fresh bought foods. Items like butter, and foods that require refrigeration to keep from spoiling will no longer be viable. Unfortunately, if you go to the grocery stores in the USA you will find very little or no "shelf storage" meats and dairy products that are very commonly found in other countries. It is assumed that everybody has refrigeration.
- - What "shelf-storable" foods you will find are in the "hiking or survival" stores at greatly increased prices.
- - Cooking meals will become more of an opening a can and heating it which is where the alcohol and/or LPG type stoves come into play.
- - Then there is cleaning up - unless you are in a marina with access to potable water you will be "water challenged" and must learn new ways of doing all the daily cleaning, cooking and hygiene stuff that requires washing and potable water.
- - Millions, even billions of people around the world have no difficulty living in this manner, but for somebody coming from a social environment based on wasteful consumption of water, energy and food, you can be in for a real psychological shock.
- - One way to look at it is if you are the type of person that can camp out in the mountains or forests with only a backpack of supplies and food - and - be happy, living on a boat will be a "piece of cake." But if you need to stay in the mountain lodges and Holiday Inns to be happy - then you may want to re-think the live-a-board thing.
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Old 31-07-2011, 15:22   #7
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Re: Can you experienced types please enlighten me about an electric skillet?

doing without, is ones decision, but it is possible to have almost everything, you ever had while on land...
We carry a large secection of electric goodies on board and its not abnormal for the wife to be cooking a meatloaf in the electric crockpit for a good number of hours while we're at anchor..
Our battery bank holds well above 2000 hours of storage and the back-up gen set takes care of what ever that wont..
We often run the gen set for the first hour each morning to make the coffee, electrics in the gally, and to charge the waterheater for a comfortable shower.. It also tops off the battery bank..
We also run a watermaker when our system is low.......
Not saying you have to do as we do, but dont feel that your cruising days are looked at as those days you had to do without. You can have almost anything you want these days........
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Old 31-07-2011, 15:57   #8
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

Bit of Rule-of-Thumb:

Gallon of propane has about 92,000 Btu, so a quart (green bottle) has about 23,000
1000 Btu is approximately 300 W*hr (Watt hours) or .3 kW*hr
So a quart of propane has about 7 kW*hrs
A heating electric appliance uses about 1500 Watts
An hour of electric appliance would be 1500 Watt*hrs or 1.5 kW*hrs
So a green bottle has 7/1.5 = a little over 4.5 times as much energy

For a battery to provide this power, 7 kW*hrs for alternating current is (7000 kW*hrs)/(12 DC amps/volt) = about 580 DC amp hours.
If you have a deep cycle battery which can be 50% discharged, you will need one with 1160 amp*hr capacity for a single recharge, or 200 amp*hours if you recharge six times - recharging with perfect efficiency.
Inverters don't care to be used this way, and you will need some BIG electric cables to connect with...

Michael
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Old 31-07-2011, 15:57   #9
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Re: Can you experienced types please enlighten me about an electric skillet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
. . . You can have almost anything you want these days. . . . . . . .
Very true if you are willing to invest in the power sources like Honda Portable gensets or other simple and similar items.
- - What we might call deprivation might be consider normal life for somebody from a different environment.
- - But in no way are you forced into that lifestyle just because you are living on a small boat. There are many simple ways, as Randyonr3 outlined to live close to your normal "land-lifestyle" but you need to invest in the equipment when outfitting your boat.
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Old 31-07-2011, 18:06   #10
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Re: Can you experienced types please enlighten me about an electric skillet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJtheteacher View Post
Thanks fellers. I will have to look into this further. Am I assuming correctly, the propane is just a longer lasting fuel source that requires more space to have it? Now, s/v 'Faith', you said "hanging from the rail." My inexperienced ears hear that a an impediment to the act of sailing.
The goal is to transfer stored energy to your food.

There are as many 'answers' as there are questions... keep in mind that many of the replies you will get are from folks who sail boats twice the size of what you are looking at. You will find your best options with trial and error.. the idea of posting is good, in that you can (hopefully) rule out the expensive bad options, or the ones that can kill you.

The 'little green bottle' propane stoves are not uncommon. I use these bottles, but only for the BBQ / oven that hangs on the rail. I have a strict policy of not allowing them below decks...

The valves on the 'little green bottle' type 1# propane bottles can leak, and worse yet they rust and will dump. Propane makes a good size explosion... but lots of things can kill you so there is that.

The butane stove I suggested could probably cause a problem too, but you are dealing with a smaller quantity of fuel, and the bottles hold up better.... I have had the propane bottles rust through, but have not experienced that with the butane...

Installed propane is great... but has challenges. First, you have a great big supply of fuel, so if it leaks you can REALLY blow yourself up quite thoroughly.

You have to stow propane in a ventilated (above water line) locker. You will have to either install a remote solenoid, or go out on deck and open (and close) the valve each time you want to use it..... Some will install automatic timers, but keep in mind the proper hardware is not cheap.

The bottles on small boats typically hang on brackets off the stern. It sounds worse then it is, look around most marinas and you will find an example or two. I have used this, and it has an advantage of carrying lots of fuel for cruising... but adds complication.

One of the earlier posters mentioned having 2000 ah of battery capacity. You will not likely choose to have that much in a 27 - 30' boat. You CAN have refrigeration, but you will need to spend the money.... If you are going to cruise it is (IMHO) worth it.

My DBW asked only for 2 things.. stowage for her books, and something cool to drink. I was really glad I did it, and cold drink at the end of a hot day is WONDERFUL in a tropical anchorage.

If you are interested, here is a link to a write up on living on / cruising a small boat with 2 adults and an 80# lab.

Back to the topic, we kept 3 stoves aboard with 3 different fuels (each for different purposes, with different advantages and draw backs)....

I recommend the butane stove based on my experience.. it is cheap, works well, reasonably safe, and easy to stow.
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Old 31-07-2011, 18:39   #11
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

I guess I dont understand....why the skillet instead of propane? You should just find a boat with it on board.
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Old 31-07-2011, 19:12   #12
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

I love threads like this....I always learn something. I really appreciate what Osirissail says...giving up land based habits. Likewise, I use an electric skillet a lot of time. I never think about the energy on the land, but when the time comes, and I move on board, I will be learning a whole new different way of doing things. I see a lot of posts on pressure cookers, seems to be a very common thing on cruising boats, yet I have never used one personally, only remember them from my grocery deli days (and this is going back 24 years) when I worked in a deli at a local grocery store and they were using one to cook the fried chicken. Thus I always (rightly or not) associated "pressure cookers" with greasy fat fried chicken, but maybe I'll have to adjust my thinking on a boat? To the OP...I see both ways of thinking...Randyonr3 says you can have pretty much everything you want, and some other's are suggesting that you accustom yourself to "going without" early on. I can say that I have cruising friends that are on both ends of the spectrum. I have a good friend cruising Sea of Cortes on a 53 foot yacht, with internet (usually) full stand up fridge, and all the comforts of home. They joke about "roughing it at sea" because...they don't. And then I have friend's that love and embrace the minimalist lifestyle, forgoing refrigeration and other luxuries because they thrive on REALLY roughing it. Me personally, I think I will fall somewhere in between. But I think learning will be half the fun. Can I have this...can I not? I won't know! If I run the battery banks down...I'll hear all about it, I'm sure. But nice to know early that weaning myself from my electric skillet will be a must.
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Old 31-07-2011, 19:17   #13
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

I'm not the most experienced, but live with my dog on my boat. Electric appliances are only good if you're tied up somewhere with shore power unless you have a generator to run them or a huge battery bank and want to run your engine a lot to keep them charged. Even then, off batteries, I think it would be a losing battle. I have a Coleman 2 burner stove that closes to the size of a large briefcase and uses a green bottle. Also a Force Ten round grill that also uses a green bottle. For me this is temporary until I re-install the propane lockers on deck and the range in the galley, but serves for now. Water will be a pita unless you have a place real close by to get it from. Here, near where I am, the city has a pumping station with a spiggot outside the fence where people can fill containers for free. Once a week I go there and fill my jugs. I rinse dishes in salt water before washing them and am very conservative with the fresh water. Same with my body. Lighting and living without refrigeration are whole different topics and more than (frankly) I want to write about at this moment. Maybe someone else will pick up the ball. You have a very lot to learn and will probably be a little miserable at times adjusting to living the dream unless you've camped out a lot for extended periods.
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Old 31-07-2011, 19:42   #14
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svcambria View Post
Bit of Rule-of-Thumb:

Gallon of propane has about 92,000 Btu, so a quart (green bottle) has about 23,000
1000 Btu is approximately 300 W*hr (Watt hours) or .3 kW*hr
So a quart of propane has about 7 kW*hrs
A heating electric appliance uses about 1500 Watts
An hour of electric appliance would be 1500 Watt*hrs or 1.5 kW*hrs
So a green bottle has 7/1.5 = a little over 4.5 times as much energy

For a battery to provide this power, 7 kW*hrs for alternating current is (7000 kW*hrs)/(12 DC amps/volt) = about 580 DC amp hours.
If you have a deep cycle battery which can be 50% discharged, you will need one with 1160 amp*hr capacity for a single recharge, or 200 amp*hours if you recharge six times - recharging with perfect efficiency.
Inverters don't care to be used this way, and you will need some BIG electric cables to connect with...

Michael
Great information Michael

Now could you apply that Math to using a Microwave?

Just curious!
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Old 31-07-2011, 19:43   #15
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Re: Can You More Experienced Types Enlighten Me About Electric Skillets, Please ?

Refrigeration on a small boat can be a real power hog unless you are moving, motoring, or have an external power source like a Honda Eu2000i.
- - It is most common for the smaller boats to forgo electrical equipment as much as possible to keep both weight and battery maintenance at a minimum. So that pretty much rules out larger inverters to power AC equipment.
- - There are a few options for refrigeration - similar to the butane camping style stove. The Engel units - Compare Engel 12-Volt Fridge Freezer Technical Information are an option that eliminates the hassles of rebuilding the insides of the boat to accommodate a refrigerator/freezer and all its problems with insulation, etc. These "pre-made/ready to use" units can be stowed anywhere you can find the space rather than having to be built in.
- - Depending upon your food preferences, refrigeration may be a high priority item in places where raw foods are not easily available or you cannot do without a stock of meats, previously refrigerated items like eggs and some veggies and of course, beer and soft drinks.
- - Once you cruise out and away to 3rd World or less developed countries then the need for refrigeration drops dramatically as basic foodstuff is available raw and locally grown.
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