first run with the lab hotplate

I set up the MSW inverter, which was actually a 700w unit rather than 400w as I’d remembered. It’s been in storage in the “basement” for a long while.

I put the little hotplate on the Kill-a-Watt and it pulled 285-290w instead of the rated 330w; I’m glad to see that. I’m in float here this afternoon and with the existing loads (fridge, maxxfan, fans, etc) + hotplate running the 40A controller was pumping out ~34.5A, just under 500w. At float voltage the controller can make ~565w so there’s not a lot of headroom.

The little beast was coming up to temperature nicely. When the temp gun said 250F I put a heavy-bottomed saute pan on and let it get hot. I tossed in some leftover french fries I had in the fridge and heated them through.

Within a few minutes they were hot enough to steam, then brown and start to smoke a bit. I’d say it was like cooking over medium-low heat. I wouldn’t want to boil a lot of water on it if I were in a hurry but I think it will require a flame tamer to stay at low simmer.

Should work fine for heating bathwater.

first thoughts

  • PRO
    • does not consume fuel
    • does not make CO
    • about the same heat level I use on the indoor propane stove. Hmmm, I wonder how it will work with the dogbowl oven and as a heater with the diffuser in place
    • The 285-290w observed load is barely more than the much-less-useful 300w (260w observed) immersion heater.
  • CON
    • no temp control - will have to use diffuser to reduce heat if it’s too hot. Or use the high-temp controller that’s at the forwarder in ELP.
    • since it’s made for lab glassware the cooktop is quite small, 4”. The heated area might be the same as with propane but the overall stovetop surface is much smaller. I will have to be careful putting wide pots on it. Might cook in the steel sink in case of spills. It’s 3 1/8” inches tall, so I might try to fab some kind of stand ~7” across and just lower than the hotplate to help stabilize wider pots. And I might pick up some uninsulated steel or enamel mugs from the camping section at wally world. Those would be about the right size to fit the tiny hotplate.
    • no ON/OFF switch, you just plug it in. Not a big fan of that, might try to find a power strip of sufficient heft at a thrift store.
    • ~300w load means it will probably never get to be used for morning coffee; the battery bank is still too hungry then.