Vacuum cleaners and tiny solar power systems, never really friends.

Hit the ground running this morning, had a bunch of chores and started knocking them out early. I needed to go over to Landlady’s and drop some stuff off, and while there I borrowed her vacuum cleaner. The only other time I did that was in the middle of the day and I never really paid much attention to how the batteries were getting on through it. From earlier experience I knew it wouldn’t be nice, but it’s also short and not destructive and as long as the inverter doesn’t actually switch off it’s good.

You’re never going to keep up with Torso Boy’s uncanny shedding superpower without at least occasionally resorting to a vacuum cleaner.

This was a little early in the day for it, the batteries wouldn’t hit float for another hour or so, and so this was an opportunity to note how this particular vacuum pulled down the batteries.

For the record, quite a lot.

Before/after recovery:


Actually it can go a bit lower than that, but it never threatened to dip below 12 volts. The inverter shuts itself off down around 11.7 or so.

So the lesson, I guess, is go ahead and use the vacuum but preferably in the late morning/early afternoon and in short sessions to allow the power to come back up in between. Nothing really surprising learned.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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6 Responses to Vacuum cleaners and tiny solar power systems, never really friends.

  1. Beans says:

    Instead of vacuuming, try what the Victorians did.

    Sprinkle salt on the floor and rugs. Let it sit for about 20 minutes. Use a broom and dust pan.

    The salt attracts enough moisture to bond dirt and futz to the salt, and makes it easy to broom.

    It’s not as easy or as convenient as a vacuum, but if you do the ‘carry the rugs out and beat the tar out of them’ thingy and only vacuum the hardwood floors after sweeping, then it should cut the vacuuming down to a minimum.

  2. Joel says:

    I did the ‘carry the rug (singular, and thanks so much for microaggressing against me with your unconscious bias toward multiple rugs, hater) and beat the tar out of [it] thing repeatedly, until my arm ached and I was bored practically to tears – and you know, it never seemed to run out of dust.

  3. Its expensive, but I have one of the Dyson rechargeable vacuums and its really good. Since it runs on a battery, you can charge it slowly over time as needed. I suppose if you had the capacity or inclination, you charge it directly DC-to-DC and save some energy.

  4. Douglas2 says:

    I find it strange that vacuum cleaners often have their current or power draw emblazoned upon them in large stickers claiming “10A!”, “12A”, or “1500W”, with the whole “bigger is better” ethos and no particular indication of whether they’ve done that by providing an inefficient electric motor and turbine so they need excess power, or whether the increased power requirement is really associated with more suction. It is as if the car dealer said “this one must be very fast, it has really low MPG!”

    It’s also one of the big-draw appliances that family members don’t think of as a big draw, in spite of the giant “10A!” sticker on it.

    “There’s something wrong with the kitchen counter circuit”, my wife tells me on the phone; “It keeps tripping”. Turns out she was only running the vacuum, the toaster, and the 2000w water-kettle simultaneously. “That sounds like the circuit breaker was doing exactly what it was designed to do” I reply, to which I get “but those are all small things!”

    Anyway, my vote is that the borrowed vacuum with the strategy of when to use it meets your needs just fine, and I see no reason to change it.

  5. Mark Matis says:

    So Laddie was willing to tolerate the vacuum THAT long???


  6. jabrwok says:

    I was going to recommend looking into a battery-powered vacuum, but I see Cmd. Zero beat me to it. Not a bad idea though, especially if you can get one that shares a battery with any other battery-powered tools that you have or want.

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