Monthly Archives: May 2016

Dual Batteries for Appliance Perfection

If you’ve ever wished you could use a standard appliance in the comfort of your car or whatever home its hauling, you’ve secretly been wishing that you had a basic dual battery system installed into your vehicle.

Keep in mind that dual batteries are meant to enable the use of appliances made to function off of 12 volts; you’ll have to swap out any standard 120 volt tools you have for ones that are made for in-car, camping use.

rv fridgeMoving forward, let’s talk about what dual battery systems are all about. A dual battery system implies that your car has two distinct battery systems, both of which are receiving their power from the engine. The primary system contains the starting (cranking) battery and the alternator, which provides battery recharging capabilities. The primary system is what’s responsible for getting your car started before the engine heats up enough to handle powering your car on its own. The primary system also includes other electronics required to keep your car operational, from dashboard lights to power locks.

This primary system is responsible for powering other more fun things too, like GPS navigation systems, phone chargers, interior lighting and in-car entertainment systems; basically anything that can only run when the engine is running and the starting battery is functioning.

The secondary or auxiliary battery’s function is to power things that most cars don’t come with but what campers and mobile home owners appreciate being able to use. That means stuff like fridges and freezers, camp lighting, and auxiliary power sockets for plugging in radios, computers, invertors and water boilers.

When camping, you’re only going to be using the auxiliary battery, with no way of draining the starting battery, simply by keeping the keys out of the ignition.

The best kinds of batteries to use as an auxiliary power source are called “Deep Cycle” batteries, as they can handle constant discharge and recharge of power better than your standard engine cranking battery. The only issue is that deep cycle batteries take longer to recharge and don’t quite have the same oomf as more standard batteries. Treat whichever battery you choose as per the manufacturer’s recommendations and keep in mind that they can release explosive gases if placed too close to extreme heat sources. They also need to be ventilated.

dual aux vehicle mountFuses are also a necessary part of maintaining proper battery safety. Automotive electrical systems by nature carry larger voltages and with much greater current than most people assume. Electric and automotive cables are all too likely to wear through protective outer casings, and the wear and tear of automotive life opens up all kinds of doors to short circuiting. A battery short circuit is especially dangerous when it’s in a combustion engine, so you don’t want to skimp on precautions.

Fuses are deliberate weak points in a circuit that will blow and break circuits before major electrical mayhem occurs. Install appropriately sized, unused fuses into your system to avoid what can be catastrophic electrical fires and malfunctions in your mobile home. Circuit breakers can also carry the same function.

GE Offers IFTTT Across Entire Product Line

On Thursday, General Electric added three more IFTTT channels to its repertoire, releasing the statement that it is now officially the only appliance maker in the world to support the connected-home service across its entire product line. That means dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, cooking appliances, and water heaters can all function in the same IoT system.

iftttIFTTT stands for “If this, then that,” a phrase that signifies the method of automating tasks based on particular conditions. Users are then able to create simple scripts of circumstances, called “recipes,” which determine which circumstances will yield some kind of functioning by some kind of appliance. The recipes can be created to taste on the service’s website or mobile app, then IFTTT handles your stuff’s proper functioning from there. IFTTT also has a Do button, which sidesteps whatever “If” portion of the recipe and simply performs your instruction.

While GE is not the only appliance manufacturer to use the IFTTT system (some LG washers and dryers are also equipped to work), no company has taken IFTTT compatibility across appliances this far.

Still a little shakey on the IFTTT system? Here’s some examples:

If your dishwashing cycle has ended, then blink your Philips Hue lights as an alert; Use your Do button to extend the dryer’s drying time; If the refrigerator door is open longer than two minutes, send a text message.

This is only a tiny sample of the options that become available when you embrace the IFTTT system. The IFTTT system offers suggestions for new users, but it connects over 300 services, to the permutations possible for the average buyer greatly surpass what the company can suggest.

ifttt3“Having the full suite available on IFTTT allows consumers to stay on top of their home appliances in new ways that are created just for them and their lifestyle,” explained Brett Luckabaugh, GE’s connected-appliances chief.

While the IFTTT presents a completely new and exciting way to manage a home, relatively few of GE’s customers have actually started using the service. The company’s press release states that “over 400 connected users across multiple IFTTT channels” have jumped into the new service, and have created over 3000 recipes that run every week.

“It’s exciting to see GE Appliances bring their vision of a richer, more connected home to life with IFTTT,” stated Anne Mercogliano, VP of marketing for IFTTT. “Having their entire suite of smart appliances on the platform creates new connections for the hundreds of existing apps and devices on IFTTT that gives users the power to tailor their world to what is important to them.”

Apparently GE Appliances has been working alongside IFTTT since June of 2015, enabling them to add functionality for users to get more out of their GE Appliances products. The additional three new channels, which have really caused all the media buzz, add to that functionality, enabling washers, dryers and dishwasher units to be connected to more than 100 other appliances as well as connected devices via Facebook and Twitter. It brings more smart home products together.