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Old 03-14-2011, 10:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
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Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

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Originally Posted by njplanson View Post
1) In my car, does the engine power the alternator which then charges/powers the battery which then powers my 12V outlets (and 110 outlet), as well as the HVAC?

2) If so, during normal operation of the vehicle, would power from solar panels plugged into a 12V socket directly power my HVAC and other 12V outlets, thereby reducing the load/draw on the alternator and therefore the engine?
Yes, but the solar cells will only reduce the load on the alternator and therefore save fuel if their voltage is greater than the car's system voltage (roughly 13.5-14v with the engine running).

Also, glad to see that you recognize ("however slightly") the small potential power contribution of photovoltaics. (Not saying it's not worth pursuing.)
Honda mods: Ecomodding my $800 Honda Fit 5-speed beater
Mitsu mods: Oops, I did it again! Bought another cheap, 3-cylinder Mirage. Mods in progress...
Ecodriving test: Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown

has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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