Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM. Today I discuss portable solar power stations and, maybe more importantly, hot dogs.
Over on your RVelectricity Facebook group I read where you were going to try a Hot Dogger from the 1970s. I had one as a kid, but it’s long gone now. Were you able to find one and did you get it working? —Sid
Yes, I did. In fact, it was so interesting I made a video about it, which I’ll publish for the first time here. And, of course, since I like to measure everything, I ran an amperage and wattage consumption test at the same time. And because I’m studying the uses for the latest portable solar power stations, I used a Southwire Elite 1100 Series™ Portable Power Station to power it.
Is this a solar generator?
Well, sort of, kind of. I really don’t like that terminology since these aren’t really generators in in strictest sense of the word. They’re actually a lithium battery with a built-in pure-sine inverter, and an external power supply for charging from 120-volts AC or 12-volts DC.
That’s why Southwire calls their product an Elite 1100 Series™ Portable Power Station, which I think is much more accurate. Plus, these units have a variety of USB and cigarette lighter outlets for powering phones, air mattress inflators, etc. (If you’re interested, here’s a link to the product on Amazon.)
How did these Hot Doggers work?
You simply place up to six hot dogs between the electrical spikes, put on the lid (which applies 120-volt AC power), then wait 60 seconds or so for your hotdogs to fully cook. There’s an electrical interlock in the lid so you can’t accidentally apply power to the hotdogs without the lid being fully on—so this appears to be safe.
But they do draw up to a 1,000 watts from the 120-volt AC outlet once the hotdogs get cooking. So be aware that if you’re on a loaded circuit there’s the possibility of tripping a circuit breaker.
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Where did the Hot Doggers all go?
My son asked why these Hot Doggers aren’t manufactured anymore. I think it’s because in the early 1970s there were no cheap microwave ovens. So this was a miracle in fast cooking. But once microwave ovens became affordable and in every household (including your RV), then the Hot Dogger wasn’t needed anymore. Plus, it’s really a one-trick pony, without a lot of other uses. So now you can find them on eBay for a little trip down nostalgia lane.
Watch me cook hot dogs in a Hot Dogger!
Please note that while my boys like ketchup on their hot dogs, I refuse to eat my dogs that way. I’ll have mine with sauerkraut and spicy mustard, or if I’m in Chicago I’ll have it with the florescent green relish and all the fixings. To watch the video click on the image or HERE.
OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.
Let’s play safe out there….
Send your questions to me at my new RVelectricity forum here.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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