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Old 01-22-08, 06:38 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Light, Rechargeable, Compact -- Microwave Ovens for Touring?

Microwave ovens on tour.

Why?

They are

-energy efficient

-unusually quick

-silent

-odorless

-free from fuel (and refueling) requirements and restrictions

-clean

-light (potentially)

-versatile

-hackable

-fun to use


*****

At first, I didn't like them at all. My early experiences were rather skewed toward the bizarre (including sparking chestnuts, unusual smoke, bright internal electric arcs, and explosions). However, since then -- and as I have used them more, and learned how to use them more appropriately -- I find that I really like them more and more.

Also, I got over some microwave scare propaganda and rumours I had picked up along the way.

[Plus, I was overdosedly microwaved by a rogue chiropractor, and after that I got used to being around a few minor exposures without a lot of concern....]

*****
One idea is to find a microwave oven that is battery operable.

A compact, lightweight one.

*****
Another idea is to use a small, lightweight inverter.

*****
Batteries could be recharged using electrical outlets, whenever available (the oven could also be used directly from these outlets, when appropriate).

Solar chargers could also be used. And hub generators are an option.

*****
The microwave ovens I've seen do not use a lot of electricity. They cook many sorts of foods in a very short time -- unusually short -- the shortest time by far of the various available cooking techniques.

*****
Another idea is to hack an old microwave -- one that is sitting around, or one from a yard sale.

The outer hull could be removed, and the microwave generating unit could be isolated.
[...with appropriate precautions] [a custom, lightweight-compact, foldable or collapsible hood could be devised]

I wonder how compact one could make it?

Last edited by Niles H.; 01-22-08 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 01-22-08, 06:55 PM   #2
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Are you serious, or is this post a joke?

Anyway, all the microwaves I've seen run off of 600-1200 watts of electricity. This is a lot of juice and it's unlikely that you'll be able to power one with a battery for any length of time, unless you carry a staggeringly heavy array of batteries around with you.
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Old 01-22-08, 06:57 PM   #3
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You're kidding, right? A typical consumer microwave consumes on the order of 1,000 watts of power, ±40% of that needs to be dissipated as waste heat. While I'm sure you could find a smaller magnetron, the risk of stray microwave energy, stray high-voltage electricity needed to drive said magnetron, and the possibility of exposure to beryllium oxide in some magnetrons far outweighs any purported benefits.

If you're set on cooking food with electromagnetic energy, get a solar oven.
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Old 01-22-08, 07:18 PM   #4
Niles H.
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Undaunted by misunderstandings ()and assorted 'impossibilities,' we will forge on.

*****
...An initial Google search revealed some patents for battery operated microwave ovens.

Some of them are very compact.

Even an oven that would only hold a two-quart microwavable container would be quite useful and versatile.

[Which reminds me: No metal cookware necessary. Some microwavable containers are extremely light.]

*****
Not a troll.

Not a joke.

That's what they all say at first -- many unfamiliar ideas are met with these sorts of reactions in the beginning.


[Okay, there may be some undercurrents of humour; but the main theme is quite transparent and above board.]

Last edited by Niles H.; 01-22-08 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 01-22-08, 07:31 PM   #5
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I have a hard time seeing this as viable without outlets. There are outlets at most campgrounds, but I don't see a lightweight means of doing it with batteries. Just a small microwave you could use at a campground sounds reasonable to me.
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Old 01-22-08, 07:43 PM   #6
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Rent a motel room with a microwave and there it is.
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Old 01-22-08, 08:12 PM   #7
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odorless and silent are two things a microwave is not while cooking. Ever cook popcorn on one???? You can always smell it and hear the fan running.

Just go into a gas store and just ask to borrow their microwave for a few minutes.

Another thing to consider is the **VOLUME** of a microwave to carry around and keeping it dry when it rains. Plus I don't think there is a microwave on the market that would withstand the bumping of a tour ride.

Something a lot better is to carry around a cat-can stove. Weighs almost nothing.
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Old 01-22-08, 08:18 PM   #8
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I'm sorry but I also have to throw a wrench at this one (really, if I had one, I WOULD THROW IT!)
I'm a long time commuter, solo tourist, hiker, camper. There is something un-pure about a microwave oven in the wilderness.
Now, the cat-can stove as mentioned above is an awesome idea! I have several!

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Old 01-22-08, 08:21 PM   #9
Niles H.
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Apparently there are some other microwave generating devices, in addition to the magnetrons.

I wonder if something extremely compact is possible.
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Old 01-22-08, 08:21 PM   #10
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Bakepacker

http://www.bakepacker.com/
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Old 01-22-08, 08:27 PM   #11
Niles H.
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... There is something un-pure about a microwave oven in the wilderness.
Now, the cat-can stove as mentioned above is an awesome idea! I have several!

Jerry H
Yeah, I like those too. They are cool stoves.

I tend to get bored with things after while though.

This is probably not good sometimes.

The various types of alcohol stoves were good for a fling, and for a while; but now I'm ready to try something else.

****
Un-pure....

Yeah.

Very.

Practically radioactive.

...almost obscene.

*****

Interesting, though.

*****
I wonder if something small enough to fit inside a microwavable container could be devised.

Last edited by Niles H.; 01-22-08 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 01-22-08, 09:03 PM   #12
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They may have their drawbacks, but I've heard they are far more energy efficient than electric coils or gas at boiling water.
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Old 01-22-08, 09:11 PM   #13
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Niles, you know I'm just razzing you, right? I also got bored with all the alcohol stoves I made and bought. I actually went right back to my trusty Whisperlite.
I really do like invention, althought I'm not very good at it! It paves the way for new gagets. Keep those gears turning!! (no pun intended).

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Old 01-23-08, 06:01 AM   #14
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Just one of many reasons that this is a bad idea:
Any battery of sufficient capacity is would be too heavy to carry.
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Old 01-23-08, 12:39 PM   #15
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Just get one of these to power the microwave
http://bttf.wikia.com/wiki/Image:Mrfusion.png
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Old 01-23-08, 12:41 PM   #16
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How about a solar cooker?

They do a camping model

Last edited by MichaelW; 01-23-08 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 01-23-08, 01:45 PM   #17
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Hey Niles, maybe your miniature guard dog could serve double duty by powering the microwave using a small treadmill-dynamo.
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Old 01-23-08, 02:08 PM   #18
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Don't forget the 64" flat screen TV and the couch. Just as practical as bringing a microwave oven.
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Old 01-23-08, 02:57 PM   #19
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I would probably pass out if I was touring with someone and they produced a microwave at camp.
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Old 01-23-08, 03:49 PM   #20
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There's always the Felis Domesticus/Buttered Toast antigravity powered electrical generator....

Attach a piece of buttered toast to the back of a cat, butter side up. Drop the ca//toast combination, and since toast always falls buttered Side down and a cat always lands on their feet, the combined effect is to suspend the cat in midair, rotating. Harness the rotational energy and you can generate 410-15KW with a relatively light weight unit

The Cat/Buttered Toast Paradox
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Old 01-23-08, 03:53 PM   #21
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Why am I picturing this when I picture Niles on tour?.....


(Kidding ya, Niles )
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Old 01-23-08, 04:37 PM   #22
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There's always the Felis Domesticus/Buttered Toast antigravity powered electrical generator....

Attach a piece of buttered toast to the back of a cat, butter side up. Drop the ca//toast combination, and since toast always falls buttered Side down and a cat always lands on their feet, the combined effect is to suspend the cat in midair, rotating. Harness the rotational energy and you can generate 410-15KW with a relatively light weight unit

The Cat/Buttered Toast Paradox


I can't get the cat to hold still while I tape the toast to her. But the dog is generating 15 kw just watching.
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Old 01-23-08, 04:46 PM   #23
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While revolutionary, this bikerowave idea has been floating around Sheldon Brown's research labs for several decades. Here is a rarely seen photo smuggled out by messenger ferret.

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Old 01-23-08, 05:33 PM   #24
Niles H.
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Thanks for all the humour, guys.

What images are those?

*****
This morning I found some portable microwaves that are actually on the market.

Here is one of them:

http://thewavebox.com/power.htm

*****
It's too heavy and too large, but it could be stripped down.

A foldable hood, like the BakePacker, could be used instead of the ABS shell.

*****
Still wondering if it might be possible to put a microwave generating unit inside a container with the food. (If this has been done, please let me know....)

*****
If anyone knows of anything else on the web, please post (humorous or serious -- I'd like to see more of what others have done).

*****
Although many microwave ovens are rated at about 1000 watts, some are quite a bit lower.

200 watts for two minutes would not use up an excessive amount of battery power.

The larger ovens have to generate microwaves for a much larger compartment. If the compartment for a portable unit were much smaller, probably not as much power would be needed.

*****
Two-quart capacity is probably overkill for most people. One quart would do it. Even two cups would be adequate for one or two people.

It seems as if generating microwaves for such a small compartment would be a lot less demanding.

Maybe they exist -- if you 'image' guys know of something like this, please do post it/them.

*****
Maybe the food container could double as the 'shell' of the oven; or the shell of the oven could be designed to be eaten from directly. --It could be designed like a nice bowl, with rounded corners -- rather than a typical rectangular oven space.

If anyone knows of anything along these lines, please post; I'd really like to see it....

*****
[It seems as if something like that could probably run on a Makita power tool battery, or any number of others, including those used for some of the bike light systems....]

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Old 01-23-08, 05:41 PM   #25
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Apparently this thing is popular,

http://thewavebox.com/buy/

*****
It claims to be the world's smallest; but I see no reason why one couldn't go quite a bit smaller and lighter.

*****
Especially if you're free from FDA and other regulations.
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