Using a CPAP while Dry Camping---Video

Discussion in 'Camping for the Medically/Physically Challenged' started by Matt O, May 4, 2011.

  1. Matt O

    Matt O Strangers are friends who have not yet met

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    Many people have talked about brining their CPAP machines when they go camping. I camp a few times a year with no electricity so I needed to be able to hook my CPAP up to a battery. I had a jump pack already so I just purchased the 12V power cord. I tried to get a universal one from Best Buy and Radio Shack but they won't work, I believe due to the wire not being thick enough to handle the power needed. So I got this cord online for about $25.

    My jump pack is good for 2 nights. One of my dry camping trips is for 3 nights......what to do????? So I bought the 12V receptacle with 2 clips to clip directly to my Deep Cycle Battery. I am still trying to figure out how many amps my CPAP uses so that I can figure out how long my Deep Cycle Battery will last.....if anyone knows, I would love to know.
    CPAP machine
     
  2. bud121156

    bud121156 Western North Carolina

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    Nice work Matt!
     
  3. Matt O

    Matt O Strangers are friends who have not yet met

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    Thanks Bud. Someone from "TheCPAPpeople" found it on youtube and commented "excellent demonstration, Good Info". I will take that as an endorsement that I did it correct. :grin:

    When I got my CPAP I made sure to tell the technician that I wanted one that could run off of a cigarette lighter plug. I wouldn't take one if it didn't have that capability. His response was that you don't wear it while you are driving [?:~{] He was totally clueless that you could run one off of a battery. At that point I grabbed the instruction book from him and flipped to the power section. It had the part number for the 12V power cord and I said I want that power cord as well.....his response, It doesn't come with it, it comes with the regular plug. At that point I knew I had to set up the 12V system myself.
     
  4. dingbat

    dingbat Member

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    That's real nice.

    In my case -- I bought a size 24 12 volt deep discharge battery and mounted it inside the storage cube next to the front bunk (see floorplan of Flagstaff 620st, you'll know what I'm talking about). I bought a 12V outlet from a marine shop and mounted it on the side of the cube. I got a 5AMP inline fuse and wiring and hooked everything together.

    The nice thing about the setup is I can leave the battery in and recharge it back home with a 12V car battery charger.

    The battery lasted me 4 nights last year and still had some juice left. And it can double as a cell phone charger and whatnot.

    My CPAP is an S8 Elite by RESMED. It pulls about 1.2 amps at 11.6 cm of pressure.

    My battery is 79 Amp/h so assuming I don't want to discharge it more than 50%, I can go 32 hours on a single charge.

    The nice thing about using a 'real' battery is, should the PUP battery dies, I can always swap them ;)

    Ideally though I would like to set them up on the same convertor so the battery could be charged by connecting the PUP to the 110v outlet or via the tow vehicle. But the way I'm doing it now is fine.

    -- Ding
     
  5. roughin-it

    roughin-it New Member

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    Nice! I am a respiratory therapist at a trauma 1 hospital in Indiana and I set up pts on CPAP about 2 dozen times a week. I talk camping alot with my patients and I'll have to pass this on.

    Dom
     
  6. RobRoy4

    RobRoy4 New Member

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    Thanks for your post and video!

    I read the instructions on your post/video AFTER getting back from 5 nights of "attempted camping" with a CPAP machine and a few odds and ends.

    The first night, I had 3 fully charged Backup-UPS rated at 450 Watts/725 VA. These have a power button (on/off) and 4 outlets that supply AC power through a sealed battery. Each Backup-UPS lasted about an 65 minutes before they cycled off. After using each UPS once, I was able to get approx. 30 more minutes of use from each one as a second round. That gave me 4.5 hours of sleep that night. It was not going to be a good camping trip.

    A call to my brother, who is an Electrical Engineer, eliminated the possibility of putting the Backup-UPS in a daisy-chain.

    A call to another brother who has taken a CPAP machine on his 2 night camping trip eliminated his option, since he used a DC connection directly to a battery that he had purchased from his CPAP maker. That was NOT going to happen since to order CPAP parts is nearly impossible in normal circumstances, never mind from a campsite.

    So I did an inventory of what I had brought along:

    1. A new Interstate Deep Cycle Battery to power the lights and I thought the AC switches in the camper.

    • Specifications
      Chemistry Conventional (Wet Cell)
      Voltage 12
      Capacity 84000 mAh / 84.00 Ah
      Rating 1008 Whr
      CCA 550
      Cell 6 cells
      Length 11.00 inch / 27.94 cm
      Width 6.88 inch / 17.48 cm
      Height 9.5 inch / 24.13 cm
      Color Gray
      Weight 45.4 lb / 20.59 Kg

    2. Inverter (150W) that connects to a cigarette lighter (both at ACE on special for $10 last year)

    3. Battery jump starter (small / hand held) with probably enough juice to run a CPAP 20 minutes

    4. Backup UPS - (3 - now drained)

    I thought the battery which had the ability to connect to my Pop-up, would be converted DC to AC. Instead, my Coleman Santa Fe take AC power from a house and converts it to DC for the dome lights. Not what I needed. Again, it would have helped if I had read the manual first.

    I headed to the local hardware store and purchased a $10 clip that attaches to the poles of a battery and has a cigarette lighter on the other end.

    That plugs into my inverter (Item 2 above) and provided the power needed to run my CPAP. It ran the CPAP fine for my 4 remaining nights. No problem with running out of battery.

    I did purchase a battery charger while at the hardware store. The campsite registration booth people had offered to let me plug in for the day to charge the battery, but I did not need to.

    Next year, we will try for a whole 7 nights!!! I have ordered the direct DC connections for my CPAP machine (plugs into a cigarette lighter), which I suspect will give me 20% more battery life. If I am lucky, I might make the whole week without recharging!!!!

    One foot note... make sure your inverter is "quiet". The inverter I brought had a very loud fan (3X the sound of the CPAP machine). I ended up stringing my power cord outside under the awning in front of the tent to keep the noise level to a minimum in the tent. It took away a little from the peace and quiet of nature in the morning... as the sound of birds chirping was complimented by the mechanical buzzing of the fan.

    I did charge the Backup-UPS at the campsite registration desk and was able to use them to recharge cell phones and power on the camper lights at night. Their 65 minute run time was not a problem in this case. I could bring them back next year for this purpose, but I could also purchase another battery and have a spare/back up in case my first one runs out. At $100... the money on the battery is well spent.

    Good luck and don't forget to read the instructions!!!

    Rob
     
  7. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    I also purchased the 12v power cord for my unit. Also went to Radio Shack and purchased the power point adapter with clips for the battery posts. Only thing I was concerned about was battery life! It was last August up in Glacier NP, it got cold at night and I would run the furnace for about 15-20 minutes to get the chill out before bed. I would rather be able to run the furnace at night then to chance using the CPAP and furnace. I figured between the two the battery life would go down a bit too quickly for me.
     
  8. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    DW has exactly the same CPAP that Matt O does and I hooked it up the same way. I bought the cigarette lighter cord and the mate cord with the alligator clips on-line from a CPAP supply company. We run the cord out under the edge of the bunk and connect it directly to the trailer's deep cell batteries. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how much power it draws but I think it's pretty close to 1.5 amps per hour. Like Matt O, she doesn't use the humidifier while traveling because it needs AC power.

    We have two Group 27 deep cells wired in parallel that give us a total of 230 amp hours. Since we don't discharge the batteries below 50% that gives us 115 available amp hours. We went up to four nights without recharging the batteries and that included not only the CPAP but all of the normal battery use in a trailer, i.e., lights, water pump, furnace fan, etc. We took showers in the bathroom and ran the overhead Fantastic Fan too.

    Recharging occurred either by being hooked to the TV while moving from place to place or by the Yamaha 1,000 watt inverter generator. I only ended up using the generator twice, once in Yellowstone and once in the Grand Tetons.
     
  9. n6nvr

    n6nvr New Member

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    Both the DW and I have CPAPs, she is very religious about using hers. I am getting better, looks like this is going to be able show her that dry camping or boondocking is possible. And is going to help in explaining why I want to go to the heavier batteries. She is willing to go for a night or two without hers but not more. She claims it's my snoring that keeps her awake and not the machine. I figured the solution would be to come up with wiring to the machines. Mine has a "wall-wart" that indicates it has a 9 amp output. That's a lot of capacity. So the wiring is going to need to be stout, and I was figuring I'd splice something like Anderson Power Poles in between the power supply and the unit. Then rig a take off from the battery side of the 12 volt wiring, need to study a few more manuals but I expect I'll include a fuse in there also probably a 10 amp or so.

    Our next trip is to private campgrounds so we can plug into the trailer 110 volt side. So other repairs and upgrades can take precedence.

    We use Powerpoles in both amateur radio emergency response power applications and for connecting modle rr 12-16 volts up to 8 amps. If you look at the accessories page they make panels and locking clips. You could then hard wire from the panel to the battery connection and not have to connect and use clamps.

    http://www.powerwerx.com/anderson-powerpoles/
     
  10. azgilamonster

    azgilamonster New Member

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    Does anyone know of a BIPAP machine that is 12 volt ready like the cpaps I graduated to a bIPAP now:(
     
  11. azgilamonster

    azgilamonster New Member

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  12. natedog_37

    natedog_37 New Member

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    Good reading. I have not dry camped yet but I have to have my CPAP
     
  13. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill PUP-2002 Flagstaff 725D TV- 2004 Dodge Ram 1500

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    I purchased a Deep cycle marine battery a few years ago. We have had power outages and have used it for about 5 days of both my DW and I using it for our CPAP (her)/ BiPAP(me). It uses very little power. I velcroed a power inverter to the side of the battery box and just hook it up that way. We very rarely dry camp but another alternative is to use the 120V system in the camper and hook up the car every couple of days and run it for a bit to charge the battery (provided you have that type system).
     
  14. BillG

    BillG Go'in fishing

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    I dry camped earlier this year using my CPAP and a generator during the day for some period of time. The longest we were able to stay out was 4 days and I had no problems with charge. Used the lights in the camper as needed. I had them install two cigarette lighter sockets in my camper for just that use.

    Remember to turn off the humidifier........the CPAP I was using used 120 volts to power the heater so it was not going to work running off the purchased 12v cable.

    I now have a new CPAP which does not have the power transformer built in so everything is running at 12 volts. I have been told that if I try to run the humidifier (heater) it will discharge the battery very quickly by my equipment therapist.

    I have one of those portable batteries (with air pump and emergency radio) that I keep at home for the frequent power failures we have here. I have never had any trouble with a single nights useage. I charge it up from the small charger that I take camping when the power outage at home lasts longer than one day. Last time we did not have power for 5 days here and I would use the small charger to keep my refrigerator cold and my battery charged. Seemed to work for me.

    There is no reason not to camp with a CPAP. I bought an inexpensive battery meter and when I plugged it in the the morning after using the CPAP overnight I found that it indicated I had at least another nights worth of battery left. I do not remember the exact numbers. As I said, running the small generator during the day would again top off the battery.
     
  15. TakeCharge

    TakeCharge New Member

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    Hi:

    Just letting you know that we have a product that will take care of CPAC power while plug-in power is not available. The Take Charge product will also function as an UPS and supply power should there be a power outage when used at home.

    The device is a portable power storage device that will run for three to seven nights depending on the CPAP's humidity usage. The product charges to full a 1,500 watts in one hour. Check out our website:

    www.takechargeproducts.com
     
  16. soter01

    soter01 Member

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    I bought a marine battery and a plastic case at an auto parts store. My RemStar CPAP unit has a direct 12 volt connection. Using Radio Shack parts I assembled a "cigarette lighter" power cord. Attached to the battery and hanging out one side of the plastic case is the female plug connected to the terminals. The battery is placed in the popup on the counter near the bed. The plastic cover protects the terminals and battery. During the day the CPAP is disconnected from the battery. I've used this setup several times. Last summer it supplied power for my machine for 5 nights at Yosemite with power to spare. I charge the battery at home.

    On very cold nights I especially like using the CPAP with my mummy sleeping bag. I close the bag completely covering my face. The tube from the CPAP is fed through the side zipper and the excess length is looped over my body inside the bag. This pre-heats the air before I breathe it. My exhaled CO2 really warms the inside of the bag while the hose supplies fresh oxygen from outside. I look like a cocoon or pod from a science fiction movie but I sleep like a baby.
     
  17. tmmull

    tmmull Member

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    Warning, doing this in sub freezing weather is not recommended! You exhale water vapor with your warm CO2, this vapor will get trapped in the filling of your bag and freeze. I made this mistake while tent camping with day time highs in the mid 20s. When I went to bed the second night my bag felt like it was full of frozen peas. It was uncomfortably cold till my body heat melted the ice. Always exhale out of the bag.
     

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