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Author Topic: Induction cooking and convection microwaves  (Read 6630 times)
Barn Owl
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« on: March 03, 2008, 09:35:28 PM »

I felt like this stuff should be in a new thread.

Old thread where it was brought up:

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=7524.15

Thanks to Sean and Jim for helping me with this subject.

How I have gone for as long as I have and not known anything about induction cooking just baffles me to no end. These look like a great idea for a conversion if only to eliminate the heat that conventional cook tops produce. The PO of my bus installed a full size gas oven and that thing is unusable because of the heat it produces. I was planning to remove it to free up space and install a smaller RV type propane stove. The more I learn, the more Induction cooking looks like the way to go. The individual cook tops look like the only thing out there that I might afford any time soon. I would like to have a two burner permanent installation but the price is way too much. I might learn to like the portability of the single burner and the bonus of being able to store it out of the way. I also love to use cast iron and it looks like it would work well with these.

For those of you who are doing much cooking in your bus how often do you find you need two burners? I am thinking a convection microwave so I still have some type of ďovenĒ to brown things in. Any thoughts or recommendations? I think that combination would really shrink my kitchen area down to where I would like it to be.

I found this a good place for me to start my education on this subject:

http://theinductionsite.com/
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2008, 09:46:11 PM »

I am interested in induction cooking, but more for the home than the bus.  The microwave convection should be a space saver since you get both oven and microwave in the space of one appliance.  I saw a great deal on an induction cooktop on Craigslist.  A lady was selling it for someone else but did not know anything about it.  She asked me what it was, and (silly me) I was so enthusiastic in my description that she decided to take it for herself.
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2008, 09:55:42 PM »

I have a GE convection oven / Microwave and really like it a lot.  I've baked a pie in the middle of the desert, or is that made dessert in the middle of... well that's enough of that.

I use the micorwave mostly, its quick and easy.  But the oven has really come in handy too.  The GE model has a speedcook feature that will bake a potato in 7 minutes.

I first tried the induction hob in my home kitchen, and I'm so sold, I'm looking for a full sized one to replace the regular electric cooktop.

Cast iron will not heat up as fast, as it has to heat up that mass of metal first.  As much as I like cast iron (le Crueset too), I find that with the induction, I prefer the lighter weight stuff because of the speed, and also because the lighter weight stuff makes for that much less heat in the bus.  

I have a fantastic fan in the ceiling above the cooktop, and in front of the micro /oven, and very pleased with that too.  Vents heat and odor right out.  

The micro / oven also has a fan in it that sucks up air from over the stove top.  When I installed it, I had the option of cutting another hole in the roof, or venting inside.  I chose the venting inside as I didn't want the damper rattling when I drove, and I wanted total control of when and how I vent (just like Dr Phil).  The micro / oven now vents straight forward, and the Fantastic fan is direcdtly above / in front of where the micro / oven dumps it.  It was not too good before the Fantastic fan install, but now its a perfect solution.  Fast, efficient, total control.

I don't feel like I need any other cooking options other than these ( and neither does Maria, the girl friend).  Of course I do have a toaster and a coffeemaker.

I don't think there has been much advertising about induction, and as Sean says, it flopped here a while back.  I learned about it from this board too, probably from Sean.
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2008, 11:19:04 PM »

I have been following the posts on induction cooking too.  Am I wrong that built in cooktops are 240V?

We have had RVs and boats with multiple burners and rarely used more than one.  Maybe we would if if was not for the heat in the cabin which is almost always summertime. 

I would lean toward having two counter top units.  One for backup and in case we needed, to use both.  Neither would take up space when not needed.  Could be moved/used outside when grilling ect. 

Guess I am just going to have to get one and experiment.

Don 4107
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H3Jim
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2008, 07:09:40 AM »

There are some built ins that are 110, but most are 240.
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Jim Stewart
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Sean
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2008, 09:24:29 AM »

I'll weigh in here, since I probably started the induction discussion here four years ago.

As for number of burners/hobs:  I do all the cooking in our house, and I have never really needed more than two.  We have three -- two LP burners on a built-in cooktop, and a single portable induction hob.  As I wrote in the other thread, if I had it to do over again, I would leave the LP off the bus altogether (it only runs the stove and the BBQ) and just go with induction, and I would have done just two burners.  Whenever we move into our next home, it will have two induction hobs.  All that being said, there's just the two of us.  If I was cooking for a larger family, perhaps I might feel the need for additional burners.

With regards to the oven, we have a "speed cook" oven and I highly recommend it.  Ours is a GE Advantium 120.  These ovens have microwave and convection capability, but they also have a powerful halogen light for browning.  The microprocessor control has dozens of pre-programmed "speed cook programs" that automatically apply all three cooking types (microwave, convection, and light) in the proper amounts to cook your food much more quickly and with less energy use than conventional types of ovens.

The Advantiums are not cheap, although I remember finding a pretty good deal on eBay.  But, if you really use your oven as an oven (and not just a microwave), they can't be beat for saving energy and keeping the house cool.  We routinely run ours from our inverter and batteries.  (In fact, if we are on marginal park voltage, less than about 110 volts, we'll disconnect from park power to use the oven, as the lower voltage lengthens cooking times.  The inverter puts out a solid 120 volts.)

Mine is an over-range model, and, like Jim, I have the vents set to recirculate back into the coach, with a FanTastic vent right above it.  Half the time, I don't even use the range vent, because it is very loud, even on the low setting.  But it's there when I need it, such as stir-frying and other oil/smoke intensive dishes.

With the speed cook oven, not once have I missed having a conventional oven.  I don't bake much, but I can if I want to.  To be fair, though, 95% of the time, it just gets used as a microwave to reheat leftovers or to make eggs in the morning.

If you get one of these ovens, I can also heartily recommend taking the class that is offered at Escapade rallies and sometimes at FMCA conventions that deals with cooking in one of these.  I learned a few tricks at this excellent class, the best of which was to purchase a Teflon sheet (conveniently sold by the instructor in her booth) that lines the metal tray the oven uses for baking, broiling, and speed cooking. The sheet cleans up with a paper towel and a quick rinse in the sink, whereas cleaning the metal tray used to be an elbow-grease affair that used more of our precious water supply.

HTH.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2008, 01:49:06 AM »

Might be too big for a bus but the price seems good:

http://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/hsh/594590197.html

Cook Top - $150

Electrolux Inductive Cook Top. 6 or 5 Burner
Ribbon Type Elements
36x24
too big for me but works great, Stainless Steele, Black Glass Top.

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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2008, 04:52:16 AM »

Our bus came with a Sharp Carousel combination oven but, of course, no owners manual. I had the local appliance dealer come over and check it out and he gave me enough info so the wife could use it. He told me at the time it was 16 years old. Probably came out of the house during the conversion.

When it finally gave out I shopped until I near dropped from the prices I got from the box stores so in desperation I checked Amazon.com.  They beat everyone else. I bought the new Sharp (why not..if the old one lasted 16 years......?) Carousel 120V combination for about $550.00 delivered. Installation was a snap since we were replacing the same make.

She's a happy full-timer.

Bob
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2008, 04:59:24 AM »

Sears had a inductive cook top advertised a couple weeks ago for $395.00 or about that.  Four burner 30'
I paid &799.00 two years ago for a GE 30" inductive cook top.
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Sean
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2008, 12:50:35 AM »

Might be too big for a bus but the price seems good:http://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/hsh/594590197.html

Cook Top - $150

Electrolux Inductive Cook Top. 6 or 5 Burner
Ribbon Type Elements

...


A word of caution here.  First off, the vast majority of drop-in 30" or 36" induction cooktops are 240-volt.  That's because (1) most range outlets and j-boxes for cooktops are 240-volt to begin with and (2) with anywhere from 4-6 "burners", each of which can draw perhaps 1,800 watts, you could be looking at 90 amps if it were wired for 120.  Buying one of these cooktops that demands 240-volts sort of defeats the beauty of induction for use in a motor coach, namely the ability to run it on "regular" park power (120-volts, 30-amps) or from a 120-volt inverter.

Secondly, I doubt the cooktop pictured in this listing is straight induction.  Two giveaways:  the wording "ribbon type elements", which would only apply to radiant burners, and the fact that the center pair of burners has graphics connecting them together, typically indicative of a user-selectable "super-burner", which is typically a radiant-burner technique (there are some extra radiant elements in the odd-shaped area between the normal round burners, which can be switched on for heating, say, a large casserole pan).  In is not uncommon for large cooktops to have multiple burner technologies on the same glass, such as induction and radiant.  Odyssey once had a Gaggenau with a combination of halogen and radiant burners.  I would double-check with the seller on this before assuming all six burners are induction.

In response to Eagle -- I'd love to know where you are finding these deals.  The cheapest drop-in induction cooktops in the US market are in the neighborhood of $1,500.  Four years ago, when we did our bus, they weren't available at all -- GE, Electrolux, and other big names just jumped back on the induction bandwagon in the last 2-3 years.

The cheapest GE induction cooktop, a 30" four-burner model, lists for around $1,700, so if you picked one up for $700 someplace, you got a heck of a deal.  As for $395 at Sears, I have to imagine that was a single hob, because, again, there are no consumer drop-in ranges in that price range today.  In fact, it's hard to find a smooth-top radiant model for under $500.  I'd love to be corrected about this -- please share your sources.

-Sean
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2008, 05:15:54 AM »

Well it seems to me that "Barn Owl's" question was centered around reducing the heat and space in his coach by going to induction/convection, and then dealing with the cost of induction cook tops. We don't have very deep pockets, and we had a very small cook area, so let me share with you what I did.

Our bus is a PD3751 "Silversides". I originally installed a three burner propane rv cooktop/oven combination. The heat that was generated by that very slow cooking stove was unbearable. (I have a Fantastic Fan ,reversible right over the cook top and it was still hot.) The first thing I did was replace the stove/oven with a propane cook-top and bought a convection microwave that browns. That was a great move for an oven but still left us with a great deal of heat at the counter top.

I bought a single burner induction cook top from E-Bay for about $120 delivered. It came with a nice special pot. When cooking with this unit there is NO ambient heat build up. It is extremely fast and 120 volt operation. I bought a second one, and I keep them in a special area right under the counter next to the microwave. I removed the rv cook top and re-made my counter top so that there is no permanent cook top exposed, I also undermounted my stainless steel sink and built a cover that fits into the opening so when we are not using it (the sink) we have one very large counter top to prepare all of the adult beverages that we can make. (Oh yeah, we prepare dinners there too.)

Since our coach is small and we don't really like the smell of cooked food in the coach I also have several ways of cooking outside on a small kitchen set-up that I have made. I have two butane burners ( the type that are used by fancy hotels at brunches a their omlette stations) They are very fast and super controllable. An added feature is that since they are butane they can be used inside if it is raining when it is time to cook something. That adds up to four burners that can all be used at the same time with very little ambient heat generation, keeping a comfortable coach and a happy momma. And we all know when momma is happy, everyone is happy.

I think the built in induction cook tops are wonderful, but if space and finances are a concern then I think our system solved all of the problems and left our counters looking good.

Dave Siegel
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2008, 07:30:38 AM »

Dave,

I think your setup is exactly what I need and want. Just like you said, money and space are always an issue. Right before the topic of induction cooking came up I was very, very close to buying a propane stove. I cannot possibly express how glad I am that by the skin of my teeth I didnít go that route. Whew! These bus bulletin boards have saved many mistakes, lost time and money. I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the help.

Laryn
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2008, 09:22:57 AM »

like others have said "space and money are the keys". I dont do a lot of cooking so I have also been following this and am leaning toward the portable counter top models. with all the ones out there what is really needed? how many watts is enough or too much and what brands are a definite no-no. I realize that only a few of you out there already use these but if you were to start over what would you go to in size and brand?
thanks
steve
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H3Jim
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2008, 11:22:13 AM »

More power is better, but they don't make the hot plate models with big power.  Also, the bigger power models will use 240v as opposed to the 120 volt.  For the electric setup I have, I only have 240v when I run the generator or am at a power pole with 240v.  That would restrict me too much, so the basic 120 volt model is perfect.

I have the Supentown, Mr Induction.  It comes with a pan - good idea, saved me some time to find the right pan.  I can't really give you much more advice than that.
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2008, 11:56:03 AM »

... I realize that only a few of you out there already use these but if you were to start over what would you go to in size and brand?


Sunpentown is now the worlds largest manufacturer of induction hobs.

Their consumer models, ranging in price from about $150 to $230 (list -- discounts can be found), are probably fine for most coach usage.  We have a very old model (no longer made -- with manual slider controls), but are very happy with it.  Ours is 1300 watts, which has been adequate for everything we need to do.  That's 11 amps, by the way, so a standard 15-amp circuit is just fine.

They do make an 1800-watt version, which is targeted at the commercial market, for a significantly higher price point.  I think that's overkill in a bus.  For comparison, 1,300 watts is roughly 4,436 BTU/hr, and many LP stoves made for RV use have 4,000-4,400 BTU/hr burners (ours has a pair of them).  6,000 BTU/hr is considered a very large burner for an LP cooktop, and that would equate to 1,760 watts.

If I were to do it again, I would get a pair of stand-alone Sunpentown 1,300-watt models, then make a recessed "well" in the countertop to hold them in place, while still allowing them to be removed for cleaning, or to use outside, etc..

As I wrote in the other thread, here is a link to Sunpentown's model lineup:
http://www.sunpentown.com/inco.html

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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