Printer in the Truck

Here’s how I’ve been printing my invoices lately. I got a deep cycle marine battery and a 1500 watt inverter. I put the battery and inverter in a crate so it can be taken out of the truck easily. The printer is laser, so it consumes about 750 watts when it prints. The inverter also keeps the notebook charged.

I havn’t used this setup enough to know how long the battery last before it needs to be charged, but it’s lasted 4 days so far. I don’t keep the printer turned on all day, only when I need it. I can take the crate out and charge the battery overnight very easily when I need too.

I’m using the battery and crate setup because of the gauge of wire needed to power a 1500 inverter. The wire that was supplied with the inverter was only about 8 feet long, and about the same gauge as healthy jumper cables. I did not feel like buying more wire and then running it through the engine compartment to the back of my truck.

I want to get to the point where I’m printing detailed, extremly professional estimates right on the spot with hardly any effort.

I been thinking this way for a while too. Keep us posted how this plays out please.

i almost did this too in the van…but in winter i wouldn’t as id be afraid of the damage the severe cold would do to my laptop.

nice :smiley:

Great idea, is the battery 12v switchable? Do you have a link if it is?

Pretty sweet, Micah.

Great idea.

If you’re not gonna do a custom URL, its great.

I’ve been doing printed estimates on the job site with my laptop and portable printer for many months now. A little over a month ago I forgot the power cable for the printer and I got the bright idea to email the customer the invoice instead. So now I ask the customer if they would mind if I email them an estimate. When we are finished with the job I email the customer the invoice from the truck, and by the time I walk in the house they have received the invoice. It has been working out great.

It is also a great way to collect my customers email addresses. I still carry the portable printer with me in case the customer doesn’t have email or prefers a printed invoice instead.

What’s awesome is that I’m out of town now, and when my employee calls me to tell me he’s finished for the day, I can email my invoices out in just a minute or two.

Seth, do accept credit cards?

To me that is awesome, provide a detailed printed estimate, a printed invoice, and collect the payment by credit card right there in the truck.

My wife is a x-ray tech. She just started a new job where she is dispatched to nursing homes to take x-rays of residents when the doctors orders them. She has a mobile x-ray unit, a laptop with an aircard, a processor to process the x-ray “film” and a scanner all in the back of a GMC van. She can take the x-ray, process it, and email it to a radiologist to read it in like 10 minutes. Amazing how technology has come along…

Now…start thinking of how to leverage it to create an unprecedented window cleaning service experience…

I’ve got some pretty wicked stuff coming down the pipe on this one.

Like a lot of people here I’ve been trying to get this done for a while now, but I got stucked while doing some research about which printer to buy.
SOmething that is small, and cheap to operate. I know that laser is the way to go, but monochromatic or color? I have a HP 1200 laserjet B&W and it’s very reliable and versatile, and not to mention that I’ve been using the same toner for 2 years now and keeps running strong, but is BIG.

Keep this topic going to see if we can get the perfect system together.

Also anxious to see what Kevin planning.

The printer I use in the truck is a HP P1006. It cost about 90 dollars and has the first toner included. It is monochromatic, which is really all I need for invoices. The color laser printers tend to be on the larger size, due to them needed to hold many toner cartridges.

I have a Brother HL-4040 color laser printer that stays in the house for color printing. It’s just too big to take in the truck.

I can’t complain a bit about the price of the HP b&w printer. 100 dollars for the printer and toner, then maybe 25 dollars for paper… so $125.00 for invoices a year isn’t bad at all.

I wouldn’t use a inkjet at all. As window cleaners our hands are always wet. The inkjet just smears, not to mention the cost involved. With the laser you can totally soak the paper without it bleeding.

I too am interested in Kevin’s idea…

my guess is that it has something to do with making the invoice ultra personal, With your set up you can include before and after pictures on the invoice, thats one idea.

I have considered this idea but haven’t made it happen yet, good work! These nice, seemingly small touches go a long way in justifying high prices.

Just wondering if you could run a coffee machine off one?

Could you use a small trickle solar battery charger (from a place like Northern Tool) to keep the battery charged. Is that something that would work?

I ran wire to charge the battery the water pump uses,right off the vehicles charging system,so when the truck is running the battery is getting a charge

a laptop w/printer sounds the best to me, i have no space left in my truck,

Yeah Karl, you could run a coffee maker just fine.

Some other things you could operate with this setup:

-small refridgerator
-a microwave
-a hairdryer
-many worklights
-a toaster
-a PS3
-christmas lights
-a can opener
-an electric weedeater
-your 50’’ plasma tv

Probably wouldn’t want to operate all these at once though… one at a time.

The solar trickle charger is a good idea… I’ll have to look into that. I wonder if it’s meant to charge a battery from nothing to full capacity… or if it’s meant mainly to “maintain” a battery over periods of time while not in use.

I need two - do you have a link for the battery?

Here’s the battery…
http://www.autozone.com/selectedZip,29621/initialAction,accessoryProductDetail/initialR,454503/shopping/selectZip.htm

Here’s the inverter…
http://www.directdepot.net/product_info.php?products_id=2432

I’m guessing small fridge and can opener?

How sweet would that be

Some good stuff out there written about using solar charges on RV battery systems so that the RV can become selfcontained. That’s where I might do my research if I was going this direction.

Eric