TYPES OF CONVERSION

There are many options on how to power a grooming van, so it is impossible to list them all. The one that is right for you vastly depends on your needs, wants and budget. Here are the most common set-ups on the market.

MOST POPULAR SET-UP OPTIONS

AND THEIR MAJOR PROs & CONs

 
SET-UP TYPEPROsCONs
1. SELF-CONTAINED with DIESEL VAN/GENERATOR

This set-up is, in our humble opinion, the best option, because it is the most economical in the long run, and will last the longest.

If you don't opt to add an inverter/batteries system to this set-up, it means that you will have to run your generator at all time to run any of your equipments.

If you opt for an inverter/batteries system, it will allow you to use some of your tools, for a certain period of time, without having to use any other external power. Tools that require a large amount of power, like the AC and dryers, cannot run of batteries as those cannot supply enough energy and would immediately be depleted anyway.
  • Can operate anytime and anywhere.
  • The generator is water cooled = will not overheat during hot summer days unless temperature goes above 120F = extremely reliable.
  • The generator will last for about 25,000 to 30,000 hrs before a rebuilt is needed, this of course involves doing the regular recommended maintenance.
  • Very economical on diesel, both van and generator. The later is variable RPM, so it only uses the energy needed to run the equipments that are being operated. It costs about half in diesel compared to what a gas van/generator does.
  • The purchase cost.
  • Not all service stations offer diesel (about 1 out of 2).
2. SELF-CONTAINED with GAS VAN/GENERATOR

This set-up is second best, because the generator will most probably overheat during the hot summer days and will force you to cease your operations until the temperature cools down. The cost of gas is also double, if not more than what the cost of diesel would be.

If you don't opt to add an inverter/batteries system to this set-up, it means that you will have to run your generator at all time to run any of your equipments.

If you opt for an inverter/batteries system, it will allow you to use some of your tools, for a certain period of time, without having to use any other external power. Tools that require a large amount of power, like the AC and dryers, cannot run of batteries as those cannot supply enough energy and would immediately be depleted anyway.
  • Can operate anywhere and almost anytime (see CONs section, re: air cooled).
  • Generator price is slightly lower than diesel.
  • Every service station offer gas.
  • The generator is air cooled = will overheat on hot summer days when temperature is approximately above 105F = you're forced to stop working until temperature cools down.
  • The generator will only last about 10,000 hrs, even if you follow all recommended maintenance.
  • The generator doesn't have variable RPM, which means that it will run full throttle at all time, which also means that it will burn a lot more fuel than a diesel generator.
  • Pretty costly on gas, because gas is more expensive to start with in most places, and both the van and generator will burn a lot more of it - it will cost approximately double, if not more, of what a diesel van/generator would cost.
3. ENGINE/ALTERNATOR POWERED

If you opt for this option, either using a gas or diesel van, then you are using your van's engine, the most expensive part of your whole operations, to power your equipments. This set-up means putting a lot of hours and stress on the engine.

You are also limited in the equipment you can use concurrently, or use at all.

Although it might sound like using this set-up is very powerful, well, it's not. The most you can get is an average of 840 Amp hour/3,000W.

You are not getting the power from the engine with this set-up, but rather the engine/alternator is used to charge a battery bank, therefore, the amount of energy you have access to is very limited and rapidly depleted. You can always idle your van's engine, but even then, the batteries can't be recharged fast enough for you to have access to ample reliable power like with a generator.

Also make real sure with the van's manufacturer that using this kind of conversion will not affect or completely void your van's warranty.
  • No generator cost involved.
  • You are putting a LOT of hours on your most expensive equipment = your van's engine.
  • You are limited in the equipments that you can run concurently, or run at all.
  • Although nobody wants to take a firm position on this subject, there are many experts who are saying that the diesel AdBlue combustion is not happening, or not happening properly, when you are just idling the van's engine, and this may damage your engine in the long run. We are not the experts, but want to bring this to your attention in case there is some truth to this.
  • Unless you idle your van's engine all the time (for full power), you cannot use many types of equipment like AC, dryers, etc.
  • The batteries can never be fully charged unless you are plugged into a house. The batteries will recharge to about 80% at best by iddling the van's engine, or when driving (depends on speed and distance).
  • You cannot use regular dryers (like K9 II, etc.) as they require too much energy for the batteries. You need to purchase/use the van's manufacturer's homemade dryer.
  • In most cases, the AC for this type of set-up is not a third party unit, but an optional integerated AC system from the manufacturer, which is not as powerful as a third party unit. Plus as mentioned above, it can only be operated when idling the engine.
4. PLUG-IN AT CLIENTS

This is the most inexpensive set-up you can have, but it also means that you are completely at the mercy of your clients, and that you are extremely limited in the equipment you can run concurrently, if at all in some cases.
  • Low purchase cost.
  • Low maintenance cost.
  • More interior space.
  • You are completely reliable on your clients having a place for you to park, plus having water and electricity easily accessible.
  • You can't run multiple equipment at a time, it's simple math, please check our POWER = MATH page under the TOOLS menu for details.
  • Loss of business opportunities due to having to plug-in (can't service many clients in apartment buildings, houses without driveways, etc).
  • Chances of law suit if you run hose/electrical cable over the sidewalk as someone may trip and hurt themself.