Wiring an inverter

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Wiring an inverter

Postby asianflava » Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:33 am

I have an inverter form way back, I bought it to transport my fish when I moved from NC to TX. I ended up using a battery powered pump, all the fish, corals, and inverts made the trip OK. Unfortunately the movers broke their home. It was backordered so after all that trouble, I ended up giving the critters to the store that was holding them for me.

So I have this 500W inverter NIB (for you eBayers) and never been used, and I want to wire it to my TD. I figure I can use it to power the microwave or a few lights. I was going to use bdosborn's schematic as a guide but there is no inverter in the diagram. Will I have to isolate it from shore power with some sort of DPDT switch? Does such an animal exist for AC? Can it be electronically isolated with diodes or something like it?

The schematic I was going to use:
http://home.comcast.net/~bdosborn/tear/Teardrop_Wiring_Diagram.pdf
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Postby SteveH » Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:57 am

Yes, you need to isolate it from shore power, at least I would. I would install it ( if you want it permanent) with a switch on the input DC side, and a dedicated duplex output that is isolated from all other wiring.
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Postby mexican tear » Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:48 am

Check out my photos in Yahoo Teardrop build DSC03895 . It has a photo of my home made transfer switch,. It works good and allows me to run shore power or the inverter power.

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Re: Wiring an inverter

Postby bdosborn » Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:36 pm

asianflava wrote: Will I have to isolate it from shore power with some sort of DPDT switch? Does such an animal exist for AC? Can it be electronically isolated with diodes or something like it?

The schematic I was going to use:
http://home.comcast.net/~bdosborn/tear/Teardrop_Wiring_Diagram.pdf


Yep, you'll have to isolate the output of the inverter from shore power. The inverter will be out of phase from shore power and you'll let the smoke out if you ever parallel them. A transfer switch would work but a simpler and cheaper solution would be to provide dedicated outlets. You can either split the duplex receptacles with one for shore power or one for inverter power or install a completely dedicated outlet. I would ground the case of the inverter to the equipment ground of your shore power circuit as well. Without any information on the inverter, I'd use a #6 awg wire and a 50 amp fuse to feed the inverter if it doesn't already have input wires and fusing. It would be acceptable to use a 60 amp fuse if the inrush current blows the 50 amp fuse. A #12 will work for the output (actually, a #16 would work but I don't like to use anything smaller than a #12 on 120V circuits).
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Postby TonyCooper » Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:27 pm

I'm wiring my 2K watt inverter so that I use a DPDT switch to toggle a single set of outlets from shore power or 110V generated from the inverter.

Top position will be 110V from inverter, center is OFF, bottom is 110v shore power. You can find a DPDT 110V 20A switch at HD or Lowes for about $7. It looks line a normal size toggle switch... not a clunky household light switch.

500 Watts won't be enough to power a microwave. You need about 1K to do that.

I try to snap & post a picture early next week if you are interested.
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Postby James (tinbender) » Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:37 am

whats shore power?
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Postby asianflava » Thu Dec 16, 2004 2:10 am

James (tinbender) wrote:whats shore power?

It is actually a boating term, when a boat is getting power from shore not making it on it's own. Or when a trailer is getting power from the campground not making it on it's own.

bdosborn wrote:You can either split the duplex receptacles with one for shore power or one for inverter power or install a completely dedicated outlet.

That would mean twice as much wiring. I'm a slow worker so that would mean my tear won't get finished till next Christmas. :( You can say that I'm slower than Christmas because it's only 9 days away and I'm still not finished.

TonyCooper wrote:I'm wiring my 2K watt inverter so that I use a DPDT switch to toggle a single set of outlets from shore power or 110V generated from the inverter.

Top position will be 110V from inverter, center is OFF, bottom is 110v shore power. You can find a DPDT 110V 20A switch at HD or Lowes for about $7. It looks line a normal size toggle switch... not a clunky household light switch.

That's kinda what I was thinking about. When switched in one position you get shore power the other you get inverter with the center off. That way you either get power or you don't, kinda makes it foolproof. Plus all the wiring is in one place.

TonyCooper wrote:500 Watts won't be enough to power a microwave. You need about 1K to do that.

I was wondering about that, I was going to just use this one since I have it. I did see a 1200W on sale at HF, maybe Santa can get it for me. Or I can buy it and tell my wife that Santa brought it.

TonyCooper wrote:I try to snap & post a picture early next week if you are interested.

Please do! :thumbsup: I kinda wonder what this switch looks like. I don't know too much about A/C except to turn it off when you work on it.
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Postby asianflava » Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:45 pm

I bought the 1200W inverter on the way into work today. It was on sale for $99 at Pep Boys, not Harbor Freight like I said in the earlier post.
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Postby TonyCooper » Sun Dec 19, 2004 6:07 pm

Here's a picture of the switch I'm using. I purchased it at Lowes for under $10. I bought 2 just in case somewhere down the line I need to replace it, I'll have an exact match.

120V 20A DPDT Switch

*Modified to point to link instead of including the picture in an attempt to narrow text width
Last edited by TonyCooper on Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Arne » Sun Dec 19, 2004 11:04 pm

Why does lowes have these? didn't know they sold that type of stuff..

I was at a xmas concert tonight, thinking about this... and I was going to use one of those battery selecter switches off a boat, where they have 2 bats and you can use one or the other.... the 'both' choice would have to be neutralized...

the downside of the big pic is we have to scroll left/right to read the notes on the topic....... it made the topic wider.
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Postby Woody » Sun Dec 19, 2004 11:29 pm

Sam's Club has a 2000 watt inverter for $139.00 if I remember it correctly
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Postby asianflava » Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:30 am

Woody wrote:Sam's Club has a 2000 watt inverter for $139.00 if I remember it correctly


I'll check Sam's tomorrow to see if they have that 2000W unit, it's not too late to return the 1200W one I bought. I'll pick up that switch too since Lowes is right next to Sam's.

Thanks for the pics Tony! I really appreciate it! :applause: :applause:
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Postby SteveH » Mon Dec 20, 2004 9:32 am

Tony,

Your Double Pole, Double Throw switch will handle the input to the inverter/trailer system, or the output from the inverter, but not both. What you need if you want one switch to do everything, is a 4 Pole, Double throw switch.

A 4PDT switch is essentially a dual DPDT and will switch the inputs and outputs simultaniously.

The only way you can get by with the DPDT is to switch only the output and leave the inverter running with no load anytime the shore power is plugged in. This will work and cause no damage, but IMHO not desirable. Hope this info is of some help.
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Postby TonyCooper » Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:26 am

SteveH wrote:Tony,

The only way you can get by with the DPDT is to switch only the output and leave the inverter running with no load anytime the shore power is plugged in. This will work and cause no damage, but IMHO not desirable. Hope this info is of some help.


Using the DPDT switch I can also simply leave the inverter off and switch it on manually when it is needed. My 110V usaged will be limited to a Microwave oven and using an automatic battery charger to recharge the battery. All else is 12V.

I'm also adding a 14Amp 12Volt PS for use with the 110V outside power. No sense in loading the battery while I'm trying to charge it. I'll use another DPDT switch for it to toggle between battery and the power supply sources.

I could get fancy and buy a few relays and use the single switch... still noodling on it... I have found the more complex the plumbing the easier to clog it all up. I live primarily by the KISS principle.
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Postby asianflava » Tue Dec 21, 2004 1:01 am

Went to Sam's today but I couldn't find that 2000W inverter :cry: I guess I'll just stick with the 1200W one that I have. I did pick up that DPDT switch at Lowes. They had a nice metal one but I found that it is a momentary switch.

I'm not quite to the wiring stage but I will be soon.
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