Inverters

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Inverters

Postby Guest » Sat Apr 02, 2005 12:30 am

Anybody using or considering an inverter when shore power isn't available?
If you considered it, but opted not to use one, was it because you went with a generator instead?
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Postby darkroomsource » Sat Apr 02, 2005 3:27 am

I have an inverter. Don't use it. Everything runs off of 12V, but put in an inverter just in case - and for the blender. Haven't used it for anything.
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Postby Keith » Sat Apr 02, 2005 4:14 am

Hi Dean,

We have an 800 watt inverter installed in our trailer. We have a tv that is both 12 volt and 110. The 12 volt part of the tv went out so we run it off the inverter now when we don't have shore power. We also use the inverter to power our ceramic heater. We only use the heater to take the chill off when we first get in. We have used the inverter to power a 4 cup coffee maker. It works good but it will drain the battery after about 5 or 6 pots full.

I have our battery and inverter mounted in the kitchen area of the trailer. We I first installed it I had to open the hatch to turn it on and off. If you leave it turned on the fan makes a lot of noise. Also after watching tv at night I didn't enjoy getting out to turn off the inverter. I took the original swith out and ran a speaker wire inside the trailer and installed a switch to turn it off and on. It really worked out well.

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Postby Arne » Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:23 am

Interesting topic. I have a 500 watt inverter I bought at Sam's. In getting ready for my mid-April trip, there were several things I wanted to do. One which is done, was to put the deep-cycle battery under the floor. That is done, but not wired. The second, put more shelves in, that got finished yesterday... not painted but usable.....

Now, I am going to do a simple electical board. I'm going to bury the inverter in a vented box, along with all the wiring. I was going to use a two-way household switch backwards, so instead of one input and 2 outputs, it would be 2 inputs (inverter or shore) and a common output to receptacles.

This concerned me because I would have a common ground between the inverter and the shore, and if the shore was wired wrong, I could wind up feeding power into the inverter output side....

So, 2 separate runs. Shore to power strip, battery to inverter to separate receptacle mounted on box wall...... There will be a household switch to turn on 12v to inverter that will also turn on a small 12v red clearance light, so hopefully, she-who-must-be-obeyed will remember to turn off inverter so it does not drain the bat while idle......

One thing, I'll be wiring the inverter feed from the bat with 12/3 household wire..... those things can draw some amps..... that surprised me....

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Postby campadk » Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:34 am

We have 2 - 400W inverters. Simple way to deal with 120V. No electrical panels and such in our tear! One feeds our night time xmas light strings or small appliances in the galley, another one inside is used for the home theatre.

Just a note: you might want to turn the inverter off if not being used for a period of time. They draw about .12A which would run our 130 RC battery dry in 450 hours ;)
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Postby DestinDave » Sat Apr 02, 2005 8:58 am

Dean - I am considering am inverter but I don't have any definite need for one. Just thought it would be nice to go either way with power options. If I end up putting a small fridge in I could run it off the inverter. AC/DC fridges cost 3-4 times as much as AC ones and I've seen inverters in the 700-800 watt range for a very reasonable price. That size doesn;t take up much room at all...
Reality, huh? What a concept!
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Postby Guest » Sat Apr 02, 2005 1:01 pm

I should have mentioned this when I posted this thread...
I bought an inverter, Xantrex 1000 watt and was planning on going with two blue top Optima deep cycle batteries. I wanted to be able to opperate a microwave oven on a very limited basis, TV, DVD, and CD player when shore power wasn't available.
Now that I have this inverter I see that it will only run a 600 watt microwave oven. So far the smallest microwave oven that I've come across is 800 watt. (I see that the Xantrex 1750, which is a 1500 watt inverter will handle a 1000 watt micowave oven)
I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to electricity... I'm a total putz. :lol:
I see that Honda makes two very quiet generators. I'm considering their larger quiet model. In regards to campground etiquette, if I go with the generator... I wouldn't want to run it after dinner time or early in the morning no matter how quiet it is, so an inverter is still up there on my list. I think a generator running a battery charger during daylight hours would be a good way to offset the energy demands of an inverter.
This inverter does have a power switch, so I don't see any sacrifice of power consumption when not in use.
The outlets (2) are mounted in the inverter itself. I was wondering (Remember I'm a putz when it comes to electricity) if a short jumper cable with male plugs on each end could be used to plug into one of the outlets in the shoreline circuit to feed other outlets when shore power isn't available, or is there a better way to go about this?
Is anyone using both 12v and 120vac lighting, or is it just pretty much 12v, now that LED bulbs perform so well?
I've used a travel trailer on construction sites in the past and shore power was never a problem. I would turn on a 12v light by mistake sometimes and instantly realize that I flipped the wrong switch because of how poor the output of light was.
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Postby Nitetimes » Sat Apr 02, 2005 1:10 pm

My travel tailer is setup up so a battery charger runs off the inverter and charges the battery at the same time it is being used, all the lights are 12v. Seems to work. The A/C and microwave are only functional with shore power tho.
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Postby Guest » Sat Apr 02, 2005 2:23 pm

Nitetimes wrote:My travel tailer is setup up so a battery charger runs off the inverter and charges the battery at the same time it is being used, all the lights are 12v. Seems to work. The A/C and microwave are only functional with shore power tho.


Like I say... I'm a putz when it comes to electricity.

OK... Your inverter runs the battery charger, which charges the battery, which runs the inverter.... That sounds like an endless loop. I don't see how you could gain on the charge of the battery unless you bring some shore power into the mix. :?
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Postby Nitetimes » Sat Apr 02, 2005 3:20 pm

Dean in Eureka, CA wrote:
Nitetimes wrote:My travel tailer is setup up so a battery charger runs off the inverter and charges the battery at the same time it is being used, all the lights are 12v. Seems to work. The A/C and microwave are only functional with shore power tho.


Like I say... I'm a putz when it comes to electricity.

OK... Your inverter runs the battery charger, which charges the battery, which runs the inverter.... That sounds like an endless loop. I don't see how you could gain on the charge of the battery unless you bring some shore power into the mix. :?


Don't ask me, it was that way when I got it. All I know is that it works. It is only a small battery charger. But it is apparently enough to stay ahead of it.
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Postby asianflava » Sat Apr 02, 2005 3:37 pm

I will run both AC and DC power. When using only DC, my plan is to use an inverter for the microwave oven, I figure it will only be used for 30sec to 1 min. The inverter will also power any other item that needs to be plugged in. The DC battery will power the vent fan and lights.

When hooked up to shore power, it will allow me to turn off the inverter and have full use of AC power. The shore power will allow me to also run the air conditioning unit. It will also power my battery charger so that I can run the DC items indefinitely as well.

Kinda confusing huh?
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Postby Guest » Sat Apr 02, 2005 3:48 pm

Flava,
Same for me in regards to opperating times with the oven when not on shore power or tied into the generator.
Curious... How many watts is your microwave and what size is your inverter?
(I'm hoping I can safely do those short cooking times with an 800w microwave, even though the manufacture of the 1000w inverter states that it will opperate a 600w oven)
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Postby Q » Sat Apr 02, 2005 3:51 pm

I have several inverters:

Vector 3000 watt
2 Xantrex 1000 watt
Vector 140 watt
2 Vector 70 watt

The only ones I bring along in the teardrop are the 2 tiny 70 watt inverters. I use them to charge the laptop and aviation radio. I also use one on my flying machine to power a 110V heating pad that I put inside my snowmobile suit.

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Postby Woody » Sat Apr 02, 2005 3:54 pm

If the inverter consumes battery power to run the charger to charge itself (the battery). Hummmm. I think you have solved the U.S. dependancy on foriegn oil imports for energy. Most inverters consume 8-10% more power than the load requires it to convert, so there would always be a deficiency in the replacement charge to the battery. In other words it would cause the battery to die eventually, since batteries do not create power, they just store it.
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Postby WoodSmith » Sat Apr 02, 2005 4:55 pm

Dean in Eureka, CA wrote:I was wondering (Remember I'm a putz when it comes to electricity) if a short jumper cable with male plugs on each end could be used to plug into one of the outlets in the shoreline circuit to feed other outlets when shore power isn't available, or is there a better way to go about this?


I don't want to sound alarmist, but what you are talking about is known as a "suicide cord". If you really are as putzy as you say when it comes to electricity, I would reccoment a different method. The problem is, once you plug your suicide cord into a live outlet, the metal tips sticking out the other end now have 120 volts accross them. If you touch these tips to your body you get shocked. If you manage to touch them to a metal cover on the outlet at the other end, you short out the circuit and, at best, blow a fuse or breaker. If it is your TD electrical system that you manage to short out, you could fry your invertor (depending on how you have things wired).

Once you understand the risks, you can decide for yourself if this is the way to go. If you have a spouse, children or other people who might get a hold of this suicide cord (which looks just like an extension cord unless carfully examined) it just isn't worth it IMHO.

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