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Old 09-12-2011, 03:14 PM   #1
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Power inverter?

Our new to us 5th wheel has a fridge that only runs on 110v. It has a power inverter. My question is will the tow vehicle provide enough power to keep the rv batteries charged and the fridge running while towing for several hours?
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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never heard of a 5th wheel with an electric only fridge, unless the previous owner did a changeout.

most tow vehicles, unless specially set up, will only trickle charge a battery.
you would have to drive for hours to recharge a battery.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry B View Post
Our new to us 5th wheel has a fridge that only runs on 110v. It has a power inverter. My question is will the tow vehicle provide enough power to keep the rv batteries charged and the fridge running while towing for several hours?
Maybe. This is a tough one. The hard part is we don't know the amps/watts
draw of your fridge and inverter. Read the fine print in the owners manual for
the fridge and tell us how many watts it uses.
I'm gonna guess it will be OK as long as you aren't going camping in the
boonies with no hookups.

We used to rent house boats that had little 12 cu ft compressor refrigerators.
They used an inverter to run it off of the main battery which was a big ole
semi trailer type battery. We had to run the generator each afternoon for
several hours to charge the battery otherwise the low voltage alarm would
wake us up in the middle of the night.

I think you'll be OK but the only way to tell for sure is a real life test run.
Good luck!
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:15 PM   #4
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A standard battery will not last very long.
my bosses coach has six 6 volt batterys and it draws them down pretty fast.
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry B View Post
Our new to us 5th wheel has a fridge that only runs on 110v. It has a power inverter. My question is will the tow vehicle provide enough power to keep the rv batteries charged and the fridge running while towing for several hours?
Can you post the model number and manufacturer of your fridge? It should be near the door or the fridge or freezer section.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:36 PM   #6
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On a recent trip to Seacliff State Beach, I was admiring a TT with a 400W solar array on the top. I struck up conversation with proud owner and he said that although he could run his reefer on propane, his preferred method when towing was to run the frig on AC.

I found this kind of interesting because I had just rewired my AC side to be able to isolate the reefer/converter/air conditioning but otherwise power up entire TT via my inverter.

After hearing his story, I plugged my reefer into the inverter side power. IIRC the inverted draw was pretty big (~15A?). This is in the range of being doable while towing but I haven't gotten around to doing further tests to ensure adequate margin. Until I was confident that I was significantly power positive, I would rather sip the propane. If/when I get around to doing some more tests, I will post the results.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:38 PM   #7
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If I had 400 watts on the roof the fridge would be plugged into the inverter all the time I drove.

Sun = free; Propane tied to the price of gasoline.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Crude Oil Fractions.pdf (37.5 KB, 49 views)
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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herk,

I must confess I was suffering from a severe case of panel envy after talking with the guy. He and his wife were 50/50 liveaboards and run satellite dishes, computer networks, etc on there. He also had four 6V batteries.

I am pretty happy with my 160W configuration; however, if my solar controller could handle more than 200W I would add more panels. It hurt me at my core to have a similar sized trailer to mine housing twice the electric systems....

Hopefully a complete LED swap out will scratch the itch.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:07 PM   #9
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This is a perfect example why you should plan ahead on the controller. A properly sized controller should be able to handle additional panels if (most likely when) you decide to do so.

I feel the same about tow vehicles. Buying the minimum sized tow vehicle for your current camper guarantees you will be replacing BOTH when your decide to upgrade (or replace) your current camper.

Most folks will tell you (if they are honest about it) that campers have a useful life rated at a maximum of 10 years. Yes, I know there are campers out there older (in some cases MUCH older) than that so don't bother to flame me.

While there seems to be loads of old cars out there with 200,000 miles on them too; but just look at the number of late model cars in junk yards. They got there somehow. Accidents and poor maintenance have destroyed more campers than "wore out."

These ultra-lite frames used to make 3/4 ton sized campers "half ton friendly" do wear out from flexing. I am seeing a LOT more photos of cracked frames than I have ever seen before. Mods should be made with "portability" in mind.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:45 AM   #10
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Remember the OP simply asked if we thought his tow vehicle would be able to power
his 120v ac fridge via an inverter.
I'm assuming he meant while he was on the road engine running.

My wild guess was yes but without knowing anything about his fridge it's a very
wild guess.

Most trucks now days have 100 amp alternators. You don't want your alternator
running at full power for very long as I believe it would over heat but I still -think-
this guy can do what he asks.
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