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Old 11-30-2015, 03:12 PM   #21
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This would be important towards my purchase. I think 1500 would do quite well for my needs. CPap, TV, short Microwave use (popcorn to go with that tv), Blue ray player, coffee player, and I know not all at once. I was considering getting a 2000 watt unit though with the attitude, what is the harm? I know if I went over 1500 watts my batteries would drain quicker so I would exercise power conservation. But if the 2000 would always (even if staying below 1500 watts usage including efficiency loss) drain my batteries 33% quicker then I might be better off sticking with the 1500 watt unit.
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Old 11-30-2015, 05:04 PM   #22
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To me the issues with an inverter much bigger than 360 watts are the 12V wiring, the rapid depletion/destruction of an average-size battery bank, and the length of time to fully recharge.

At 360 watts (30 amps at 12V), the cables from the battery to the inverter must be at least 10 gauge. To get to 1500 watts, you need #2 cables or better, with appropriate size fittings at each end.

You are also going to take dual golf cart batteries down to 50% in less than an hour's worth of use. Even 3 minutes of microwave use to pop the popcorn will suck better than 20 AH out of your batteries (batteries are non-linear - they deplete faster than 10 times as fast if you draw 100 amps instead of 10 amps).

CPAPs, LED TVs, BlueRay player, computer charging are all examples of items that will work pretty well off an inverter. Microwaves and air conditioners are not ideal items to run off an inverter unless you have a large battery bank - at least 300 AH usable - and the battery cabling and charging capability to match.

just my thoughts and experiences
Fred W
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camping Colorado and adjacent states one long weekend at a time

I just upgraded to dual golf cart batteries to keep the 4 amp 12V heater running up to 4 nights (116 AH usable) dry camping, no recharge during the 4 days. Recharging the 2 batteries to full charge from 50% takes over 7 hours with the 30 amp WFCO converter installed in the camper mostly because the charge rate has to be reduced and tapered when you reach about 80%. A bigger converter would only save a half hour on the recharge time.
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Old 11-30-2015, 06:41 PM   #23
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If you can forget about using the microwave, then a 1500 watt inverter would probably do fine as microwaves take a lot of power to run as do coffee pots.
When you start getting into the 2,000 watt range and above of inverters, your wiring from the batteries will need to be much larger and don't skimp here as it will cost you sooner or later. Have your inverter as close as possible to your batteries WITHOUT BEING IN THE SAME ENCLOSURE. This is a big safety issue as the inverter can ignite any gasses emitted by the batteries. It will also save you from upsizing your wire an additional size due to distance.
An inverter will draw down your batteries much faster than you think. All inverters draw a small amount of power when turned on whether you are using it to power something or not. It is very small, around .02-.1 volts, no big deal, but will still draw down your bats over time if left on.
I have a 5,000-10,000 watt surge inverter that is overkill for my use, but I have a large battery bank and 0/4 wiring to support it. It's there if I need it. Will run my microwave for hours if need be and 800 watts of solar to feed the bank at 60 amps.
IMHO, I would go with a 2,000 watt unit for your needs and make sure you have enough batteries to power it. Too small of a battery bank is where most people go wrong along with undersized wiring.
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Old 12-03-2015, 02:19 PM   #24
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Update on finished install

I have recently completed the install and wanted to update the thread. All seems to be working as advertised although we are getting a little less power out of the solar than I had hoped. We are not pointed toward the south or where I can take advantage of the tilt bars and that is likely why the peak output I am seeing is less than half of the 400 watts installed. Although the output is not quite what I hoped for it is consistent with the solar output estimate calculator that that account for time of year and latitude.

I have also fully updated all of the plans and schematics and you can see them at RV POWER UPGRADE | Live, Breathe, Move
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:11 PM   #25
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Can't see it that well, but is that a 20amp or 30amp controller? Also, are you connecting your panels in series, parallel or both? If your controller will allow it, ie: 100vdc or above, you would do well to connect all 4 panels in series. That would give you potentially 88 vdc @ 5.75 amps. Better to have high voltage and maintain lower amps as it moves easier through wiring with less lose.
Although you have 400 watts of panels, you may never see 400 watts of output from them. I have 800 watts of panels and the most I've ever seen under perfect sun conditions, is 740. That's good enough for me to keep up with any usage I could ever want. Lots of batteries help.
If I read your gauge correctly, you have two strings of 2 panels in series, then paralleled. That would give you a max of ~44 volts at ~11 amps.
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:09 PM   #26
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Very interesting. I am think about going solar.
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