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Old 01-28-2014, 10:45 PM   #1
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Using an inverter with a 12V DC outlet for TV

I bought a 2013 Solera that I truly enjoy. I wanted to be able to watch TV without running my generator or using a 110AC source, while in camp or on the road. (NOT when I'm driving )

I thought a simple solution would be to purchase a small, simple inverter (1000 Continuous Watts) that would fit in the cabinet where the TV's AC plug is currently attached. Conveniently, there is a 12V DC plug next to the 110 AC outlet.

The TV/DVD draws far less wattage than the inverter is rated for, so it seemed like an easy fix, right? Take the TV plug, stick it into the inverter, plug the inverter into the 12V DC outlet -- turn on the TV -- you're watching the Lakers! Not exactly...

I set it up, and turned on the TV, it tried, but it never came on. The inverter alarm sounded indicating "too little voltage", and cycled off. The batteries were fully charged, so voltage shouldn't have been an issue. I bought a decent name brand sine wave tuned inverter (not cheap), so that wasn't the problem. Bottom line --no TV.


I spoke with my Forest River RV authorized service center and with an electrician. The answer (from them) was the gauge of wiring used in the 12V DC outlets was too small to support my set up. I could rewire the 12V outlets with heavier gauge wire, (not going to happen) or wire a single dedicated 12V outlet directly to the battery and place it wherever I wish. I have opted to keep on doing what I'm doing in the mean time.

Anyone else with the same problem, or better yet, any simple ideas to solve mine?

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Old 01-28-2014, 10:54 PM   #2
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while i dont have a simple answer, your dealer/electrician hit it on the head.....

i dont know which model inverter you have, but if its 1000 watts, i would be real leary of running it on ANY 12 volt plug....

i have a 1000 watt inverter and it takes a battery cable size wire to provide the amperage necessary to run it......and my tv, satellite, and dish......

its not that it wont work, its just that if you limit the current with real small wires to the inverter you run the risk of them overheating and melting.....possibly a fire...

i dont know how many watts your particular tv is pulling, but again...if your inverter is 1000 watts continuous it CAN pull some decent amps....i would not trust it on those flimsy wires behind the tv.....

most of the cig lighter type inverters i have ever seen dont go over 400 watts?

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Old 01-29-2014, 11:25 PM   #3
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Well if Power = Volts times Current, then Current = Power divided by volts... Just for using round numbers, if you take 960 Watts divided by 12 volts is around 80 amps.. Assuming they ran #14 wires in your trailer they are good for around 15 Amps... Steady draw above that could cause an issue in your rig...

Not to mention that a 1,000 Watt inverter on your batteries will take no time at all to kill them, as they are not being charged. Typically with the larger inverters, they are wired to a vehicle's battery and are used while the vehilce is running, so that you are using the alternator to help supply power..
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:41 AM   #4
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What kind and size of TV your running? The tech was right. I had to add new 12 volt outlets with heavier wire right to the batteries to run a 19" flat screen LCD with DVD on a 130watt inverter with no problems. I use 130 watt inverters on each TV and one for the Sat Reciever. They are right about the batteries you need at least two four would be better..
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:40 AM   #5
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I suggest you read the fine print on the back of your TV or in the TV manual and tell us how many watts it draws.
THAT is the question that needs answered in this case.

I have a smaller LCD TV that uses around 50 watts.
I run it on a cigarette socket inverter that cost about $20.
It is not pure sine wave and I get a few lines in the picture but they are
barely noticeable and we're OK with the minimum battery drain AND
the low cost.

I also have a much larger inverter that also will kick out on low voltage
alarm even when my batteries are full.
Try an inverter that's rated closer to the actual wattage you need and
you -might- get by.
Again- we and you need to know the actual wattage of your TV
AND it would help to know the wire size and fuse size that feeds your
12v socket.

PS. When you're boondocking remember the inverter uses some battery
even when the TV is OFF. Unplug or shut off the inverter when not in use!!
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:11 AM   #6
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i use this .. to avoid complications ...

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