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Old 04-09-2018, 07:16 PM   #1
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Inverter question

I see lots of threads on upgrading or adding inverters but I am not really sure what they do or why you would upgrade one? Any help?
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:54 PM   #2
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Inverter question

Your camper has 2 types of electricity:

- 12v which basically runs lights and some other operations depending on the camper (slides and jacks and whatnot)

- 120v which is essentially household plugs

Your camper’s battery puts out 12v and your 12v system “always” works.

To get 120v, you plug into shore power at your destination (campsite or home). OR you run a generator. OR you can install an inverter that converts 12v to 120v.

The reason to do this is that so you can use your 120v outlets while not connected to shore power and without running a generator (stinky and noisy ).

(Edited to add...) The thing to be aware of with inverters is that they can let you use up your battery power quickly. They need to be used with caution and awareness of your battery/batteries. Inverters aren’t 100% efficient and the bigger inverter, the higher its idle parasitic load (ie, power used while it is even when it isn’t doing anything).

How you install the inverter is up for lots of debate. Some people run extension cords from them. Other people dedicate specific outlets to be inverter-based. Other people tie into specific circuit breakers. And others cheat- I would take the extension cord off of my inverter and run it to the shore power plug on the camper; to manage load, I turn off specific breakers.

As for “upgrading” inverters, lots of times people change how they’re wired up. My back-feeding cheat is hellishly annoying to have to move cables to switch between inverter and generator and then switch circuit breakers.

Others upgrade for larger sizes... some start small with a 300W inverter for just specific things (say a television). I went middle of the road with a 1000W inverter that runs most things except my microwave. Some go big with 2000W and 3000W inverters and go so far as being able to run their A/C for short periods of time.

And/or, some upgrade to a pure sign wave inverter that motors are happier with.

Hope that helps!
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
Your camper has 2 types of electricity:

- 12v which basically runs lights and some other operations depending on the camper (slides and jacks and whatnot)

- 120v which is essentially household plugs

Your camper’s battery puts out 12v and your 12v system “always” works.

To get 120v, you plug into shore power at your destination (campsite or home). OR you run a generator. OR you can install an inverter that converts 12v to 120v.

The reason to do this is that so you can use your 120v outlets while not connected to shore power and without running a generator (stinky and noisy ).

How you install the inverter is up for lots of debate. Some people run extension cords from them. Other people dedicate specific outlets to be inverter-based. Other people tie into specific circuit breakers. And others cheat- I would take the extension cord off of my inverter and run it to the shore power plug on the camper; to manage load, I turn off specific breakers.

As for “upgrading” inverters, lots of times people change how they’re wired up. My back-feeding cheat is hellishly annoying to have to move cables to switch between inverter and generator and then switch circuit breakers.

Others upgrade for larger sizes... some start small with a 300W inverter for just specific things (say a television). I went middle of the road with a 1000W inverter that runs most things except my microwave. Some go big with 2000W and 3000W inverters and go so far as being able to run their A/C for short periods of time.

And/or, some upgrade to a pure sign wave inverter that motors are happier with.

Hope that helps!


you might add that a lot of 12vDC is required to do much with an inverter...
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
you might add that a lot of 12vDC is required to do much with an inverter...
Mch5jdm...

just to put this conversation in context...

1,000 watts (about what a small microwave would consume) of AC @ 120 V uses about 8.3 amps of current... not much
BUT using an inverter (DC to AC)
to obtain that you have to pull about 80 amps of DC current at 12.6 Volts DC

SO

a fully charged 12 V battery will discharge to an unusable point in just a few hours at that rate of discharge...

Conclusion... you have to add up the watts you think you need to sustain the ac appliances you wish to use and come up with the size of inverter and enough battery power to sustain that usage. The alternative is to purchase an inverter/generator with enough watts and purchase the fuel, either gasoline or propane to power this genset for as long as necessary.
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by AZ Pete View Post
you might add that a lot of 12vDC is required to do much with an inverter...


Thanks. I was able to edit it.
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Old 04-10-2018, 05:46 PM   #6
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Okay. This was very useful that I even printed it out for future reference. Thanks again.

On a side note, I think I’ll stay with what I have now since I rarely boondock.
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Old 04-10-2018, 05:54 PM   #7
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A good way to estimate 12V DC current is to use 10A DC from the battery for each 1A AC from the inverter. The figure you can use 1/2 the AHr capacity of your battery.
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