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Old 03-29-2013, 09:15 PM   #1
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RV Inverter installation location advice.

I couldnt pass up slightly used Cobra CPI 1575W Inverter and remote switch for $50 .
My intention is to power my coffee maker over the sink, and "maybe" microwave a poptart in wee hours (quite time, no geni allowed).
In the afternoon I'll fire up the geni to charging my house batteries back up (+50W solar supplemented).

Now I need to find a place to wire it in my 2010 Georgetown class A .

I know many FR members have done just this and was wondering if any of you have an itemized list of what it took and how you wired it by chance? I don't want to spend more than 200 in accessories/wiring if possible.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:20 PM   #2
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1. Mount closest to the batteries.
2. Your AC output will need to be dedicated to specific outlets. To do that it needs to be dedicated or a special switch installed to run outlets off of invertor of shorte power. That is best done close to the AC circuit breaker panel.

Here is the installion manual. Maybe it can help you decide.

Now you have to look and make the final decision.
Good luck
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:56 AM   #3
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TY for manual. I plan to install in a couple weeks and was searching.

My initial thoughts were to run an extension cord to what I needed when I needed it but it does seam quite ghetto to live this way.
What Ideally I would like to do is have an electrician wire it into my main panel as not to run extension cords but that would probably require some type of Transfer switch. :-(
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:56 PM   #4
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To make it simple they ueually have dedicated outlet in the area you want on the invertor. TV, sat receiver, surround sound or even the microwave.
You do know that the more you hookup to it the faster your batteries will go down....
If your batteries are old it will go down quickly
Test your batteries out and hook the invertor up before you install to an outlet and extension cord to see if they will handle the microwave oven.
What amp hour or cold cranking amps are your batteries?
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:51 PM   #5
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Only a couple INTERSTATE SRM-27's right now160Ah.

The inverter would be used for only the briefest of tasks though and I have battery warning alarm when my DC voltage drops below 12.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:09 PM   #6
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Only a couple INTERSTATE SRM-27's right now160Ah.

The inverter would be used for only the briefest of tasks though and I have battery warning alarm when my DC voltage drops below 12.
160 AH will make coffee with an electric coffee maker but won't last the night if you use heat. Remember the capacity of the bank drops rapidly the more amps you take out at once.

A microwave "may not" work even if you have enough AH and properly sized inverter as some models REQUIRE Pure Sine power and not the cheaper Modified Sine inverters (cheaper ones).
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:49 PM   #7
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Yep, I've read many a thread by you Lou regarding inverters.

At this moment I have.

1. 1 x Cobra cpi1575 $50 (crossing fingers if the micro will work)
2. 1 x 50ft RJ11 Remote (thrown in)
3. 3 x 10ft 4AWG (Copper) welding cables red/black/green. $20
4. 2 x 12VDC Battery terminals w/Disconnect feature. $8
5. 1 x 25ft 12/3 Romex AC wire $25 (No idea where how to wire: Will be talking to an electrician.)


My intention is to keep it disconnected and only turn it on if I absolutely need 120VAC in the coach and no shore power available or gen allowed.
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:31 AM   #8
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your cheapest solution would be to mount the inverter close to the battery. closer is better and cheaper. you must have bigger wire 1500 watts is something on the order of 120 amps at 12v dc. size wire according. buy and use a catastrophic fuse, sized at max current, probably close to 150 amps.
Here's the cheap part, plug your shore power directly into the inverter. There's less voltage drop at 120v than there is at 12v. Open the breakers to things you don't want running on the inverter..fridge 120v, water heater 120v, a/c, converter-charger, etc.


couple of things:

lots of heat created by the inverter must be gotten rid of.

Your batteries may be damaged if you run any significant draw for more than a few moments. Microwave ovens draw a lot more than their rating. ex.900 watt microwave will draw around 1100 watts on startup. Plan on bigger battery bank in the near future.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:30 PM   #9
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Thanks RPAspey for the install advice. I'll test Watt/Amp draw on each device to see where each device stands and mark breakers that must be off/on.
I'll probably build this out on a project board under the Dinette seats which are directly over the house batteries.

I'm not sure how I would get the AC wires to the back of the RV though. I'll need to crawl underneath and see. Maybe running a flexible romex conduit under the coach that would protect the wires against the weather, etc.


I've been debating weather to go with a 4AWG inline 150Amp ANLFuse (60Amp pictured but the one Im looking at says 150Amp) or an automotive 150Amp breaker. The Breaker would be easy to read and easy to disconnect from inside the coach but I'll probably go with the Fuse pictured below since it involves less connection points.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:53 AM   #10
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run the fuses. They'll blow faster on a fault than the breaker will trip. And, you can start out with a low rated fuse, and replace it with a higher rated if needed. Up to max for wire size of course. And its cheaper.

You could get yourself a length of type MC#12 or #14 cable and run that under the cabin, to a rv outlet near the plug. The MC wire is metal clad with 2 conductors and a ground. advantages = cheap and easy. Disadvantages = not as protected. but if you can tuck it up in the framework, no problem.

You could also run 3/4" PVC conduit. put your wire in there. advantages = more protection and could run other wires for other stuff. disadvantage = more money, time, patients, maybe harder to do.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoMoney View Post
Yep, I've read many a thread by you Lou regarding inverters.

At this moment I have.

1. 1 x Cobra cpi1575 $50 (crossing fingers if the micro will work)
2. 1 x 50ft RJ11 Remote (thrown in)
3. 3 x 10ft 4AWG (Copper) welding cables red/black/green. $20
4. 2 x 12VDC Battery terminals w/Disconnect feature. $8
5. 1 x 25ft 12/3 Romex AC wire $25 (No idea where how to wire: Will be talking to an electrician.)


My intention is to keep it disconnected and only turn it on if I absolutely need 120VAC in the coach and no shore power available or gen allowed.
This is how I wired mine:
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:26 AM   #12
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Thanks for Diagram Lou! That's great to have! Here is my conceptual drawing of whats going on in my rv.


Ordered the fuse w/100,150Amp anl fuses.
That MC stuff just might be the ticket. I never knew it came pre wired.
I could literally run that to the back and put an AC replicable next to my 50A.
or
I could run that directly to the breaker panel under the master bead and get my electrician buddy to put it on a dedicated 10-15A breaker.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:49 PM   #13
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Thought I'd finish up this thread with my installation.
Note: The inverter is stuck to the floor with Velcro until I get the right screw lengths for permanent installation.

I tested it with an extension cord too the 1100W magic chef microwave and it does work (voltage drops to 11.5v while cooking at back up to 12.7 after).

I'll start a second thread for phase #2 (A/C wiring) when I decide exactly where & how the conduit is going to run.
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:14 PM   #14
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I know this is an old thread but it contains some bad advice. Don't plug your shore power into your invertor. Remember when you do this you are supplying 110VAC to the units charger which is supplying 12VDC to the battery(s) that your invertor is using to make the AC. Kind of a perpetual motion scenario. This could damage your units charger and your invertor and maybe generate a little smoke. It is not a good idea.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:48 PM   #15
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Nice thoughtful thread. I want to run my two TV's and a Wi-Fi Hi-Def receiver transmitter between the two TVs and power the DISH tailgater before I go to bed. Maybe even run the coffee grinder. I do have house lights which I believe are 12 volt, but they run off the converter (not inverter). In the left rear outside cabinet is where the 50 Amp power cable is located. If I want shore power, I pull it out through an access hole and I plug into the shore power, if I want it to run off of the generator I plug the same plug into a socket in the same cabinet and run the generator.

My thought was to put the inverter in the house battery box under the doorway step and run as heavy duty an electrical extension cord as I can get from the inverter to the back left rear cabinet and plug it in to the house power cord when I want to run the TVs, etc, with shore power non-existent, or limitations on running the generator (like at CA state parks after 8PM).

I can make the refrigerator go to gas only, so I wouldn't be powering it off of the inverter, and I understand I wouldn't be able to run the A/C and other heavy use items. Water pump and lights run on the battery anyway. I'd probably put some sort of circuit breaker in-line, unless the inverter comes with one, just in case someone tried to turn on one of the A/C units.

Any thoughts, I hope I was clear enough.

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Old 09-15-2013, 10:13 PM   #16
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This is what I would do if you can find a way to pull the cables. Install a dedicated outlet where the TV is and run a cable to it from the battery box. Put a plug on it and plug it into the invertor. Then connect the invertor to the battery. Plug a power bar into the dedicated outlet and then plug in whatever you want to run without the generator or shore power. The TV and other electronics will always be running off the invertor even with shore power or the generator so you never have to worry about not using certain things. Hopefully you have a pure sign wave invertor and preferably one with a remote so you can turn it off and not waste power running the fan when you don't need to.
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:01 PM   #17
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I know this is an old thread but it contains some bad advice. Don't plug your shore power into your invertor. Remember when you do this you are supplying 110VAC to the units charger which is supplying 12VDC to the battery(s) that your invertor is using to make the AC. Kind of a perpetual motion scenario. This could damage your units charger and your invertor and maybe generate a little smoke. It is not a good idea.
Actually, it is ok to plug the shore power cord into the inverter IF you make sure that the converter is always off when the inverter is on. I wanted to wire mine that way, but I knew that sooner or later, I would forget to turn the converter off.

I decided that I needed to automate it. I connected a normally closed relay to the inverter. Then, I routed the power to the converter through the relay contacts. Now, whenever the inverter turns on, the relay activates, opens the contacts, and cuts off the power to the converter. The relay cost a whopping $6.

Although it wasn't really required, I spent another few bucks and wired a red neon pilot light across the relay coil, and a green neon pilot light across the converter input. Now, at a quick glance, green means shore power is on, while red means the inverter is on.

All in all, this is probably the simplest, least expensive, and most convenient way to add an inverter.

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Old 09-15-2013, 11:21 PM   #18
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Excellent suggestion but can I wire a light to my wife to warn me when she is going to plug the coffee pot into the invertor power?
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Old 09-16-2013, 11:26 AM   #19
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Once a dedicated inverter outlet has been wired in the rv. Can you keep that appliance plugged in(TV) when using shore power or generator. Would it be like an ups (uninterrupted power supply) system? Or would you have to unplug and replug to an outlet that is sourced by the generator or shore power, and turn off the inverter.
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Old 09-16-2013, 11:31 AM   #20
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Yes, it is exactly like a UPS system. You would leave the TV plugged in all the time.
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