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Old 09-17-2016, 05:49 PM   #1
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CAT 1000 Watt Inverter

I purchased a CAT 1000 Watt Inverter to supply a little dry camping/boondocking power. It comes with heavy gauge battery cables with alligator clips. A YouTube video shows this inverter connected to the battery of a vehicle. I am thinking about simply connecting this inverter to my Flagstaff MicroLite's RV battery and running a heavy duty extension cord from the inverter's 110 volt receptacle into my trailer with a multiplug connected to the other end. I can then plug in three items while making sure not to exceed 1000 watts. I have a battery meter that will tell me when the RV battery discharges to 1/3 capacity or so. I can then fully recharge the RV battery with my towing vehicle and repeat. In doing so I will learn how long the RV battery will last under certain loads and make adjustments accordingly. I would appreciate all comments and concerns regarding this set-up. I am planning a trip to see the fall foliage of the Ozark Mountains in late October and early November. I may find myself in some quiet campsite without power and am preparing. I choose not to buy a portable generator. Thanks!
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Old 09-17-2016, 06:24 PM   #2
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Depending on your battery size it may take quite a while to recharge with the tow vehicle. Those lines are notoriously small and only push 4-7 amps. If you have a 75 amp battery and take it down to 25 amps (and it is recommended that you don't go below 50%) you would have to run the tow vehicle a good 6-7 hours to recover your charge. Not a particularly efficient way to recharge the battery. Small generator would be a much better choice.

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Old 09-17-2016, 07:14 PM   #3
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Aaron, thanks for the information. I won't let the RV battery go below 50% charge. The inverter will be used primarily to operate small appliances on an as-needed basis, such as a fan and coffee pot, and to keep a residential refrigerator cold by plugging it in intermittently. I will dry camp for only a night or two, and will have a spare, fully charged, RV battery just in case. I learned to swim by being thrown into the deep end of the pool. I guess I'll learn to dry camp the same way. I know a small generator is probably a better way, but I really don't want to mess with gas cans and the noise, whatever the decibel level may be. This is as close to "roughing it" that this old boy can handle.
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:49 PM   #4
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Here is a website with a calculator on it that will give you an idea of how long the battery will last on a given load. The small 2500 watt Champion Inverter Generators are pretty quiet and will run 6-7 hours on a tank of gas, they are pretty affordable.

Let us know how it works out for you.

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Old 09-17-2016, 08:15 PM   #5
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Thanks, Aaron. You 'da man! ��
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Old 09-17-2016, 08:26 PM   #6
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Also consider that you can charge fairly fast from your tow vehicle by using regular jumper cables attached between the tow vehicle and the rv battery. If you run the vehicle at idle with no accessories on (headlights, A/C, rear defroster, etc.) you can probably get 35-40 amps of charging current. That would give an 80 amp hour rv battery a full charge from 50% discharged in about 75 - 90 minutes.
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Old 09-17-2016, 08:36 PM   #7
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A college professor of mine advised that the secret to success is to surround yourself with people much smarter than yourself. This forum is proving it. Thanks everyone for all the good advice. I am getting ready to watch my Texas Longhorns take on Cal-Berkley. Hook 'em Horns!
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Old 09-18-2016, 12:20 PM   #8
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Don't use an electric coffee pot. Go to Walmart and buy a stove top percolator style coffee pot. Electric coffee pots are one of those amp hogs that can easily be replaced by a cheap percolator.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:37 PM   #9
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inverter

Check the tag on the coffee pot for wattage or amp draw. Most drip style will use 600 -700 watts alone. The fridge will run on the inverter but the startup will draw many times the running amps. A little larger inverter would do you good. Also, have you room for a second battery. If the battery is not too old you can add another of the same size in parrallel to double your capacity and maybe not require a recharge if you are not staying in one place long.
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:04 PM   #10
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If you leave the inverter connected and powered on the inverter itself will draw down the battery. It would be better to have it off when not in use.
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:11 PM   #11
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good thought

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Originally Posted by hbillsmith View Post
If you leave the inverter connected and powered on the inverter itself will draw down the battery. It would be better to have it off when not in use.
Will the inverter draw battery power if the inverter is switched off?
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Old 09-18-2016, 07:37 PM   #12
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Will the inverter draw battery power if the inverter is switched off?
Switched off, no. Left on but with nothing plugged in it will pull a very small amount. Depending on the unit it will likely be under an amp.

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Old 09-19-2016, 11:16 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bluepill View Post
Also consider that you can charge fairly fast from your tow vehicle by using regular jumper cables attached between the tow vehicle and the rv battery. If you run the vehicle at idle with no accessories on (headlights, A/C, rear defroster, etc.) you can probably get 35-40 amps of charging current. That would give an 80 amp hour rv battery a full charge from 50% discharged in about 75 - 90 minutes.
Not going to happen. The voltage at the discharged battery determines the amount of current that will flow even if there is zero resistance in the cables.

If the RV battery is down around 50%, it can be charged at about 20% of its AH capacity. A Group 24 battery of nominal 80AH capacity will have a maximum charge rate of 20 amps, and probably will self-limit to 16 amps. To charge at 16 amps will require the alternator output be above 14.4 volts. Chances are very slim the alternator will go that high for more than about 5-10 minutes (to protect the TV battery from over-charging). So the charge rate even through battery cables will be on the order of 10-15 amps after the first 5 minutes.

It will take nearly 3 hours of TV engine on to charge the RV battery from 50% to 90%. It will take at least an additional 2 hours to get to 100%. If you don't believe me, put an ammeter on the RV battery charge line, and see how fast it tapers off.

All of which goes to show that solar is a very effective way to keep batteries charge because of a better fit with the real charging profile of deep cycle batteries. You typically have a 5-12 amp charge current going for 6 hours a day.

Running a generator to recharge a battery is slightly faster because you can get a converter (a WFCO is not your best bet) in your RV that is better tuned for recharging deep cycle batteries (will put out a sustained 14.4V in bulk mode). Even then, the best you can do is a little over 2 hours generator time for 50%-90%. It's not worth running the generator to get above 90%. But the generator also gives you capacity to run some 120V stuff while you are recharging batteries.

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Old 09-20-2016, 05:12 PM   #14
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As others have said, definitely avoid running any sort of electric heating Appliance off your batteries. Inverter or no inverter a heating Appliance will want to pull between 700 and 1000 Watts of power and that will kill your batteries really quickly.

I definitely would not try to run any meaningful inverter off just one battery. And you didn't specify I don't think whether you're looking at a pure sine wave or a modified sine wave inverter. A modified sine wave inverter may be a little easier on your batteries but the quality of the electricity produced will not be as good and therefore not as healthy for sensitive electronics are electric motors.

Finally, as I always do, let me put in a plug for solar. A 200 watt Renogy.com or WindyNation.com solar system can set you back as little as $325 plus some screws and Dicor. And the reward will be that you never have to worry about the state of charge of your batteries in ordinary use. Again please note I said batteries. We actually ran three group 24 batteries which is about the same as 2 golf cart batteries or two group 31 batteries, but not as much a true deep cycle battery. I ran a pure sine wave 2000 watt inverter with a remote on off switch so that could be turned off anytime we were not using it. It has to be mounted as close to the batteries as possible and needs a good solid 120 volt connection to the coach or the parts of it that you want to power. We were mostly off grid so we just disconnected our converter charger, let solar charge the batteries and Ran the inverter power to the entire coach. You have to be careful that your water heater is not on electric and your refrigerator is not on electric or Auto as those two are both too much High use to be turned on with a batteries. Although the refrigerator is only a four or five amp draw that is still too much drain to run off your batteries for extended periods.

With that system my wife could run a small hair dryer with no problem and we could run the thousand watt microwave oven for short durations of heating food. Mostly we would power the coach off the pure sine wave inverter for the phone chargers and laptop chargers and Camera Chargers, radio chargers, the TV, the DirecTV box Etc

Good luck with your camping, and Remember buy batteries and buy solar. Tom
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Old 09-20-2016, 05:31 PM   #15
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I am physically disabled and do not have normal strength in my hands or legs. So the easier the better for me. I usually camp at sites with full hook-ups. But my adventurous spirit draws me to a few days of dry camping. Money is not an issue; I am not rich but comfortable. Ease and simplicity is more important to me. I will research solar power; that seems to be more "green" and reliable. I don't intend on using high wattage appliances, just fans and other creature comforts. The CAT 1000 Inverter is a modified sine wave device.
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hector517 View Post
I am physically disabled and do not have normal strength in my hands or legs. So the easier the better for me. I usually camp at sites with full hook-ups. But my adventurous spirit draws me to a few days of dry camping. Money is not an issue; I am not rich but comfortable. Ease and simplicity is more important to me. I will research solar power; that seems to be more "green" and reliable. I don't intend on using high wattage appliances, just fans and other creature comforts. The CAT 1000 Inverter is a modified sine wave device.
Solar has many advantages and few disadvantages. The single largest disadvantage being shade...

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Old 09-20-2016, 09:10 PM   #17
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inverterr

I added a smaller 150 watt pure sine wave inverter to power my tele and direct tv box. Neither of them would work on msw inverter. Use the mod sine wave inverter for appliances.
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Old 09-25-2016, 01:47 PM   #18
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I did some experimenting this weekend with the CAT 1000 Watt Inverter. First, the nice fellas at Interstate Battery where I purchased a Marine/RV SRM24, 12 volt battery for my MicroLite 21FBRS, told me I could connect the inverter directly to the RV battery without first disconnecting the RV's battery wires. He assured me the connections would not arc; he was correct. I then connected a heavy duty extension cord to the inverter and ran the cord into the RV. I was not connected to shore power at this time. I then plugged in various electronics and appliances to the extension cord one at a time. Everything worked just fine, including an RV sized residential refrigerator. I unplugged the fridge and plugged in a WindMachine fan and my laptop for 6 hours without a problem. I disconnected everything and checked the RV battery's charge with a battery charger; it was still at 100%. I am now quite comfortable about dry camping for a day or two, which I will do next weekend at the Padre Island National Seashore. All is good! For those if you in Iowa, please stay high and dry. My prayers are with you.
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Old 09-30-2016, 09:49 AM   #19
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Just get one of these and take all the mystery out of what's going on when your charging batteries.
https://youtu.be/ZWshTRjsqHY
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