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Old 05-19-2013, 05:12 PM   #1
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Electrical Questions / Issues. I'm confused!

Hey Guys

Just got a 2005 23T Sandpiper Toyhauler.

First camper ever. Few questions for your gurus.

I've built several long range vehicles using multiple batters with an inverter.

I was under the assumption camper/hauler ran like this:

-12V power to run the lights
-110V from the inverter to power the 11ov outlets for small stuff
-Generator needed for AC/Microwave, etc...

As i got it mine runs like this:

-All lights work at all times, assuming battery
-NONE of the 110V outlets work for ANYTHING unless the generator is running or its plugged into shore power.

There is a large inverter setup next to my batteries, and its lights are on, and it APPEARS to be functioning. There is a remote power switch for it in the bedroom, and it is green and on.

Is something wrong here, or is this just how these are setup?

Thanks alot
Kevin
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Diego Bike Guy View Post
Hey Guys

Just got a 2005 23T Sandpiper Toyhauler.

First camper ever. Few questions for your gurus.

I've built several long range vehicles using multiple batters with an inverter.

I was under the assumption camper/hauler ran like this:

-12V power to run the lights
-110V from the inverter to power the 11ov outlets for small stuff
-Generator needed for AC/Microwave, etc...

As i got it mine runs like this:

-All lights work at all times, assuming battery
-NONE of the 110V outlets work for ANYTHING unless the generator is running or its plugged into shore power.

There is a large inverter setup next to my batteries, and its lights are on, and it APPEARS to be functioning. There is a remote power switch for it in the bedroom, and it is green and on.

Is something wrong here, or is this just how these are setup?

Thanks alot
Kevin
You are correct.Most ligfhts are 12 volt DC off of battery.
If you plug into shore power you will have all 120 volt outlets hot and may have one or two 120 volt AC lights.

Most trailers do not have interors.
Now what I think you are seeing is the battery charger for the battery and not a DC to AC invertor.

Now it may be an invertor as I can not see it. So if you do it must convert battery power to AC 120 volt power.
NOw your task is to verify its truly an invertor and if it is fiond out what it powers.

If you are only on Battery power does it still show lights on as you say?

Let us know what you found and if you can take a picture would be helpful.
Thanks
Iggy
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
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Thanks for replying Iggy!

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You are correct.Most ligfhts are 12 volt DC off of battery.
If you plug into shore power you will have all 120 volt outlets hot and may have one or two 120 volt AC lights.
Check

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Most trailers do not have interors.
Huh?

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Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
Now what I think you are seeing is the battery charger for the battery and not a DC to AC invertor.
No, this is definitely an inverter. 2500 Sine Wave inverter. I have wired up several of these on my old baja rigs. I even double checked to make sure. Its definitely an inverter, and has (2) Heavy Duty looking 110v male plugs plugged into them, but i cant follow where i earth they go to!

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If you are only on Battery power does it still show lights on as you say?
Yes Sir, and gives current voltage readout also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
Let us know what you found and if you can take a picture would be helpful.
Thanks
Iggy
I snapped a picture, and trying to load to my FTP now, but its giving me issues.

Thanks
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:14 PM   #4
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Well, i just went outside and tested it.

Unplugged the 2 110v plugs on it, and plugged my iphone charger into it. NOTHING!

The lights are on, and it APPEARS to be working. I guess that answers my questions. Inverter is either toast, or fuse is blown in it, which i have had happen several times on my other ones. This one is bolted down, so the other side isnt ready accessible, but i will check it out tomorrow.

Thanks
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:37 PM   #5
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While most outlets in the interior are operational with 120v shore power connected, there is a good chance that the inverter is wired to just one or two outlets, or one or two of half an outlet. In the same scenario, check all outlets to find the one(s) powered when the external AC power is removed and the inverter is verified on. Warning: the outlets may be hidden behind appliances such as a TV.
If you can't find anything, try items that are still working that shouldn't be, such as if you have a 120v residential type refrigerator that shouldn't work without AC power connected.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:46 PM   #6
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While most outlets in the interior are operational with 120v shore power connected, there is a good chance that the inverter is wired to just one or two outlets, or one or two of half an outlet. In the same scenario, check all outlets to find the one(s) powered when the external AC power is removed and the inverter is verified on. Warning: the outlets may be hidden behind appliances such as a TV.
If you can't find anything, try items that are still working that shouldn't be, such as if you have a 120v residential type refrigerator that shouldn't work without AC power connected.
Thanks Reno

I pulled it all apart today and even though the lights are on and the inverter appears to be running, its not producing any juice.

I went directly to the inverter, unplugged the HD 110v plugs and just plugged in my iphone charger. Tried ALL 4 plugs right on the inverter and NOTHING.

Weird. I will dig more into this.

Might be the inverter fuse or reset. Had this happen on one a few times awhile back. Its screwed down in such a way i cant really get to the fuse area, but i will check it out this week.

This is low down on my priority list for now, but still something i want to handle for sure!

Thanks
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:47 AM   #7
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you may have checked this already....
is the gfci outlet reset on the inverter? I'm assuming yours has a gfci.
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:51 AM   #8
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This is a used camper and it may have an after market inverter.
Can you read any of the model numbers on the inverter?
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:30 AM   #9
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Getting back to your original post...

"-All lights work at all times, assuming battery
-NONE of the 110V outlets work for ANYTHING unless the generator is running or its plugged into shore power."

This is exactly how my TT works. You must be on shore power or running the generator to get the 'regular' house- type outlets to work, as well as any appliances/functions that are not on 12V like the A/C or the TVs.

The lights, and 'essential' electrical such as enough to fire your fridge on LP, water pump, etc run off the battery.

Now, if you ARE plugged into shore power and not getting 110 outlets to work, then you may indeed have an issue with the inverter.

Or am I the one who's missing something here?
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:57 AM   #10
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Getting back to your original post...

"-All lights work at all times, assuming battery
-NONE of the 110V outlets work for ANYTHING unless the generator is running or its plugged into shore power."

This is exactly how my TT works. You must be on shore power or running the generator to get the 'regular' house- type outlets to work, as well as any appliances/functions that are not on 12V like the A/C or the TVs.

The lights, and 'essential' electrical such as enough to fire your fridge on LP, water pump, etc run off the battery.

Now, if you ARE plugged into shore power and not getting 110 outlets to work, then you may indeed have an issue with the inverter.

Or am I the one who's missing something here?
Most RVs don't have an inverter. Apparently his does (and it's not working). That's what you're missing.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:30 AM   #11
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Now, if you ARE plugged into shore power and not getting 110 outlets to work, then you may indeed have an issue with the inverter. Or am I the one who's missing something here?
The reason for the confusion happens often here. Folks use the term "inverter" when they mean "converter" and "converter" when they mean "inverter".

Converters "convert" 120 volt shore power to 12 volt DC to run the lights.

Inverters "Invert" 12 volt DC and boost the output voltage to 120 volt shore power (AC) to power the 110 volt outlets when running on just the batteries.

ALL campers come with "Converters" and some come from the factory with "Inverters." Many have after market inverters installed.

Since his camper is used, it could have an inverter installed, but most likely not; so that is why a model number from what he is referring to is important.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:36 AM   #12
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I've never seen a converter with 110 outlets on it.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:53 AM   #13
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I've never seen a converter with 110 outlets on it.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:56 AM   #14
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Stand corrected.
I missed the follow up post where he said it was a 2500 watt pure sine inverter.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:52 PM   #15
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Thanks Reno
I went directly to the inverter, unplugged the HD 110v plugs and just plugged in my iphone charger. Tried ALL 4 plugs right on the inverter and NOTHING

Don't check voltage with a charger, check it with a volt meter. It may be just that the charger doesn't like the power output of the inverter.
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:15 PM   #16
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If the inverter wouldn't power a phone charger, what use could it possibly be? Inverter no workie!
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:36 PM   #17
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Our CC has an inverter installed... But it only powers the residential fridge from the battery bank... What type of fridge in your TH?

Or I agree with Herk - probably added after purchase.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:46 PM   #18
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Hey Guys

Yeah, its definitely an added INverter. The previous owner has nasal issues and set it up to power a 110 outlet in the main bed area for his snore mask thingy.

I'm about to head out for my first weekend in this, and will further disassemble when i get back to try to fix it.

Thanks
Kevin
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:40 PM   #19
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A little background on me, and what i will be setting up to do.

I've done a TON of backcountry off the grid exploring in Baja (to Cabo 3x) in a Toyota Landcruiser.

I had it setup with 2 huge deep cycle lifeline batteries and ran them through one of these:

Battery Isolators | 12 Volt Battery Isolators | 24 Volt Battery Isolators | Perfect Switch, LLC

I had it all wired up to a 2500 Watt Inverter and occasionally used the inverter to charge stuff, run a coffee maker, and operate a 45qt Engle fridge i ran in the truck.

This is my first camper/hauler so the whole generator thing is brand new to me.

Since the Fridge runs on propane and is fairly efficient, i don't see myself wanting to use the generator for much else other than the A/C when its REALLY hot, but then again, i don't care for camping in extreme heat, so that might not happen either!

I don't see myself watching much TV while i am camping either. Camper doesn't even have a TV and that would be pretty low on the priority list to install anyway!

So.... Basically, i would like to set my camper up like i used to have my other rigs setup. To mostly run off of battery power.

Thoughts on this? Anyone else run these type of setups?

Thanks, i am researching as I type!
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:49 PM   #20
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Sound like you have a fried inverter and other than that it seems like a slick system. Trouble shoot the inverter, check the health of the battery bank and you are good to go. You have more experiance than most of us anyway
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