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Old 06-30-2022, 09:26 AM   #1
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Inverter/Converter isolation

So I am probably just not searching for the right terms. I am looking at installing a small inverter in my camper. Does anyone make a switch that will isolate the converter when the inverter is on? An all in one, power on to inverter so power to converter is off and flip the switch and inverter is off and converter is back on? I know I can just throw breakers but I want to make it simple and keep my family out of the breaker box. I can do it with selector switches and relays, but someone must make a nice clean pre-packaged option for RVs.
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Old 06-30-2022, 09:54 AM   #2
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So I am probably just not searching for the right terms. I am looking at installing a small inverter in my camper. Does anyone make a switch that will isolate the converter when the inverter is on? An all in one, power on to inverter so power to converter is off and flip the switch and inverter is off and converter is back on? I know I can just throw breakers but I want to make it simple and keep my family out of the breaker box. I can do it with selector switches and relays, but someone must make a nice clean pre-packaged option for RVs.
If this is a small inverter then don't try to feed the whole RV with it.

What things are you trying to run? If just a few outlets then get a small transfer switch and put it on just that circuit after the panel breaker and feed 1 side from the panel and the other from the inverter. This is truly simple operation as you won't need to even flip a switch to toggle functions.

If your goal is to feed everything but the converter (not a small inverter then anymore most likely) you should probably look at reworking your panel to accommodate such or just disable your inverter entirely and get an inverter / charger combo unit as it will then solve the problem of enabling or disabling charging.
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Old 06-30-2022, 09:55 AM   #3
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1 switch to toggle both 120v and 12v in the same body is a recipe for disaster. a failure could then put 120v onto the 12v side which would be dangerous. there is a reason they are run separately.
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Old 06-30-2022, 10:05 AM   #4
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Small as in not enough for the microwave, AC or 110v fireplace. Generally thinking to power all 110v receptacles, there aren't that many. TV, DVD player, electronics charging that type of stuff.

AC power and DC power is run together all the time, there's no danger there its just good practice for simplicity to have them separately run. Good wire management. I use relays all the time that use DC control power to switch AC loads, thats generally what I'm thinking here. But searching transfer switches just gives me broader information on generator hookups etc.
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Old 06-30-2022, 10:11 AM   #5
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Small as in not enough for the microwave, AC or 110v fireplace. Generally thinking to power all 110v receptacles, there aren't that many. TV, DVD player, electronics charging that type of stuff.

AC power and DC power is run together all the time, there's no danger there its just good practice for simplicity to have them separately run. Good wire management. I use relays all the time that use DC control power to switch AC loads, thats generally what I'm thinking here. But searching transfer switches just gives me broader information on generator hookups etc.
Those relays surely are designed for proper isolation of the 2 sides though just like the inverter itself the dc side and ac side aren't intermingled.

You probably only have 1 or 2 circuits in the RV that feed the outlets so use a transfer switch like this https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-80809...7-93deae8f9840

Feed it the inverter on 1 side and from the breaker in the panel on the other side and the output goes to the outlet string. This will make it fully automated and you won't feed inverter power to any other circuits. Even if the converter is on the same breaker as some outlets you just leave the converter fed directly from the breaker and it won't get fed by the output of the transfer switch.
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Old 06-30-2022, 10:11 AM   #6
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It would be much easier, more reliable and cost effective to add your small inverter and wire the output to one or two added dedicated outlets. Also remember when hooking up. for every amp of 120VAC current you use from the inverter, you will draw 10-11 ADC from the battery. Choose wire gauge appropriately.
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Old 06-30-2022, 10:54 AM   #7
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It would be much easier, more reliable and cost effective to add your small inverter and wire the output to one or two added dedicated outlets. Also remember when hooking up. for every amp of 120VAC current you use from the inverter, you will draw 10-11 ADC from the battery. Choose wire gauge appropriately.
X2 on this,
And also if you disable the converter when the invertor is on, i believe you will also be disabling the battery recharge link.
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Old 06-30-2022, 11:09 AM   #8
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X2 on this,
And also if you disable the converter when the invertor is on, i believe you will also be disabling the battery recharge link.
if using the inverter due to not having external power then there is no recharging to be done.
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Old 06-30-2022, 11:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Phreak480 View Post
You probably only have 1 or 2 circuits in the RV that feed the outlets so use a transfer switch like this https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-80809...7-93deae8f9840

Feed it the inverter on 1 side and from the breaker in the panel on the other side and the output goes to the outlet string. This will make it fully automated and you won't feed inverter power to any other circuits. Even if the converter is on the same breaker as some outlets you just leave the converter fed directly from the breaker and it won't get fed by the output of the transfer switch.
I did exactly this and it's wonderful.
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Old 06-30-2022, 11:21 AM   #10
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That said, I know I've seen RVs with a light switch where you can either run the fireplace OR the microwave since they're on the same 15amp breaker in some rigs.

I found this on Google, so I don't know how accurate it is:

https://www.finehomebuilding.com/for...20v-a-b-switch

Seems like you'd be able to control the 120v input to the converter or output from the inverter with something like this.

But really, the Xantrex auto-transfer switch is so much simpler.
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Old 06-30-2022, 11:42 AM   #11
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Wiring of the automatic transfer switch (ATS) will depend a lot upon what type of ATS it is. Most generator ATS have the generator input set as the default - so any time there is power on the generator input to the ATS it will switch over to that side.

Your shore power inlet should be wired to the "default" side of the ATS. Whenever there is shore power present, the ATS will switch to it. Your inverter should be wired to the opposite side, so that the ATS will switch to inverter output only when there is no shore power.

On the outlet side of the ATS, you want to connect only those loads that you will want powered by the inverter. You may need a small, branch circuit breaker panel for this - or if you have a 50 amp power center, you could run one leg of it off the ATS output.

All other AC loads, including the converter, that you want to run only from shore power would stay connected to the shore power leg, on the inlet side of the ATS.

I've been seriously thinking about swapping my 30 amp power center out for 50 amp and installing a built-in inverter just because I think it would be really cool, but I only boondock about 1 week total per year, so it's hard to justify the cost.
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Old 06-30-2022, 01:08 PM   #12
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Some sort of automatic transfer switch is what I'm looking for, I didn't know if there was a product made for that specifically.

Ultimately, I may just use a relay. Coil triggered by the 110v from the inverter, cut off the power to the converter. Relay would just need to be sized for the max draw of the converter.
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Old 06-30-2022, 01:10 PM   #13
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Some sort of automatic transfer switch is what I'm looking for, I didn't know if there was a product made for that specifically.

Ultimately, I may just use a relay. Coil triggered by the 110v from the inverter, cut off the power to the converter. Relay would just need to be sized for the max draw of the converter.
The transfer switch i posted in a previous reply would work for your needs. It's designed for such.
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Old 06-30-2022, 01:29 PM   #14
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The transfer switch i posted in a previous reply would work for your needs. It's designed for such.
Thanks, scrolled right by.
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Old 06-30-2022, 02:01 PM   #15
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The most elegant solution not yet mentioned is instead of installing just an inverter, install an inverter/charger. Defeat or remove your converter. Problem solved. Intercept the AC line between your ATS and the panel, put the inverter electrically there. Then, the inverter can use or replenish your DC source automatically depending on outside AC presence.
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Old 06-30-2022, 02:08 PM   #16
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The most elegant solution not yet mentioned is instead of installing just an inverter, install an inverter/charger. Defeat or remove your converter. Problem solved. Intercept the AC line between your ATS and the panel, put the inverter electrically there. Then, the inverter can use or replenish your DC source automatically depending on outside AC presence.
Actually already mentioned.
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Old 06-30-2022, 02:47 PM   #17
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I have a 'whole house' Inverter/Charger. There are three High 120v amp loads that I had to disable while on battery/inverter power.
  1. Converter/Charger
  2. Electric Hot Water heater (Still have 12v power to propane side of the hot water heater.)
  3. A/C cooling

I disconnected the first two. The A/C is switched off with the circuit breaker as I sometimes power the A/C with the inverter or shore power.
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Old 06-30-2022, 07:42 PM   #18
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The most elegant solution not yet mentioned is instead of installing just an inverter, install an inverter/charger. Defeat or remove your converter. Problem solved. Intercept the AC line between your ATS and the panel, put the inverter electrically there. Then, the inverter can use or replenish your DC source automatically depending on outside AC presence.
That seems like the perfect solution but Holy crap, expensive! I'll have to dig into the wiring to see what I actually have room for. Now is the time for a system redesign anyways, going lithium.
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