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Old 07-14-2020, 09:31 AM   #1
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Inverters! Worth it?

Just wondering if inverters are even worth it. Of course My kids like to plug in their phones and this was a bit of a pain trying to do from car. But will the inverter drain my battery as we go to unserviced sites. Let me know your thoughts.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:43 AM   #2
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Just wondering if inverters are even worth it. Of course My kids like to plug in their phones and this was a bit of a pain trying to do from car. But will the inverter drain my battery as we go to unserviced sites. Let me know your thoughts.
Plugging in phones should not require an inverter. If you have a 12 volt system in your camper, most phones can be charged from USB adapters running off 12 volts.

A typical inverter takes a 12 volt DC input and outputs 120 volts AC. The only reason I can see needing an inverter in your camper would be to run 120 volt AC appliances. And yes, an inverter running a high power appliance will drain your battery fast.

What are you expecting you would power off an inverter, if you had one?
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:48 AM   #3
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Plugging in phones should not require an inverter. If you have a 12 volt system in your camper, most phones can be charged from USB adapters running off 12 volts.

The only reason I can see needing an inverter would be to run 120 volt AC appliances. And yes, an inverter running a high power appliance will drain your battery fast.

What are you expecting you would power off an inverter, if you had one?
Either a kettle or a breakfast sandwich maker.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:55 AM   #4
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Plugging in phones should not require an inverter. If you have a 12 volt system in your camper, most phones can be charged from USB adapters running off 12 volts.

A typical inverter takes a 12 volt DC input and outputs 120 volts AC. The only reason I can see needing an inverter in your camper would be to run 120 volt AC appliances. And yes, an inverter running a high power appliance will drain your battery fast.

What are you expecting you would power off an inverter, if you had one?
Also the USB adapters are they wired directly to battery? New to this off the grid camping.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:56 AM   #5
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Either a kettle or a breakfast sandwich maker.
If thatís what you want to run, then an inverter would be worth it. You would need a lot a battery capacity, or solar panels to recharge the battery.

Another option would be to bring along a small generator, or use a propane stove instead of electric appliances.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:58 AM   #6
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Also the USB adapters are they wired directly to battery? New to this off the grid camping.
I would install 12 volt or USB outlets in the camper and wire to the battery. If you use USB outlets, be sure they can be switched off, since they consume some power even if nothing is plugged in to them.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:58 AM   #7
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Either a kettle or a breakfast sandwich maker.

those are resistance heat, will require at LEAST 1500 watt inverter and will zap your batteries in no time. For that buy a generator. What size/type batteries do you have? I would not even think of dry camping without at least two batteries.
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:02 AM   #8
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Both of these are high current items and will require a large inverter and will drain the standard RV ( supplied) battery quickly. For example if you have the standard supplied dual purpose battery it will have about 80Ahr of capacity of which you should not use more than about 45AHr. If your sandwich maker is 800W is will draw about 7 amps @120VAC if the power is supplied via an inverter, the inverter will draw 70A @12VDC. This means you can run the sandwich maker a little more than 30 mins and you have depleted your battery. The demand from the 12V source is approx 10 times the demand from the inverter 120VAC demand.
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:33 AM   #9
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Both of these are high current items and will require a large inverter and will drain the standard RV ( supplied) battery quickly. For example if you have the standard supplied dual purpose battery it will have about 80Ahr of capacity of which you should not use more than about 45AHr. If your sandwich maker is 800W is will draw about 7 amps @120VAC if the power is supplied via an inverter, the inverter will draw 70A @12VDC. This means you can run the sandwich maker a little more than 30 mins and you have depleted your battery. The demand from the 12V source is approx 10 times the demand from the inverter 120VAC demand.
So really not worth taking either of those small appliances when off the grid.
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:34 AM   #10
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Either a kettle or a breakfast sandwich maker.
You better have at least two 6v golf cart batteries or AGM or Lithium batteries.
Something like a coffee maker or sandwich maker are high draw items and will deplete a single basic dual-purpose marine battery.
An inverter isn't a magic box. If you're dry camping or boondocking, you'll need to recharge the battery someway. Either an inverter generator or by solar.
We have a 150w inverter for watching tv or recharging electronic devices since out TT doesn't have USB ports. But I have a 2000w inverter generator.
Why would you need an electric kettle when you have a stove?
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:42 AM   #11
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Just wondering if inverters are even worth it. Of course My kids like to plug in their phones and this was a bit of a pain trying to do from car. But will the inverter drain my battery as we go to unserviced sites. Let me know your thoughts.
yes, that's exactly the Inverter's job - draining your battery(s) of 12v power in order to 'make' 120v power...

that's a tongue-in-cheek answer, but it IS really true. Now, for all of us with inverters, we know their value - having 120v power when you need and want it - but, you also learn to appreciate the battery bank, and make sure to also keep it recharged along the way, or else you won't have the batteries for even 12v power.

An inverter is not needed for some things, like device chargers that can run from a 12v round outlet, since it is already receiving power from the batteries, but your outlets are not going to give you anything if you are not plugged into Shore Power. An inverter would simply give you the easy way to bypass 'needing' Shore Power as often. But, you still have to have a way to recharge those batteries, so I see a generator in your Future.
Solar might could help, too, but that's a different subject for another time : )

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Old 07-14-2020, 10:44 AM   #12
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I will agree with what others have said. For phone charging you need a 12v to USB. If your camper has the "cigarette lighter" type socket, then just use an automotive type charger that plugs in there. Otherwise, you can wire in 12v USB outlets to any 12v circuit coming off the converter.

As far as running any electrical heating appliance, you need a big inverter and large battery capacity. You've got a couple choices. Get "stove top" equivalents of those items. Percolator to replace the kettle, and a campfire or stovetop sandwich grill. If you don't have a propane stove in your camper, then get a campstove. OR small, 2,000 - 3,000 watt generator.

I've got this little baby for $350 and it works great. It does have USB charging ports on it, but running a generator for hours for no other reason than to charge phones is a bit much, IMHO:
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:51 AM   #13
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Inverter are nice, I have one in my PU. But they have there limitations. An inverter that would run a coffee pot (1500W) are not that cheap and need large battery banks.

Some "electronics" do not like the "modified sine wave" produced by less expensive inverters and want a "pure sine wave" inverter to function properly. Most heaters or hand tools will work fine on either.

Inverter are not the most efficient way to make the power you want. Most are only maximum of 90% efficient (that is at a approx 80% load of the inverter). Changing between one voltage and another has parasitic losses ie produce heat. Unless turned "Off" or disconnected they will still slowly drain your battery.

My 2 cents.

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Old 07-14-2020, 11:01 AM   #14
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I have a 2000W inverter. I use it for my microwave oven, coffee makers and other 120VAC appliances. I also have 200AH of lithium batteries and 700W of solar so using these items were part of the plan. If you plan out the size of your batteries to accommodate the power draw that an inverter will take, then you are fine. If you don't, you will be killing your batteries.
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Old 08-21-2020, 02:13 PM   #15
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I have a 2018 HW 296. Installed an inverter and LOVE IT! Installed a 2000 watt inverter and switched the batteries to two 6 volts from Sams Club. Instead of doing electrical wiring for circuits or putting in a transfer switch which I have no business trying, I simply plug the trailer into the inverter and flip the breaker at the panel so it does not try to recharge itself.

I charge batteries for 30min-hr in the morning at breakfast via generator, use everything but the micro and A/C all day long (TV, DVD, Chargers, outlets, etc.) and then charge for 30min-1hr at night before quite time. Run inverter all night as well until morning.

We are a family of 5, so it does get some use for sure.
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