Adding an inverter/ converting electrical

Discussion in 'Wiring' started by anothersmith, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    I want to be able to run my outlets when not plugged in to shore power.

    It seems like the cleanest solution is to install an Inverter with built in ATS.

    Does anyone have any links to good sites showing how to do this?
     
  2. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

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    A generator would git er done a lot easier. Without knowing your power setup pretty hard to make a recommendation.
     
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  3. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    Inverters are terribly inefficient. To get any kind of useful power for your outlets is going to require a very expensive battery set up. What is it you want to run from your outlets?
     
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  4. Kerry L. Calkins

    Kerry L. Calkins New Member

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    I agree with Dan. I use a small 2000 watt quiet generator, which also has other uses.
     
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  5. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Explain what you would use the outlets for.
     
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  6. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid @anothersmith it's just not that simple. Sure, you can get an inverter anywhere, wire it in, and get 120VAC from 12VDC. But, it's a lot more than a wiring how-to, it's more of an iterative design process.

    I was going to begin listing the variables, and suggest which ones to constrain, but in the end, the wiring is the easy part. The desired end state is the biggest issue. If you want to run a coffee pot that's one thing, if you simply want to charge phones, that's another entirely.

    This is why so many have asked you to explain what you want to run so they can make a more educated suggestion. But keep in mind, if you're running a single group 21 battery, an no solar or generator recharge, you're going to likely have issues making it through a weekend without a recharge... perhaps with jumper cables from the TV and idling for a few hours you'd be okay... depending.
     
  7. NavarWynn

    NavarWynn Member

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    The basics are pretty straightforward. a) install a battery bank, b) tap into it with your inverter. Done.

    The details, though? They can complicate things... 1) sizing & load matching - you can cause a fail pretty quickly when your inverter is oversized for the load, or the load is excessive for the bank. OTOH, you could easily watch TV for several evenings with an appropriate sized inverter assuming you have an adequately sized battery bank. Matching the predicted load to your bank (capacity) size is a critical aspect when planning this - have a plan for what your wattage demand is, and calculate what size inverter, and battery bank, is required to accommodate no more than an 80% discharge between charges. Depending on the inverters, this may require several different units for optimal efficiency. 2) Charging - An appropriately sized battery bank for extended loads has to be able to be charged relatively quickly. And no, your converter is not going to do that if you have an off-grid-sized battery bank... not unless you give it a week between discharges... I would say that you should have onboard charging capacity capable of charging your battery bank from 20% SOC (the maximum level of discharge under normal usage) to 100% SOC within, at most, 24hrs, given shore power. I would suggest that a 2000W inverter generator is a good alternative to have - capable of doing this even deep in the outback with a gas can, and doing so reasonably quietly - win win - except to the budget - as they'll cost you $500+ , plus the cost of an additional charger.

    As you haven't given us any indication as to the load (W), or the duration of the load (Wh/AH), it's impossible to advise you further.

    If you can provide us with some indication of the draw and duration, we can probably advise better on the charger/battery bank setup you'll need to achieve satisfactory results.
     
  8. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Active Member

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    just get a generator, in your case
     
  9. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Inverters are terribly inefficient and what many don’t realize is when you use an inverter to to power a device you not only pay for the wattage the devise uses but you are are also charged for the energy the inverter is using to power said devise. You also have to be sure you have sufficient battery bank to run what you want to use and still have power left for your camper to use. Running a coffee pot for instance uses a whole lot of power to operate than you may think. Vrs charging cell phones. So you need to be sure you make an energy audit get the info of how many watts you use in an hour so you can be sure you have sufficient battery bank. I’m with the others to find alternative ways where it would probably be a lot cheaper in the long run. If you don’t want a noisy generator perhaps something like a goal zero yeti which is a separate battery bank so you are not touching the camper battery and you don’t have to worry about generator hours.
     
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  10. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Actually the better inverters are over 90 percent efficient.
     
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  11. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    Great feedback. I get the basics of how it all works, makes total sense. It’s the execution of those details that is harder, and the time to do it.

    My setup is pretty basic, just a pop-up with some outlets. We will really just be charging cell phones, recharging torches and other small devices.

    Currently there are 2 x 6v golf cart batteries in the trailer, haven’t tested them so don’t know their health, but they work.

    I’ll have a 100W solar panel to keep batteries charged and to recharge.

    Side note. We live in Northern California so this is doubling up as our very basic backup power to keep stuff charged, run a lamp or 2 and plug in our small fridge to avoid wasting all of our food.


    Any advice appreciated.
     
  12. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    I think it would be easier to just use items that would run on 12 VDC power.
     
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  13. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    Since you will be charging DC devices, you would be better off keeping things DC.
     
  14. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    running the refrigerator might be a problem.
     
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  15. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Use propane if you can.
     
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  16. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    Yep, running a fridge on batteries will not last very long.
     
  17. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    None of the outlets work in current DC setup, I need to change this
     
  18. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    Agreed, it’s better than throwing food out every outage. With charging from a solar panel at the same time I should get some extra longevity.
     
  19. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    Thanks for all the comments. Staying with the current setup is not what I’m trying to do. I want all of the outlets to work when not plugged in to shore power. Adding additional battery capacity is an option, I could go 4x 6v batteries if needed.

    jon
     
  20. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    I guess I still dont know why you need the ac outlets to work. For phone charging, I installed a double USB outlet. You could do that or install a regular 12 volt outlet.
     

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