Adding an inverter/ converting electrical

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

  1. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    You could have all the outlets working when not on shore power but not for long.
     
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    I'm still unclear on why you need 110 outlets for what you're wanting to do. If you have a 2 or 3-way fridge, running it on LP will only require 12v for controls and ignition (unless it has a pilot light). Recharging phones and such can usually be done in USB or 12v outlets, unless you have flashlights or lanterns designed for 110. (our Maglights and electric lanterns all use batteries, and we have LP and white gas lanterns as well, making sure we have batteries and extra fuel on hand). The items you mentioned, such as phones, step down/convert from 110 for charging, so expending energy inverting from 12v to 110 and back down with their adapters seems wasteful, especially if you're under limited conditions.
    We run 2 solar systems now. We still have the 60 watts of solar panels we had on our popup, so those are used to charge a Goal Zero Yeti 150 separately from the trailer battery, which we use a Zamp 160 to charge; we have dual 6v batteries. When we had the popup, we only had the one solar panel, so had to decide which battery to charge, camper or free standing.
    We added a 12v outlet to the popup, and used an adapter to charge cell phone or Kindle, until we basically switched to the Goal Zero battery for those. (We wore out the first version, the Yeti is newer, and our current one is a generation behind.) Our small TT does have a 12v outlet, but not in a handy place, we have to use an extension cord to run the Endless Breeze fan where it's useful. It has USB outlets too, but we disconnected them this year, for a couple of reasons. Besides being in a spot that is difficult for me to reach, we did not know if they were a vampire draw even when not in use, since they step down the 12v; also, they seem to go bad with some regularity, from reports on here and other forums I read.
    We use the Yeti to charge Kindles, cell phone, and run my sound machine (to cover my tinnitus) at night; we can also run the fan and an LED lantern or light bar anywhere we need them. Since the Yeti can remain plugged into the solar panel all the time (the cord run through a window screen), we've done well this year, with the Yeti never getting low (Until I discovered I could run the cord outside, I was hauling the Yeti outside to charge it.) If we needed to charge or run more, such as tablets, we'd get a larger Yeti. The Yeti does have a 110 outlet on it, but I've never needed to use it for anything, since we're well adapted to dry camping routines.
     
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  3. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

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    As noted, why do you need 120V AC? There has been no stated needs. Phones, computers, lights... they can all run and charge on 12V DC. Please list the specific things that need 120V AC. There are all sorts of folks who live full time on 12V DC and they have all the bells and whistles and no inverter.
     
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  4. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Active Member

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    Engel frig runs on 12V, very frugal in Frig mode, less frugal in Freezer mode.

    Some things can be procured in 12VDC, such as laptop chargers and charger for my Nikon D3300's batteries.

    I switch my USB outlets off when not in use, to avoid parasitic drain.
     
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  5. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    Same here, I installed a switch in the line feeding my USB ports so the pretty blue lights dont waste any of my electrons.
     
  6. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    You could run those pretty blue lights on a lemon battery:smiley:
     
  7. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    I dont generally have many lemons along when I camp.
     
  8. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    They would only light the blue lights not charge your phone.
     
  9. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    I understood that. I sometimes have limes along when I camp. They should be similarly as acidic and could power the lights.
     
  10. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    I don't see why not
     
  11. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    ok thanks everyone. Tons to sift through here.

    my thought is that I could upgrade the electrical in the trailer to enable use of outlets when camping with no shore power.
    Second benefit is that we are experiencing regular power outages in PG&E now(2 in 1 month) for 2-3 days at a time. I could run an extension cable into the house and run some lamps, the router, the small fridge etc and have some level of comfort.

    Add a solar panel or 2 and we’d have some longevity from the batteries.

    I could buy a generator but don’t want to.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  12. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    With all due respect you seem not to have a handle on the capabilities of such a setup.
     
  13. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    I don’t disagree, that’s why I’m asking for advice
     
  14. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    But you are getting advice that should have convinced you by now.
     
  15. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    Most folks don’t agree that it’s the easiest/ best way to go, and that’s fine.

    Generous and Nevarwynn both gave input that leads towards a solution that I’m hoping for. Otherwise I feel like I’ve gone to a Ford dealership looking for a commuter car and picked out a truck only to be told I shouldn’t buy that, I should by a fiesta cos it’s more fuel efficient.That’s great but I want to drive a truck to work everyday.

    I am going to spend $1000-$1500 on some kind of backup at home. The GoalZero Yetti 1400 maybe. Or I can spend some money on the trailer electrical, add a couple of solar panels and upgrade a setup I’ll use more.
     
  16. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Or you could do some research into the situation and take advice from a popup group for what its worth. ( some of it is worth a lot some not)
     
  17. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    I dont find your truck vs compact car analogy very fitting. You are clearly intent on a path of action despite numerous recommendations against it. Good luck to you.
     
  18. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    Aladin you’re right. I’d like to be able to run my outlets while not on shore power, that is my intent and is how I started this thread.

    I appreciate the feedback that there are other ways to go, that’s just not what I’d like to do. I don’t mean any offense in my reply.

    Here’s what I was hoping to find out....

    Here’s a better way to do what you’re trying (fill in with other DC solutions as presented above)

    OR

    To do what you intend you’ll need to add 2 more batteries, get some kind of inverter solution wired in X configuration. Buy X piece of equipment.
    Add a solar panel or 2.
    Look out for X issue

    OR
    Here’s a couple of links to get started....


    I can then better understand what I need to either do myself( or likely hire a professional to do) and know roughly what is involved.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  19. Jaygray

    Jaygray New Member

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    Agreed. Running the fridge will kill the batteries in no time, but charging phones and recharging rechargeable batteries can be done much more efficiently DC to DC. Take phone charging as an example. USB ports provide 5v DC output to anything plugged into them. You are proposing to convert 12v DC to 120v AC. Then you plug that little square phone charging brick into the 120v AC and it converts the power back to 5v DC. What’s the alternative? Wire a small bank of 12v DC cigar lighter sockets into your 12v DC system. Then use the phone charging cable you use in the car in your pup.

    Each time you make the AC/DC jump, you lose a substantial percentage of your power in the conversion process. Making it twice, I would guess around 25% of your power is actually making it to the intended device. 75% is lost in the multiple conversions.

    There are tons of options for cigar lighter socket pigtails and mountable plates on eBay and Amazon and they are dirt cheap. You could easily complete the entire project for well under $20. Maybe less than $10 if you already have some scrap wiring and connectors in the garage.
     
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  20. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    To do what you want( house power) you will not be able to carry the amount batteries needed and set them up on the camper. Get dc devices and a generator. Cheaper and will work. Dc for the pup and charging, generator to run ac outlets. There is no real effective cheap way to power stuff like a ac fridge, lamps and a router. You can do it, but it may be easier/cheaper to install a home generator or solar panel system with batteries.
     
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