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 > Inverter wiring

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Dan East

Viginia

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Posted: 08/08/12 01:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My camper is rather old, as is my converter. My question is if I want to wire an inverter to power the 110 receptacles when shore power is not available, then how do I disable the converter? Is that normally done manually each time you transition from shore to battery?

My converter doesn't have a switch, and I doubt that it is on its own breaker. So it looks like I'm going to have to at least wire in a switch.

smkettner

Southern California

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Posted: 08/08/12 02:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you can add a breaker that is easy. Or add a double breaker in place of a single is also easy.

If you can power just one branch circuit that does not have the converter that also works.

How big is the inverter? What do you want to run? Do you need to power the entire panel?


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donn0128

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Posted: 08/08/12 02:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cheapest is to simply wire new receptacles at each location you want 120VAC without hookups. Plug these directly into the inverter. But you really need a lot of battery power to support an inverter of any size and for any length of time. So first things first. Do an energy audit of what you want to run and for how long and see if you even have enough battery capacity for it.


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mena661

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Posted: 08/08/12 02:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

To give you an idea of power usage, I originally had a cheap, no name 26" LCD TV that drew 73W, sat box drew 47W, and Bluray player drew 25W all running from a 300W PSW inverter. Combined that's 145W. Figuring for inverter losses when converting 12VDC to 120VAC, you're looking at 14.5 amps on the DC side (just divide the watts number by 10). After one hour of use, you'd use 14.5 amp-hours (Ah), 3 hours is 43.5 Ah etc.


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Dan East

Viginia

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Posted: 08/08/12 03:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The only things wired into the 110 is the converter and fridge. The fridge I switch to gas when shore power isn't available, so it's offline. That just leaves the converter. So it makes the most sense to me to just run the inverter through the entire 110 circuit instead of having to move the inverter from place to place depending on what I want to run at the moment (charge a laptop, run the game console, etc).

I'm only looking at a small inverter for now for max efficiency since I won't be drawing much power at all. I will have to turn the inverter off when I'm not using it conserve the battery. The best I can find is around 250 mA on standby, which is the same as running an entire LED light fixture all the time. So I'll be turning it off when I'm not actually using it.

I was just curious on newer rigs with inverters how that's all handled - do you turn them on and of manually? Same with the converter.

mena661

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Posted: 08/08/12 03:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dan East wrote:

The only things wired into the 110 is the converter and fridge. The fridge I switch to gas when shore power isn't available, so it's offline. That just leaves the converter. So it makes the most sense to me to just run the inverter through the entire 110 circuit instead of having to move the inverter from place to place depending on what I want to run at the moment (charge a laptop, run the game console, etc).
This is what I do and I just turn off the converters circuit breaker.

Dan East wrote:


I was just curious on newer rigs with inverters how that's all handled - do you turn them on and of manually? Same with the converter.
They use transfer switches. When you fire up the inverter, the TS switches from its default position to the inverter automatically. I thought about adding a second TS but decided to just install a 30 amp RV receptacle in the shore cord compartment and wire that directly to the inverter (still turning off the converter CB).





Dan East

Viginia

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Posted: 08/08/12 05:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you for the info! Next question. What happens if the inverter is still connected to the 110 and shore power is applied? Are all inverters designed to handle that, or will some fry and some not?

crcr

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Posted: 08/08/12 06:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dan East wrote:

Thank you for the info! Next question. What happens if the inverter is still connected to the 110 and shore power is applied? Are all inverters designed to handle that, or will some fry and some not?


From what I have read, expect smoke and damaged or destroyed equipment if you do that.

I have already installed a basic solar system, but phase two will be to add an inverter. I have about decided to do what the previous poster did -- wire a RV 30A receptacle to the inverter. Then the system is pretty much idiot / mistake proof -- the shore power cord cannot be plugged into shore power and the inverter at the same time, one or the other.

Re the question of should the converter be breakered off when running on solar power, I asked that question of Jack Mayer (website: http://jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm) and the exchange follows below. He has a lot of experience in this, so I respect what he says. However, caveat emptor, this is solely for informational purposes. Your mileage may vary. Do your own due diligence, yada yada ...

Q: When I am charging my battery via my portable solar panel, should I turn the breaker off for my (typically crappo) OEM converter? Or does it not matter whether it is on or off?

A: If you are not on shore power or genset then it won't matter. There is no power from the converter. If you are charging with genset probably the converter is going to take precedence because most of the time it will be putting out a higher voltage. But it won't harm anything to have them both on, and it is common to do so. In your circumstances I would not be concerned about it, but for a larger permanent system you do have to consider efficiency and you do not want the solar "fighting" the converter. But it won't hurt anything.

* This post was edited 08/08/12 06:31pm by crcr *

mena661

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Posted: 08/08/12 06:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Like crcr said, smoke appears. That can't happen if you set it up like I have it though because you HAVE to unplug the shore cord from the inverter in order to get shore power.

pianotuna

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Posted: 08/08/12 07:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Add a plug and outlet for the converter. Unplug it when you wish to use the inverter. Wire an outlet in the shore power cord box that is powered by the inverter. That is what I do.


Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, Magnum 3000 watt PSW inverter.

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