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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Travel Trailer electrical, - Inverter placement/hookup

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TomC71

Northern Ontario

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Posted: 10/29/22 04:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 23' Terry Taurus. I'm almost never going to use it hooked to an AC power source, and want the AC plugs to work off an inverter I have.

Is there any reason I can't hook the inverter into the system somewhere to do so?

ktmrfs

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 10/29/22 05:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TomC71 wrote:

I have a 23' Terry Taurus. I'm almost never going to use it hooked to an AC power source, and want the AC plugs to work off an inverter I have.

Is there any reason I can't hook the inverter into the system somewhere to do so?


depending on the inverter you may be able to add a transfer switch to go between AC power or inverter power. That's what I've done.

Hint: if you do so make sure the charger is turned OFF!!!!! when the inverter is on. Otherwise the inverter will try to charge the battery, and endless loop down a rabbit hole.


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enblethen

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Posted: 10/29/22 05:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Could install a 30TT receptacle fed from the inverter, adjacent to the shore power cord, plug the cord into it. You must disconnect or turn off the converter.
How are you going to charge the batteries/


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wolfe10

Texas

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Posted: 10/29/22 05:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

enblethen wrote:

Could install a 30TT receptacle fed from the inverter, adjacent to the shore power cord, plug the cord into it. You must disconnect or turn off the converter.
How are you going to charge the batteries/


I would NOT recommend that.

You only want to enable some outlets/appliances to be able to run on the inverter. Certainly not the roof A/C.

Yes, the "details" on the wiring depend on the inverter you choose. Many have a "pass through" feature, so if it receives 120 VAC from shore power or generator, it does not invert, merely "passes the other source through.

Cleanest way is to either use a sub-panel downstream of the inverter with only those things you want to power from the inverter. Need to move not only the hots, but neutrals and grounds from those circuits.

As you get closer to choosing equipment, give us details on that as well as what battery bank you have and what you want to be able to run when on inverter power/dry camping.


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time2roll

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Posted: 10/29/22 06:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TomC71 wrote:

I have a 23' Terry Taurus. I'm almost never going to use it hooked to an AC power source, and want the AC plugs to work off an inverter I have.

Is there any reason I can't hook the inverter into the system somewhere to do so?
Yes. Easy to connect a small inverter maybe 300 watts max. This will run or charge most small items.

Mount behind the breaker panel, use the main 12v feed for power in, and a small transfer switch to connect to each branch circuit as needed.

Be aware of mixed connections such as the fridge and converter. May need to disable these or in the case of the fridge set it to propane only.

Large inverter would need to be closer to the battery and involve pulling wire.

(and yes I have a 300 watt GoPower inverter installed like this)

* This post was edited 10/30/22 09:23am by time2roll *


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BB_TX

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Posted: 10/29/22 08:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just remember that however many amps of 120 vac power you use you need over 10 times that many 12 vdc amps from the battery to run the inverter (due to inverter inefficiency).

SteveAE

Bend, Oregon

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Posted: 10/29/22 09:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We almost are never plugged in. I have a 2000 watt inverter, solar charger and regular charger (I disabled the "stupid converter") under the bed. The bed is in the front of the trailer so it's all close to the four batteries on the tongue allowing for short lengths of heavy wire to connect it all. I started out with a fancy automatic transfer switch, but changed it to a much more reliable manual two position - center off electrical switch. All outlets (including the AC which the inverter can't run but it's doesn't take a rocket scientist to simply not turn it on) are powered which makes life super simple. Wife loves being able to use the microwave. I run the refrigerator and water heater on propane. If we accidentally overload the inverter (which has only happened when I tested it to see what would happen) it simply drops off line until the overload is resolved. It took some time and money to put together, but this systems works well for us. You can get fancy and get an inverter/charger that is smart enough to take power from wherever you have it available (shore power, the batteries or both), but this isn't as economical as a little $70 switch in an electrical box.

TomC71

Northern Ontario

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Posted: 10/30/22 06:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SteveAE wrote:

We almost are never plugged in. I have a 2000 watt inverter, solar charger and regular charger (I disabled the "stupid converter") under the bed. The bed is in the front of the trailer so it's all close to the four batteries on the tongue allowing for short lengths of heavy wire to connect it all. I started out with a fancy automatic transfer switch, but changed it to a much more reliable manual two position - center off electrical switch. All outlets (including the AC which the inverter can't run but it's doesn't take a rocket scientist to simply not turn it on) are powered which makes life super simple. Wife loves being able to use the microwave. I run the refrigerator and water heater on propane. If we accidentally overload the inverter (which has only happened when I tested it to see what would happen) it simply drops off line until the overload is resolved. It took some time and money to put together, but this systems works well for us. You can get fancy and get an inverter/charger that is smart enough to take power from wherever you have it available (shore power, the batteries or both), but this isn't as economical as a little $70 switch in an electrical box.


Thanks Steve. I like it when people who have actually done something share their experiences rather than like some who just spew theory and assumptions based on their imagination.

We run everything off solar and wind right now already in our previous trailer but have it separate from the trailer's electrical system, simply because I didn't trust it not to be working right in the first place. We just picked up a replacement trailer where everything does work, so I wanted to just eliminate a lot of the double work and extra set up I had in the old trailer.

SteveAE

Bend, Oregon

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Posted: 10/30/22 01:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are a lot of great, very experienced, folks on here (pianotuna in, I believe, Ontario comes to mind but there are others as well), and it just might take them some time to see your post and respond.

I considered separating the solar but we get almost all of our power that way so it didn't really make sense. Hence the simple double throw/center off switch to isolate the two works .... for us. Kinda idiot proof....which, as I get older, is a nice thing.

Regards and welcome to the group,
Steve

StirCrazy

Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 10/31/22 06:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TomC71 wrote:

I have a 23' Terry Taurus. I'm almost never going to use it hooked to an AC power source, and want the AC plugs to work off an inverter I have.

Is there any reason I can't hook the inverter into the system somewhere to do so?


I have my 5th wheel set up like that, it is wired directly to the ac side of the fuse box, well almost, I use a transfer switch which automaticly disables my charger when the inverter is active.

Steve


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