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Author Topic: Recommendations for stand alone inverter  (Read 813 times)

Debra17

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Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« on: July 13, 2017, 10:19:30 PM »
I am looking at installing a 1500 to 2000 W stand alone inverter along with a solar power system.  I am looking at the Samlex PST series and would like to get feedback from anyone who has used a Samlex as far as quality/reliability.  Also any other recommendations for a specific brand/model. 

Thanks as always for your feedback :)
Debra & Misty, the cat
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john owens

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 12:04:07 AM »
You can look this model up on Amazon. Look for reviews and folks asking questions about this inverter. Hope this helps...
2011 Winnebago 37F Class A  2012 Unlimited JK 2001 HD roadking  1964 Manx 1641cc buggy 1985 22'Lazy Daze Class C 2007 Chaparrel 26' deck boat..Thats all folks!!

mel s

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 11:52:14 AM »
I am looking at installing a 1500 to 2000 W stand alone inverter along with a solar power system.  I am looking at the Samlex PST series and would like to get feedback from anyone who has used a Samlex as far as quality/reliability.  Also any other recommendations for a specific brand/model. 

Thanks as always for your feedback :)

Debra17
Why do you want a "stand alone inverter".
Wondering

Debra17

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 02:32:40 PM »
Mel s,
I looked at installing a whole house inverter. But with the additional material & labor cost it was too far over my budget. My trailer is small so I think the standalone will work ok for me
Debra
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marcortez

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 08:53:35 PM »
For a small trailer like yours, how do you figure you need 1500 to 2000 watt output?

FWIW.......my trailer is 24' and I run a Samlex SSW 600W unit.

Seems to be plenty to run the TV, a 110V fan, and charge a laptop and other electronic devices.
Not all at one time of course.

A 120W portable "suitcase" solar panel keeps dual 6volt batts topped off with about 3 hours in the sun, each and every morning.
So far, after about 60 nights in the trailer, the Samlex turns on and puts out the juice just fine.

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DWJoyce

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2017, 12:02:10 AM »
I guess if one doesn't need a microwave, that works!

How about just getting a Honda i2000 generator? Everything's built-in.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 10:08:57 AM »
Quote
I looked at installing a whole house inverter. But with the additional material & labor cost it was too far over my budget. My trailer is small so I think the standalone will work ok for me

"Whole house" isn't really the opposite of "standalone". That's a wiring & set-up difference, not an inverter type.  You still have to wire whatever gadgets and appliances you want to use to the inverter, and presumably there are several of them if you think you need 2000 watts. You also need a substantial battery bank to operate a big inverter, whether you have solar charging available or not.  I suspect this is more complex and more expensive than you may think. If the inverter and associated gear is "standalone" from the trailer 12v system, you need a separate battery bank and charger (solar charge controller as well as a large enough solar array to provide enough charging to store the power you will use over 24 hours. Then how do you get inverter output power to whatever you need? Run extension cords?

The Samlex inverters are fine, but so are many others.
Gary
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John Hilley

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 02:23:01 PM »
I think what the OP means by "stand alone inverter" is running the inverter off the batteries and plugging the shore power cord into the inverter. I know many people that do this and it works well for a small RV. Just be certain to unplug or turn the breaker off on the converter and not use the air conditioner.
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QZ

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 03:41:50 PM »
I haven't used those brands but have used Xantrex. 600 and 2000 prowatt.  May I ask what you are going to power? Have you done an energy use analysis?    How much battery do you have?

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 09:32:17 AM »
Quote
I think what the OP means by "stand alone inverter" is running the inverter off the batteries and plugging the shore power cord into the inverter.

Likely you are right, John. Would prefer to hear from Debra just what she is trying to do, though. Too often newcomers to inverters make poor decisions simply because they don't know what questions to ask.

But the simple & direct answer to her specific question is that the Samlex PST inverter is a solid choice for an inverter.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Debra17

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2017, 04:48:19 PM »
For some reason I didn't see the latest replies so my apologies for not responding sooner.
My trailer is small and the tv/kitchen/dinette area is together. The inverter is connected to the batteries. A dedicated 110 outlet is installed by the countertop in kitchen. The tv is mounted above this counter and the dinette where I would use my laptop etc is also right next to it. This allows me to use everything except the microwave. With only 2 batteries, my understanding is it wouldn't be a good idea to use the microwave. Although on a real sunny day when I am getting maximum charge it may be ok to use for a couple minutes or so. I'm not sure. If I added batteries later, or found I could use the microwave for short duration then the 2000 watt inverter would allow that.

I hadn't heard of plugging the shore power cord into the inverter. Could maybe have done that instead of the dedicated outlet. I guess the advantage would be that all the AC outlets would be useable.

I am fulltime (as of June 28th) and I don't want to carry a generator.  So I need to size a system that will hopefully carry me thru a few days of cloudy weather in the wintertime when the days are shorter. I am planning to head south to warmer climes, but I'm sure there will still be the periods of non-optimal weather.
Debra & Misty, the cat
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QZ

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2017, 09:21:28 AM »
If you are using two group 27 batteries for example, you would have about 180 to 200 amp hours of power yet you can only pull about half of those amp hours from the battery or the voltage will drop too low. A 12 volt battery is actually considered dead at 12 volts. The basic operating range of a 12 volt battery in RV use is 12 to 12.7 volts and about 13.2 v when the converter or solar controller is at float.  The top voltage that my Progressive dynamics converter is 14.4 v and my solar control is set to 14.8.  You wont instantly kill your battery buy discharging to 12 volts but many of us will use 12.2 as our bottom voltage.

Two gp 27 batteries are considered small when it comes to inverting and never going to run a microwave. They would be best at running small or medium sized loads at best. This might include laptops, small televisions etc. There is also an electrical issue to consider when inverting and it's called the Peukert effect. If a battery is rated at X amp hours and will deliver those ah in X amount of time if you increase the amp load/ flow the battery will no longer give X amount of ah. As the load goes up the available ah goes down.

I run a 2000 watt Xantrex inverter and six GC2 (6 volt golf cart battery) along with 1000 watts of solar and I dont run my microwave or really any high loads. Now and then I will run my toaster in the AM if it's early and it will pull about 90 amps DC current.  There is no way that two gp batteries will work as the current draw is too high. While building my energy management system I started with the need to run the ac at times so I have a remote start Honda 3000 generator.  Since I dont like to invert to heavy loads I often consolidate any generator time to morning or evenings when we use the micro or hair dryer or toaster.  I do run a residential frig, satellite, 40 ich led tv etc on my inverter. It is a small load for a 2000 watt inverter but I like to size things so that the electrical components are not operating in the high end of their operating range. On top of what the inverter is pulling my house furnace pulls about 5 amps plus led lights, water pump, fan etc so my battery draw may be 30 amps at times and go to 45 when the frig defrost cycle kicks in. 

If you are just using two gp 27 batteries I would keep the inverting to a minimum. If you go with more batteries and want to invert a lot you may want to consider good agm batteries as I understand that they will put out higher amps than a flooded battery. If you want to stay with flooded batteries you may want to consider gc2 as they are a true deep cycle compared to the standard group batteries.  If you dont want a generator then certainly size the solar bank on the large side. A rule of thumb for solar sizing is 100 to 150 watts per 100 ah of battery capacity.  That doesn't mean you cant use more and more will give you reserve capacity for overcast days. If I had two gp batts and no gen I'd throw 400 watts at it. It doesn't hurt to also have temperature compensation available with your solar controller and absolutely get one with adjustable voltage settings. You need more than 14.4 volts which is often the default setting on some controllers. Most batteries die from under charging not over charging.  You also want to consider system expansion when buying components and wire.

These post can turn into a book sometimes because there are so many variables as to how each of us accomplish our energy management plan. It's not one size fits all.

Debra17

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2017, 10:41:22 AM »
I have 2 lifeline 6v agm batteries.
Debra & Misty, the cat
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2017, 02:38:52 PM »
You can plug the whole trailer into the inverter, but you'll have to turn off the loads you don't want to run on the batteries.  Make sure your refrigerator doesn't auto-switch from gas to electric mode.  Keep the water heater electric heating element off.

And turn off power to the 12 volt converter, or you'll set up a power wasting loop of drawing power from the batteries to run the inverter, taking 120 volts from the inverter to the converter, then sending 12 volts back into the batteries.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 02:43:19 PM by Lou Schneider »

Debra17

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2017, 04:06:19 PM »
At  this time I will only be using a dedicated outlet from the inverter.
Debra & Misty, the cat
2017 Northwood Nash 17K
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DearMissMermaid

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2017, 07:57:57 PM »
Forget the microwave and go with a much smaller inverter which means you will have much more longevity on the batteries.

Matter of fact, both my big and small crockpot are only 200 watt and they run fine off my 200 watt inverter.

Small inverters are cheap, a 200 watt would run your TV and laptop simultaneously. There are also lots of nifty things on the market that recharge or run with USB like lights and stereo. I have some and love them.

At some point you will probably end up in a campground. Most include electricity in the price, so you can use your microwave then.

Good luck!

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QZ

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2017, 09:02:26 AM »
I have 2 lifeline 6v agm batteries.

So you actually have one top of the line battery that puts out 300 ah  the 20 hour rating.  You are in good shape as far as battery is concerned but be sure to charge it properly.  There is more on lifelines site and one item is charging voltage which is 14.3 volts @ 77 degrees and goes to 14.72 @ 50 degrees, You also want to use enough amperage. Your batteries can accept and need a high current recharge. If you dont want a generator and do want to pull a good amount of the batteries capacity off it each night then you need a decent solar set up.  A friend is running three regular agm 12 volts (about 300 AH) along with a Blue Sky 40 amp controller and 460 watts of solar. He has led bulbs, small television and does short microwave use and  recharges well every day with tilted panels in the desert south west winter.  After rewiring it from him to get all the voltage drops out of the wiring he sees 28 amps or so.

Solar systems are often sized too small to give complete recharges.  They also talk about equalizing and conditioning on their web site which requires 15 plus volts. I'd be careful about doing those charges and it's also where the need for voltage adjustment and equalizing come in.




From Lifelines site:

How can I tell if my battery is fully charged?
For a battery at room temperature, it can be considered fully charged with the charging current falls below 0.5A per 100Ah of rated capacity. The open circuit voltage (after at least 4 hours of rest) will be 2.17 volts per cell or higher (13.0 volts for a 12-volt battery), regardless of the battery temperature.



What is the best way to charge my battery?

Charge with a 3 stage charger that compensates the voltage setting as the battery temperature changes.


What is the best charge voltage setting for outdoor applications if temperature sensing is not available?

NONE! Charging voltage varies widely depending on the battery’s temperature and there is no single voltage that will work over a wide temperature range. Batteries will fail prematurely if this is attempted.










« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 10:44:00 AM by QZ »

Kevin Means

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2017, 01:52:00 PM »
From what I can tell Debra, it sounds like you want to be able to run your microwave oven, and all your other A/C appliances (sans air conditioner) off an inverter, and to accomplish that, you're considering installing a 2000 watt inverter. An inverter that size will power a microwave oven, but it's going to struggle with only two batteries - even good quality batteries. A lot of it will depend on the size of your  microwave, and how the inverter is installed.

Small microwaves use between 500 and 800 watts while heating. Larger size microwaves use 850 to 1800 watts, and modern average size microwaves use around 1200 watts. We've got a large convection microwave oven and eight 12 volt AGM house-batteries, but even so, when the microwave kicks on, the house lights dim for a moment - and that's with a 2800 watt inverter.

If you opt for a 2000 watt inverter, it should be installed as close to the battery-bank as possible, and run thick gauge wire between the batteries and inverter. Don't worry about equalizing your AGMs. Unless there's an indication that they're not holding a charge, AGMs don't require equalization. The best things you can do to keep your batteries healthy is to avoid repeated deep discharges, and fully recharge them as soon as possible after discharging them.

And remember, unless your solar setup has been installed in a non-standard way, none of your appliances actually run off solar power - including the inverter. They run off battery power. Your solar setup is simply an alternative method of recharging your batteries. The power going into the batteries from your solar panels will slow the battery's discharge rate when power is being consumed, but how much so will depend on the load and the charge rate. 

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Debra17

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2017, 09:44:52 PM »
Thanks everyone for all the information and recommendations.  I have been planning for over a year on getting solar and I had read all the info on Handy Bob's website several times.  So I was pretty familiar with the components and operation of a system. My system is installed and is working great. The batteries are on the trailer tongue and the charge controller and inverter are within 4 or 5 feet.  They are connected with 4/0 wire.   I was dry camped in Northern CA for awhile and for 5 days straight did not see the sun.  It was very overcast and foggy the whole time. The batteries charged 100% everyday, although a couple days it was about 3pm before they were completely charged,  but I was using 110v on those days as I normally do.  I use my electric coffee maker in the morning.  Watch a movie at night for 2 - 2.5 hrs plus laptop, charge cell phone, ipad, LED lights, play music, etc.  I don't plan to use the microwave at this time, or the air cond, of course.

I have a Blue Sky charge controller.  I know Handy Bob doesn't like that brand, but we'll see how it goes.  Hopefully it will work out okay. :)  I guess the real test will be this winter.

I also plan to get a Wave 3 or some other propane heater that doesn't require electricity.  I don't plan to run the furnace.
Debra & Misty, the cat
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Kevin Means

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2017, 11:37:54 AM »
Sounds like you've got your consumption dialed in well. Good job. Yeah, Bob helped me with my solar install and he isn't a fan of Outback controllers either, which is what I ended up installing. It has worked extremely well for my needs and I'm sure your Blue Sky will work fine too.

You'll be happy with a catalytic propane heater when boondocking in cool to "somewhat cold" weather, especially in a 17 foot RV. Ours is I plumbed into our LP tank, and it really takes the edge off the cold - even in our 43 foot coach. They're silent, indoor-safe (just leave a vent or window cracked for airflow and moisture evaporation) they use very little propane (compared to a typical RV furnace) and they need no power. They work great when boondocking.

Kev
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 11:56:14 AM by Kevin Means »
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

QZ

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2017, 12:46:24 AM »
 My friend has a 40 amp Blue Sky system that I rewired and it's been working well for 5 years or so. The RV furnace will could pull about 5 amps so it's one of the larger draws. Do you have the Blue Sky remote panel for  monitoring?

DearMissMermaid

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2017, 08:58:09 AM »
Staying warm...

A mattress warmer means you can sleep in 40F degree weather and be as toasty as a kitten cuddled up to mama cat. I have slept on one for 7 years. I turn my thermostat down to 50F at night.

My Sunbeam mattress warmer is only 180 watts.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FHW8P94/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=recreationalvehicles-20&linkId=dadfde5585e10a6e31fe9aeaf3cc42ca


But this Soft Heat one actually runs on DC, but it comes with a DC to AC converter. Seems to me you could change it to run directly off DC. It is less than 25 volts on 110. One of the wizards here will have to convert it to watts or amps  as I forget how at this early part of the morning.
https://www.amazon.com/Micro-Plush-Low-Voltage-Electric-Heated-Mattress/dp/B003ZSHDEK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1502976766&sr=1-6&keywords=mattress+warmer&th=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=recreationalvehicles-20&linkId=8a242505a7d16718b3ebe413140a4218

One other consideration. Just how cold will it be outside? Besides piling on warm cozy clothing, I have a few 200 watt personal heaters. I am amazed how much heat that throws out in my 28 foot Class C.

Often times it's just enough to kill the chill. The cool thing is you can move the little heater to where ever you want it, as a foot warmer or hand warmer if it's super cold. I keep one in my bathroom. Often times it's the only heat on in the rig. So the bathroom is super toasty warm, but I have a latch that allows me to prop the door open about 2 inches, and that lets the extra heat out to the common area.
200 Watt Lasko Personal heater
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?url=search-alias=garden&field-keywords=lasko+personal+heater&sprefix=lasko+personal+,garden,555&crid=13OZPIT0X7M6&linkCode=ll2&tag=recreationalvehicles-20&linkId=342e66fe3d5d16376771148d80d46d18

I applaud you going solar. I lived on a sailboat in the Caribbean for nearly 2 decades with only a modest solar system. I thought RV manufacturers would have come a long ways and included solar as  standard equipment by now. But RV's seem to be energy hogs rather than efficient, something really curious about the industry that I don't understand.
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

QZ

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2017, 09:38:40 AM »
Mermaid
Are you talking about running these heaters on shore power or through an inverter?

200 watts @ 120 volts = 1.6 amps AC
Converting 120 v ac divide by 12 v dc = 10 factor

1.6 amps AC times 10 = 16 amps DC. Assuming a 100% on time for the bed warmer or electric heater If pulling 16 amps DC for 8 hours over night you would consume 128 Amp Hours which would just about deplete her 300 amp hour battery. About half of most batteries capacity can be used before voltage gets too low.

As I developed my RV energy management plan I also thought about RV being power hogs. They really aren't any more hungry than a house. The reason is that an amp is an amp and a watt is a watt.  The difference is that home electric is extremely cheap because it is mass produced and RV power is very expensive because it is micro produced. When we walk into a house and flip a light switch and the refrigerator is running and the air conditioning is on we may be pulling 10 amps AC. 10 A ac x 120 volts = 1200 watts.   1200 watts divided by 12 volts = 100 amps DC which is huge. 

An average RV just sitting there with the propane frig on, the tank monitor panel, co detector, radio idle power draw etc will pull about 1 to 1.5 amps depending on if the frig gas valve is energized or not. We'll just use 1 Amp. 1 x 24 hours is 24 Amp Hours.  If Debra has 1/2 of her 300 AH battery available to burn we would be able to run the rig for about 6 days before the battery would be about 50% depleted. If we then add in the  heat pad we would be at 152 AH pulled from the battery and able to run it overnight.





Debra17

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2017, 10:50:49 AM »
Hey Everyone,  I've been off the grid for 3 weeks so just getting caught up on recent posts. I am loving the solar system!  So far have had plenty of power. I was boondocked up Granite Creek just south of Jackson Hole for a week and then was up in Yellowstone at Norris CG for another week. Both places were pretty chilly at night, lows in the 30s and 40s. I used a 15 degree sleeping bag at night. When I got up in the morning would run the furnace for about 15 mins to take the chill off. That worked fine as it warmed up during the day. My campsite at Norris was pretty shaded but batteries still charged to 100% each day.

Thanks for the positive feedback on the Blue Sky controller. I think it will be fine. I do have the remote monitor.

I plan to purchase a catalytic heater soon to be ready for winter. My small trailer doesn't have any space on the wall to mount it so will have to use it freestanding. Not crazy about that, would prefer to mount it. Freestanding means I have to find a place to store it when not in use.
Debra & Misty, the cat
2017 Northwood Nash 17K
2015 Ford F250 Lariat

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Recommendations for stand alone inverter
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2017, 11:07:17 AM »
Thanks for the feedback. Glad to hear it is working out well for you.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

 

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