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Author Topic: Power Inverter for Entire Rig  (Read 245 times)

lone_star_dsl

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Power Inverter for Entire Rig
« on: October 15, 2018, 11:19:13 AM »
Aside from one trip for a family reunion in which we stayed in an RV park, my family and I boondocked in our toy hauler over 30 nights this past summer. Given that we have some little kids that still need a midday break and like to watch a DVD while doing so, I'd like to rig up our entire trailer with an inverter so that I don't have to keep the generator running while they have the TV on.

Can someone give me the 1,000 mile view of how such an operation would take place? I'm assuming I would need a 2-3,000 watt inverter and that one side of it will connect to my batteries, but where would I connect the other side to power each outlet in the trailer? Somewhere in the breaker panel?

This is my winter project and I'm just touching the tip of the research iceberg so far.

Thanks
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Power Inverter for Entire Rig
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2018, 04:14:04 PM »
Your problem is not so much the size of the inverter as the amount of batteries needed to meet your energy demands. Inverters suck a lot of amps! And even a 3000W inverter is less power than a 30A shore power hook-up.

I am a co-author of an article at DIY RV that discusses ways to connect an inverter on an RV.

http://www.doityourselfrv.com/rv-inverter-install-diy/

There are also several previous topics on this site that discuss wiring an inverter. Suggest you use SEARCH to find them.
Gary
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docj

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Re: Power Inverter for Entire Rig
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2018, 04:28:33 PM »
Our Beaver coach was built around the concept that the inverter would power most outlets and lights.  All but a couple of outlets are wired to it as are all the light fixtures.  The wiring concept is pretty straightforward; the inverter is wired to a 30A breaker and there are a 15A and a 20A breaker in a subpanel after it.  The coach originally was fitted with a 2kW inverter which I upgraded to a 2.8 kW PSW Magnum.  The 15A breaker in the subpanel feeds the residential refrigerator, and the 20A one handles all the lighting circuits, TV's and outlets.  We have four 6V golf cart batteries. 

The A/C's, the microwave and the water heater are not powered by the inverter.  The coach originally had one of the subpanel circuits powering the microwave but when we installed the residential fridge we repurposed it to handle the fridge.  Since we have a generator always available, it's easy enough to turn it on if we want to use the microwave.

We don't do much, if any, boondocking, but the 4 batteries are sufficient to power the fridge and other stuff for a day or so.
Sandie & Joel

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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Power Inverter for Entire Rig
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2018, 06:18:15 PM »
Retrofitting to an inverter is not the same as designing around one to begin with (unless you are willing to tear the electrical system out and start over). The simple way is to feed the entire coach from the inverter and use one with an auto transfer switch, but that only works well on a 30A coach with modest power demand. For 50A RVs, probably best to install a subpanel and move circuits to it, then power the subpanel from an inverter with auto-transfer. Many variations, though, depending on what you have and what you are trying to achieve.
The process starts with an inventory of the 120v power center (breaker box) and an assessment of what you would like to power.  The a/c(s), for example, don't go on an inverter circuit anyway, nor does the electric for the water heater. Or for the fridge, if an RV absorption type. TV's, galley outlets, outlet used to charge computers or phones are a Yes. How many circuits (breakers) is that?   How many amps needed to supply them?
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 06:23:30 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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grashley

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Re: Power Inverter for Entire Rig
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2018, 07:49:15 PM »
I have contemplated installing an inverter, and wiring like this:

AC panel Breaker -->Inverter with built in auto transfer switch -->Sub Panel with breakers for General power (TV, outlets) and GFCI moved from main panel to sub and connected to the same loads.

With AC power, the inverter auto txfr switch passes the 120V through to these two circuits.
With no AC power, auto txfr switch connects inverter power to the sub box.

In my FW, these two circuits power all 120V items EXCEPT A/C, A/C2, microwave, fridge, water heater and converter.
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Hanr3

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Re: Power Inverter for Entire Rig
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2018, 08:03:20 PM »
Can you install a 12volt tv/dvd equipment? Then only the a/c needs 120volt, if you need the a/c that is?
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robertusa123

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Re: Power Inverter for Entire Rig
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2018, 09:05:20 PM »
I wired my entertainment center with a inverder.  A 500watt inverter is way more then enough to power your TV DVD player and game in systems.   ..  wired it with 8 gage wire directly to the battery. 
1996  26ft. 3 kids 2 dog and the wife too

Isaac-1

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Re: Power Inverter for Entire Rig
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2018, 10:34:11 PM »
It is generally a bad idea to oversize your inverter, as the larger the inverter the more idle current they consume.  For example a modern 500 watt pure sine wave inverter may draw 0.5 amps at no load, and the same brand and model in the 2,000 watt inverter may draw 1 amp at no load.  The 500 watt inverter will also be more efferent powering a 450 watt load than the 2,000 watt model would be powering 450 watts.

Most modern flat panel TV's under 42 inches in size will draw less than 50 watts maximum (speakers turned up all the way), and typically will draw under 25 watts in normal operation.  A modern DVD or Blueray player will also be in this same ballpark (typical 15-35 watts for recent models).  The original Play Station 3 consumed up to 380 watts, however the current 5th generation super slim model draws only 190 watts.  Play Station 4 and X-Box One depending on exact model draw between 70 - 190 watts.

So if you just want to power a tv and one modern game system, along with pershaps a cell phone charger or two, a 500 -600 watt pure sine wave inverter would be about ideal.  Perhaps something like a Xantrex Prowatt 600

Though keep in mind a 200-300 watt draw will suck down a small deep cycle battery bank fairly quickly.  Somewhere in the 3 hour ballpark playing video games, and a typical pair of 85 AH group 27 deep cycle batteries, drained to the 50% discharge point (the max you want to drain to and retain reasonable battery life).  Or about 8-10 hours watching DVD's



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