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Author Topic: Power questions  (Read 6110 times)

Carterc1978

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Power questions
« on: September 26, 2015, 12:02:38 PM »
I just bought my first trailer. I settled on a 2008 Thor Wave 26RLS and plan to start living in it fulltime in the next 6 months in the backwoods of the west.  Just turning 37 years old and plan on "enjoying" my life on the road with me and my dog!  Im looking at buying a generator to supply power for the ac and microwave. Currently thinking about the Honda 2000 or the Yamaha for their reported sound output and fuel efficiency.   What are your thoughts on these gensets? Also, can anyone tell me if 1 will run the ac or will I need to plan on buying the companion?  If one won't cut it, is this set up with the companion the best way to go or does anyone have suggestions for a set up that will work just as well but for a lower cost?

Im trying to figure out an inverter set up that I already touched on on another post for running a tv and dvd.  I was planning on a portable solar panel to maintain my 2 6volt batteries. But what are your thoughts? If I am already planning on a generator (that could obviously be used for battery charging),  is there really a reason to spend the extra money on solar?

Excited to get on with a new phase of my life but trying to make sure im set up comfortably enough not to get discouraged when I get out there!
2001 Ford F350 7.3l
2008 Thor Wave 26 RLS

John From Detroit

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2015, 01:18:43 PM »
Inverters: FIRST Go with a True Sine Wave.. do not even think about an MSW for TV use.
Second: Televisions (And possible sat receiver) Modern types will never overload a True Sine inverter.. They do not make them small enough to worry about the effect of a TV (Generally less than 100 watts) and Sat receiver (half that) (Smalles TSW inverters are aroudn 300 watt)

If you want to power the microwave you weill need at least 1500 watt.. i'd go 2K (2,000) just to be safe.

Genrator.. A pair of Honda 2000i with parallel kit or better yet make one a "Companion" model (Bit more expensive but the parallel cable is cheaper).  One can run most of the RV but for the A/C you relly need the 2nd in parallel.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
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Paul & Ann

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2015, 01:50:23 PM »
You didnt mention the onboard charger in your rv.  If it is not a good three or four stage charger, I would swap it out for one.  For a generator, I would get a Yamaha 2400 or a Honda 3000.  For an inverter, I would not go more than 1000 watts, 600 should be adequate, because if you need more watts than 600, you would be better off running the generator for those loads. Also, I would recommend some solar, if not enough to run everything but your ac, and microwave, I would at least get enough to top off your batteries, as using the generator to top off your batteries, is very inefficient.
Paul & Ann  Iowa
2005 Winnebago Voyage 38J
http://stoughrvadventure.blogspot.com/

Carterc1978

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2015, 03:17:46 PM »
Great suggestions! I just spent some time at Camping World looking at inverters and I guess theyre not as expensive as I originally thought. I think going with one in the 600 to 1000 watt range would be doable. Now I consider myself to be pretty handy,  but dealing with electrical is an area where I definitely lack. Is a self install achievable with the instructions and maybe some Youtube videos? Thoughts?

I didnt mention the battery charger because quite frankly Im not sure where to look and not sure how to tell the difference. Help??

When trailer shopping, I had someone point me in the direction of a portable "suitcase" solar panel in the neighborhood of $300-$500. I liked the idea because whenever possible I would like to be parking in the shade.  Anyone have any experience with these? Any idea on brands and number of watts to meet my needs?
2001 Ford F350 7.3l
2008 Thor Wave 26 RLS

Great Horned Owl

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2015, 06:04:32 PM »
A single 2KW generator will not only not run your A/C, but if your batteries are at all low, you may have to turn off the circuit breaker for the converter in order to be able to run the microwave.

As for TSW vs MSW inverters, the cost / performance trade off is not always clear. Mine is MSW, and I run a microwave, two different TVs and a sat re4ceiver (not all at the same time) with no problem. On the other hand, I destroyed an electric heater with digital controls just by having it plugged in when I turned on the inverter.
Some automatic coffee makes have the same problem.

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
Retired electronics engineer. Avid photographer, paddler & birder.
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Kevin Means

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2015, 03:01:37 AM »
If your plan is to park your RV in the shade whenever possible (a reasonable plan), portable solar panels would be a better idea than roof-mounted panels. Solar panels produce significantly less power when they're shaded, so being able to keep your panels in the sun will make a noticeable difference. Solar "kits" are sometimes packaged with components you may not need, so be careful when buying them. Sizing a solar system so that it meets your expectations takes a bit of figuring (battery-bank size, average consumption etc.) If you want to discuss that, just ask.

I'd second Paul's recommendation to get a good three or four stage charger. They really help your batteries live longer. If you're going to be boondocking much, I'd also recommend getting a good battery monitor - as opposed to the simple volt meters that are typically found in RVs. Another forum member once said, "Boondocking without a good battery monitor is like driving without a gas gauge." and I agree. Bogart Engineering makes a good one - the Trimetric RV-2030, but there are others as well.

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

kjansen

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2015, 07:46:15 AM »
You didnt mention the onboard charger in your rv.  If it is not a good three or four stage charger, I would swap it out for one.  For a generator, I would get a Yamaha 2400 or a Honda 3000.  For an inverter, I would not go more than 1000 watts, 600 should be adequate, because if you need more watts than 600, you would be better off running the generator for those loads. Also, I would recommend some solar, if not enough to run everything but your ac, and microwave, I would at least get enough to top off your batteries, as using the generator to top off your batteries, is very inefficient.
The problem with a Honda 3000 is the weight.  Almost more than 1 person can handle.  Two Honda 2000 are easier to handle and cost about the same as one 3000.
Keven Jansen
'06 Chevy 2500 Duramax
'02 Montana Big Sky
Alexandria, Mn

JiminDenver

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2015, 09:54:31 AM »
I have been using portable solar for years. It's wonderful for the power it puts out and the flexibility in positioning  compared to a flat mounted system. There are downsides in hassle and vulnerability so you do have to balance the pluses and minuses.  They don't have to be tiny, my portables have been 230w, 490w and this year I used a 750w system portable testing it before it is installed.

The portable kits are inexpensive and easy, a good way to get your feet wet in solar and sadly quite possible a way to find out what you really would like to do. Most come with shorter, thinner wiring from the panels, a controller with few adjustments and it's probably mounted on the panels. By the time you replace the thin wire to avoid voltage drop and get a decent controller, you have a expensive set of panels.

One thing I have been kicking around is mounting our last portable to the rack of the truck after the big system is mounted on the trailer. The mount on the truck can be tilted or let the panel be taken off and used as a portable. That way the portable provides charging on the road, is secure as the roof mounted panels and the truck can park in the sun while the trailer is shaded. With it our total system is 970w and we don't take a generator, not even for AC.

Carterc1978

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2015, 12:00:19 PM »
Its just gonna be me and my dog and I do have a back that tends to go out without warning, so im leaning towards the Honda and companion at this point.

I found my manual for my converter and it says, "The WFCO series 3-stage switch mode power converters are fully automatic." Im guessing this tells me I have a 3 stage charger. Correct??

As far as solar panels and required wattage, Im leaning towards a 2000 watt inverter and picture myself using a 28" led tv and dvd (2hrs a day), toaster (5 min), vacuum (20 mins), charging a razor (4hrs a week) and running the fridge all day everyday (if thats possible off the inverter).  I have 2 brand new 6 volts batteries. On the tag they say 75 amp rating 120 min. So with that kind of usage, how many watts so I need to be planning on with my portable solar panels?
2001 Ford F350 7.3l
2008 Thor Wave 26 RLS

Kevin Means

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2015, 01:32:18 PM »
In the interest of trying to save you some money, do you have any idea how much boondocking you'll be doing vs. hooked up to shore-power?

When boondocking, it makes a lot more sense to run your fridge off propane than to power it with AC power from an inverter. Propane fridges still use a small amount of 12 volt (DC) power when they're running off propane, but they're very efficient propane consumers. Using an inverter to power them draws a LOT of DC power and can drain your batteries relatively fast. And don't forget that inverters themselves are electrical consumers - the larger the inverter, the more power it consumes - and they're not 100% efficient. Our inverter is pretty modern and it's only about 85% efficient, so you'll want to be able to turn it off whenever it isn't being used to power something.

Boondocking has some required skillsets if you want to extend your off-grid time as much as possible. For example, If I only had two batteries, I would wait to charge my shaver and run my AC vacuum cleaner until I was running my generator to charge my batteries. Those needs could all be met at the same time, with generator power. By the way, are you saying that each of your batteries has a 75 amp hour (AH) capacity?

Kev
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 01:40:33 PM 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

Carterc1978

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2015, 02:05:22 PM »
Planning on boondocking exclusively. That is unless when I find a job it makes more sense to be closer to civilization and hooked up.

Yes. Each battery says 75 amp rating.

Good ideas on the charger and vacuum. That wouldnt be a big deal at all to knock out a few of those things while the genset is on. Makes sense with the fridge running on the propane too. How about a general guess on how long 14 gals of propane would last with fridge and water heater use for one person?

I guess my energy needs from the batteries and inverter are more or less talking about the tv and dvd player for a couple hours each night
2001 Ford F350 7.3l
2008 Thor Wave 26 RLS

Kevin Means

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2015, 05:12:26 PM »
Okay, that info helps - then here's what I would recommend... First, I would strongly recommend that you get at least two additional batteries, of the same kind you have now, or replace the two you just bought with batteries that have more amp hour (AH) capacity. 75 AHs is not a lot of capacity for extended boondocking - especially when you consider that you can only use half of your battery-bank's capacity. You can draw your batteries down to about 50% before they start having problems powering things. (Sorry, I know that's something no one wants to hear.) Keeping your cell phone charged, and maybe a laptop, watching TV a few hours a day, running some lights as well as existing "dummy loads will deplete your battery bank pretty quickly.

I would also consider getting a smaller inverter. A 2000 watt inverter is probably overkill for what you said you want to do, and it will draw more power than a smaller inverter. A smaller inverter will allow you to power a lot of what you said you want to power, but it won't tax your battery-bank quite as much. The difference might not be much, but when boondocking, we'll take what we can get. Things like toasters and microwave ovens draw a lot of power and I don't think a 2000 watt inverter that's being used to power a microwave will even work with your current sized battery-bank. I think the inverter will shut down. Inverters should be sized to the AH capacity of a battery-bank - bigger inverters go with bigger battery-banks and vice-versa.

Some other ideas - replace your incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Take some time and review LED options (color spectrum, brightness, brand-quality etc.). LEDs consume about 1/8 to 1/10th the power of most RV incandescent bulbs, which can be significant if you leave lights on. RVLED.com  http://www.rvledbulbs.com/ is a sponsor of this website and they give forum members a discount. They've got high quality LEDs and they stand behind their products. If you haven't bought a flat screen TV yet, consider buying a 12 volt flat screen. You can find them up to 32 inches in size and some have built-in DVD players. I don't know if any have built in Blu-Ray players, but I don't know how important that is to you. 12 volt TVs cost a bit more than 120 volt AC TVs, but they don't require you to have an inverter on to power them. They run directly off your 12 volt system.

You should also know that RVs have a surprising amount of electrical draw from things that aren't even turned on - microwave ovens, entertainment centers, etc. all consume power - even though they're turned off. There are devices like propane detectors, CO detectors, etc. that are always consuming power as well. It's not unusual for parasitic and dummy loads to consume 25% or more of a typical RV's battery power, which is why it's so important to have an adequately sized battery-bank for boondocking.

Kev
« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 01:50:12 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

Tom_M

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2015, 10:20:57 AM »
I mounted two of my solar panels on the side of my coach and one panel on the roof. If the side with the panels is toward the sun the two panels can remain in place and tilted if needed. Otherwise I can remove them and set them in the sun using an extension cable. Here's a link for a slide show of my install:

http://s1095.photobucket.com/user/tomzpix/slideshow/Solar%20Slide%20Show

I have a 300 watt pure sine wave inverter and this works well for most of my needs. If I need more juice I fire up the generator.
Tom
2005 Born Free 24 Rear Bath
Towing 2013 Smart Car

mitch1204

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2015, 12:06:06 PM »
I always hear that about modified sinewave inverters, buy a true sinewave. In my personal experience this is not true. I'm a retired truck driver and have been using Cobra modified sinewave inverters over 20 years. I never had anything burn up as a result. That includes tvs, laptops, dorm fridges, microwaves or any fine electronics. The USA power grid operates on 60 hertz but it too has variance. You can go to other countries that operate on 50 hertz and still use your electronics safely with an adapter. A pure sinewave inverter is more accurate than our own power grid as far as hertz go. The only noticeable difference with a modified sinewave is digital clocks that rely on hertz counting to keep accurate time... 60 hertz... 60 seconds... 60 minutes, you got the picture. Use a battery analog clock if you need one. Being retired I don't care for a clock, lol.

A little inverter info... you need an inverter twice the size of your microwave. A 700 watt microwave you need a 1500 watt inverter. A 800 or 1000 watt microwave and you need a 2000 watt inverter, etc. Microwaves and coffee makers are your biggest wattage hogs.
I think energy efficiency isn't part of the RV industry yet. They design things to plug into a RV park or use your generator/propane.

I favored a Cobra CPI2500. All the power one man and a dog needs. Grant it my last 5 years driving I had an APU to keep my batteries charged and heat and AC but there are many battery charging options today. Before my APU I relied solely on the truck engine to recharge my batteries. The inverter will set off an alarm at 11.5v and will shut itself off at 10.5v. The truck had a similar low voltage shutdown always leaving me enough juice to start the engine.
With every charging means shutdown and 4 truck batteries I could run my tv, DVD player, laptop and fridge 8-10 hours before an alarm went off. You probably won't use this in a travel trailer but it gives you ideas where you stand.
My dorm fridge with a separate freezer took 150 watts to start the compressor and cruised on 70 watts. It only ran 5 minutes every 20-30 minutes. A 32" tv will use about 170 watts. You can go to the  Cobra website and they have a pdf of various equipment and their wattages. The bigger Cobras have a digital voltage and wattage usage display. You can even buy a remote on/off switch for it that you can mount on a wall. Amazon is a good place to buy one. Some of the chain truck stops have good sales on Cobras. I'd say 90% of truckers that have inverters has a Cobra. That says a lot right there.

I have one RV friend with 2 golf cart batteries and a 150 watt solar panel. His wife is disabled and stays in the RV all day watching TV and running a 5000 btu window AC.
You can buy a 5000 btu that uses 480 watts to start up and cruises on less. Many RV manufacturers are starting to use through the wall units for their energy efficiency. They box them inside so only an inch or two sticks outside and doesn't look tacky.

When you install an inverter keep your cable feeds to your battery bank under 6'. 4' and under is ideal to prevent a voltage drop to your inverter. Coming out of the inverter you are okay with reasonable wire runs. Always ground the inverter chassis to the vehicle chassis. Use the right size copper strand cable to feed your inverter. It should be the same size as the mount holes in the inverter. Smaller than the hole? You're messing up. Most inverters of size use 2/0 or 4/0 cable. Also they now make inline inverter circuit breakers you install by your battery connection. Use one! It will prevent any short or fire. I can't stress enough the number one cause of inverter fires from a poor installation. If your feed cables go through any metal hole like a metal wall or floor or even the frame... Make sure you protect that hole with a rubber grommet and silicone. This will prevent rubbing a hole in the cable insulation. Your RV flexes and vibrates traveling down the road.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2015, 01:02:59 PM »
There are still a few electronic devices that often don't work well on MSW inverters, but it's hardly the case that things will burn up everywhere.  My coach has a 2500W MSW inverter and tvs and such get along fine. But these days the price differential isn't all that great, so why not go with pure sine and have no worries at all?

Circuit board designers trying for the cheapest possible device are most often the culprit. They may outright fail (internal overload & overheat). Some others simply don't work well, thing that try to count Hertz may not count correctly if they did not design to accommodate a MSW (square) wave power source.

 A few of things that still seems to have MSW compatibility problems include:
1. Cheap digital timers, e.g. lighting timers. Many (not all) suffer enough to fail after a few days or weeks of use. Or they get the time wrong (see clocks).
2. Some Led night lights don't last long
3. A  few rechargeable tools or gadgets will overheat their charger (pretty rare nowadays, but used to be a common problem).
4. Electric blankets & heating may self-destruct or heat improperly, so beware. There are brands that work ok, but they aren't the inexpensive models.
5. Some brands of coffee makers that have built-in timers will self-destruct. Hint: Mr Coffee designs for proper MSW operation
6. Clocks often keep the wrong time, and some digital models may not light up their display.

Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

JiminDenver

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2015, 04:58:02 PM »
We have a industrial Tripp-lite MSW inverter and some things run different on it than our PowerBright CW150 MSW inverter. What runs hot on the Powerbright is normal on the Tripp-lite. The Tv that has lines in it on the Powerbright is as clear as at home on the Tripp-lite.

So not all MSW inverters are created equal it seems and just because a inverter is PSW doesn't mean it is a quality unit either. We had one last one season and we never loaded it with even half what it was rated for.

I read a review of a fanless 150w MSW inverter that cost under $20 shipped that the poster claimed didn't get his phone chargers hot. The smallest PSW unit I've found is a Aims 180w but you can find a no name 300w PSW for $69.

Personally in the buy once, buy the best concept I would go for a Morningstar PSW, 300w fanless inverter for the small stuff.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 04:59:36 PM by JiminDenver »

Carterc1978

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2015, 06:40:54 PM »
Lots and lots of good information!

Im gonna back up and ask one question. Right now im leaning towards a Honda 2000 and the companion. Is the price worth it for the fuel efficieny, sound (or lack there of) and light weight (for my bad back) or would i be just as happy with a lower cost set up?

Pretty sure this will be my first purchase in the power department and then might take the time to figure out my needs from there.
2001 Ford F350 7.3l
2008 Thor Wave 26 RLS

Kevin Means

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2015, 02:24:52 AM »
In my opinion, you can't go wrong with Honda or Yamaha generators. You'll have to look far and wide to find people who will complain about them (except their price). They're durable and fuel efficient, and while there is no such thing as a "quiet generator," they're as quiet as they come.

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

Rene T

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2015, 07:31:49 AM »
In my opinion, you can't go wrong with Honda or Yamaha generators. You'll have to look far and wide to find people who will complain about them (except their price). They're durable and fuel efficient, and while there is no such thing as a "quiet generator," they're as quiet as they come.

Kev

I have a Yamaha and love it. It has some of features the Honda does not have. It has a fuel gauge, a fuel shut off and cables for charging a battery. The cables are an accessory you need to buy on the Honda.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

Lou Schneider

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2015, 01:00:21 PM »
Okay, that info helps - then here's what I would recommend... First, I would strongly recommend that you get at least two additional batteries, of the same kind you have now, or replace the two you just bought with batteries that have more amp hour (AH) capacity. 75 AHs is not a lot of capacity for extended boondocking - especially when you consider that you can only use half of your battery-bank's capacity. You can draw your batteries down to about 50% before they start having problems powering things.

I just wanted to note that these batteries are standard golf cart batteries and they are larger than you think.  A battery's capacity varies depending on how fast you draw current out of it.  Faster discharge rates give a lower amp-hour capacity.  Google "peukert factor" for more information.

75 amps at 120 minutes is the rating for standard GC2 golf cart battery, which these are, so there's no reason to replace them.  If you gave this battery the standard 20 hour Amp-hour drawdown test, it would have about 180 amp-hours capacity.

Using the 50% discharge safety factor gives about 90 amp-hours of useable capacity in RV use.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 01:10:56 PM by Lou Schneider »

Kevin Means

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2015, 12:58:27 AM »
Lou, that didn't make sense to me either, which is why I asked him to clarify. I ended up thinking he probably had some small Group 24 batteries. Thanks for pointing that out.

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

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2015, 09:54:38 AM »
Be careful of inverter definitions. There is square wave, modified sine wave, and true sine wave.

As for here at home I've got a 4kw Trace Inverter (Modified Sine Wave) powering the entire house without any issues. Modified sine wave is not all that bad depending on the quality of the modified sine wave. Most cheaper models tend to be more of a square wave output where what I'm using a multi-stepped output but not a true sine still. As for modified sine waves there is nothing wrong with them being I've got 4 computers and entire 2 story house power but a 4kw inverter that is a modified sine wave.

As for inverter size base that on th size of your battery bank Amp/hours. Like I stayed back to 1,200w on the RV because I've got just standard two 12V deep cycle batteries. 1,200w = 12 volts x 100 Amps. So it won't take long for the batteries to be wiped out even at 1,200w.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 10:01:36 AM by Mopar1973Man »
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

Lou Schneider

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2015, 12:34:52 PM »
That's a much better waveform than I expected from a MSM inverter!  I've seen far worse coming out of a portable generator where the core has gone into saturation, and most portable generators run with their core saturated to save on weight and cost.

With 5 steps you'll have about 20% Total Harmonic Distortion in the waveform.  Commercial power specifies 5% or less THD to be considered "clean" power but I'd have no worries about using that power anywhere in my house.

The modified sine power to watch out for are the cheaper inverters that use only one step to approximate sine wave's peak voltage.  Not only do they have lots more THD but they vary the duty cycle of the pulse depending on the load and battery voltage.  Under worst cases (heavy load and low input voltage) their output approaches a square wave which is why microwave ovens don't produce as much power from them.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 12:37:12 PM by Lou Schneider »

John Hilley

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2015, 03:23:18 PM »
I would go with the 2000 watt inverter and the Honda 2000 for reliability.
2003 Winnebago Adventurer 38G
1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport
1999 Winnebago Brave 35C
  Handicap Lift & Hospital Bed

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2015, 03:32:57 PM »
That Trace (a product of Xantrex, not to be confused the TRC company brand) is a much better quality unit than the usual MSW.  There is no standard for what the term "modified sine" means, so anything from "square" to "multi-step" qualifies.  And square is the easiest and cheapest to design and build.

TRC also builds inverters, e.g. the SmartPhase products designed for solar systems. Different animal.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Just Lou

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2015, 04:24:14 PM »
I agree with Gary, that that Trace Inverter is NOT typical of what you will find in the 1-3KW MSW Inverters readily available to the RVer.  I personally have never seen another that came close to producing that number of steps in it's waveform.
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2015, 06:27:01 PM »
I know that this old house system isn't what you'd use in a RV. I just wanted to bring to light not all MSW inverter are bad. There is lots of photos on the Internet of what is called MSW and it nothing more that a square with a pause as it switches polarity. This I won't even consider a MSW it more a square wave. Yes. I've seen old square wave inverters too. 

I will admit the best solution is a true sine wave inverter but quality comes at a price as well. Being I'm also a boondocker and rarely need much for power being where I go there isn't any TV signal, barely any FM radio, absolutely no cell phone or WiFi I can get away with a simple Harbor Freight 1,200w Inverter and solar panel set. Works good for charging a laptop, cell phone, camera batteries, power a CFL Lamp or even my mini-vacuum cleaner. Might fire up a TV once in awhile to watch an old DVD movie but that's rare. No issues.

So my power needs are very low and used low budget inverter and solar but it covers what I'm looking for.

As for air conditioning, microwave, water heater (electric) you will need to consider either twin Honda (or similar) or some sort of large generator. I would not consider doing these devices on a inverter it will just drain the batteries fast. Being weight and storage is a factor I would look at the amount of amp/hours of batteries you got and consider your inverter size and loads against that number. I figured like in my system two 100 Amp/hour batteries (average size) which gives 200 amp hours. At 1,200w inverter will draw roughly 100 amp at full tilt. Giving a max run time of 2 hours tops (theory). But knowing my load requirements is barely 1-2 amps @ 120V at any one time is about 20 amp draw on the batteries that's at least 10 hours of run time (theory).

As for living on 30A @ 120VAC I've been doing it for over 15 years... Love It!  8)
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 06:28:35 PM by Mopar1973Man »
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
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Carterc1978

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2015, 10:00:53 PM »
Still seeing a lot of great information on here! Keep it coming!

Now im leaning towards the 2 Yamaha 2000 generators. Still considering a portable solar panel, but nobodys provided any insight on what wattage of panel i should be looking for to just charge and maintain my 6 volt batteries.

If i go with a 300 or 600 watt inverter for basically meeting my tv and dvd player needs, whats the best way to run it? Should i just run a short extension cord from under the bed storage to my tv or can i just plug in the shore power cord and get the inverter power through the outlets? If i went with the latter, is there a way to turn off the converter's battery charger?
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TCDNVUSA

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2015, 10:45:19 PM »
Howdy,

If you are in the market for a new very quiet and cost effective small generator here is a new direct competitor to the Honda...

http://www.thefitrv.com/rv-tips/generac-iq-quietest-portablerv-generator-ever/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=3&v=hdUSO8kFKVQ

Generac iQ2000

http://www.amazon.com/Generac-6866-Inverter-Portable-Generator/dp/B0128KR4EE

vs.

http://www.amazon.com/Honda-Inverter-Generator-Portable-Powerful/dp/B005ND19AE

Cheap enough to have one around the house and for camping!

Happy Trails,

tom n tyler
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JiminDenver

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2015, 08:30:09 AM »
I've run our TV/satellite off of a 150w inverter with a cord just to them as well as plugged the shore cord into the larger inverter to use all of the outlets. In my trailer the converter box has a breaker to shut off the converter.

When looking at solar, there are different ways of deciding how much to get. 1 watt per Ah of battery is one rule of thumb or you can figure out how much power you use and get enough solar to replace it daily. We scaled it up to the point that our solar acts like a small generator. The 750w easily runs a small air conditioner pulling 450w, a cook top pulling 470w and I am adding a Hot rod to the water heater that will pull just 450w and the batteries will stay in float.

In your case with two 6 volts, a 200 watt portable would match up well.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2015, 08:44:41 AM »
Solar charging: Everybody wants a simple answer, but there isn't one.  You need enough solar capacity to put back the battery amp-hours you use on a daily basis, but nobody wants to do the analysis and arithmetic to figure that out. Plus you need to consider the amount of sunlight available where you will camp. A 1000W solar panel still produces nothing if in the shade or on a rainy day.

A 100W panel produces about 6 amps, so if you have 6 hours of full sun on it you can charge about 36 amp-hours. Two 6v GC2 batteries have roughly 230 AH capacity, so you can replace about 15% of that in that time. On longer summer days you might get double that. On a rainy you get zero, so you need enough battery reserve to get through that time.

The 200W that Jim suggested is a decent way to start.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
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John From Detroit

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2015, 11:23:37 AM »
That's a much better waveform than I expected from a MSM inverter!  I've seen far worse coming out of a portable generator where the core has gone into saturation, and most portable generators run with their core saturated to save on weight and cost.

Having looked at a whole bunch of scope traces and/or photograpnhs fo scope traces I will second Lou's comments.  Never seen one that good before.. I had to click on it and view full size to see that it was really MSW.. it's that good.
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Carterc1978

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2015, 05:32:55 PM »
Thanks for all the great information everybody! I purchased a couple of Yamaha 2000s to get me started. Probably gonna get a 300 watt Go Power inverter before i leave on my adventure. Ill decide on solar panels once im out there on the road and figure out my needs.
2001 Ford F350 7.3l
2008 Thor Wave 26 RLS

John From Detroit

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2015, 08:53:59 AM »
300 watt good for TV's etc.  More watts lets you add Microwave, ELectric Razor (GFCI chain) and such.  I will always suggest TRUE SINE WAVE inverters mostly because they work with everything within their power rating.. I mean EVERYTHING.. MSW's not always no matter how good (And that one was very good).

I like the Yahama Generators  Noise: So close to Honda (1dB less) it's not worth mention.   Bearings: Superior.  All other specs. basically the same save COLOR.. Yellow is not as attractive to the 10 finger discount folks as RED is.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
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JDOnTheGo

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Re: Power questions
« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2015, 11:11:11 AM »
Im trying to figure out an inverter set up that I already touched on on another post for running a tv and dvd.  I was planning on a portable solar panel to maintain my 2 6volt batteries. But what are your thoughts? If I am already planning on a generator (that could obviously be used for battery charging),  is there really a reason to spend the extra money on solar?

I LOVE my solar. I especially love NOT running my generator.  Everyone is different but, for me, the cost of solar (relatively low - DIY system) was more than worth it to me.

What type of TV do you have?  The newer LED TV's use very little power.  I'm not sure about DVD players.  In any case, I agree with the others, a small-ish (100-150 watt) inverter will suffice for this purpose.

I too am in the west and generally avoid the heat by going up in altitude. Obviously, that doesn't always work nor is it for everyone but maybe a hint that you will find helpful.
JD - Full timer out west
1998 MCI 102 EL3 Revolution | 2010 Wrangler (daJeep) | 650 Watts Solar
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