Another inverter question.

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Keith Haw

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Hi again...I've read through the post but didn't see exactly what I was looking for so here goes.. I installed a set of 4 - 6v batteries and a Go Power 1750HD GP inverter for boomdocking.  My question is how is the best way to hook the inverter into the MH to supply house power?  I realize it will not power the a/c but just need it for tv, coffee and microwave use..  Right now I just run a double male ac cord from it to the ac outlet on the outside of the mh.. Then I unplug the converter and switch off the main breaker.. That powers everything but the microwave.. Is there a better way to hook it up?
Thanks
Keith
 

John From Detroit

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An inverter sub panel is the standard, then you need some kind of switch.  or switching system (What you are doing now could be called a switch system)

I will strongly suggest you get rid of that double male cord though.. Using one of them and forgetting something can cause a disaster of the worst (Fatal) kind  Many people have been killed and many more jailed because the folks who went to  jail used a double male cord.

The dead were often power company workers

The way this is done is to move the lines you want to get power from the inverter to the sub box.  Now a good RV inverter may well include a charger as well and pass through switch for power.. If yours does not I'd suggest a 30 amp twist lock outlet and plug,  Plug the sub panel into the outlet for shore power... Plug into a cord from the gen-set for generator power

Or an intellegent power switch (Automatic Transfer Switch) 
 

Keith Haw

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Thanks for the reply but what your saying is kind of Greek to me..  I thought about running the inverter output to a "J" box and plugging the house power cord into it, is that what you mean? Is there a wiring diagram somewhere I could look at?
 

John From Detroit

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Don't know what a "J" box is unless you mean "Junction" or some such.

Simple method.  Run an AC line from the inverter to an RV style outlet (matching your power cord) in a compartment near the power inlet or cord (Or an weatherproofed outlet on the outside wall)  Pop (Turn off) the breakers for the AC and whatever loads you wish not to run, unplug or turn off the converter, and plug in using the normal plug.  NO double male cords EVER (Save one very special case I won't go into)

That is the other proper way to do it,  The plug becomes the switch in this case since it can not be plugged into both shore power and the inverter at the same time.  To be proper it must be IMPOSSIBLE to do that.

Your current system relies on memory to prevent that.    Making it so you plug the trailer into the inverter means there is no way you can back feed the park and possibly kill a lineman
 

Bob Buchanan

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Keith Haw said:
Thanks for the reply but what your saying is kind of Greek to me..  I thought about running the inverter output to a "J" box and plugging the house power cord into it, is that what you mean? Is there a wiring diagram somewhere I could look at?

Not sure if you read my post on the other Converter/Inverter thread that is active at the same time, but I describe in a bit of detail how I hook up my 1500W inverter so it will send power throughout the coach. Yes, placing a junction box anywhere that is convenient for plugging in your shore power cord would work just fine. You would have to make sure the proper breakers were OFF, especially the one that controls the charging segment of your converter. That breaker most likely turns the Converter off altogether vs. just the charging unit of the converter. Some install them outside of the rig somewhere close to the rig shore power cord outlet. In terms of distance from the inverter, it really doesn't matter. The DC lines "into" the inverter should be as short a possible.

A neater solution, to me, was to run the AC output line from the inverter directly to the Converter through a double pole double throw transfer switch. You want that type of switch vs. a single throw so there is no chance the incoming AC power (it will be either from Shore/Genset or Inverter) will go back down the unused input line at any time. For example, having shore power going the wrong way into your inverter would not be good. :eek:
 

Keith Haw

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Thank you for all the replies...The "double male" cord was and is only a short term solution until I can get back from the desert and install the inverter power properly.. How I am using it now is to unplug the converter, pop the main breaker and plug in the inverter power.  This seem to work ok but it is only short term. I screwed up and did not get an inverter with a built in charger so looks like I will have to address that also. What I am looking for is a good, reliable way to wire all this together. I would like it to work so that the inverter comes on when ever the generator or shore power are not on and charge the batteries when the generator or shore power are running.  Does this make sense? The reason I want it that simple is my 84 year old father uses it sometimes when it's setup out here and I am not around.
Thanks
Keith
 

Bob Buchanan

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Keith Haw said:
What I am looking for is a good, reliable way to wire all this together. I would like it to work so that the inverter comes on when ever the generator or shore power are not on and charge the batteries when the generator or shore power are running.  Does this make sense?

Yes, it makes sense -- and would have been nice if you mentioned how you would like it to work in your initial post here, vs. asking for the best way to wire it. :)  Based on what you describe now, I would suggest you sell the inverter you have and purchase a higher end unit that has the auto features you need. Otherwise, you are getting into a much more complex wiring job requiring a lot of extra stuff that is not built into what you already have.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I agree with Bob - get a different inverter.  I built a system of my own starting from where you are now, but I have a lot of experience with electrical wiring, whereas you appear to be a novice at it (or else you wouldn't be asking these questions).  Besides, by the time I finished making everything convenient as well as safe, I could have bought an integrated package anyway.

You need three things to make it as simple as you want: batteries, inverter with integrated charger and automatic transfer switch. You could add a manual transfer switch  or make your own with a bank of double pole/double throw switches, but it still won't be magical for your Dad. You need an automatic switch for that and they are fairly pricey.  It's a whole lot easier to get an inverter with transfer switch built in and a nice 3 stage charger as well,
 

Tom

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If you decide to buy an integrated inverter/charger, we have this illustrated article in our forum library describing the installation and other considerations.  *
 

John From Detroit

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Does your inverter have power pass through in the event that shore/generator power is there to use?  Let me know and I will sketch you out a diagram and E-mail it to you if I can

If not it's a bit easier  I can describe that with words  (In fact I think I did)

If that inverter is 1750 watts (about 15 amps) you will need a small breaker box or 120 volt power distribution panel (Progressive Dynamics makes an excellent one, use the 30 amp box)  A short heavy duty (10ga) cord, a 20 amp TWIST LOCK plug, and two 20 amp TWIST lock outlets.  (NOTE You may wish to use 30 amp Twist Locks)

You will need a longer "Cord" (power line) and a plug or plugs matching your inverter.. More on that later

First, install the sub panel (The above described breaker box or power distribution panel) near your existing one.  Move all the loads you wish to have on what I will refer to the "EMERGENCY POWER" panel (That is powered by the inverter) to this panel,  If you get the same make or style you may be able to just unhook the wires, and move the original breakers.  (This makes it easy) though you will want somethign to replace the original breakers with in the original panel (Blocks of wood, plastic, electrican's tape on the cover, all work)

Now, for the power in to the panel hook your short cord with the 20 or 30 amp twist lock PLUG (male)

Hook another short cord from a breaker to a matching outlet,,, NOTE The breaker (which you will have to buy) should have the same rating as the plug, 20 amp plug, 20 amp breaker, 30 amp plug 30 amp breaker,  Note also that the total of the load breakers in the sub panel may be greater than the supply breaker.

Now, put a 2nd outlet labeled "Inverter" next to the first (Which I'd label "Shore")  Run a line from this one to the inverter where you install a plug matching your inverter... Special case, if the inverter has only a single duplex outlet then I'd either install a double male on that end wraping paste epoxy around the plugs to insure they are only plugged into the inverter's outlets or I'd wire direct inside the inverter (Depending on how easy the later is to do) or I'd use a dual 15 to single 30 amp RV adapter (If you can find one) and a 30 amp RV plug at this point.

And that is all there is to it,, The Emergency powered loads can be plugged into either outlet at the transfer point.

Another way to do the same thing is to replace the two outlets and one plug with an Automatic Transfer Switch (Much more expensive, no safer)
 

Keith Haw

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Thanks again for all the replies...I really didn't mean to be misleading about what I wanted to do, guess it comes from my lack of understanding of what is needed..

John, thank you, that sounds like it might be a good solution. It's not automatic but simple enough it should work...Could I bug you for an email drawing? I had kind of came up with something like that but I had thought about mounting a second 50a box, like the one you plug into for the generator, and wiring both 110 outputs from the inverter into it. Then just plugging the power panel into either the generator or inverter box, which ever one is in use, and unplugging the converter.. Does that sound about right?  As of today I'm going to have to get another converter/charger because mine stopped working last night.

Keith
 

Karl

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Keith,

With all due respect to the other contributers, after reading the posts, even I came away scratching my head. Why not look at the Xantrex Installation Diagram, review it, and come back with specific questions. The arrangement presented should give you a good idea of what's involved. You may want to modify this basic installation by adding a second transfer switch to bypass the inverter entirely when on shore or generator power, but we can show you how that's done.
P.S. Forget the converter. Get an inverter with a built-in battery charger and transfer switch.
 

Tom

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Good link to the wiring diagram Karl, thanks.

I've been meaning to add one to the library article for some time, but somehow didn't get around to it. I have a number of "before" and "after" diagrams I've made while installing them in boats for myself and others, but they're all rough drawn and specific to individual situations. I recently revised the article for publication elsewhere and, rather than create a generic drawing, I might provide a link such as you did.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Keith,
If "automatic" isn't a requirement, just plug the RV's power connector into the inverter (using a suitable adapter and extension cord) when you want to use it and turn off whatever circuit breakers you do not want on inverter power. The converter circuit as  a minimum, but probably fridge and water heater as well.

But if you want a "magic" system so your Dad doesn't have to deal with flipping switches and moving cables, then you need an automatic transfer switch and more complex wiring.

There is also a safety element involved. You do not want to have a system where it is possible to accidentally try to power a circuit/appliance from both the inverter and shore or generator power at the same time.  If that ever happens, at the very least you will do damage to the inverter and/or generator and/or appliance. At the worst there could be an electrical fire.  I would never recommend a wiring solution that relies on a human to always remember to do something to avoid this, cause sooner or later somebody (e.g. Dad) will forget and there will be a lot of regret.

Perhaps you should go back to the beginning and re-state what you are really trying to accomplish. There are several degrees of difficulty involved, depending on the elegance of the required solution.
 

joelmyer

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RV Roamer said:
Besides, by the time I finished making everything convenient as well as safe, I could have bought an integrated package anyway.

Gary,

First, we had a great time on our Floridia trip and we'll be back - we'd like reservations for the same time next year.

Some problems occurred.  One problem was that my 300w cigarette lighter inverter refused to run the new TV. 

Dry camping is a fact of life at the Military FamCamps in Floridia in the winter.

So I've been planning an inverter installation and have read the threads here and on other fori.

My objective is to watch TV & play 'puter without the generator running.

My 1000i generator will charge the batteries with the current converter and Charge Wizard, and will run TV & puter.  That's all we want.

My second thought was what you said - bite the bullet and go with an integrated charger converter.  Much easier installation.  But will the Generator be able to charge the batteries?

Current plan is simple inverter in the bay behind the batteries and a house light switch to turn the conterter power off (how hard it's going to be to get the converter power line back there I don't know yet.)

When we move into dry camping, turn WH & Reg to gas, turn off AC & Microwave breaker.  Plug shore power cable into inverter and turn converter off.  Next morning, crank generator, move shore power cable, turn converter on, inverter off.

Comments?
 

Just Lou

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I've followed this thread with great interest.  I, like Gary, designed and installed my own inverter/charger installation but I also have nearly 50 years electrical experience.  I still didn't get it completely right the first time.

My point is that I want to commend the Forum Staff on stressing the importance of the safety and simplicity of leaving the design to the experts (manufacturers of the products) unless you are indeed capable yourself.

Some times the simple question of "What time is it?" gets answered in 1000 words or more with detail instructions on "How to build a clock".  This technique generally only serves to confuse the issue. 

Good job, Guys... 
thanks, lou
 

John From Detroit

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Since you need to get another converter/charger why not get a full featured Inverter such as the Xantrex Prosine 2.0  I know that they are expensive but the prosine has all the switching and wireing you need built in save for the 30 amp sub panel (I would use a 30 amp sub panel) and the owner's manual is good as to how to install it.

With the xanterx you use short and heavy wires to the battery, then you run a 10/3 line (10-2 plus ground) from a 30 amp breaker in your current distribution panel to the prosine, you run a second back from the prosine to a sub panel where you put your EP loads (IN my rig that is all the electronics, the Microwave and the GFCI outlets chain)

TO run on shore power or generator power you plug in or start up,  To switch to inverter power you unplug or shut down

It's that easy, the xantrex does the rest, it has a bulit in automatic transfer switch, and can pump up to 100 amps out to the batteries via a 3-stage charger you can configure to match your batteries (All explained in the manual)

IT really is the simplest of solutions.. It's also $1800 MSRP or about $2000 installed

Then keep your current inverter as a "Spare" for occasions when for one reason or another the Xantrex is not going to do it

(For examnple when the idiot ran down the power pole and plunged my church into darkeness,, ,I snagged my "Portable power" pack, consisting of a battery and inverter, and they were still able to do the video program they had scheduled)
 

Karl

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Joel,
That should work fine. As you've already figured out, the EU1000 will only supply 8 amps for battery charging; not nearly enough. Either the generator/3-stage (charger/converter) or the generator/inverter w-3-stage charger will do the job. I would opt for the generator/inverter combo myself 'cause you can run your t.v. late at night without running the generator. Also, there's really no need to switch off the micro and a/c at the breakers - just don't use them!  :)
 

joelmyer

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Karl said:
Also, there's really no need to switch off the micro and a/c at the breakers - just don't use them!   :)

Thanks Karl

Yeaup we are good at not using ac or mirco.  We had to learn the hard way about the refrig - everybody at Qz said the next morning "Forgot to switch the refer to gas huh".  And it seems that the cat sometimes switches the refrig back to auto.

So... if I isolate the bad things and then just switch the breakers off when we start dry camping it eliminates some potential problems.

Charging - my Yahama 1000i powers the converter with Charge Wizard.  It seems to get me back to the 80% level in an hour or three depending.  And it sometimes seems to struggle with that.  My concern is with a inverter/charger that it will pull more power from the generator than the generator is capable of.  As it that part ain't broke, do I really want to fix it.

Joel

Joel
 

Keith Haw

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Thanks everyone... Looks like I have some planning to do... I like the full auto setup but think I will go with John's or Gary's suggestion.  Them seem the simplest to install and shouldn't be that hard for my dad to remember..

After rereading the other inverter thread and this one, it sounds like switching to a inverter/charger and dumping the converter/charger might be a better setup..

Thanks again everyone.
Keith
 
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