inverter

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PATMAN

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May 30, 2006
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6
Hi I am new and have a 27 ft Jayco fifth wheel and was wondering if it is worthwhile to install an inverter-if so what size ? It doesn't do any good to get a giant one if you only have 2 batteries right ? I do have 1- 12 volt outlet near the tv-I guess thats for small 12 volt things. Is it wise to buy a bunch of 12 volt things like a coffee pot, tv etc or just install an inverter-Im confused. Thanks for your help-this is a great forum.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Your batteries restrict how long you can operate things from an inverter and  the size of the inverter governs what things can be run at all.  To run a 1000 watt coffee maker, you need at least a 1000 watt inverter.  One group 24 battery will allow you to run that coffee maker for about a half hour, which is plenty of time to make a pot of coffee.

You need to figure out what it is you want to run and for how long, then figure how many batteries you need to do that with an appropriate size inverter. Identify the appliances you want to use, get their electrical requirememnts from their rating plates and add up the watts (or amp).  Watts = amps x volts, so you can convert watts to ampos and vice versa.

12V appliances tend to be expensive as they are mostly specialty products with little price competition.  But if you only need a coffee maker, it's probably cheaper to go that way. If you had to buy several 12v appliances, then the inverter is a better way.

You are going to need about the same number & size of batteries either way - the total power consumed will be about the same.
 

PATMAN

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May 30, 2006
Posts
6
Thanks very much. I see this is a VERY popular topic on here-gotta have power ! I guess the big thing for me is, I can't really relax and watch tv with the generator going- it is quiet but I can still hear it and so can everyone else. If I can find a way to run the tv and dvd player and a couple other small things-not at the same time-- I would be happy- don't really like firing up the gen at 6am to make a pot of coffee either. This is a dumb question but besides charging my cell phone- what is that cig lighter type plug used for by the entertainment center ? 12 volt powered things ? I see there a more and more 12 volt appliances available all the time-especially for truckers I suppose--but the quality and selection isnt nearly as good as a/c. Besides everybody has a bunch of extra a/c stuff like coffee makers, toasters etc already., without buying a whole assortment of 12 volt appliances. I almost just went out and got a BIG inverter and installed that and then-thanks to you guys and this forum, I did some research and decided to slow down and see exactly what I need and go from there. Since I am a plumber I will describe it like this-there is no point in installing a giant garbage disposal if the drain pipe is a little 1/2 inch tube or something. It won't do a bit of good. Sometimes if you dodn't know what to do it is better to do nothing. Again -thanks for the great forum-thanks to all of you-no one has to reinvent the wheel- all they have to do is read. Its a lot cheaper and safer !
 

DougJ

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Mar 7, 2005
Posts
549
For what it's worth, Patman, I just had a 300 watt pure sine wave inverter installed in our 17-year old MH.  All I want it for is to run the TV if we don't have shore power (I could run the gen, but that is, as you say, distracting) and to charge up the batteries on my various electronic toys.

Ciao,

Doug
 

Karl

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Mar 3, 2005
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Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Patman,

That accessory outlet is typically used for a 12 Volt t.v. set, but can be used for most anything from a cellphone to a GPS unit OR a small inverter. I agree with Gary that 12 Volt appliances are not usually a good buy, and the selection is lousy.

don't really like firing up the gen at 6am to make a pot of coffee either.
And neither will your neighbors! I drink coffee literally 24 hrs/day, and make a pot before going to bed and keep it in one of those large pump-type Thermos bottles. Keeps the coffee hot and fresh through the night and well into the next morning. About $12-$15.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Patman,
Buy a small inverter, maybe 300 watts. Costs maybe $$40-50 and plugs into the 12V outlet, which can usually supply enough DC amps for about 200 watts. If it can't, you might have to rewire the outlet or add another direct to your battery (witha 20A fuse). That will easily handle a tv, DVD player, etc. You can plug an extension cord into the little inverter and run it to whatever appliance you need to operate.  Use a thermos for the coffeee or buy a little 12V coffee maker to get you through the early morning hours. Or wonders of wonders, get a plain old percolater and perk your coffee on the gas stove. Remember how to do that?

See how that goes and then later you can decide if you want to install a larger one and/or a more permanent one.
 

Jeff

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Apr 8, 2005
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SD/AZ
Gary:

On our Pace Arrow the 250 watt inverter I purchased from Radio Shack could not start our Tv if it was cold. If I warmed it up on 110v power I could get it to restart but the set required a surge start the inverter couldn't provide. I think I would suggest 400 watts to be safe.
 

Karl

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Mar 3, 2005
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Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Jeff,

But you're still running one of those old tube-type sets that could heat a small office building! ;D ;D

I agree that a little extra capacity would be good, but those outlets are usually fused at 15 or 20 amps, and as Gary said, some rewiring may be necessary to handle the extra current. Merely swapping in a higher rating fuse can be dangerous if the wiring can't handle it.
 

PATMAN

Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Posts
6
Thanks again guys ! I found a brand new 400 watt inverter in my garage-still in the package. Its amazing what you find when ya start cleaning and moving stuff around ! I usually find something like that right after I buy another one ! A couple other things I learned in my first time or two out in the 5th wheel- stay out of the trees- the branches rip the rubber roofs very easily. One guy actually broke out a big window on the side of his rig with a branch ! all I got was a few small tears that were easy to fix. And a good lesson which is-if ya don't see any other big rigs in there-don't go in there !!! Also, my rig doesnt have much clearance at all between my truck bed rails and the underside of the 5th wheel- actually did a little damage to the trailer and the truck when I went off road a little-seems like a pretty poor design to me. I think I can make some adjustments and get more clearance-I'm going to take it into the dealer and see. There is a lot to learn with these things- just like a boat-each time you get a little smarter-you should anyway ! And pay attention-always !
 

Shayne

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Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
Exactly the reason to use the Library as Tom always insists.  Many of these problems can be eliminated prior to  their happening.  Good  LUck
 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
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Shayne said:
... use the Library as Tom always insists.

Not quite Shayne. Although I point folks to the library for some specifics (typically where I know there's already a relevant article), some folks are more comfortable asking a question than researching and reading the library. Similarly, some folks are comfortable using the search function above.

In some (many?) cases, the library doesn't have an answer to the question.
 

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