Inverters/chargers/solar panels, what gives?

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Well-known member
Jan 6, 2006
Corona, California
I don?t know a solar panel from a soda cracker or inverters with modified sine wave to ocean waves so I need help.

I want to be able to run both my TV?s (27? & 19?) along with a DVD player all at the same time. I don?t need to run the Microwave or any other appliance. So with that in mind I need to know what wattage inverter I will need and what is the difference between a inverter and a inverter/charger?

Are solar panels really necessary to charge the batteries or do you actually run your appliances off them?

Lastly, while I'm driving will the alternator charge the batteries while the inverter is being used to power the TV's?
I'm technologically dumb/dumber/dumbest but I do know that on a sunny day, we can use the solar panel system (it has 4 batteries) to run the TV, Dishnet receiver, two laptop computers, and the internet system and still add some juice to the batteries. Mike chats with a guy who has 10 solar panels and a large number of batteries who can run his microwave, TV, receiver, and all the internet goodies AT THE SAME TIME. That's my dream....just solar, no generator, no plug.

Use of solar panels reduces the amount of time you need to run your generator

2 TV's plus a dvd player and I'm going to throw in a sat receiver, 1,000 watts should be more than enough, if you wish to microwave a cup of coffee, make it 2,000 watts.

True sine wave inverters are a lot more expensive, but the TV's and DVD player like them better, If you are trying to watch over the air television (Regular broadcast) and are a bit marginal the Modified sine wave inverter will put you into NO SIGNAL land where as the true sine won't.

In quartzsite I used about $100.00/week running the generator, I don't have solar panels,  With solar panels I could have easily cut that in half  This makes them an investment

Batteries,,, Figgure one pair of U-220 golf cart batteries per thousand watts of inverter,  MINIMUM

Will the inverter run the tv's while the alternator charges the batteries as you drive down the road.  YES and the alternator will charge if, that it, it ever chares.

HOWEVER if one of those tv's is where you, as driver, can see it... You may charge the court's treasury if a cop passes you
So now I've heard it both ways, you can use MSW for TV's and DVD players and I heard you should not, that they are too sensitive and you need a pure sine wave.

I have no reason to run anything other then a TV and DVD player or possibly a PS2 for the grandkids.

A MSW is significantly less expensive the a pure sine inverter and I don't want to invest any more then is necessary for electronic entertainment otherwise I'd stay at home.

Mostly it will be used during long drives to keep the kids from climbing the walls or wanting to sit on my lap while I'm driving. Once we are at a CG we wouldn't need to use it.

So bottom line is will a MSW work well for a 27" TV and a DVD/PS2 given it is 1000w continuous for say 4 hours?
Why don't you just try a MSW inverter...  they are pretty cheap.  If the noise is a problem look elsewhere.
I have used a cheap low power MSW unit to power a TV and DVD player, and also on the road to power my laptop with Microsoft streets and Trips.  All worked fine.  And the engine alternator (If its set up to charge the house batteries.) should more than keep ahead of the load.
Don, most home electronics will work just fine on a MSW inverter.  We have run numerouse TVs (both CRT and LCD), computers, and sound systems on our MSW inverter with no problems.  Items that seem to have a problem are those with electronic controls, like electric blankets, and clocks that sometimes run at double speed, but everything else we've used in our motor home has had no problem.  Our microwave and coffee maker also work just fine on the MSW supply.  A 1000W MSW inverter should power a 27" TV and DVD player with no problems, but you won't know for sure until you try it.  How long they will run on battery is dependent on the power draw and the battery capacity as long as the inverter can supply enough amperes for the devices.
So bottom line is will a MSW work well for a 27" TV and a DVD/PS2 given it is 1000w continuous for say 4 hours?
Heck yes! Just make sure your alternator is charging the house batteries while you drive. Some inverters require you to have the inverter set to 'charge' - a simple button press on my old Hart inverter. BTW my coffeemaker won't even turn on when running the inverter (electronic control) Other devices, like electric blankets with electronic control will actually burn out the control. I bought a small (600 watt) inverter just for it and a few other persnickety devices.
Mine is a 300/600.  I was only using a 14 in tv though...It only took about 60 W.  I just checked my 27 incher, it's rated at 90 W, but it's too big for the RV.
Camping World is now selling a 400 Watt Xantrex SX400 sinewave Inverter for an Internet only President's Club price of $289. I am using one of these to run the satellite receiver, DVD recorder/player, one 24" CRT TV and a 20" LCD TV. It works fine, but it must be connected to the batteries with very short #6 or larger wires. It would not work using the wires that fed the previousl used 300 Watt MSW unit.
That IS a good price for that inverter ($450 list), especially since it has the built-in transfer switch. I find it curious that the ad says XS-400, but the label on the unit in the picture says RS-400. Re-badged? For other options, people might want to check out Don Rowe The 600W I bought is the Samlex  PST-60S-12. It was on sale (He has weekly sales) for $249; free shipping. He currently has the XS-400 listed for $378; CW's price is better.

It seems like the difference between an RS & XS was the fact that one doesn't have a transfer switch. Better check with Xantrex and CW before ordering.
I did a little more checking and it seems to me :

The RS400 that I bought has the transfer switch but does not include the remote on/off switch. The remote switch cost me about $25.
The XS400 has the transfer switch and includes the remote on/off switch. Best deal. The one now offered by CW.
The TS400 does not have the transfer switch. Probably not good for RV's.

But do not take my word for it. Check it out for your self.

If any one buys this converter, I can tell you some of the problem with installation and the solutions.
It seems like the difference between an RS & XS was the fact that one doesn't have a transfer switch.
INteresting. The picture which CW uses, says RS-400 but lists it as an XS-400. Don Rowe says it has a display panel? and remote. Good suggestion - call to make sure what you're getting.
Addendum: My Samlex does not have a remote, but I leave it on all the time. Minimal idle current draw.
Addendum to the addendum: It doesn't have a transfer switch either, but since it's not the primary inverter, it doesn't matter; it's connected directly to the batteries. 
I run (2) 125 watt panels on a auto-tracker system. 3000 sine wave inverter. 10 storage 6 volt batts. Love it.

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