Running my outlets off an inverter??

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professori

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Apr 25, 2010
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I have searched the site, but haven't found the answer to what I think is a simple question.  I haul a Bullet 210RWUD travel trailer. I have a battery bank of 4 x 6V deep cycle batteries (in series and parallel to provide 12V power) and am planning on converting to solar over the winter.  My question is: Is there a way to hook up my 110V outlets to an inverter to allow me to run various 110V appliances (TV, microwave, etc.) while boondocking but allow me to plug into shore power when available?  Ideally would like to avoid rewiring the unit every time I change power sources.
 

PJ Stough

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The easiest answer is to get the proper adapters and plug your shore power cord directly into the inverter, but doing so you need to shut off the onboard charger, and make sure you dont try and run items like the water heater or AC from the inverter.
 

Frank B

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PJ Stough said:
The easiest answer is to get the proper adapters and plug your shore power cord directly into the inverter, but doing so you need to shut off the onboard charger, and make sure you dont try and run items like the water heater or AC from the inverter.


+2  We have done this for years with two different units. Our inverter is mounted in a storage cavity, and I just run a heavy extension cord out of the cavity and plug the trailer cord into that with a 30 to 15 amp adapter.
 

Bobtop46

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Try these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004S5Y158/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-PROWatt-Inverter-Model-806-1220/dp/B002LGEMOQ/ref=pd_bxgy_263_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B002LGEMOQ&pd_rd_r=0fe7576d-183a-11e9-b742-5973583c5df6&pd_rd_w=DW5yg&pd_rd_wg=nh6Sd&pf_rd_p=6725dbd6-9917-451d-beba-16af7874e407&pf_rd_r=B5REWKWYWZFYPJNXYPAA&psc=1&refRID=B5REWKWYWZFYPJNXYPAA

Wire the Inverter to the batteries short/think cable.  Wire the by pass relay as in the directions.  Plug one wire (with plug) into inverter.  Take 2 (outlets you want powered) circuits of wires off breaker and attach "load" wire, and attach "source" wire to breakers you lifted the wires from. 

This has nothing to do with charging your batteries and only powers outlets you choose from inverter and batteries.  When plugged in the relay bypasses (shut it off) the inverter.  There are other models of inverter.
 

AStravelers

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To power the microwave through the inverter you need a 2000watt inverter.  If you skip using the microwave a 1000 watt inverter should work fine for you.

Be aware that a 2000 watt inverter can pull up to about 166 amps as 12V DC.  The microwave will pull about 140amps at 12V through the inverter.

Be sure to use a wire size calculator to install the proper wire size from the inverter to the battery.  Wire size calculator:  http://nooutage.com/vdrop.htm  The farther the inverter is from the batteries the heavier the wire you need.
 

Larry N.

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Be aware that a 2000 watt inverter can pull up to about 166 amps as 12V DC.

To put it another way, you won't run that microwave for very long on those batteries, but if all you need is to zap a cup of coffee it should work. But as mentioned above, be sure you get the right wiring.
 

wmtired

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Simple to do but requires removing coroplast liner under rv to install a Romex line run from your inverter thru and auto-transfer switch to your power distribution panel.  Fully automatic and requires a little elbow grease once to wire and then you can chose from ANY outlet in your camper to draw 120 volt inverter power from.

Since you will be running wire under your camper If you follow my advice, you should also relocate your converter next to your battery banks; this will also require a romex run but make sure that it is not powered by your inverter output so you don't have an endless loop.

Kills me to see very expensive solar systems installed on campers and then an extension cord to the inverter output.

Good luck!
 

solarman

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Larry N. said:
To put it another way, you won't run that microwave for very long on those batteries, but if all you need is to zap a cup of coffee it should work. But as mentioned above, be sure you get the right wiring.

also take into consideration the fact that most GC2's won't like a discharge current greater than C/4 so that's approx
225 Ah * 2 = 450 Ah / 4 = 112.4 Amps max unless you like abusing batteries !

additionally, you might consider an automatic transfer/charger/inverter combination unit such as one of these:
https://invertersrus.com/product-category/power-inverters/power-inverter-chargers/
 

grashley

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I'm a bit confused by some of this, so I will start fresh.

It is very do-able.  To me, the easiest way is to get an inverter of the size you choose with a BUILT IN ATS (Auto Transfer Switch).

1.  To wire it, remove  the circuit (s) you wish to run with the inverter from the main circuit board.
2.  Use the proper size breaker installed in the main breaker box,  and connect this to the "AC IN" on the inverter.
3.  Take the inverter output to a new sub box, powered from the inverter, with breaker(s) to power the circuits removed from the main panel in step 1.
4.  Run HEAVY CABLE from the inverter to the battery or fuse panel.  The 12V cables should connect to all of the following:  Battery bank;  12V fuse panel;  converter / charger;  inverter input.

With this setup, when 120V is present (shore power), the inverter receives this power and the ATS passes this power through to the sub box.  No battery power is used in this setup.
When no 120V power is present, the ATS flips to take battery power and invert / convert to 120VAC, which is sent to the sub box.

No specific action is needed on your part.  The ATS handles it for you.

A couple notes:  Only power needed circuits.  Make sure A/C and water heater are NOT on the inverter.  Do not use the inverter for electric heaters. 
Comments above on the microwave are very accurate.
Make sure the converter is NOT on the inverter.  This sets up a loop where the inverter powers the converter to charge the battery due to power being used by the inverter.
 

professori

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Thanks to all for the information.  Gary, this article actually answers my question most directly.  Thanks for the link. 
 

Marchos77

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Chuluota, FL
I had this idea and would like to bounce it off you all.  I have a 300W inverter connected to the cigarette lighter. Would making a Male-to-male plug from the inverter to one of the AC outlets enough to power cell phone chargers and maybe a TV? I am thinking with the WiFi system I plan on installing that will run on DC, I would just need enough power to drive one TV with a FireStick or Chromecast for the kids to stream video to the TV.
 

ChasA

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I don't believe you'll get 300 watts from that inverter plugged into a cigarette lighter plug.  If you find the operating instructions for that inverter it will tell you it's good for about 125 watts plugged in to a cigarette lighter plug and to get the full rated wattage you need a connection through a larger size wire, usually hard wired.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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If that outlet can deliver a steady 20A, you can get maybe 300W via that inverter, but few of them can actually do that. At least not for long. Even the ones fused for 20A.  However, if its just a phone charger and a smallish tv, 100 watts is probably enough.
 

SLOweather

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A male to male cable like this is called a deadman cord for a couple of reasons:

With the inverter on and the cable plugged into it and not plugged in at the other end, there is 120 VAC on exposed metal connectors. Very dangerous. It can make you a dead man.

With the inverter on and the other end plugged in to an outlet, if your camper is also inadvertently plugged in to another live outlet, you can damage the inverter and perhaps cause a fire. 

With the inverter on and the other end plugged in to an outlet, if your camper is also inadvertently plugged in to another dead outlet, you can kill someone working on that circuit, even at a distance, making him a dead man, or her a dead woman. 

Don't do it. Ever.


Marchos77 said:
I had this idea and would like to bounce it off you all.  I have a 300W inverter connected to the cigarette lighter. Would making a Male-to-male plug from the inverter to one of the AC outlets enough to power cell phone chargers and maybe a TV? I am thinking with the WiFi system I plan on installing that will run on DC, I would just need enough power to drive one TV with a FireStick or Chromecast for the kids to stream video to the TV.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
First a MALE to MALE cord is called a SUICIDE cord. and for very good reason. Many have been killed by them

DO NOT USE THEM

Rather  if you want to power one outlet chain.. Put a single outlet and plug near the breaker box. The breaker for that chain powers the outlet the plug goes on the existing wire (or an extenstion to it from a junction box behind the power panel) then move the plug as needed..

This is...... How I do it

IF all you want is cell phone charge and the like.. Drop a few 12 volt accessory outlets and use car chargers.. Way easier and cheaper.
 
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