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Old 10-04-2012, 12:24 PM   #1
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12 volt electrical Question

My wife would like to run her sewing machine during long legs of trips. I propose installing a 2000 watt Invertor generator on the rear bumper and run it instead of the 4000 watt onan--which is overkill. Another + is that it would run the ref. (200Watts).

My question is this. When running the generator do I need to disconnect the convertor section of the power supply since my unit also has a engine alternator battery splitter? Or is this a non-problem? Thanks for any response.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:34 PM   #2
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Why not simply and more cost effectively install an INverter and a dedicated circuit for her sewing machine? For about 400 dollars you could have a nice full sine wave inverter and all the wiring. No added fuel expense.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:28 PM   #3
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I would also vote for the inverter solutiion. I have saddly found that externally mounted equipment such as you are considering, no matter how well secured is subject to theft both while on the road or parked at home.

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Old 10-05-2012, 04:59 PM   #4
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I have to also agree. While going down the road the alternator is pumping out 14.4v continuously. An inverter to handle a sewing macine could be had pretty cheaply. Then you would have it for other 120v appliances for other things and times.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:46 PM   #5
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If her sewing machine is not electronic, it may not need a pure sine wave inverter. I'd check with the Manuf to be sure. Also, as a home seamstress myself, I know that most of the time spent sewing does not involve the machine running. You might plug her machine into a Kill-a-Watt to see how much power it actually uses. Could be that you can run it off your house batteries and a small plug-in inverter.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:08 PM   #6
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Years ago I ran a 110 wire to be able to run my fridge while driving off the inverter. I had a 160amp alternator on the diesel pusher to supply power. 1st trip out burnt the alternator up with a cost of $400 and I replaced it myself. Maybe just a coincidence but I choose not to tax my get home equipment any more. We run the gen a lot with AC's, fridge, water heater and a few other items while driving fairly economically. I would run what you already have and save the expense of adding things that you already have to run the same things. Just my opinion.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:12 PM   #7
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An inverter is definitely the way to go. There shouldn't be any danger of harming your alternator if sized and installed correctly.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by John Hilley View Post
An inverter is definitely the way to go. There shouldn't be any danger of harming your alternator if sized and installed correctly.
I agree with that.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:31 PM   #9
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I run the refer off of the inverter while driving, rather than run with propane. 450 watts for the refer from a 2KW inverter, pulling about 35 amps from my 160 amp alternator. Never had any problems.

I do put a sign on the dash to remind me to switch the inverter off when we stop, so I don't pull the batteries down.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:57 AM   #10
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I use an inverter here... However you said "On long legs of trips"

I have a question: Is she planing on sewing while you drive?

If so, does she have a seat belt on her sewing chair?

It is very hard to sew a straight seam when the vehicle is in motion. and even in a motor home I have had occasional cause to be glad I was wearing my seat belt.

The last time was last week,, I thought for sure that one idiot was going to buy me a new front end when he changed lanes about 1 foot from my bumper.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:11 AM   #11
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I agree with wa8yxm. Your wife should stick to knitting while traveling versus trying to use a sewing machine.

I own a sewing machine and do all of the sewing in this family. I would not want to try sewing while driving at all.

Too many things can instantaneously go wrong.

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Old 10-06-2012, 01:50 PM   #12
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You can run the onboard generator a long time on what it would cost for the 2000 watt generator and install.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:49 AM   #13
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First I would like to think everyone for their comments and opinions regarding my question concerning running the sewing machine. For sure there are many takes on this!

I see that perhaps I should have dealt a little deeper into details. I have recently purchased a 1993 22ft Warrior. I have owned up until this point a Small Diesel Lesharo which we loved but I can't stand up straight in. Plus it is way under powered to be crossing the Blue Ridge mountains. My Wife did sew in it while moving which didn't seem to be a problem to her. I used an invertor with it. The lesharo house battery was charged on the fly by the alternator --but was not automatically isolated. The Ref. was 12 volt.

This Warrior that I bought did not come with any factory installed method to charge the house battery on the fly. In order to use an invertor I will have to install an isolator .

I already own the small Honda Generator which was bought for use in the Lesharo, so it would not have to be purchased. I have restored the 4000 watt onan generator but it does set up some vibrations that I don't know whether I can get used to. Also it will use .5-.6 gallons an hour whereas the honda can get about 8-9 hrs. on a gallon. It is equipped with seat belts at the table. I will have to come up with some method to secure the sewing machine to keep it in place should we have an "incident".

One thing I might mention is that by some of the replies it is apparent to me that some people don't understand what they have in an invertor. Lets look at the reply from the gentleman that had a 1.5kw invertor. If this unit were fully loaded it draws 1500watts Div. by 12.6 volts X.95 efficent=113.1 amps
this would fully load some alternators just in itself. Depending on your battery isolator/splitter it may not allow that much current thru it anyway with the remainder having to come from the battery. Also running power to some of these low voltage devices is more akin to running plumbing especially if any distance is involved.

Thanks again for all your replies
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