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Old 06-18-2010, 04:12 PM   #1
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Power Inverter Upgrade

My 04 Adventurer has a 300 watt inverter on board and I discovered that you can't use the 110 outlets at all unless plugged into shore power or running the generator. It must be designed that way so as not to drain the 2 house batteries down in a hurry. What have some of you with simalar rigs done as far as upgrades in this department? I would like to be able to make coffee and toast in the A.M. without having to start the gen. I have a perfect place in the bay next to the steps (current batt. loc.) to add a couple more batt. if I have to with a larger inverter. I just want to be able to use my outlets when boondocking
Rod
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:56 PM   #2
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I have a 2KW inverter (Xantrex Prosine 2.0) that will microwve, run TV's and/or compuers and make coffee though there comes a point where you have to say "not all at once" If you want coffee, only read the name plate on the coffee pot, add 500 watts.

If you want microwave go with 2,000 watts minimum.. NOTE you still won't be able to use all outlets

Optional. 2 inverters, fire the 2nd just for coffee

MOST coffee makers work well on MSW inverters

Televisions it's a crap shoot.. They like TSW well but some act up on MSW This goes for all the assoicated hardware too
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:22 PM   #3
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Rod
FYI I had a 1000 inverter in an older RV and it would run the TV, coffe pot and other small appliances but not larger ones like the microwave.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:12 PM   #4
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These inverter threads get almost as interesting as the Wal Mart ones.
My used little rig came with not much of anything other than two beat 12 volt house batteries. The micro wave is a Dometic 1000 watt 12 amp draw .
I installed a 1750 watt (1500 watt continuous, Xantrex MSW inverter actually a store brand made by Xantrex)
Two new 6 volt US2200 deep cell batteries and this serves all our 120 volt needs when traveling. I use it for the micro the toaster and the Coffee perc. and only power one appliance at a time as stated by wa8yxm.
Cheers
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Old 06-19-2010, 07:39 AM   #5
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I guess my biggest question at this point is, how do you assign outlets to the inverter. Even if I upgrade the inverter, if the system is designed in a way so as not to allow certain or all outlets not to be active, how do I change that?
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Old 06-19-2010, 12:44 PM   #6
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About ten years ago I installed an inverter in a 5th wheel. Bascially the shore power lines went in and out through the inverter resulting in all the outlets and fixtures getting power through the inverter. So when the inverter remote selector was in the off position a/c power still went to all the outlets. When the inverter was in the on position the same outlets were getting power (from the battery bank when no shore or generator power was available). If memory serves me correctly this was a Heart Interface inverter/converter. I "did not assign outlets" but did have to try to keep my spouse from using everything at once without much success.
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Old 06-19-2010, 12:58 PM   #7
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You have to have a transfer switch. You can get an inverter with a built in transfer switch or use an external transfer switch. You then have to run the feed from your main breaker panel to the circuit you want to run off the inverter through the transfer switch. When on shore power the transfer witch will go to the shore power position, when on battery power the transfer switch will go to the inverter position. To feed more than one circuit you will need to install a sub panel.
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monarchman53 View Post
I guess my biggest question at this point is, how do you assign outlets to the inverter. Even if I upgrade the inverter, if the system is designed in a way so as not to allow certain or all outlets not to be active, how do I change that?
As suggested in the above posts you need a transfer switch if it is not incorporated in the inverter. Not knowing this when I first got the RV, it took two popped inverters before I caught on to the problem. Now mind you I did have a switch but it switched only the hot line. My fix was to cut the shore cable bringing both ends to the rear dinette seat for convenience and installed plugs on both ends. Then the main breaker can only be connected to shore power or the inverter but not both at the same time. When we leave on a trip, the shore power cable is stored then unplugged from the main breaker panel, the breaker panel is then plugged into the inverter and stays there until we have the use of shore power again. Other than that the shore power cable is just an extension cord from the little genny to the 40 amp Vector charger to top off the house batteries.
This is arrangement may not be for everyone, but it is convenient and works for us as most of our time is spent on the road with overnight parking where it's to be found

Cheers
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Old 06-19-2010, 11:08 PM   #9
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Thanks all for your comments and suggestions. I guess I have a little studying to do! This is what I love about RVing....... there is never a shortage of challenges to contend with!! It is a great thing to have a forum like this where people are so willing to share their knowledge and experience!!
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Old 06-20-2010, 12:00 AM   #10
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Rod,

First you need to figure out what you want to run on the inverter.

By that, I mean, Tv, Microwave, hair dryer, computer, and so on,

do a little math, with the data from your loads, ie, watts. then decide on the right size inverter. If you would like it to be seamless, and all automatic, with no fuss, then you need an inverter/charger. it will have a transfer switch inside. Most are 30A. A Sub panel would be ideal, but if you can remember not to turn on the A/C when on inverter power. it is a lot more simple to just do it in the load center. A Xantrex Prosine 3000-12 will power the entire coach, sans A/C. I wouldn't fool around with a modified sinewave inverter these days, all the new electronics are going to need tru sinewave power anyway. You should have a sizeable battery bank for a 3k inverter. at least 2 8D deap cycles or at least 4 trojan 6volt batteries. It only gets a little tight if you wanted to run, say the microwave, fridge, tv and water heater all at once, but if you're boondocking you should be on propane for water heat and fridge anyway. Run the Generator in the morning making breakfast, and in the evening making dinner, and you should not have any worries about battery power. If all you desire is a pot of coffee without the generator, and maybe a laptop or phone charger, a smaller unit would be fine. You could go with a small portable type inverter and just put it under the counter, but then it's not so automatic and seamless, as you must actively plug into it and turn it on each time. If you're into Serious boondocking, some solar should be your next step after an inverter and batteries. Kerry
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:09 AM   #11
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Thanks Kerry, I've already come to the conclusion that when I upgrade that a pure sine-wave unit is the way to go. All I really want to be able to power is a laptop, coffeemaker, toaster and the wife's curling iron but not nessecarily all at once. I just need to do the math and figure out how much I really need vs. want and how much I'm willing to spend.
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:52 PM   #12
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Rod,
Glad I could help.
Kerry
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:03 AM   #13
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All the outlet circuits end at a 110V panel. To install a new large (compared to 300w) inverter you disconnect the circuits you want to wire over to the new inverter. Then install a new subpanel for those circuits. Install a new breaker in the OEM panel (probably about a 30A one pole breaker) & run #10 wire to the inverter's transfer switch. Out of the inverter you run #10 wire to the new subpanel. The inverter either transfers 110V from shore power to electrify the circuits in the subpanel, or makes 110V from the batteries for the subpanel while the inverter xfer switch leaves connection to the main panel off.
That's approximately how my Xantrex RS2000 is wired. The RS2k also charges the 600AH of house batteries I carry. Great for microwave, toaster (not at same time), hair curler, phone chargers, etc. Nice not to run the gen just for a few minutes of microwamming a cup of coffee or melting the cheese on the nachos.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:33 AM   #14
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Thanks Mike, I'm starting to realize that this is a more involved project than I initially thought!
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