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Old 04-13-2016, 09:54 AM   #1
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Inverter or generator on the road?

Being new to motorhomes (always had 5th wheels), is there an advantage to running the inverter vs generator when traveling? So far, I have used the generator to have the fridge, A/C etc on while I'm going down the road. However, a friend mentioned that they use the inverter. Just curious as to what the norm is - if there is any.

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Old 04-13-2016, 10:00 AM   #2
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If you don't need the AC, use the inverter and save wear on the generator and a bit of fuel.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:09 AM   #3
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We just use the inverter. The system was designed for that. Only time we run genny when rolling is when it is really hot and have the AC going or we pull into a rest area to make coffee, etc.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:14 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TravelinMike View Post
Being new to motorhomes (always had 5th wheels), is there an advantage to running the inverter vs generator when traveling? So far, I have used the generator to have the fridge, A/C etc on while I'm going down the road. However, a friend mentioned that they use the inverter. Just curious as to what the norm is - if there is any.
Mike
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Few, if any, RV inverters will run the 120V RV A/C units.
Most RVers run the fridge on propane when traveling, (and the propane furnace if/when needed).

In fact my inverter has never been turned on/used while the coach was moving.

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Old 04-13-2016, 10:45 AM   #5
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If your fridge is a residential model and doesn't have propane AND if your inverter is sized for it I would run it on inverter. I seldom run genny when on the road except when I need house air. Your fridge should be able to hold temp if not for long period.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:51 AM   #6
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We only run the coach air if it's hot enough. Otherwise the inverter is running the fridge going down the road.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:54 AM   #7
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We just use the inverter. The system was designed for that. Only time we run genny when rolling is when it is really hot and have the AC going or we pull into a rest area to make coffee, etc.

Same for us.




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Old 04-13-2016, 10:57 AM   #8
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We only run the coach air if it's hot enough. Otherwise the inverter is running the fridge going down the road.
Same here. Do put a reminder on the dashboard, door, etc. to turn the inverter off if you stop to eat or shop. It can drag the batteries down if you don't.
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:01 AM   #9
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Same here. Do put a reminder on the dashboard, door, etc. to turn the inverter off if you stop to eat or shop. It can drag the batteries down if you don't.
That would depend of the size of the load and the size of the battery bank. We leave our inverter on all the time we are not hooked to shore power, except at night.
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:15 AM   #10
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Like others I use the generator if air conditioning is needed. The inverter runs the residential refrigerator just fine.
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelinMike View Post
Being new to motorhomes (always had 5th wheels), is there an advantage to running the inverter vs generator when traveling? So far, I have used the generator to have the fridge, A/C etc on while I'm going down the road. However, a friend mentioned that they use the inverter. Just curious as to what the norm is - if there is any.

Mike
Kind of depends on what you need the inverter for because as mentioned nothing is going to run the roof air other than the generator. Do you have a residential refrigerator? I do not and I never have my inverter on while traveling since mine runs on propane or 120 volts. If I need to run generator while driving which is very seldom then fridge automatically switches to 120. The only time I ever turn on the inverter is to watch tv which again is very seldom.
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:38 PM   #12
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First off, TravelinMike, welcome to the forum!

As you can see there are lots of different opinions on this particular subject. In reality, it depends upon your motorhome and setup. Notice that most of us have added our MH details to the signature of our posts. That way, others can tell what type of MH we have and answer our questions better. Without knowing what you have, we can only speculate and give you an opinion or tell you what we do in our situation.

We have a residential refrigerator and six house batteries, so we pretty much leave our inverter on all of the time. It allows the grand kids to run the TV and VCR while driving. Our alternator can pretty much keep the batteries charged while driving. As noted, if it is hot, we turn on the generator to run the A/C.

Enjoy your new MH and be sure to browse all of the old posts to answer your unasked questions!
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Old 04-13-2016, 03:38 PM   #13
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Welcome. Inverter all the time while travelling. Gen set if its hot. My Gen set has a setting to start automatically if battery voltage drops to low. I leave my Gen set on auto all the time as well.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:23 PM   #14
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Since the genset mfgr. recommends running it for a minimum of 2 hrs per month, why not run the genset and have AC power for everything else in the RV? If you keep recommended maintenance performed, I doubt you will ever wear it out while you own it.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:29 PM   #15
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Hi Mike

:welcome:

I have my inverter on all the time, on the road. If I need A/C I turn on the genny,. That's what it's for.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:33 PM   #16
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Few, if any, RV inverters will run the 120V RV A/C units.
Most RVers run the fridge on propane when traveling, (and the propane furnace if/when needed).
I was under the impression that all the newer Class A models featuring a 'residential refrigerator' were equipped with inverters capable of running the refrigerator while underway. Otherwise you would need to run the AC generator virtually all the time, and that doesn't make sense.
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:42 AM   #17
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Same here. Do put a reminder on the dashboard, door, etc. to turn the inverter off if you stop to eat or shop. It can drag the batteries down if you don't.
We leave it on until we plug into shore power at our destination. The inverter has it's own set of deep cycle batteries that will run the fridge for quite some time.
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:06 AM   #18
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Cranemec,
I am soon to be new to this residential refrigerator stuff. I will have 6 group 31 deep cycle batteries aboard with a Whirlpool 16 cf refrig. Any idea how long my 2000 watt inverter will run the refrig. on the fully charged battery bank if nothing else is in use?
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:30 AM   #19
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My 2003 Alpine was one of the first models our brand made with a residential fridge--13 years and 160k miles later, everything still works fine. The short answer is: it can run several days with no other draws--assumes fridge consumes 2-3 amps and doesnt have a defrost cycle, and you are not making ice.
But--my experience is that it doesnt work that way:
1-Driving down the road, your alternator charges the bats all day and the inverter runs the fridge.
2- Overnight stop, no hook=ups, six fully charged 6-volt bats will last all night, even with some TV and a little heat [propane furnace, not heat pumps].
3- Camp grounds--no issue, most inverters by-pass shore power to fridge--no bat power needed.
4. Dry camping, same as 2 above, good all night but you will need to run genset, perhaps 2 hrs in morning and 2hrs at night to re-charge bats, more or less.

Six 6-volt bats have a total capacity of about 660 amp hrs but you can/should only use half--50% discharge. Lights, TV, fridge, propane furnace all work pretty well off bats overnight. Things like, A/C and heat pumps, water heater, microwave use too many amps, too fast. As you gain experience, you will be able to assess you power needs and adjust your inverter use to optimize genset run time. Of course, adding solar panels changes the whole equation.

Do a search on this forum--there is a ton of info on managing bat power.

PS--my inverter is "on" 24/7 while we travel, but it only "inverts" when off shorepower or genset, and A/C power is needed
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:43 AM   #20
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What OS said.
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