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Old 10-07-2019, 11:17 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2019
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Inverter advice?

We have a 2018 Winnebago Sunstar. It did not come with an inverter. We have tried to purchase 2 different ones (really just want to be able to turn the TV on) but each inverter was unable to handle the tv. Each was powerful enough to run a small fan. The last one we tried was a pure since wave power inverter 300 watt car adapter that should convert 12V DC to 120V AC. Are we just not buying a big enough unit? Or could there be a problem with the plug that we are using (the one next to the dinette)?
Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:20 AM   #2
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Location: Lancaster County, PA
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Knowing the power draw of your TV would help greatly which may be a pain to get to at the back of the set. An inverter draws roughly 10 amps @ 12vdc for every 100 watts of output power. If all connections are good and proper power is being fed to the inverter and the TV won’t work, I’d guess it needs a bigger inverter. Which also makes me wonder if the 12vdc plug will supply enough current. Your 300 watt inverter is pulling about 30amps at full load and may be too much for that plug to supply for any amount of time.

Explanation link:
How long can I run the power inverter on my battery?

You may need to run a separate 12vdc line properly sized and fused to feed the inverter.

The TV in the bedroom of our 2018 32YE is smaller and has a power supply (black box) plugged into the 120vac outlet. The supply converts it to 12vdc @ 3.3 amps which plugs directly into the TV. The plan is to try running it directly with a 12vdc supply feed from the batteries. I need to regulate the voltage to prevent possible damage from charging voltages, etc, and was thinking of something like this.

I'd still use the black box when plugged into shore power, just swap the input plugs since the back of the TV is very accessible.

If your TV is plugged directly into the 120vac outlet, (no black box power supply) then it would seem an inverter is your only option.

My thoughts for what it's worth, happy camping...
2018 Sunstar 32YE
2 dogs, Max & Bitty
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:26 PM   #3
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Since our 2017 Adventurer came with a residential fridge my RV came standard with a 2000 watt inverter/charger (and solar and extra batteries). It’s fantastic having AC power on demand without shore power or the generator. I realize it’s overkill for watching TV, but I would highly recommend stretching for a more capable system from the get go.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:03 PM   #4
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Assuming that you're plugging into a 12V DC outlet, as thompwil mentioned, it may not be able to handle the current. In fact, if it can't, I suspect it would blow a fuse or trip a breaker depending on how the outlet is protected.

The best solution would be to wire the inverter to the house battery bank, ensuring that the inverter has a fuse or breaker to protect it. If not, you'll need to add an inline fuse.
Bob C
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:03 AM   #5
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Many of the smaller inverters have limits on their capabilities when plugged into a lighter style outlet. That is why they also come with cable and clamps for direct battery connection. If yours came with a cable and clamps, I would try connecting it directly to the battery at least as a test to eliminate the outlet as your blocking point.

We went through this same process last year and ended up deciding to just download videos from Amazon Prime onto our larger tablet and watch them there. It was good enough for our boondocking needs and we didn't need to purchase any additional equipment.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:20 PM   #6
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Way too much power demand for a 12 VDC socket. Bite the bullet and have a 2,000 watt (minimum) pure sine wave inverter properly installed. Or, forget using the TV and other 100+ watt AC appliances unless on shore power or generator. Installing the inverter may require upgrading your coach batteries as they can draw significant power and could draw your batteries to minimum in a hurry. They also draw current when "on" but not in use, also draining your batteries. In short, this system needs to be designed by a qualified engineer to keep from shooting yourself in the foot.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:05 AM   #7
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Two things: Most important: Look that it is a "Pure" Sine Wave Inverter and not(!) a "Modified" Sine Wave. Reason: A lot of modern electronic devices do not work on "Modified" Sine Wave Inverters.

About the power: It's all about your needs... if you just need the power that children can watch a movie during transit or if yout want to run a CPAP during the boondocking night without the generator noise, 300W are ok. But if you want to start your coffee-machine during boondocking; you might be over the limit. As well as there is a need to calculate your battery capacity.

Best way is to know first what kind of devices you will run "offshore". You find their need of electric power on their specs. This will give you all the data (kW, kWh, ah; Formula: Ampere = Watt/Volt) so you can calculate the dimensions of your battery and inverter.

I suggest a minimum of 1000W inverter (pure sine) and 250ah house-battery capacity. This let you live quite well without gettig "out if power", even if you start a nespresso-machine in the morning. The investment for it is about $1200 with long-living/maintenance-free AGM-batteries.

600ah battery capacity and a 2000W inverter let you run a big residential fridge, TV, etc. during some days of boondocking.

You also have to know, that you charge your house batteries while driving, generator running or be connected to the shoreline. Because it does not make sense to install expensive large and heavy capacities for 7 day boondocking if your gray/black tanks are full after 3 days and you have to drive 1h to the dumping facility.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:06 AM   #8
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I use one of these wired directly to the battery, and wired to the outlets for both TVS. works great.
Mike S.E. Ohio
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:09 PM   #9
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I agree with the advice above. If you are going to install an inverter, spend a little money and get a 2000 watt inverter to handle more than the TV. I have a 1500 watt, which works fairly well, but little things like the Keurig need a little more power on start up.
John Rossi
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