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Old 04-14-2023, 06:21 PM   #1
Winnebago Camper
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 5
Angry New guy with a question about 120 v and my inverter.

I am new here. We full timed for 22 years in an Overland then in a 2000 Diplomat last, both diesels. We now own a 2005 Adventurer. I am confused, in my other coaches the inverter was only used going down the road or Boon docking. This one requires the inverter to be on to use the TVs when we are in an RV park using the 120v. It also runs the battery down, seem strange to me. Is that normal?
I would appreciate your knowledge and opinions.
Jack DArnell an old man in a 2005 Winnebago.
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Old 04-14-2023, 07:55 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Pflugerville/Austin, Tx
Posts: 6,076
Sounds like you have experience but just not with the Winnebago, so that 's good for learning a lot up to now and maybe need a few points.
First, I might mention how many Winnebago there are in each year and type and that leaves a bit in the dark for looking at drawings that are posted online.
I see in your profile you have a 36 foot? But we list 35 and 37 in several different models/floorplans!
Maybe we need to get that cleared as a first step, if you can spot which you have?

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Normally I would say, no, the inverter would not need to be on when you have shore power. BUT there is a bit different item when I looked at what I might guess you have, so I'm a bit in doubt, before giving a "real" answer!

RV come in lots of different setups and options, so a first thought might be to ask if this inverter was ordered as an option 40 B or added after?
Do you have any info sheets in the big packet of info you might have gotten with the RV? Big bag should be passed along to new owners!
Often something like a sales page like we might get with a new car listing the options? Option 40B would be a 300watt inverter from builder.

But moving on to other things, running the battery down by using the inverter should not happen when driving, nor when plugged into power as both should be charging the batteries far more than you are pulling out.

Are you familiar with the converter which uses 110AC to make 12 VDC to keep the batteries up? Possibly built into/behind the load center where you have a lot of fuses or breakers? The part of the cabinet that get warm and humms to you!

That should charge the batteries when plugged in. If using the inverter runs batteries down, there is some problem getting 12VDC from converter to batteries for the inverter to take out. .

But also, when driving, there is a solenoid which connects the coach batteries and chassis/start battery as well as the engine alternator together. That works to recharge the coach after we boondock, etc as it puts some power back as we drive. And is certain to be big enough to handle the inverter!

Are you a DIY sort that would like to check on these or what level of info would you like? I can sort this for you to check but I also don't need to bore you to tears if it's going to a shop for somebody else to worry about!

I often hate doing the shop thing because I always wonder if they will know about it either??
Plus I grew up being tight and never changed!!
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Old 04-14-2023, 09:27 PM   #3
Winnebago Camper
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 5
From what I see this is a 35A, I bought it from friends he just said 36, never checked to see the exact dimensions.
The only hint I have is a receipt for work on the inverter a year after purchased. On a trip the owner could not get TV on the road and stopped at an RV repair. NOTHING is on the receipt as to what they did, just the amt. of $300 I think, and the TV was working. That is from memory, I do not have the receipt handy.
It just puzzles me why I need the chasis batt and inverter on for the TV to work. It is only curiosity since we never watch TV except during some national crisis. I am just wondering if it is normal....
BTW is that solenoid on a switch that ties the two batts together or is it automatic?
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Old 04-14-2023, 10:10 PM   #4
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Location: Spring Branch, TX
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If you are asking if this is how your motorhome is supposed to work, the answer is no.

Your TVs and other 120v appliances should all run on shore power or generator.

Now, what your previous owner had setup??? Who knows?
2017 Winnebago Adventurer 37F
2016 Lincoln MKX Toad
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Old 04-15-2023, 07:34 AM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2023
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Thanks for the information. The situation just bugged me because it just did not seem normal. So far I have not regretted changing to gas from the diesels, but am still learning.
I had better hurry though, since I am in my mid 80's. ;-) , I will check and see if I can tell what changes were made to the inverter ckts..
Thanks again...
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Old 04-15-2023, 08:36 AM   #6
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Some breakin time is often needed as Winnebago does a lot of good things online. But FINDING the route is nice to have a guide!

First stop for info is Winnebago home site:

Click owners at top right, second page top left is a list of helpful sites. Or go more directly to sites for:


But the one I like for new RV is parts as it lets me see what I bought, get part numbers and find the names of things I don't know:

But before any of that can be found there is the basic thing of know WHICH RV and they made that info handy as there should be a small label on the side of the driver left with lots of really important info. like model and year as well as build date.

Your owners manual here:

Down on page 2-4 there is a section on the label to decode it and find what year, make ,model and tons of info. Don't be surprised if you find ordering parts for the chassis is a year older than the RV body as they buy stripped chassis and eventually get an RV body added!

On the inverter, it is not clear but it looks like the inverter is plugged into an outlet and then the front TV plugged into the inverter. That would sound more like a simple inverter that was early design and might be more like an off the shelf from Wal-Mart??
Newer RV have two connections for input, one AC which then has a mini-transfer switch that passes AC on or uses a second input of DC to pass on.
Older, smaller, cheaper versions just plug in the middle and no transfer or pass through!
might be time to consider upgrade if used enough to bother?

From a random 35Udrawing of the 110AC , I find this but the black dots are not known what they mean?

This does not show the 12Volt wiring but we know the inverter has to has a connection to make the 110, just not shown on the 110 drawings!
Click image for larger version

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So we are left with some questions! Which exact model and possibly build date and if the inverter was a factory option 40B or just an inverter aftermarket addition?
After RV get some age and folks have done changes, we can never be sure!

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Old 04-15-2023, 05:35 PM   #7
Winnebago Camper
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 5
We are headed South to Florida from NC in the next week. There I will do some uncovering of the upper panel and try to ID what we have. THANKS for the time, effort and Information.
If it becomes too confusing I will just bypass the inverter, we seldom have a use for one anymore. At our age Boon docking and another trip to Alaska is out methinks. ;-)
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Old 04-15-2023, 05:50 PM   #8
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If you find the inverter is plugged into an outlet and then the TV plugged into the inverter AND there are no heavy duty 12Volts wires connected, that will be the sure sign of something different.
But that leaves me thinking what use is a machine to make 110AC out of DC if it has to be plugged into 110AC?
Like I said, I'm a little confsued on what they mean!

Good luck and enjoy the trip. WE only get so many of them, enjoy the time we have!
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