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Old 06-24-2016, 08:28 AM   #1
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Adding an inverter to my ACE

I'm thinking about adding an inverter. many times when travelling, we don't really need the genny running, but the kids and wifey would like power for their tablets and laptops. I can always fire up the genny, but that seems so overkill for what the need is. If I was to add an inverter, what model would you go with? I don't expect to run any more than 2 or 3 tablets or a mix of tablets and laptops at any given time. Let me know your thoughts.

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Old 06-24-2016, 10:18 AM   #2
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I have considered this too so I am watching to see what people suggest. I will primarily need the AC power to run the TVs though.

Just thinking out loud here but if you are just powering tablets/laptops, why not use 12v adapters or power bricks? Pretty much all tablets and latops run off of DC so if you plug into a AC circuit it just has to change it back to DC anyway. Might be more efficient to just keep it DC.

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Old 06-24-2016, 10:37 AM   #3
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Go a little bigger then what you think you'll need but you won't need 1000 watts. I have an 750 watt invertor in my Hurricane and it has powered everything I've needed while going down the road or boon docking for a day or so. 750 watts will keep every charger I own going, TV, DVD or sat receiver, crock pot cooking dinner while on the roads. Winter time powered an electric blanket. If I need the microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer or such I fire up the generator.

Only problem I've had is 120VAC LED lights don't like the taste of the modified sine wave power the invertor produces. No problems with the electronics.
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:01 AM   #4
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I bought a Tiger Claw 1500 watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter for $200 after finding good reviews for it online. It's Chinese made and the build quality seems pretty good for a unit this inexpensive. It actually comes close to matching the published specifications and can power nearly 1500 watts of load before shutting down (many don't come close to what they advertise).

I've been satisfied with the one I have and wouldn't hesitate to get another if the I had the need for it.

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Old 06-24-2016, 11:27 AM   #5
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Your tablets are using maybe 10 Watts at 5 V. The laptops are maybe 90.

Most laptops have 12VDC power adapters available.

On the tablets you will lose more power in the inverter than you need to run the tablet. Use a good 12 to 5 V adapter.

A 1000 W inverter will draw roughly 100 Amps @ 12 VDC to make 1000 W @ 120 VAC. You do not have enough battery or engine alternator overhead. You would be much better served with a few hundred watt unit if you go that route.
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:44 AM   #6
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Efficiency is major factor. Operating off DC directly is best. If inverter go with a small (500w or less) PSW unit.
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Old 06-24-2016, 03:07 PM   #7
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A lot of great information here, I'm doing more research, and I might just make it simple and add a couple 12v outlets. thanks for all the ideas.
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Old 06-25-2016, 09:26 AM   #8
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A 1000 watt inverter will not draw 100 amps every time it's on. The amps used will depend on the demand you place on the inverter. Consider about a 20% efficiency loss when using an inverter, but if your running the engine, this won't matter. So charging a laptop and other electronics on a 1000 watt inverter will only use slightly more amps than running it off a 500 watt inverter. The bonus is, you will have extra power if you need or want it at some point. Go the largest you can afford. Yes, you should not push the inverter past what your battery banks can handle. But even with minimum batteries, the 1000 watt inverter will handle the microwave or small appliances for a short period of time without killing the batteries. For running a laptop and charging, I use a DC to DC converter. This can be used on just about any piece of electronics since they are adjustable. Chuck
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Old 06-26-2016, 03:00 AM   #9
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A 1000 watt inverter will waste as much power as heat as the OP says he needs in total.

Any supply to an inverter has to be able to comfortably supply that current. The OP probably cannot comfortably supply 100 Amps from the batteries he has on board. The engine alternator may be sized to supply it but also has other loads to supply. It comes down to a system that probably works most of the time and becomes an expensive mess some of the time. That some of the time is what most of us try to avoid.
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Old 06-26-2016, 03:20 AM   #10
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12V is the best way. The standard laptop or tablet power brick converts AC to DC. You already have DC from your batteries. Buying an inverter to make AC from your batteries, then using the power brick convert back to DC, is a giant waste of money and energy. To make things worse, many power bricks don't work well (overheating shortens service life) when connected to inexpensive modified-sine-wave inverters.

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