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Old 08-28-2016, 08:31 PM   #1
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Newby w/question regarding inverter usage

Just bought our first RV, a new Fleetwood Bounder 35k. During our orientation walk it was explain that the fridge would also work with the inverter or generator when not plugged in. So my question is whether I can use the inverter to power the fridge and if so wont that inverter usage run down the battery. Or should I use the generator to power the fridge and ac while traveling.
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Old 08-28-2016, 08:53 PM   #2
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What type of refrigerator are you talking about? If it's a home compressor type refrigerator, it needs 120 v power and that's a major reason for having an inverter. If it's an RV evaporative refrigerator, it probably works on LP gas, or 120 v heater, using 12 v to control the refrigerator.

The inverter should probably shut down when voltage drops to a level that's unhealthy for long battery life. How many batteries do you have for the house functions? The manual for the inverter should tell you how low it will allow batteries to drain. Remember, a 12v battery is considered at 50% charge when voltage reaches 12.0 v.

The inverter will not run the air conditioner, it would deplete the batteries in a very short time. Even with the engine alternator recharging the batteries, you wouldn't keep up with the demand of an air conditioner.
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:07 PM   #3
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Your unit will have an automatic start for the generator when the batteries get low from running the frig., you have to turn the feature on and That feature is for dry camping. When you travel, the engine alternator will keep the batteries charged while traveling.
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:08 AM   #4
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The fridge is a residential type and I understand it can only work on 120 power by way of hook-up, inverter or generator. So my question is whether inverter usage while in travel would depreat my batteries and if so should I use the generator instead.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len791 View Post
The fridge is a residential type and I understand it can only work on 120 power by way of hook-up, inverter or generator. So my question is whether inverter usage while in travel would depreat my batteries and if so should I use the generator instead.
Unless you're constantly opening the fridge to get drinks, it should maintain, perhaps increase the charge level of the batteries while engine is running. You had mentioned A/C in the first post, that is too much for the inverter and batteries to operate. I doubt if your inverter is even wired to power the air conditioners.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:24 AM   #6
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Newby w/question regarding inverter usage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Len791 View Post
The fridge is a residential type and I understand it can only work on 120 power by way of hook-up, inverter or generator. So my question is whether inverter usage while in travel would depreat my batteries and if so should I use the generator instead.

Len, great question, while driving your alternator should be set up to recharge your battery bank. Just be aware, it will not do much for you while idling, but when you are moving you will be fine. Your battery bank should be large enough to keep your refer running while on inverter for several days, but that depends upon the condition of your batteries and their state of charge. One thing I always do, when getting ready to travel I plug the coach into shore power at least 1 day early and turn on the refer, that allows it to do the initial cool down, the largest power draw, with shore power. The other big power draw is the defrost cycle. If I am boondocking for multiple days I turn the automatic defrost, and the ice maker, off, I would rather have a little frost or no ice, than a rapidly depleted battery bank.

You also need to be sure you are set the auto start feature on your generator, that is done by sensing the voltage level coming from your battery bank. It depends upon the type generator you have, but there will be something like AGS (automatic generator start) listed, set it to on, you may also have to set the trigger voltage, if so 12.3 is the lowest I would go, 12.5 is better.

There are lots of threads here on IRV2 about running residential refers, inverters and generators, do a search and read some of them.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:26 AM   #7
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Find out if your engine alternator will charge the house batteries while driving, some don't. If your alternator does charge the batteries it should be able to keep up with the refrigerator usage while driving.

Depending on how well insulated your coach is you may end up having to run generator to use AC's while driving to keep it comfortable.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:58 AM   #8
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The fridge is a residential type and I understand it can only work on 120 power by way of hook-up, inverter or generator. So my question is whether inverter usage while in travel would depreat my batteries and if so should I use the generator instead.
As already said, while driving your alternator will keep the house batteries charged and they in turn will run your residential fridge with the inverter turned on.
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Old 08-29-2016, 08:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len791 View Post
Just bought our first RV, a new Fleetwood Bounder 35k. During our orientation walk it was explain that the fridge would also work with the inverter or generator when not plugged in. So my question is whether I can use the inverter to power the fridge and if so wont that inverter usage run down the battery. Or should I use the generator to power the fridge and ac while traveling.
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IMO that is a question best answered by the manufacturer of the coach.
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len791 View Post
Just bought our first RV, a new Fleetwood Bounder 35k. During our orientation walk it was explain that the fridge would also work with the inverter or generator when not plugged in. So my question is whether I can use the inverter to power the fridge and if so wont that inverter usage run down the battery. Or should I use the generator to power the fridge and ac while traveling.
Len,
Looks like most of the responses above are related to generalizations.
I have the 35K. The inverter has a transfer type switch in it. If there is 120v available it passes it right thru. When the 120v disappears/unavailable the inverter generaters 120v from the 12v batteries (if the inverter is turned on).
So, to your question, If the generator is running, it will power the refer on 120v and also charge your batteries. If you are also traveling down the road with the engine runnin the alternator will also charge your house batts.
If the gene is not running and you are traveling down the road make sure the inverter is turned on. This will make 120v available to the refer. The alternator will charge your house batteries at the same time.
As a side comment you want the house batts to be fully charged at the end of the day if you are not plugging in to shore power or wil be running the gene over night. The residential refer will eat up a lot of battery capacity in that over noght period of time.
Hope that helps clear up the muddy water of intervers, 12v and 120v usage.
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Old 08-29-2016, 10:56 AM   #11
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Thank you for your responses, what I understand from it is that when traveling down the road if I'm using the gen I don't need to use the inverter to power the fridge, only when traveling and not using the gen I would need the inverter on and If I do so the house batt would not Loose charge due to the alternator recharging them?.
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len791 View Post
Thank you for your responses, what I understand from it is that when traveling down the road if I'm using the gen I don't need to use the inverter to power the fridge, only when traveling and not using the gen I would need the inverter on and If I do so the house batt would not Loose charge due to the alternator recharging them?.
In general that is true. But it also depends on a lot of things - state of the house battery, other loads on the house battery, output of the alternator, state of chassis battery, etc.
Not sure how you will be using the coach (F/T, weekender, weeks at a time). Maintaining your battery is critical if you have a residential refer. You should never let your battery bank get below 50% of stated capacity.
As an example, running your refer alone on batteries/inverter will deplete it by almost 40% in 12 hours. Add in all the other parasitic loads on the batteries and you're over 50% in 12 hours. And that is with new healthy batteries (4 6v 400AH system)
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:26 PM   #13
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I have my inverter turned on basically 100% of the time (full timer). It will go into idle mode when it senses 120v input. If it should lose 120 it will then create 120 from the 12v batteries. We do not have AGS (yet). We run down the road with generator off unless we want to use air cond.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:42 PM   #14
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First off great advice from everyone else, as there are many factors to consider. One of the most overlooked maintenance features on the MH is the batteries and the more load you put on them the more often you need to service them. One thing we did almost immediately and I would strongly suggest is buying the Flow-Rite Battery watering kits. We have eight batteries and getting to the back four is a real pain. You can buy the RV kits at Camping World or through Amazon. Don't forget the filler pump, it is not included but it is required. https://flow-rite.com/battery-wateri...rv/pro-fill-rv
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