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Old 12-30-2011, 04:17 PM   #1
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Power Inverters

I am still trying to figure out this RV thing and was wondering if there is a good economical way to have DC to AC power inverter added to the coach so that the TV/Sat can be on while underway without having to turn on the Gennie? My logic is that the alternator (assuming it is large enough) will keep the batteries charged while driving thus eliminating the concern of draining the batteries.

My other use would be to make coffee in the early morning without waking up the wife and kids by having to turn on the gennie. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Dan
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
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Hi Dan,
Can you provide us with more information about your RV??
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:48 PM   #3
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Are you wanting to replace the current inverter or install a new one. I would think your coach should have an inverter already.

1989 Southwind, right?
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:21 PM   #4
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Hi Dan Pareja,
If your coach does not have an inverter, the answer to OP is no. The reason is the las part of the OP. Wanting to run a TV is one thing. Should be relatively easy. Running the coffee maker is a different ball game.

Now for some questions:
1. How many coach batteries do you have?
2. Does the engine alternator actually charge the coach batteries when traveling?
3. Do you have room for an inverter near the 120 VAC breaker panel?
4. Add up the WATTS of the appliances you want to run on the inverter. How many WATTS?
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:31 PM   #5
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Several comments...

First: I am kind of required to say if the TV is where the driver can see it, then it may not be turned on while the RV is being driven.. I will assume you can't see it from the driver's seat.

If all you wanted was the TV it would be easy, but you want coffee too. so I will give you two setups.

First: My recommendation is always a TRUE SINE WAVE tyep inverter, they are more expensive but they tend not to cause television/satellite interference, where as MSW's may, or may not, Many have good results with MSW's. And many have problems.

Now the inverter should be mounted as close to the batteries as you can get BUT NOT IN THE SAME AIR SPACE, It is not a good thing if the inverter breaths battery fumes.

For the TV/Sat you could likely get by with 300-500 watts but you wil likely need at least a kilowatt to make coffee, perhaps more, check the label on yoru coffeemaker. and add 50% (That should cover the TV's and startign current)


Now, how to hook it up, The reason you want it CLOSE to the battery is you need BIG wire.. for a 750 watt or smaller you can get by with standard automotive starter cable, comes in pre-made lengths one of which is sure to fit, For a kilowatt I'd double up on starter cable or get a larger cable, do not forget the fuse.

Then for the lowest cost.. Run 14ga wire from one or two plugs (if the inverter has built in sockets) or from the inverter's connection panel to special outlets next to the existing kitchen and TV/SAT outelts.. I'd get red or orange outlets and covers for these (Orange designates emergency power "Emergency" means (No shore or generator" in this case)

And simply move the plugs back and forth.

Option 2 involves a proper transfer switch, these cost about 50 bucks and are NOT the low cost toggles sold at Radio Shack. You switch both the black and white wires going to the outlet for the TV (I'd likely use the red outlet bit in the kitchen)

Option 3 you get an "In-line" inverter.. This is again more expensive.

This type of inverter you have a single circuit breaker that feeds the inverter, and coming out of the inverter you have a line to a small "Sub panel" box which contains breakers for the kitchen outlet circuit (Which should be on a GFCI which is likely located elsewhere like the bathroom) and the TV circuit.

Make that inverter a 2KW (2,000 watts) and you can add the microwave to it.

And that (option 3 with microwave) is what i have.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:15 PM   #6
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I use a Cobra 400 Watt MSW inverter, jumper cable wire with the ends cut off and lugs crimped on, connected directly to the coach batteries, with an inline 80 amp fuse. Samsung 32" flat screen and Dishnetwork 211 receiver plugged into a power strip. My alternator does charge my coach batteries and I can watch TV all day while DW drives. My KVH R5 in motion dish works best travelling west and north because the trees are farther away when the dish is pointing SW.


Amazon.com: Cobra CPI 480 400-Watt 12-Volt DC to 120-Volt AC Power Inverter with 5-Volt USB Output: Car Electronics

Amazon.com: Coleman Cable 08660 Heavy-Duty 4-Gauge Auto Battery Booster Cables with Polar Glo-Watt Clamps (20 Feet): Automotive

Amazon.com: Sound Quest 4 or 8 Gauge AGU Fuse Holder: Automotive

For coffee go buy an old fashion perculator stlye coffee maker and use your stove. LOL
I don't drink coffee.
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Old 12-31-2011, 05:39 AM   #7
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We have a 1000 watt inverter in our motorhome. It provides plenty of power for the TV, satellite receiver, wireless router and the computer. However, even with everything else off, it does not have enough power for a coffee maker, which will typically draw 1200 to 1500 watts. And don't forget, the coffee maker continues to draw power after it is done brewing to keep the remaining coffee warm. You would probably need a minimum of a 2000 watt inverter and 4 batteries for the coffee maker and TV.

We had a simple 400 watt inverter in our old travel trailer, and we got by fine with it and one 12V battery for the TV only. If you're looking for the inexpensive route, that's the way to go. Just get an old-fashioned percolator coffee pot that you can put on the stove to brew your coffee.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:17 AM   #8
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Why go to all the trouble of 110 vac? There are several brands of 12 vdc coffee makers & tv's...............
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by H. Miller View Post
Why go to all the trouble of 110 vac? There are several brands of 12 vdc coffee makers & tv's...............
Now this is a guy that uses his head for something besides a hat rack, heck of a suggestion. Sure makes the install cheaper.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paz
However, even with everything else off, it does not have enough power for a coffee maker, which will typically draw 1200 to 1500 watts.
.

There are 12 volt coffee makers available. They do take longer, but the coffee is just as good. We have one. It takes about 20 minutes to make 4 cups.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by bodycoach2 View Post
.

There are 12 volt coffee makers available. They do take longer, but the coffee is just as good. We have one. It takes about 20 minutes to make 4 cups.
I don't know about you guys, but I'd already be shaking like a 7.6 earthquake if I had to wait 20 minutes for my first coffee after getting up LOL!

Do the 12v ones come with a timer?
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:16 AM   #12
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It takes just a few minutes to heat water to 200 degrees on the propane stove, then pour said water into the french press for (many believe) better tasting coffee.

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Old 12-31-2011, 07:20 PM   #13
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It takes just a few minutes to heat water to 200 degrees on the propane stove, then pour said water into the french press for (many believe) better tasting coffee.

Ed
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Coleman make a drip coffee maker that will set on the stove burner. Makes great coffee. You will need a carafe to keep it warm tho.
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:27 AM   #14
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Why go to all the trouble of 110 vac? There are several brands of 12 vdc coffee makers & tv's...............
The 12V coffee pot isn't a bad idea, but you can get a 350 watt pure sine wave inverter for about half the price of a 22" 12V TV (around $300). I haven't done an extensive search, but I didn't see any 12V TVs bigger than 22". If there are any, they will surely be way more expensive than an inverter. If your existing TV can run on a modified sine wave inverter (our Panasonic can), you can get one of those for $30 to $40.

The inverters mentioned above won't be big enough to power a coffee maker, so that's where you could go with either a stove-top coffee pot or a 12V version.
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