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Old 10-08-2015, 09:37 AM   #15
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
Your RV most likely has two separate battery systems. One, the Chassis batteries, start the engine, and power the driving functions like headlights, wipers, dash heater/Air conditioner, etc. The second system is the House batteries. These power the 12 v lights, furnace, water pump, thermostat (which controls the furnace and the rooftop air conditioners) even though those also need 120 v from the shore power cord or the generator. These two battery systems are separate from each other although they are possibly both charged when either the shore cord is plugged in, the generator or engine is running. (Check your manual)

In addition, on your dashboard there is likely a switch with either an outline of a car battery or the word 'Boost' on it. If the Chassis battery is run down and not enough to start the engine, press and hold the 'Boost' button and it 'jumps' the battery groups together, sort of like using jumper cables from your car. Very handy to have. Likewise, according to which battery group your generator is powered from, the 'Boost' switch will add the Chassis batteries to the House batteries when starting the generator if needed.

Some RVs have Converter/Chargers, which take 120 v AC from shore power or generator and converts it to 12 v DC to power the 12 v house systems. It also charges the batteries and is designed not to overcharge them. An Inverter/Charger does the functions mentioned above, but also when you're not plugged in to shore power or running the generator can take 12 v DC from the House batteries and Invert it to 120 v AC. Inverters are usually only about 80% efficient and can deplete your batteries quickly if you try to use it for a toaster, hair dryer, or other large watt loads. Usually they will automatically shut down when voltage drops to a low level, check the manual for the lower limit it's set for.

If you don't have an Inverter/Charger, you might have a stand alone Inverter for powering the TV, refrigerator, or a few outlets in your RV. You'll have to explore and find out what it powers and how many watts it can produce continuously. Inverters generally are rated by continuous watt output and peak watt output. Many electrical devices momentarily need more than their normal watts to start up, most inverters are designed to handle this temporary extra demand, but trying to use it for any period of time at the above continuous watt rating will burn it out.

One final detail about inverters, if your head's not spinning yet. Alternating Current, (AC) switches plus for minus 60 times a second. (That's why it's called alternating) Electricity from the generator or shore power has a pure sine wave form, it gradually builds from 0 v to 120 v and back to 0 v again, 60 times a second. An inverter that makes 12 v DC into 120 v AC with this wave form is called Pure Sine Wave. (PSW) These are the most expensive type of inverter. Many inverters electronically make a Modifies Sine Wave (MSW) form that looks like stair steps going up and down. The cheapest inverters make Square Wave shaped cycles. These can create issues for some 120 v items plugged in to them. The 'jerkiness' of the wave and voltage changes can create heat and burn out some things. Even MSW inverters can cause issues with some 120 v items, most notably electric blankets and some phone chargers or power transformers to power computers and other electronic devices. It's a good idea to learn what your inverter output is and make sure that anything you power by them is able to handle that type of wave form.

That's what the tech should have told you.
EXCELLENT description BFlinn!!! Best I have seen yet. Now can you tell me exactly which of my outlets are on the inverter and which aren't Really is a great post on the inverter/converter topic and I would not have anything less than a Pure sine 2000Watt inverter in my coach. I have heard too many stories of TV's/Cell phone chargers/Blu ray players/Computer charges going bad in less than a year on any of the square/modified wave inverters.

2000W 12VDC Pure Sine Inverter Charger | Magnum Dimensions
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:22 AM   #17
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Dennis Dean - fantastic description.

OP - I'm 99.999% certain (check your build sheet in the Jayco packet - the one or two page printout that lists serial and model numbers for all the "products" in your coach from awning to microwave) that you have a Xantrex interver which is separate from a Progressive Dynamics Converter.

So you have one item (converter) which charges your batteries when plugged into shore power (no on-off switch just does it's thing as Dennis Dean said)

You also have a separate 1,000W (roughly 8 amps) inverter to give you 120V at selected outlets when not at a campground with power. (To be specific, one of your 120V circuit breakers will be what the inverter is connected to so anything on that circuit connects to the inverter. I'm not aware of a "whole coach" inverter option for the Precept.) Anyway, that inverter does have an on-off usually above/near your door.

I can almost 100% guarantee you have a Xantrex ProWatt SW (for Sine Wave). It will automatically shut down if your batteries get too low. Unlike other inverters (like a Magnum brand) you won't have a circuit breaker directly on your inverter. If you draw too much power it will automatically "error out" and you'll get an error indicator at the on-off above/near your door. You just turn the inverter off for a minute (maybe up to 5 if it has to "cool") and then back on. (There is a GFCI on it - so one of those little "test/reset" buttons like you have in your bathroom and kitchen at home but you'll likely not trip that.)

It's worth unplugging from shore power, turning off the inverter, and going around and seeing what's still on.

That will be 12V stuff. Usually the radio, lights, gas furnace, water pump (for when you aren't hooked to hose and city water), maybe a built in USB charger or something. If you have a residential fridge it will be off. If you have a gas/electric fridge (standard on the Precept) it will be in "gas" mode.

Now turn on the inverter. Go around and see what works. Probably the TV and maybe a few outlets. You can figure out which outlets by using something that plugs in like a small lamp or something. Consider marking the cover plate of those outlets with a "yard sale sticky dot" or a dot of nail polish so you can remember which are inverter powered when you need one

Everything else that doesn't turn on (like A/C) only works on shore power
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Old 10-08-2015, 02:34 PM   #18
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Did you take notice to the tech? Was he a Idiot wrapped in a Moron ? Or a Moron wrapped in a Idiot ? Either way demand a better walk thru.... without the Idiot wrapped in a Moron
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Old 10-08-2015, 04:17 PM   #19
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We are not full timers but when we use the coach the inverter is on. Our last coach was 13 when we sold it summer of 2015 and it was only the second set of batteries and the original inverter. Current coach there is no thinking about it at all with the elect fridge. Basically we prefer to have 110 power while going down the road. Different stroke I guess.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:19 AM   #20
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First a suggestion: Next time you buy an RVF. SHOP ELSEWHERE, that PDI tech was an idiot.

There are two times several differnet types of inverters.. But for this post just two.

1: Is a "Stand alone" this unit takes 12 volt battery power and makes 120vac to run a Television, Sat Receiver, Radio and the like.. Some RV's have this kind of unit, it is generally 500 watts or less.

2: is an "inline" inverter.. This one has two modes, In the "INVERTER" mode it works exactly as above.. However it is often larger and thus can also power the microwave or the coffee pot.. I have had occasion to be very pleased with mine.

This type also has a "Charger" or "Converter" if shore power is present it will CHARGE the very batteries it drains when it's inverter mode.

Also when shore power is present it goes into "Pass through" mode. Delivering the shore power instead of making it's own.

In short.. Let me ask you a question: Have you ever used a UPS to keep your computer running during a power fail?

The UPS runs only for a few minutes... An INLINE type inverter works EXACTLY like that UPS... Only instead of a few minutes, it's anywhere from a few hours to .. Well how much battery you have is the limiting factor. Days, Weeks, Years.
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Old 10-09-2015, 03:25 PM   #21
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TMI for the OP.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:31 PM   #22
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I don't know what TMI or UPS means. Most of this is just flying over my head but we have been reading the manuals and, you are correct, we have the Xantrex inverter. The small Precept manual has one paragraph on the inverter that says "the inverter should be off when not in use. "

I think we are not cut out for RV ownership because we are not knowledgeable enough for all these electrical things. It is too overwhelming.

Thanks to everyone for your help. I'm going to push this thing over a cliff now.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:51 PM   #23
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I don't know what TMI or UPS means. Most of this is just flying over my head but we have been reading the manuals and, you are correct, we have the Xantrex inverter. The small Precept manual has one paragraph on the inverter that says "the inverter should be off when not in use. "
I think we are not cut out for RV ownership because we are not knowledgeable enough for all these electrical things. It is too overwhelming.
Thanks to everyone for your help. I'm going to push this thing over a cliff now.
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Hang in there... things will get better.
BTW, I think the reason some people do not spell out what they mean, (aka: use acronyms), is because they are either to lazy to type whole words or they are trying to make you think they know more than they do.
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Old 10-09-2015, 05:03 PM   #24
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TMI Too Much Information. A mistake many of us make where we confuse the Original Poster with more information than they may be able to handle. In your case the simple answer is that an Inverter changes 12 VDC into 120 VAC in US motorhomes. You want the AC to run the TV and maybe some other things. Anything more than that is verging on TMI. ;-)

FWIW - My possible TMI - power conversion costs power. The rule of thumb is the current increases by the voltage change ratio so a 1 Amp draw at 120 VAC will take 10 Amps at nominal 12 VDC. Your 12 VDC is really closer to 13 and the difference accounts for the efficiency loss.
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Old 10-10-2015, 03:15 AM   #25
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No, it was RV One in Dover (Tampa).
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Old 10-10-2015, 03:18 AM   #26
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I just need to know when I should press the button on and when I should press it off. (Hanging head in shame)
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:55 AM   #27
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Turn the inverter off when the coach is in storage.

Turn it on when you aren't plugged into a campground power outlet and want to run your TV or whatever the inverter provides power to. In this case, turn it off when you are away from the coach so you don't run down batteries.

Don't know if it helps or makes it more confusing but you've got a generator. That generator burns fuel and produces electricity to run the air conditioner, microwave, tv, etc. You turn it on when you need it and off when you don't. Your inverter uses the batteries in your coach to provide a much smaller amount of power but enough to run TVs and some small electronics. It uses the batteries "as fuel" so you turn it off when you don't need it just like the generator.
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Old 10-10-2015, 07:13 AM   #28
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Thank you!
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