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Old 08-28-2013, 08:55 AM   #15
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Above I was speaking to my whole house inverter setup. This is a large inverter that will run microwave, coffee pot, etc. We use this inverter sparingly. For efficiency more often used are what I call point of use inverters. I have 12 volt power ports in the dining, bedroom, computer, and TV areas. Into these I plug smaller Tripplite 150 watt inverters and the item in use at the time. I like the Tripplite 150 because it is quiet having no fan and draws zero power when turned off.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:39 AM   #16
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Yes, it really seems you might be over thinking this. Point of use portable inverters seem the right way to go, with your intended use.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:19 PM   #17
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I think your are finally coming into reality. Get yourself two 6v GC batteries and perhaps a 600w inverter. That would be enough for the small computer, DVD and a few other things as needed. Check the items you will be using with it to make sure they can run on modified sine wave. If not, you'll need a pure sine wave.

You done right with the LEDs and the 12v TV. I did the same (tvs are LED too) and doubled our battery time. Everything we need is now 12v and we go about 3 days. If we need the micro, we use the genny for that brief period.
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Yes, it really seems you might be over thinking this. Point of use portable inverters seem the right way to go, with your intended use.
Yes, if you just want to run a computer and a TV it then is quite simple. I have done what you are intending and I bought and installed 2-6 volt golf cart batteries and changed all my light bulbs to LED and I can run for days. I'm not sure how many at least 4. My TT came with what I call "cigarette lighter" sockets already installed and I bought a cheap wall mart inverter to run my TV and DVD player. I use them only for a hour a day or so and this arrangement works fine.

One thing you did not mention is the furnace. You will not be able to run that for long off of the batteries. The furnace fan is a power hog and will drain the batteries quickly. I bought a "Mr Heater" propane catalyst heater for cool nights that runs from those little propane tanks. I then crack a window to make sure I have enough O2 inside the camper though the heater has a low O2 shut off I want to be sure.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:22 PM   #18
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Oh, and don't forget your gas fridge does draw some 12 volt currant even when running on gas. It's necessary to keep the circuit board powered. That draws a little currant also and that is why I went with the 6 volt golf cart battery route.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:53 PM   #19
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So the takeaway points I got from this are:

1. The loopback from 110v to the charger has to be broken when the inverter is on.

2. Theres lots of draw even on the DC system. The example of the furnace fan was a good one.

3. The charger that came new with the trailer is not necessarily a good one.

I have been looking along the lines of the Magnum MMS1012. It basically fully handles all of the functions and automates them. The only concerns there are that it costs quite a bit (1/10 the cost of my entire TT), and that it has a 5w standby power requirement.

It does not bother me to modify the current system, I am an electrical engineer and a general tinkerer, The idea of having the system drive the existing 110v sockets and appliances is good.

I don't mind adding/changing batteries, but one week on a single charge is not the goal for me. I plan on taking up the gap with a solar panel, and utimately by pull starting the generator if even that fails. It is a typical TT (jayflight SLX in case I didn't mention), it has room for two batteries, and I could add two more in the trunk inside.

So final question: No matter what the arrangement, ultimately I am going to have both a 110v driven charger and a solar panel charger in the same system. What keeps them from fighting with each other? Do I have to switch one of them out?

Thanks for all the good answers.

Scott
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:31 PM   #20
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So as a follow up:

I got a small inverter, non-pure sine, just because it was cheap ($30). It indeed drives the DVD player but fails on my computer, which is actually quite small, an ITX in a mini case. It is a 150 watt unit.

I found that most solar chargers expect to be able to work with other chargers in the same circuit.

I also found that installing an inverter/charger basically means you retire the charger/converter entirely. I admit I am still confused as to how a system both charges a battery and uses the 12v output at the same time, but that does seem to be what the maker assumes.

Scott
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:43 PM   #21
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We have a large teardrop trailer and the only thing we use an inverter for is charging the laptop and watching the 21" flat screen TV with DVD. I chose a 300W Morningstar Suresine inverter. I was able to wire it using a simple 30A DPDT switch which cuts power to the converter and powers the circuit breakers and 120 AC outlets.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:58 PM   #22
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We have a large teardrop trailer and the only thing we use an inverter for is charging the laptop and watching the 21" flat screen TV with DVD. I chose a 300W Morningstar Suresine inverter. I was able to wire it using a simple 30A DPDT switch which cuts power to the converter and powers the circuit breakers and 120 AC outlets.
I've been going through a similar thought process. Even the cheap 150w inverter states that it can do better with a direct connection. I fixed really the only outstanding issue I had, which was being able to boondock with the DVD player, and that is mostly because in the local camping areas, getting TV reception is not common (mountains).

That's one reason that I don't know if spending time and energy on a bigger inverter capability is worth it. The only places I would need it are the same state parks that its not common to be able to get internet via my cell phone, and thus I would have a computer that wasn't very useful. The computer is useful now, but that is in trailer parks with full hookups.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:00 PM   #23
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So as a follow up:

I got a small inverter, non-pure sine, just because it was cheap ($30). It indeed drives the DVD player but fails on my computer, which is actually quite small, an ITX in a mini case. It is a 150 watt unit.

I found that most solar chargers expect to be able to work with other chargers in the same circuit.

I also found that installing an inverter/charger basically means you retire the charger/converter entirely. I admit I am still confused as to how a system both charges a battery and uses the 12v output at the same time, but that does seem to be what the maker assumes.

Scott
Most 12V systems are all tied togther. Battery, lights, motors, etc. all share voltage. So if something has low volts (empty battery, motor needing power to turn) then the converter increases voltage output to keep voltage in the system within it's specs. Once voltage rises (battery is full, motor stops needing power to turn) then it lowers output to what it deems necessary. Everything shares.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:03 AM   #24
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So final question: No matter what the arrangement, ultimately I am going to have both a 110v driven charger and a solar panel charger in the same system. What keeps them from fighting with each other? Do I have to switch one of them out?

Thanks for all the good answers.

Scott
Your small/cheap less than 50w solar panel systems only have a diode to prevent backflow of power to the panel. So no need to do anything. Of course a 50w panel is useless other than to maintain batteries during storage.

In your case, I wouldn't use less than 300w and the more the better. Anything over 50w you want a charge controller. With one of those, it monitors the batteries and charges them as needed. If you introduce your 120v charger, the controllers for both work charging out themselves. Again, nothing you need to do.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:54 PM   #25
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If you wanted a "Whole house" inverter (Which I do not recommend) First, put in a lot more batteires, at least 3 pair of six volt or 3 8-D 12 volt.

Now, get an "inline" inverter

Shore power---Inverter---Main panel

And cut the 120vac wire to the existing converter module and tape it off.
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:03 PM   #26
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I use a whole house inverter in my rig, using the "plug shore power cable into inverter" setup and turning off the breakers for loads I don't need to power. I use a Samlex 2000W PSW inverter with a remote wired in with 2/0 cable. I mainly use it for the microwave and Tv, since I have a 2 year old. I use a pair of 2GC's for the house batteries but an isolated pair of GP 24's for the inverter since they can provide sustained current at a lower voltage drop than the GC's. This also makes it so that accidentally leaving the inverter on doesn't kill the house batteries. I get about 30 minutes of microwave use or 24 hours of tv use on this setup while still getting 3-5 days on the main battery if I don't use the heat much. If I'm going to camp with hookups i'll leave the GP 24's at home.
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:22 PM   #27
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So my update on this is:

I found that the battery I had which came with the trailer was indeed a marine grade deep discharge battery. both for reasons of cost and because a 6v battery change would have required modifying the holding space on the tongue (turns out 6v batteries are both higher and also slightly wider than 12v), I decided to simply get another 12v DD battery and gang it up. Even this involves a bit of modification, since it turns out you can't fit two stock battery boxes side by side there. I'll be cutting on the box tomorrow to install it.

I researched the existing converter/charger which is part of a load panel combination. It is a three level charger, not a "bad" charger, so I don't really think I need to replace it. It looks fairly simple modify to switch some or all of the 120v loads/sockets over to an inverter, using either a manual switch or a relay. By using an inverter only, not an inverter/charger, and not using automatic switchover, the costs for an inverter in the 1000w to 2000w range go down to about $300 vs. $1000 or more for an inverter/charger. Yes, this is using pure sine wave. I'm an electrical engineer, and I'm sorry, but I just can't stomach the idea of using a modified sine inverter. I'll probably go with a less than 1000w inverter simply because the biggest things I'll ever run are well within that, and it lowers the size of the battery cables required.

My expectations for the result include being able to use a TV, computer and lights for perhaps a few hours during the night after having charged up using solar all day. As mentioned, I have worked/am working hard to reduce the power requirements of all of these items.

Scott
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