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Old 06-26-2019, 07:38 PM   #1
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Inverter install, looking for advice

We would like to power some small electronics with our batteries, laptop (wife works from home), 18650 battery chargers, Bose portable stereo and occasionally the TV. Not all at once of course. We are considering the Reliable Electric 800W Pure Sine Wave Inverter:






I was thinking of running 4 AWG power and ground wire to and from the inverter and the batteries. I was also thinking of installing a 100A fuse in the battery box. I would like to install the inverter under the TV:






The underside of the trailer is enclosed, so it may be a bit challenging to get the power and ground wire routed cleanly. I have never done this before, looking for any advice, thanks!



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Old 06-26-2019, 07:59 PM   #2
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Couple of things to remember...


1. Put the inverter as close to the batteries as you can.

2. Use the recommended wire gauge or thicker. Don't under size your wiring or you won't get full use from inverter.
3. Be sure to put the proper fuse as spec'd in the manual.
4. Remember that some inverters draw from batteries even if nothing is plugged into them. Turn off inverter to save batteries.
5. Set the cut-off voltage on the inverter (if yours has that setting) so that you don't inadvertently run your batteries too low.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:15 PM   #3
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Thanks Richard, I appreciate the advice. I figure under the TV is a reasonable compromise between distance from battery and convenience of use. I figure I will need 15 feet max of wire to reach this area. Feel free to correct me if I'm out to lunch.

This inverter has a power switch on the front of it, I will shut it off when not in use. From your experience would you recommend an additional cut out switch between the inverter and the battery?

From my research through watching videos on this inverter it shuts down in high 11 volt input. I recognize this is below the ideal 50% battery capacity. But one reason I like this inverter is it has a voltage input meter, which in my mind should give me an accurate reading of when to shut her down and recharge the batteries (low 12V reading).
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:17 PM   #4
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I recently installed a 700W pure sine inverter to power the residential refrig while towing on hot days. I mounted the inverter to the top of the battery compartment so it sits directly above the battery which allowed me to use 12" length battery cables. I then ran a 15' extension cord from the refrig to the inverter. I also installed a 120v outlet in the battery box so all I have to do is unplug the refrig extension cord from the inverter and plug it into the 120V outlet when we have shore power.
https://invertersrus.com/product/wagan-3802/
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:29 PM   #5
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I'm assuming you have a fifth wheel and your batteries are in the "basement"? My batteries are on the front frame, outside, just behind my propane tanks.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by crazymason View Post
I'm assuming you have a fifth wheel and your batteries are in the "basement"? My batteries are on the front frame, outside, just behind my propane tanks.

Yes, I have a fifth wheel and the battery compartment is opposite the propane bottle storage. The battery box is separate from the basement storage with it's own access door.
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Old 06-27-2019, 09:49 AM   #7
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It's more efficient to keep the DC power cables as close to the batteries as possible without being in the same compartment if it is a lead acid battery that can outgas. The amperage is 10 times larger on the DC side to the wires have to be much larger. The AC 120 volt side can be handle with an extension cord size wiring.
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:14 AM   #8
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The 100 amp fuse should be as close to the batteries as possable. You don't want any part of the positive cable to short to ground that's not fused. Always fuse near the powers source !

Shorter cables are the standard way of wiring inverters to minimise the voltage drop.

5 % voltage drop at 12.6 volts is 11.96 volts. The inverter may alarm at that.

5% voltage drop at 120 volts is 114 volts, a very safe and normal voltage for 120 volt devices.

Keep the battery cables short, and with the money you save, buy the remote control so you can easily shut the inverter off inside.
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by crazymason View Post
Thanks Richard, I appreciate the advice. I figure under the TV is a reasonable compromise between distance from battery and convenience of use. I figure I will need 15 feet max of wire to reach this area. Feel free to correct me if I'm out to lunch.
Convenience of use is not the point here. Get it as close to the batteries as possible. The voltage loss on the 12v side will be much less than on the 120v side. Your 120v wiring can be pretty long and still do its job. Lengthen the 12v side and you have to up the size of the wiring. Mine is mounted in the bay just outside the battery box.

The 120v wiring comes up from there. I've installed remote battery disconnect so that I can fully turn off the inverter when I really want to conserve battery. If you need to have access to the inverter to manually turn it on/off, then I'd try and find a cabinet as close to the batteries as possible while still maintaining functional access.

If you do have to mount the inverter further from the batteries, plan to study the 12vdc wiring chart carefully. Here's a good one if you don't already have one. https://www.bluesea.com/resources/1437

Might have to go up one or two wire sizes thicker to accommodate the longer wire length.
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Old 06-27-2019, 02:05 PM   #10
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As mentioned several times, mount the inverter as close to the batteries as possible. Within 4' is preferable. The voltage reading on the inverter won't be true battery voltage, but the voltage under load, which will be less than the actual battery voltage. How many batteries and what type do you have?
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Old 06-27-2019, 03:12 PM   #11
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Ok, thanks for the advice. I will find a better location, I am thinking in the front cargo pass through. Then I’ll have to fish the 120V up to the entertainment center. Is there a better option than running an extension cord on the 120V side? I like the idea of a remote disconnect between the inverter and batteries. I would also like to get an accurate voltage gauge installed inside the camper. I have two 6V GC2 batteries.
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Old 06-27-2019, 04:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grindstone01 View Post
I mounted the inverter to the top of the battery compartment so it sits directly above the battery
I'm not sure it's wise to mount above the battery (same bay) with gassing/fumes potential.


Quote:
Note that the inverter cannot share an area where combustible fuel vapors exist because switching components could cause ignition. Corrosive battery fumes should also not be present.
I have seen installations where the inverter and batteries are in the same vented compartment but the batteries on in an enclosure that is vented separate to the outside with hoses, similiar to this:


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Old 06-27-2019, 04:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by CoachStreamr View Post
I'm not sure it's wise to mount above the battery (same bay) with gassing/fumes potential.


I have seen installations where the inverter and batteries are in the same vented compartment but the batteries on in an enclosure that is vented separate to the outside with hoses, similiar to this:

.

My battery compartment has 2 vents to the outside and I don't believe that out gassing is a problem. In my case, the inverter is only operating while in transit and the truck is recharging the battery in transit, so it's not a big battery drain. Also there is max air movement through the vents while in transit. Thanks for the concern though, advice appreciated.
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Old 06-27-2019, 09:32 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by crazymason View Post
Ok, thanks for the advice. I will find a better location, I am thinking in the front cargo pass through. Then Ill have to fish the 120V up to the entertainment center. Is there a better option than running an extension cord on the 120V side? I like the idea of a remote disconnect between the inverter and batteries. I would also like to get an accurate voltage gauge installed inside the camper. I have two 6V GC2 batteries.
A better option than an extesion cord would be NM cable and a box and receptacle in the cabinet. If you use a breaker instead of a fuse you can use it as a battery disconnect for the inverter.

You should use a battery monitor that shows amps, volts and amp/hrs consumed. Trimetric meters are about $150 and Victron are about the same. There are some available from China in the $25 to $50 range including the shunt.
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