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Old 09-11-2015, 12:31 PM   #1
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Another Newbee Question - Converter

OK, I'm acutely aware I'm gathering info and pics to write a book titled "RVing By A Dummie" and if nothing else it sure is an adventure. 12 months living on a motorcycle was not enough training for RVing.
12v converter - we're boondocking on the Colorado River outside Moab and the campground rules state "No Generators 8pm to 8am" which is fine, who wants to listen to the dang thing anyway. So we're watching From the Earth to the Moon - great HBO mini-series and 8pm rolls around and I shut off the generator and the tv shuts off, just as the Apollo 7 is launching. Did they make it? Will I ever find out? We dug out the manuals and under Entertainment found a brief description to push a button marked TV located above the top bunk in back of coach. Since we're in a Itasca 30W with only a short queen in the back no luck finding any such switch or top bunk for that matter. Checked every conceivable place in all cabinets, around the TV, on the dash, under the dash, in the cabinets over the dash, even looked in the frig just in case someone had a demented sense of humor the day our rig rolled off the assembly line - no luck.
First question - the TV can run off the house batteries as well as when the generator is on or we're plugged into shore power yes?
Second question - how can I get the TV to run off the house batteries when I'm not connected to shore power or don't have the generator on?

Thanks; yours truly
RVing by the dummie
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Old 09-11-2015, 12:58 PM   #2
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Almost all TVs in RVs are 110v. Some are 12v. Assuming you have 110v you can operate them on your batteries, however you must have an inverter to convert the batteries to 110v. If it's only the TV that you want to use, find out what the wattage is. A simple inverter could do the job for you.
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Old 09-11-2015, 02:22 PM   #3
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When we shut down the gen while watching tv, the system will shut down ... but only until the system resets to batteries ... and will come back on in a few minutes ....???
Not sure if that helps .........
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:37 PM   #4
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If your TV is 120v, you can check this yourself then you will need an inverter. There are modified sine wave and sine wave inverters and they come in many sizes. They will produce 120v from your 12v batteries. You can plug the TV into a suitable inverter which is wired to your batteries. You can also hard wire an inverter into your coach using a sub panel and a transfer switch. If you do the latter you can use your microwave, toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer all without having a 120v source, but one at a time.

You have a transfer switch now. It provides/switches 120v power from either shore power or the generator with shore power being primary. This prevents two sources of 120v power on the same line and back feeding, not good. If you hardwire an inverter you now have a third source of 120v power so it needs a transfer switch too. This switch will sense your 120v power from the shore power or generator which will be primary. If the inverter is on the switch will be closed to the inverter until that power source is off, then after a few seconds it opens and now your inverter is supplying the 120v circuits. The transfer switch should be the type that isolates the common, white wires. You don't want a second common or ground.

The separate new sub panel takes power from your 120v panel and provides 120v for the circuits you want to transfer. This would be the outlets, microwave, GFCI etc. basically everything but the air conditioner and converter. Not all GFCI's will play well with your inverter. But wiring in this way allows you to use a lot of your 120v appliances from your batteries.

Now you will need an inverter large enough to run what you want to run. Some say 1500watts is a good minimum but I've found that microwave ovens, hair dryers etc. can be finicky and not play well with 1500w. Many go to 2,000 and others like me choose 3,000. Remember only run the major appliances one at a time.

Your not done yet, modified sine wave, it chops the top of the sine wave p, or true sine wave. Big difference in price. Also you will need the battery capacity and converter capacity.

Inverters need to be as close to the battery source as possibly with the proper size wiring, 2/0 for example.

If you go to the plug in inverter style, let's say 300 to 500 watts you will still need to be close to your batteries and use the proper wire size.

Warning some online store sell the wire kits too. They are thinner wires than the manufacturer recommends for that inverter. Make your own. If you have low voltage going to your inverter it shuts down and will beep or if you have two grounds.

You may not want to hard wire the inverter. You can put it next to your batteries and run a new 120v 12g Romex to a dedicated new or existing 120v outlet. You can also take your shore power plug and plug it into your inverter making your transfer switch manual but be careful with the common wire, do not create a second ground.

Now just get it done.

I've done it twice, no problems.
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Old 09-11-2015, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
First question - the TV can run off the house batteries as well as when the generator is on or we're plugged into shore power yes?
Probably not off batteries. It's a 120vac TV. You may have an inverter which will create 120vac from 12v battery power. If not, you can add one. But you also need enough batteries to operate an inverter, and they suck a LOT of battery amps.

What year and model Itasca? Some of them were equipped with a small inverter solely to run the TV and DVD or VCR. Others were not.

Adding a small inverter for the tv alone isn't difficult. A portable 300 watt unit will likely do the job. But 300W means it can pull 27 amps from the battery(s), so it still needs a hefty size wire direct to the house battery bank. Then you plug th tv (and DVD player?) into the outlet on the inverter and you are good as long as the battery lasts (a couple hours).
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:29 PM   #6
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Rig is a 2011 Itasca 30W. I guess just call Winnebago Monday with serial number of rig and ask them if we have magic inverter.
Thanks all!
Next RVing By a Dummie question very soon I'm sure.
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Old 09-12-2015, 01:26 AM   #7
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Inverter

I will be making another post about losing all power inside the coach when you unplug from shore power and or shut down the generator .. but my son-in-law called me today with that problem and we spent a few hours on the phone .. with him sending e-mails of his fuse box converter/inverter etcetera before we found the problem .. so this part may pertain to what you may do .. he also wanted to be able to watch his tv when there was no shore power available and when he could not run his generator .. his solution was to buy an inverter [from the local hardware/automotive store] with enough wattage to power only his TV .. He wired it to the engine/chassis battery [no inline fuse I believe] and whoa - la he now had a workable TV .. now this is what we believed happened today while he was messing with the House Batteries .. he purchased brand new batteries today put them in the coach [he still could not get power inside the coach] he activated the Power Boost toggle on the dash and started the coach .. he described the starter as having excessive power in cranking the engine .. he began hearing an unfamiliar noise coming from the new inverter he immediately turned the ignition key off and went to investigate .. he felt the inverter and it was very very hot and there was smoke coming from the inverter itself .. we are concluding at this point that he had overloaded the inverter with 36 amps coming from the two new house batteries and the new engine battery .. he is stationed in N.C. and I am here in Az. so I don't have every fact .. but it seems to make sense to me .. if you do decide to go that route make sure that you take precautions in the wiring of that new inverter so you can't inadvertently burn up it up .. Glenn
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:43 AM   #8
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30W is a length and floor plan, not a model name. Is this the Sunstar model? An inverter is an option on the Sunstar, so yu will have to find out if yours has one installed or not. It may be a small inverter to run just the entertainment system (TV, DVD, etc.). That would be separate from the converter/charger. I think, though, that there was an option to replace the standard converter with a 1000 watt inverter/charger. Winnie/Itasca customer service can tell from your coach VIN number what was installed on it.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:31 AM   #9
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If you have an inverter it will be close to the batteries and wired to them in a ventilated area. It should have a remote switch. Start looking. They are big, have big wires, a fan.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:42 AM   #10
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Gpshay, the size of the batteries in amperage has no effect on the inverter. Have him check the BCC and reset it if need be for the problem of coach power. The inexpensive little inverter he bought should have a fan and should have a fuse near the battery. He was drawing to much juice or he had too small a wire size etc. The small inexpensive units often do not have the protection circuitry.

I saw some good looking inverters at a major truck stop. Truckers like AC gadgets too. I think they packaged the wires, fuses etc with the. Probably 10 or more different models. Oversize oversize oversize!
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Old 09-12-2015, 06:36 PM   #11
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First: A CONVERTER is a device that takes Generator Power, Or shore Power, and makes Battery power out of it, It CONVERTS AC 120 volt to DC at a variable voltage depending on battery state of charge,, Usually 13.6 to 14.6. (The higher voltage charges the batteries, the lower is float voltage).

Now: Now to TV off batteries method 1:

SOME Tv's are designed to be powered by automotive power supplies,, Generally they have a jack on the back labled 12 or 14 volt (SOme folks think 14 is better) you hook it dirtect to the 12 volt system and it is happy.

Others you need 120vac.. For those you need an inverter.. BEST is a True Sine Inverter.. you can get one in the 300 watt range, POSSIBLY smaller (True sine) you can get Modified sine in the 100 or less but I do not recommend those.

Put the inverter as close as you can to the battery but NOT in the same compartment/space.. Then run an extension cord to the TV. and/or Sat Receiver. NOTE: MSW may interfer with television reception (Why I do not like it) make sure inverter is at least 2x the wattage mentioned on the total of all devices plugged in (TV and if used Sat Receiver in this case)

My inverter is bigger, (2000 watt) installed, also charges the battery and miocrowaves lunch.. comes in handy when Georgia Power and darkness applies the last half of that re-name.
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