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Old 10-23-2017, 12:21 PM   #1
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Inverter Advice

A friend of ours has a 5th wheel with 50 amp service, he just added 300 watts of solar with a solar controller it really keeps his batts charged.

He does not have an onboard generator so he wants add a Inverter/Charger. He was told he needs 2 inverters can someone tell us if he does or does not need 2.

Also any suggestions on a inverter/generator?
Thanks in advance for all the help.
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:47 PM   #2
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if you need to run equipment/devices on 120v ac, yes, an inverter is needed.
it's preferable to have a combo of inverter and charger in one piece, as most rvs do. among inverters/chargers, there are two types of - modified sine wave (msw) and pure sine wave (psw). psw is recommended.

depends on the usage/rving habit, you can choose an appropriate size of it. for most rvers, a 2000w inverter is adequate. a popular unit is magnum ms2012 in that size. there are other brands and sizes too. google "rv inverter" to learn more.

as for generator, there are diesel and gasoline powered. per your friend's rv, there are many to choose from.

(a side note, many people would prefer to answer questions from the owner of the rv, rather through a second hand, for the reason of more than likely some further info being needed).
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:48 PM   #3
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I'm not sure why they would think he needs two inverters, unless maybe they think he should put one on each leg of his 50 amp service. I just put a single 2000 watt pure sine inverter in my rig with an auto transfer switch that ties both legs together and powers the whole rig. It automatically switches out the DC converter, but I have to manually do power management for the Air Conditioning, hot water and fridge to keep those high power devices from overloading my system or running down the batteries.

If your friend isn't familiar with inverters, one thing to keep in mind is the high demand they put on the batteries if trying to run any high power device. In my fifth wheel, if I have the TV running using my dish satellite receiver, maybe 4 overhead LED lights going, and turn on my microwave the demand on my batteries kicks up to over 180amps, which isn't a demand you can sustain very long.

For good suggestions on Inverter and Generator, need more info on what sorts of areas he will be camping in, time of year, and what he hopes to run in his rig. Power needs really vary based on camping style.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:02 PM   #4
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No need for 2 inverters unless you want to just want to limit how much power you pull from the batteries. Inverters are not 100% effective so you will lose some power in the process. Figure out what you want to run on 120AC and size your inverter accordingly.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:40 PM   #5
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What does he have for battery's ? What does he plan to run with it? With out a generator 300 watts of solar will let you run a few basic things but it is not going to keep ahead of major appliances.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:58 PM   #6
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Great info as always I will pass along to him.
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:01 PM   #7
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Inverter Advice

I am not sure but, it seems that the OP also is asking about generators like the Honda 2000 which can be used in pairs and have an inverter as part of the unit.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:27 PM   #8
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as of now not interested in a generator, just trying to figure out why he was told he needed to inverter/charger
Thanks for the follow up
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:49 PM   #9
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The charger portion of the inverter is used when shore power is available - it replaces the converter/charger he now has. Don't have to do that, though. If has a decent 3-stage converter/charger now, he can just add a inverter (no charger).

The thing that is missing here is "what does he have for batteries?". The solar panels are basically for battery charging - the power flow is too low and uneven to directly power much, especially on cloudy days or evenings. 300 watts of solar yields only about 20A of DC power (the panels operate at 15v or higher), and that produces about 1.8A @ 120v. Maybe enough to run a computer or charge a phone, but nowhere near enough for a coffee pot, let alone a microwave or hair dryer. He needs a large battery bank to store the power the solar collects and deliver it in bursts when needed.

I cannot imagine any solid reason for having two inverters. It might make management a bit more convenient if the inverter loads were divided in Priority #1 and Other, so you could shut down the "Other" when DC power gets low and you need to conserve more, but that's hardly a necessary way to manage things.
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:26 PM   #10
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i have 3 large 12 v rv batteries w/50 amp service
no in house generator
wondering about inverter hook up
have 3 100 watt solar pnls on roof
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Old 10-24-2017, 10:24 AM   #11
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"3 large batteries" isn't very informative, but odds are they can deliver roughly 125-150 amp-hours before going dead. That's about 1500 watt-hours of power consumption. Whether that is a lot or a little depends on what you expect to operate with it.

You can learn a bit about what you can operate and for how long at these sites and other similar ones:
https://theinverterstore.com/faqs/
http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Tec...-Universal.pdf
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:48 AM   #12
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To give you an example of what your 300 watt solar will be capable of doing I will post what our previous motorhome with 290 watts of solar would do. We had 3 group 29 batteries and a 400 watt inverter. All light bulbs in the coach were LEDs. We used the inverter to run a small 120v fan sometimes and a small tv.
The solar would allow allow the batteries to power the furnace if needed, the fridge on propane with extra 12v fans installed, lights, water pump, water heater on propane and charge the boat trolling motor battery occasionally . The roof fan and small 12v fans could also be run and a 12v radio. Batteries would be at around 12.1 to 12.2v in the morning with heavy use. By the end of a sunny day here in AZ. they would be at full charge.
The solar controller charges your batteries so an additional charger in the inverter should not be needed. Your 50 amp convertor should also charge the batteries when you are plugged in or on generator power.
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:36 AM   #13
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First. Think about how much battery he has and then re-tink about what he wants to power with an iverter For practical purposes AMPS = Watts/10 when running on battery power NOTE this is not precise but it is very very close. takes into account several things like conversion losses.

So a 300 watt Television/entainerment system 30 amps

A 1500 watt Air Conditioner 150 amps

Your fridge.. about 30 = 40 amps running on DC

My Freezer 3 amps on DC (Yup that's all folks)

How long will your batteries last
Group 24 about 75 amp hours you can only use about 20 (not long)
27/29 95/100 and again only use around 25
31 130 but you can only use about around 30

GC-2 Pairs (Six volt golf car in series) 220 give or take 10 or so and you can use HALF of it.

YOu need only one inverter. Two ways to set up..

Proper: Select loads to be Inverter powered.. On my RV the Inerter is a 2000 watt true sine wave model (NOTE PLEASE go True Sine)
Inverter powers TV and Electronicsd front and rear. Microwave and GFCI.. The installer installed a 2nd power panel called a "Sub Panel" 30 amp breaker in the MAIN box feeds the inverter which in turn feeds the SUB panel with these loads. I added the ability to switch some additional loads to INVERTER if I wished but that is a manual switch.

IF you want to go "Whole house" you would need at least a 3000-4000 watt inverter (4000, well 3600 is 30 amps) then use an adapter to power the house same as you would at a 30 amp campsite. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS. .
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