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Old 05-14-2012, 12:01 PM   #1
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Adding Inverter

I have a 2009 Fleetwood Fiesta, V10. I now have tow 6V batteries. I would like to put in an inverter as we will be fulltiming in it in a few years. I have a couple of questions.

1) My batteries are under the steps. Has anyone ever remodeled the steps to add a tray for four batteries (total)? I understand that the tray would have to be re-enforced under the steps and maybe from the frame to be able to hold the tray.

2) What would be the best inverter to install? Also would you wire to everything or just a few select outlets.
I know the bigger the inverter to more stuff you can run. The TV and satellite box for sure. It would also be nice to get a couple of minutes out of the microwave and maybe a hair dryer.

I will have to get someone to do the work, so I was wondering what some of my options are?

TIA
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
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Our rig has a big inverter 2000 watts, that nearly all the a/c outlets are on, in addition to all the entertainment stuff. This is beyond convenient. Plug in a computer, laptop, or cell charger anytime, use the coffeepot, hair dryer, or microwave at will. Nice.

A 1000 waTT inverter might be a good size. I personnally think full sine inverters are just advertising hype.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not a Clue View Post
1) My batteries are under the steps. Has anyone ever remodeled the steps to add a tray for four batteries (total)? I understand that the tray would have to be re-enforced under the steps and maybe from the frame to be able to hold the tray.
Someone with a coach similar to yours will have to answer that. I will say that most often I see people using a basement bay to expand their battery bank. That is what I will do, when the time comes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Not a Clue View Post
2) What would be the best inverter to install? Also would you wire to everything or just a few select outlets.
I know the bigger the inverter to more stuff you can run. The TV and satellite box for sure. It would also be nice to get a couple of minutes out of the microwave and maybe a hair dryer.
This page has a LOT of info about inverters, and power while boondocking.

The RV Battery Charging Puzzle « HandyBob's Blog

For TVs and satellite I intend to use the 12V system rather than an inverter.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:17 PM   #4
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...I will say that most often I see people using a basement bay to expand their battery bank. That is what I will do, when the time comes...
Be careful when putting lead-acid batteries in an enclosed space. When they are being charged, lead-acid batteries (even AGM type) give off hydrogen gas, which is highly flammable. The battery space must be vented, it should have no electrical equipment in it, and should not be directly connected to your living space.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:38 PM   #5
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Our rig has a big inverter 2000 watts, that nearly all the a/c outlets are on, in addition to all the entertainment stuff. This is beyond convenient. Plug in a computer, laptop, or cell charger anytime, use the coffeepot, hair dryer, or microwave at will. Nice.

A 1000 waTT inverter might be a good size. I personnally think full sine inverters are just advertising hype.
What is your battery configuration?
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:12 AM   #6
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Not a Clue.........I just helped my neighbor do exactly what your asking to his 2008 FLeetwood Terra. I got a used Tripplite Inverter from a friend Tripp Lite PowerVerter® 1000W RV Inverter/Charger with Hardwire Input/Output (RV1012ULHW) and gave it to my neighbor.

A couple of things you should know. The Tripplite model above is a 1000 watt inverter charger. Which is a nice size for your unit. Its about $600.00. As you buy more expensive units, they are designed to operate more outlets and appliances and can be connected to multiple circuits.

On the Fleetwood Terra, there was no space to add any more batteries (two coach batteries under steps) in an open area, except under the hood. Copper battery cable wire is over $5.00 a foot, so you want the runs to be short. We placed his two additional batteries in the storage bay adjacent to the steps. Two battery boxes were mounted to the floor and vented out the side of the storage bay with hoses.

The ineverter was mounted in the same bay at the other end, 6 foot long bay. With the batteries in a box and vented, you won't have any issues.

The connections seemed complicated at first, but were really very easy:

-Somewhere in your coach, possibly under the refer is your original equipment battery charger/converter. It has a 120 voly plug on it that plugs into an outlet mounted nearby. The large red power (battery lead) runs to a stud with other power leads attached. Simply disconect the red battery lead and unplug the battery charger/converter from the 120 volt outlet. You're done here.

- Powering the circuit breaker....on my neighbor's coach, he selected one of the 120 volt circuit breakers (there should be about 4 house type circuit breakers) that powered his TV and some of his kitchen outlets.

You'll have to fish two 12/3 120 volt romex lines from the inverter to the circuit breaker panel. We used one yellow length of romex and one white length. On the side of the Tripplite Inverter (and I'm sure the same on other brands) are two locations to connect the romex. One connection is for power that the Tripplite inverter/charger needs to RECEIVE (yellow romex) to operate and charge your batteries. The other connection is for powering the circuit (white romex) that you selected with the new inverter power.

- Connection at the circuit breaker.....Once you've selected the circuit that you want to power with the inverter (more expensive units let you select two, three, four or more circuits if you wish), disconnect the black lead from that circuit breaker. This lead will be connected to the black lead of the WHITE romex you ran from the new inverter/charger. The white lead from the romex will be wire nutted to the white lead that is associated with that breaker. There should now be three white leads together. The copper ground lead gets attached to the other copper grounds. This completes your connection from the circuit breaker to the inverter charger for powering that circuit. (The inverter/charger has it's own circuit breaker, so none are needed for the connection).

- You now have an unused circuit breaker and the inverter/charger still needs power to operate. Connect the black lead of the yellow romex to the spot where you removed the original black lead from the circuit breaker. Add the white lead from the yellow romex to the white wire nut lead (will now have four leads attached) and wire the copper ground lead to the other grounds. You now have a power supply to the inverter/charger that is operated off of a circuit breaker protected connection.

- Battery connections....You need to make a black and red (or red wraped with black tape to avoid confusion) wire connection with 00 wire from the inverter/charger to your original coach batteries or your two new ones that were added in.

- The Tripplite model above has two more connections. One is a temperature unit that needs to be taped to the side of one of the batteries, just below acid level to prevent the charger from overheating. The other connection is for a remote panel that you can install in your coach. The panel allows you to turn the inverter portion of the unit on and off. If you don't use the panel, you would have to go outside to turn the inverter on and off.

If you have any questions, send me a PM.
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:08 PM   #7
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Don,

Great writeup. I will be printing this out. I will let you know if I need more info.
I only thing I want to do differently is to figure out a way to build a tray system using the existing step set up. Maybe cutting out the back of the step and creating a support rail system for the tray to be able to add two more batteries. Someone respsonsed to this request on RV.net and had done this with his C. I have ask him for some pictures. Thanks again.
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:37 PM   #8
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What is your battery configuration?
4 interstae U2200 6 volts, in a series parrallel.
Thats why I suggested 1000 watt inverter, to fit your battery bank.
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:39 PM   #9
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As always, Don has it. Use BIG cables. Keep em short. Put the inverter or inverter / converter as close to the batteries as you can.
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Old 05-15-2012, 10:15 PM   #10
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Not a Clue......On my old Class C, I had one battery in the step and room behind the step between the frame rail. It could only be accessed from underneath. I wa younger then and designed a rack that I could lift a battery (in a battery box) into the end of the rack I made and slide it in length wise. I was able to blindly reach up and connect the cables.

Something similar could be done with yours. You could probably remove the two OEM batteries, cut the back out and extend the rack toward the frame. Put on automatic battery waterers and the cables and then drop in the other two batteries in the stock position.

It's funny, my daughter and son-in-law just bought a new trailer Monday and I'm adding new shelves and welding on brackets for various things. I never like to leave the RV's alone for long before I start adding things to make life simpler and work better.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:15 PM   #11
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I just put in an inverter in my coach. It's larger than the 1000 watt, but I got a good deal. After installing the inverter, I ran a 10/2 wire from the inverter through to a small panel box with a 20amp breaker then on to a 30 amp transfer switch. Next, I disconnected the circuits I wanted from the main panel and ran my circuits for my outlets into the transfer switch as well as my TV/DVD plugs front and rear.
I have a power on/off button to control the inverter.

Even with 4 deep cycle 6 volt batteries, I still need to be cautious about what I try to power up off battery power.

I don't plan on any extended dry camping but it is nice to be able to do a lot of things without being plugged in to shore power.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:00 AM   #12
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Not a Clue-

I added a 2000W true sine wave inverter about 3 years ago. I don't do much dry camping, so a larger battery pack didn't interest me. I wanted to run a small freezer/fridge while motoring down the road, as well as computer, TV, etc.

My experience with a modified sine wave inverter was terrible- It was 1500w. It ruined the freezer/fridge compressor motor and the inverter. I then changed to a "Cotek 2000w pure sine wave unit". I had to add a transfer switch into the circuit so that when changing from inverter to shore power or to generator, there was no conflict of power inputs. It has been working great for years now.
I understand there are some units now that have a transfer switch built into the inverter itself.

The reason I went to a 2000w (probably an overkill for my purposes) was because that size unit has direct cable connections for the output source. The 1000w Cotek inverter I first tried, only had a normal household type GFI plug in for the output. It kept tripping the GFI. Someting about a conflict with the MH "neutral" system. They gladly upgraded me to the larger unit at the additional cost difference between the two units.

Diplomat Don's input is "right on" for your install.

I'm just relaying my personal experience- I'm no expert on this subject. And, oh, I used short run, hugh electrical cables 4/0- Tough to work with.

Good luck on your install,
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:18 AM   #13
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I forgot to mention that my inverter is a True Sine Wave inverter.

Modified Sine Wave work but are not recommended for use with many electronics and from what I understand shouldn't be used with anything digital.

Xantrex has a True Sine Wave model that is an all in one with a charger/converter and monitoring system that will even start your generator when the batteries get low.

I just didn't want to have to pay an arm and a leg to dry camp over night and watch some TV and make a pot of coffee in the am.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:33 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for their input, I think I have an idea of what I am going to do now.....just need $$$$$$.
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