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Old 08-31-2010, 08:31 PM   #1
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Have converter-want to add inverter

I have acquired a 2006 Sightseer on Ford chassis which has a 45Amp converter/charger--but no inverter. What kind of project am I looking at and roughly how much estimated expense to do this? This is a job I would not tackle myself(not an electrical guru!) so I would have to have someone do this install for me. Would appreciate any advise or ideas or suggestion. Thanks
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:54 PM   #2
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What are you planning on powering? Also, you may want to consider upgrading your converter, if it is not multistage it won't charge your batteries well. What brand and model is it?

Depending on what and how you install it, it can be easy enough for a non-electrical guru to install, we just need to know more about what you want.

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Old 09-01-2010, 06:43 AM   #3
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Hi viper,
Luv2go asked the right question. Consider that what you want to run. These appliances/wall outlets, etc. from the inverter need to receive all their power from the inverter circuit. When on batteries, the inverter will power the appliance. When on shore power the inverter goes into bypass mode, but the appliance is still being powered by the same circuit the inverter is on. What this means is if the inverter calls for a 20 AMP breaker, that is all you can get through the inverter circuit (no matter if on batteries or shore power).

I point this out to ensure no matter how large the inverter, one needs to know there will be only one circuit powering all the appliances one decides to put through the inverter.
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:53 PM   #4
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have converter-want to add inverter

Thanks Gary and Stewart for the comments. Here's some addt'l info: my purpose for adding the inverter is to be able to watch TV or listen to a CD without having to run the genset-maybe for a few hours at a time.
To get more info on the converter/charger that winnie uses in '05 and '06 Sightseers, I contacted Winnie and I was told the converter/charger model they used in those years was a Paralex or (Paralax?) Series 7400 which starts with an initial charge of 14V and after 13 hours goes to the 2nd stage of 13.5V and it stays at that level after that. It is obviously not a multistage converter.
Soooo...now what would you suggest? Upgrade the converter and add an inverter or is there a unit that does both functions in 1 box??
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viper View Post
Thanks Gary and Stewart for the comments. Here's some addt'l info: my purpose for adding the inverter is to be able to watch TV or listen to a CD without having to run the genset-maybe for a few hours at a time.
You're Welcome!

To run the TV or stereo/CD player, I'd suggest a small inverter in the 300 to 600W range, depending on the size of the TV and CD player. You can get an idea of the power draw by looking at the nameplate on each device, finding the power draw (usually in watts, but if it is in amps mulitply by 120 to get watts) adding them all up and adding about a 20-30% safety factor. If you can't get to the nameplate you can get a "Kill A Watt" to measure the power.

A Sine Wave inverter is preferable to a modified sine wave inverter for electronics, I'd recommend Xantrex Prowatt SW's in 600W or one of the many other brands of 300W inverters.

With either inverter, I would not recommend running it off a cigarette lighter plug, I'd wire it directly to the battery. I used a 350W inverter on a cigarette lighter (the one by the TV connected to house batteries in our old coach) and it was beeping and turning off because of low voltage. Remember that inverters draw a little more than 10X the current of the 120V devices they are plugged into, so if your TV draws 2A the inverter is drawing about 20A.

The inverters will either come with wiring or give you instructions on what wire size to buy to properly wire the DC side. As far as the AC side is concerned, the easiest way would be to run extension cords, though it may look ugly.

When I moved the 350W inverter so it was directly connected to the battery, I cut the 120V wire going to the TV and added a DPDT relay in an electrical box as a transfer switch so it would automatically switch between inverter and shore power.

You also can run the inverter all the time, though I would not do that if you get the larger 600W inverter you'll be close or over the capacity of your charger, your TV and CD player may run the batteries down when plugged in!

Quote:
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I was told the converter/charger model they used in those years was a Paralex or (Paralax?) Series 7400 which starts with an initial charge of 14V and after 13 hours goes to the 2nd stage of 13.5V and it stays at that level after that. It is obviously not a multistage converter.
Actually, 13 hr at 14V then changing to 13V is a two step converter, much better than the worst you could get. For your purposes, I'd stick with that converter unless (or until) you get spoiled by not having to use your generator and want to install a bigger inverter/charger (that's what we, did, eventually had a 2500W inverter/charger with extra batteries to support it in that old coach).

BTW, Parallax makes several models of 7400 converters, and I'd try to verify the model is a "T" series or measure the voltage to insure it really is putting out 14V. Winnie is pretty good at knowing what they put in their coaches, but even the best manufacturers don't remember correctly sometimes!

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Old 09-02-2010, 09:03 AM   #6
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Adding a small inverter is easy, but sometimes getting the power to where you need it can be tricky. And arranging to switch from inverter to shore power and back again can get expensive.

However, installing an inverter to run the tv & stereo is relatively simple because not much needs to be rewired. You can run the entertainment stuff from the inverter at all times, so no need to switch to shore power. When on shore power, your converter will recharge the batteries as fast as the inverter draws them down, so no problem. The only possible difficulty is routing the circuit that feeds those entertainment systems to the inverter for power. Sometimes it is easier to put in a new circuit rather than try to re-use what is there. The installer has to look it over to figure that out.
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Old 09-03-2010, 05:39 PM   #7
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Thanks guys- I appreciate your feedback and comments. I'll check out the converter voltage and then decide which way to go.
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