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Old 12-04-2015, 06:58 PM   #1
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Need electrical assistance

I'm putting together a solar/inverter system for my 2012 Arctic Fox 22H. We like to utilize the BLM/Forrestry campsites that don't have hookups. I also winter camp at 12,000+ altitudes when hunting in November.

I previously had a truck camper that I installed a 240 watts solar system, 300 watt Morningstar inverter, wired up two 110 outlets and 2 X SAMs Club golf cart batteries. My truck camper setup worked well even when running the furnace. My current draw consisted of running the TV/DVD setup for a few hours, charging phones, running LED lights, the furnace in 5 degree temps and a heated mattress pad. After 12 hours, my batteries would be at 70% (using 30-40 amps) and fully charged after 2-3 hours.

I prefer not to use a generator and realize that I won't be running the AC and possibly the microwave off of the batteries.

Now to put together a setup for the 22H. My initial thoughts are to increase the 6 volt batteries from 2 to 4. This is because I have concerns about the batteries being outside on the frame and when winter camping the cold will reduce their effectiveness. My camper is insulated well with double pane windows but I will also be heating a larger space than before. This will give me 440 amps with 220 being usable.

I'm wanting to install two 150 watt solar panels for a total of 300 watts. This should help with the charge to the additional batteries. My controller will be a Morningstar Sunsaver DUO with a remote panel. This is a 25 amp controller and will easily handle my panels.

So far my inverter choice is a Xantrex Pro SW 1000 watt with a remote panel switch. This will be mounted 3-4 feet on the front inside wall of the camper. I want to be able to use my 600 watt coffee maker so I need an increase in wattage.

Now with all of that mentioned, I would like to wire the inverter into the circuit to power my existing 110 outlets. These outlets are on two 15 amp breakers in my panel. Here is the wiring diagram that Northwood set me.



I will have to try into both GP breakers to accomplish this. My question is what is the best way for me to do this?

Will this bypass the converter so that it isn't powered when using the inverter?

I will ensure the fridge is set for gas mode when using battery power.

I've already swapped all bulbs to LED too. I appreciate your assistance!
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:07 AM   #2
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The present converter/charger is not identified in that diagram, and nothing you have described eliminates the 120v power to it when the inverter is on. You need to make sure the inverter is not trying to power the converter/charger when active. You also need to make sure the inverter can NEVER be on when you are also plugged to shore power, cause Bad Things Will Happen if it is. A simple transfer switch is the easiest way to do that, shifting the 120v source for GP1 & GP2 from the existing shore power source to the inverter. A standard double pole, double throw manual switch will do that, or you can buy a auto transfer switch device.

So, where does the converter/charger gets is power? If it is either the GP1 or GP2 circuits above, you will have to add a switch to disable it. If it is some other circuit, you could just switch that breaker off.
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:50 AM   #3
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Solar controller: you need a bit more excess capacity. Ideally 20% more than the max current from the panels. Also, given that you'll be winter camping the sun will be lower thus tillable panel mounts and an mppt controller will make a big difference.

Inverter:get an inverter with an auto transfer switch. It can then be installed after the 120v circuit breaker. Some draw a lot of current at idle, read the spec sheet carefully. Just for coffee it will be a big expense and power draw. Have you tried a French press? Coleman used to make a drip coffee maker that works on a propane stove.

You should have a very comfy hunting camp!
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
The present converter/charger is not identified in that diagram, and nothing you have described eliminates the 120v power to it when the inverter is on. You need to make sure the inverter is not trying to power the converter/charger when active. You also need to make sure the inverter can NEVER be on when you are also plugged to shore power, cause Bad Things Will Happen if it is. A simple transfer switch is the easiest way to do that, shifting the 120v source for GP1 & GP2 from the existing shore power source to the inverter. A standard double pole, double throw manual switch will do that, or you can buy a auto transfer switch device.

So, where does the converter/charger gets is power? If it is either the GP1 or GP2 circuits above, you will have to add a switch to disable it. If it is some other circuit, you could just switch that breaker off.
Gary, I'm going to do some searching for it today. It isn't near the breaker panel and I'm guessing it is under the stove utilizing outlet 509 displayed in the diagram. If it's there, could I wire the converter plug to a switch to bypass it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcham View Post
Solar controller: you need a bit more excess capacity. Ideally 20% more than the max current from the panels. Also, given that you'll be winter camping the sun will be lower thus tillable panel mounts and an mppt controller will make a big difference.

Inverter:get an inverter with an auto transfer switch. It can then be installed after the 120v circuit breaker. Some draw a lot of current at idle, read the spec sheet carefully. Just for coffee it will be a big expense and power draw. Have you tried a French press? Coleman used to make a drip coffee maker that works on a propane stove.

You should have a very comfy hunting camp!
I'm seriously thinking of tilting the panels. They put out 8 amps each for a total of 16 amps, I figured a 25 amp controller would allow enough.

I'm going to keep researching this and worse case scenario will be to just wire inverter only outlets like I did before.
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:59 PM   #5
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Roger that. Keep in mind the pwm controller will essentially drop the solar panel to the battery voltage thus you won't have max amps flowing.
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:33 PM   #6
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My suspicions were correct. There is a outlet under the stove with the converter plugged in there. I guess I could interrupt the converter plug with a switch to shut it off when running the inverter. Does anyone have a good diagram for wiring up the transfer switch?

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Old 12-05-2015, 05:14 PM   #7
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You're better off using a circuit that comes off your ac breakers, lead it to the inverter and then bring it back to the outlets. The inverter will auto transfer ac from the post or from the battery and you won't need to change the ac source manually. If you do use a manual switch , it has to switch hot and neutral.

Read the manual for the Xantrex Pro series, it talks about how to wire into an existing branch circuit.
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Old 12-06-2015, 12:10 AM   #8
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Whatever you decide on, in the end the solution cannot allow an accidental 2 sources of AC to the same circuit. You also can't allow for any accidental loops (inverter feeds converter , which feeds inverter....). So either you have an ac branch that is only powered by the inverter or you use an inverter with an auto transfer switch and wire it into an existing branch circuit. Your inverter cannot be wired in parallel with the AC input for the whole trailer.

http://www.rvia.org/?esid=standards and NEC still apply.
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Old 12-06-2015, 12:46 AM   #9
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Thanks for all of the help. After a lot of thinking, I've decided to just install additional outlets where needed running off of the inverter. This prevents any potential issues and make it easier for my electrical abilities.
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Old 12-06-2015, 01:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Gary, I'm going to do some searching for it today. It isn't near the breaker panel and I'm guessing it is under the stove utilizing outlet 509 displayed in the diagram. If it's there, could I wire the converter plug to a switch to bypass it?
Sure. Or just unplug it. You can buy a simple plug-in switch for the outlet, if you want.

Or wire in a relay that is operated by a line from the inverter, so that the relay opens when the inverter turns on. That's maybe a bit complex if you have no experience in this sort of thing. Use a normally closed relay and let the voltage from the inverter drive it open.
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Old 12-06-2015, 02:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Sure. Or just unplug it. You can buy a simple plug-in switch for the outlet, if you want.

Or wire in a relay that is operated by a line from the inverter, so that the relay opens when the inverter turns on. That's maybe a bit complex if you have no experience in this sort of thing. Use a normally closed relay and let the voltage from the inverter drive it open.
I was just thinking of leaving my converter unplugged since we mostly dry camp and the solar setup should keep the batteries charged regardless if plugged in or not.

If doing it this way, would it be okay to wire a outlet from the inverter and plug the house cord into it?
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:21 AM   #12
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Well Sunday I placed my parts order and they will be arriving today. Decided to get these items and I think it will work out great:

4x SAMs Club 232 AH golf cart batteries
32x13x13" diamond plate box to put batteries in on frame
Morningstar TS-45 controller
Morningstar TS-RM 2 remote meter
Morningstar remote battery temp
Xantrex Pro SW 1000 watt inverter with remote panel
0 AWG wiring from batteries to posts
2 AWG wiring from TS-45 output to posts
0 AWG wiring from inverter to posts
All fuses, grommets and connectors
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