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Old 01-01-2016, 06:05 PM   #1
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Add on inverter

Our friends own 2009 Chateau Sport 31 that apparently has no inverter.
Has anyone added an inverter? Is this a complicated and expensive addition?

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Old 01-01-2016, 06:52 PM   #2
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How many batteries do you have? Big inverters need lots of batteries to power big loads. What do you want to power? If just the TV, blue ray player etc, you can get by with a small inverter wired at the point of use....I.e. Find a 12 volt source nearby the TV and wire a small 300 watt inverter there to power just that TV.

If you want to power the microwave oven, hair dryer, etc then you need at least a 1500 watt or larger inverter wired within 3-6 feet (preferably) of the batteries with large gauge wiring, and then you need to reroute the particular outlets 120volt wiring as well. If you aren't very electrical savvy, leave it to the pros.

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Old 01-07-2016, 04:37 PM   #3
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I looked at this recently. I have done nothing yet because I can't decide what I ultimately want. I think the ideal solution is to install an inverter/charger. This unit basically replaces the converter. HOWEVER, you don't necessarily remove the converter since a lot of things are plugged into it. You can unpower it or turn off it's main breaker so that it is not charging the batteries and producing 12 volts for the vehicle. THis job is now handled by your new inverter charger. The large inverter chargers have an in and out for AC so that if it senses you are on shore power or generator power it will begin charging your batteries. If nether is present, it inverts and makes all the outlets hot from this 110VAC that it is creating.

The other option is to add a small inverter and either install a new plug near the place you want to use it such as the TV or actually put the inverter itself near the place you want to use it. A problem you will find with these smaller and much cheaper point of use inverters is that they have manual switches and breaker reset buttons that you need to access when they trip. Therefore you can't just mount it in the back of a cabinet behind a drawer or something because you'll be crawling in there to reset it after someone tries to run the coffee pot on that outlet. Many of the sub $300 inverters offer or come with a remote on/off switch but even those have breakers on the actual unit that have to be accessed to reset them.

The benefit of a new inverter/charger is that while it may be too small to run everything, it can be wired to the whole 110VAC system. You can charge laptops, watch TV, and microwave some popcorn and so on from any of the outlets in the coach. Of course if you run the AC you are going to trip it unless it's very large and even then it will just drain your batteries completely in an hour or three.

I found nice small ones in the 2000 watt range that are just inverters for $300 with a remote on/off switch. That would run a lot of stuff including a microwave but you would have to route romex to a new outlet for it or put an extension cord into it's builtin outlet or move the appliance closer to it or whatever. The little 400W jobs for a TV and a small laptop charger are very inexpensive.

The cheapest I found a charger/inverter for the whole coach was about $800. Those are the size of a converter. They usually have a fancy display you can remote mount in the coach somewhere that reads out voltages, current draw, and indicates how fast it is charging the batteries and stuff. The $800 one even had a remote start output to crank up the generator. The idea behind that is that if you have a controller it can detect that the coach is getting too hot inside and will fire up the generator to activate the air conditioner until the coach cools down and so forth. The nicer name brand units can be several thousand dollars and many even have inputs for solar panels to sort of "multiplex" the charging of the batteries and manage everything for you. They have very nice LCD displays.

Any of these options will require a knowledgable electrician. (I am an industrial controls technician.) One thing you do not want to do is try to parallel one of those little inverters onto an existing circuit in the coach. The 110 it inverts will most certainly be out of phase with the incoming 110 if the coach gets plugged in or the generator gets fired up and something is going to give. It could cause a fire or at the very lease destroy your inverter. If you want to use one of those automobile inverters like you see at Walmart and other places, it will need it's own isolated circuit or plug the appliance directly into it. Last thing is if you get an inverter make sure it's a pure sine wave inverter. Those modified sine wave and square wave inverters will ruin rechargeable batteries, laptops, and other sensitive electronics. Those cheaper ones are for running a power drill, or something.
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:52 PM   #4
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What do you want to run on the inverter? I just ordered a new Newmar with an inverter but it is limited to the two outlets designated for the televisions. Fairly simple install. The more you want to run on it, the more complicated the install and the greater the need for a larger battery bank.
Tom Wilds
Blythewood SC
2016 Newmar Bay Star Sport 3004
2013 Chevy Sonic Hatchback (Automatic)
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:25 PM   #5
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As other have commented, much depends on what you want powered by the inverter. Simple is to power just the televisions - one circuit, small inverter. More complicated is to power multiple outlets and kitchen appliances. Then larger inverter and wiring a separate subpages, transfer switch, etc. Or power whole coach - just plug the shore cord into a inverter. This requires some way to disable the converter/battery charger when inverting so not to have a charging loop.
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 01-08-2016, 05:06 AM   #6
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Thanks so much to all. I have shared your info with our friends....

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