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Old 04-10-2016, 12:15 PM   #1
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Good cheap inverter? What size?

I'm sort of new to this RV electrical stuff and I'm just now setting up our TT with boondocking equipment. Just got two 6v batteries to upgrade the tiny stock 12v and also got a Champion 2800 generator from Costco.

Looks like I need an inverter to take advantage of the batteries while I'm not running the generator. Seems like I would need a pure sine wave inverter with 2000+ watts, correct? Planning on running a few electrical devices (media player to watch movies, a few USB powered things, a laptop, maybe a second TV, maybe a fan).

Anyone have a good experience with something less than $300?
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Old 04-10-2016, 12:26 PM   #2
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I don't think thats going to be enough battery for what you are expecting. I would say i would have to be doubled. You could get by with a 1000 watt with what you are running.
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Old 04-10-2016, 01:02 PM   #3
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Figure out your planned total watt usage, and then divide that by 12.5 Then double that number, and add 10% for various losses. That is how much battery storage you will need in order to power the things you want to use.

Example: daily total of 2000 watts divided by 12.5 is 160 amps. Add 10% for losses and the storage need is now a little over 176. You need more than 350 amp hrs of storage in the battery system for this so you don't ruin the batteries by drawing them down below 50% SoC.

What 6 volt batteries do you have? If you have fairly inexpensive GC-2s, you don't have enough capacity. I have 2 good Interstate GC2-XHD-UT batteries that have 230 amp hrs of storage (two 6v batteries doubles the voltage, not the amp hrs). If you have 2-400 amp hr batteries, then go for it.
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Old 04-10-2016, 01:20 PM   #4
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Tiger Claw Pure Sine Wave 1500 watt inverter $199. It has had good reviews on Amazon and on Ebay and comes close to actually having the specs they advertise (most don't even come close). I bought one last year and it powers everything that plugs into an outlet except the refrigerator and microwave. Using two group 24 batteries it will power an LCD television, 15" MacBook Computer, charge two cell phones and power a Chromecast device and keep them running for several hours (6-8) or more. I always start with fully charged batteries and so far haven't managed to drain them to the point the inverter stops.

I installed mine in what used to be (I think) a magazine rack:

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Old 04-10-2016, 01:32 PM   #5
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A pure sine wave 1500 to 2000 watt inverter should work well for you. If you limit your inverter use mostly for entertainment devices, TV and computers you will probably do ok with your batteries. You will have to run your generator a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening depending on state of charge of the batteries. Use your generator for making coffe and breakfast in the morning and dinner in the evening and you should be able to make it. Two more GC-2 batteries can be added down the road if necessary. Aims and Xantrex.

Xantrex Prowatt SW

Xantrex Freedom Xi

Aims Sine Wave
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Old 04-10-2016, 02:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hilley View Post
A pure sine wave 1500 to 2000 watt inverter should work well for you. If you limit your inverter use mostly for entertainment devices, TV and computers you will probably do ok with your batteries. You will have to run your generator a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening depending on state of charge of the batteries. Use your generator for making coffe and breakfast in the morning and dinner in the evening and you should be able to make it. Two more GC-2 batteries can be added down the road if necessary. Aims and Xantrex.

Xantrex Prowatt SW

Xantrex Freedom Xi

Aims Sine Wave

I have the 2000 watt PROwatt model. Works well.

I found it online for a little over $300.




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Old 05-13-2016, 08:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by alvo View Post
Tiger Claw Pure Sine Wave 1500 watt inverter $199. It has had good reviews on Amazon and on Ebay and comes close to actually having the specs they advertise (most don't even come close). I bought one last year and it powers everything that plugs into an outlet except the refrigerator and microwave. Using two group 24 batteries it will power an LCD television, 15" MacBook Computer, charge two cell phones and power a Chromecast device and keep them running for several hours (6-8) or more. I always start with fully charged batteries and so far haven't managed to drain them to the point the inverter stops.

I installed mine in what used to be (I think) a magazine rack:

Do you plug whatever you want to run (TV, Macbook, etc) directly into the inverter or how are you directing the power from the inverter to the outlets in the RV? Thanks!
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Old 05-14-2016, 01:01 PM   #8
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My RV converter has Romex wire outputs that go to the A/C, water heater, microwave, and the 110v outlets which are all daisy chained together. I cut the Romex going to the outlets and inserted a Kisae automatic transfer switch (about $80 I think) between the converter and the outlets.

When shore power is connected, the transfer switch just send the power to the outlets. When shore power is interrupted the switch connects the inverter in place of the shore power.

The converter circuit is fused with a 15 amp fuse, and the inverter output is roughly equivalent, so everything works smoothly and I don't have to worry about what is connected when a change is made.

Shortly after my earlier post I wired my refrigerator into the circuit (4.5 cu. ft. "dorm" refrigerator) and haven't had any problems show up. With just the two batteries I get 8 hours of refrigerator, a couple of hours of TV, and computer and cell phone use without running the batteries low enough to kick off the inverter (I think it's somewhere around 11 volts). Once I manage to wrangle in the third battery I should be able to stop worrying about the batteries (I pretty sure the 8 hours is about the current limit of a full charge).
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:40 AM   #9
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Thanks for the clarification. The part I still don't understand / or see in your photo is where the cable connecting the Inverter to the transfer switch. I see the postive / negative cable going to the battery.

Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2016, 10:25 AM   #10
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The inverter I have has terminals for the 12 v batteries on the right hand end panel. The left hand end panel has the on/off switch, pilot light, and a conventional 110 v outlet. The batteries are right next to the inverter, just under the entrance steps. The transfer switch is mounted on the wall next to the converter box. I ran an extension cord capable of handling 15 amps under the floor between the inverter and transfer switch. The transfer switch has a regular 110 v plug to connect to an inverter and the other input and the inverter output has connectors for Romex wiring. So I just had to cut the Romex wires and insert them in the transfer switch in and out and then plug the other input in.
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