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Old 09-16-2016, 04:33 PM   #1
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I think I know the answer

I don't mind camping at a full hookup site every now and then but would rather drycamp or boondock myself. I have a 2016 winnebago sunova 36Z and have a 2000 watt inverter, 4 house batteries and an autostart genset.

My question is, am I just out of luck running any air during quiet times (normally 10-6) when not hooked up to either power or running my generator? Am I missing something?
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Old 09-16-2016, 04:45 PM   #2
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I think you know the answer too. A/C needs nearly 20 amps at 110v to start. More than your inverter will produce plus it would drain the batteries in just a few minutes if it worked at all. However a couple of Maxi-Fans would be workable with a reasonable inverter like yours and might provide enough air flow to cool things down. Or, you could plan on camping in the mountains when it's hot
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Old 09-16-2016, 05:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvannote View Post
I don't mind camping at a full hookup site every now and then but would rather drycamp or boondock myself. I have a 2016 winnebago sunova 36Z and have a 2000 watt inverter, 4 house batteries and an autostart genset.

My question is, am I just out of luck running any air during quiet times (normally 10-6) when not hooked up to either power or running my generator?
Am I missing something?
mvannote
A 12V evaportive air conditioner, (aka: swamp cooler), does a good job in locations with low relative humidity...(I see them often on RVs boondocking on BLM land in southern NM, AZ and CA).
MY BIL from El Paso, TX has 2 on his 40' American Eagle motorhome.
https://www.amazon.com/TurboKool-Mot.../dp/B007HRN2LS

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Old 09-16-2016, 05:20 PM   #4
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Air conditioning on battery/inverter is typically not practical. The current draw will exhaust the typical RV battery bank in a matter of minutes. Albeit there are some folks with very large battery banks and the requisite charging capacity to support some level of air conditioning.
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:02 AM   #5
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In theory you could run a 5,000 btu small room A/C unit. They can run at as little as 200W once started. Box it into a wall section in your sleeping section or in a sliding window.
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Old 09-18-2016, 07:03 PM   #6
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Thanks all but bare with me.

I've seen online videos testing roof AC units running only off batteries without any generator backup.

Now, It was during the day, using the inverter and rooftop solar keeping the batteries charged. Wouldn't help much during evening/am quiet times.

The AC unit tested also had the "easystart" controller wired into the unit to help minimize the start up amps.

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Old 09-18-2016, 08:00 PM   #7
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Well you would need your solar panels to put out 130 amps of 12 volt power continuously to keep up with the demand from the batteries, if trying to run the AC from your inverter. And that is to run just one AC, which won't keep you cool, since you need to be parked in the full sun for the solar panels to work.
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Old 09-19-2016, 06:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvannote View Post
I don't mind camping at a full hookup site every now and then but would rather drycamp or boondock myself. I have a 2016 winnebago sunova 36Z and have a 2000 watt inverter, 4 house batteries and an autostart genset.
My question is, am I just out of luck running any air during quiet times (normally 10-6) when not hooked up to either power or running my generator? Am I missing something?
mvannote
While it is possible to run an RV air conditioner on inverter power it will require a lot of solar and more and better batteries than the 4 you currently have.
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Old 09-19-2016, 02:35 PM   #9
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In rough terms, it takes about 1 each, deep cycle, 8D battery per "air conditioner hour".

If you want to run 1 air conditioner for 8 hours, it takes the equivalent of 8 each, 8D size batteries to run it. 2 air conditioners will take about 2X as many batteries.

Each of these very healthy 8D batteries will cost around $700 - 800 and weigh a little under 200 lbs including the battery support framework, etc.

Similar capacity LiFe batteries in group 27 size weigh 50 lbs each, including the needed battery support framework, and will last at least 4X as many charge / discharge cycles, but also cost about 4X as much per battery. There are lower cost Li batteries, but I won't touch them for a vehicle like an RV.

Many RVs do not have the spare load carrying capacity to handle (8 each, 8D size lead batteries) x (200 lbs each) = 1600 lbs, but do have the ability to carry (8 each LiFe) x (50lbs) = 400 lbs.

There are good quality, high end inverters that can run an air conditioner, and other items just fine, but not a 2000 watt one.

It can be done, but for one air conditioner, it is a $45K event to do it using safe, realistic and available equipment. I consider that to be acceptable, but I am not sure if that works for most people.
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:09 PM   #10
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Hello Mike,

It occurred to me that since your generator is only 120 VAC / 45 amps, but your shore power cord is 240 VAC and 50 amps.

Some, but not all RVs can only run 1 air conditioner off of the generator, and only can run both air conditioners when plugged into the 50 amp plug.

Is your unit setup like this?

Harry
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:38 PM   #11
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Mvannote are you serious about wanting to spend $45K to run your A/C on battery power, or just curious ?
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Old 09-26-2016, 05:20 PM   #12
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My generator has run both AC units and more during recent usage.

The generator shows 46 amps being supplied on my powerline.

Of course I'm curious to hear about this setup, how any install of this type would effect the rig overall, the space it needs and of course, the cost.

I'll keep my personal thoughts to myself until the process is explained........
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:17 PM   #13
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Mike, did you determine if one air conditioner at night is sufficient for your cooling needs, or are you very likely to need two of them at night?
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:23 AM   #14
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Hi Mike,

I went to sleep thinking about your project and perhaps have a nice solution, based on the following assumptions:

1) Battery Pack life
- The battery pack we use will run approximately 4000 deep charge / discharge cycles.
- If you were "full time" and ran one complete cycle per day, that is about 10 years
- If you are using it 100 days per year, this is a long time
- It makes sense to do this in a way that you can readily move it from the current RV your future ones without having to buy a new system.

2) Minimal modifications to the RV and its electrical system
- Neither one of us will want to do any significant wiring changes to the RV
- What I have in mind are some fairly simple, low risk changes

3) Home Backup power
- In this area, we think about earthquakes and their disruptions to life and the grid
- When I lived in OH and IA, it was more often winter storms or tornadoes
- In Houston, the grid is pretty solid, but there are some times when having a home backup generator would be convenient
- In this setup, the MH power system could also function as a backup generator for a house, providing 240 VAC, not 200 amps, but enough to be comfortable.

Concept

a) System always thinks that it is connected to the grid
- When stationary and power is available, the RV will be plugged into the 240 VAC / 50 amp service, either at your home or traveling.
- When either mobile or stationary but no plug in power is available, the same 240 VAC / 50 amp plug will be connected to a pair of 4KW magnum inverters. (same brand that is in your MH now, just 2 each of a bigger model).
- These units will be paired to make an approximate 8 KW service (actually slightly more) plus they have some surge capability beyond that for motor starting.

This will provide to the MH the exact same functionality regardless of where you are with no wiring change to the main MH. There is slightly less power available than a full 240 VAC / 50 amp service, but it is pretty close.

It also provides a place to plug in an external 240 VAC load, such as a home for back up power or to run a cabin for instance.


b) Generator
- This is the one area where there is a change
- Rather than being used to run the RV when off grid, the generator will be used exclusively to charge the battery bank / feed the inverters.
- The generator will be able to auto start like before based on the battery bank SOC and of course a switch over-ride for no-generator hours
- This change will make it much easier to deal with the fact that the shore power cord is 240 VAC and the generator is 120 VAC. It avoids changing any wiring in the main MH.
- It also makes the "kit" more universal

If your generator were not as new, it would make sense to consider to replace it with one that is specifically designed for battery bank charging, but it is fine as is, just a few more parts.

As you would expect, the generator has to make up for the power drawn from the battery bank when it is turned off at night, plus what is used during "on hours". I don't expect it will get a lot of rest during an August vacation in Houston.

c) Battery Bank size
- It probably makes the most sense to do a 12 battery system
- We typically build them in banks of 4 in a heavy duty enclosure. The enclosures / battery boxes can be stacked or you can stack things on top of them as desired
- Each 4 battery box + some associated controls will weigh about 200 lbs.
- When off - grid, you can choose how you want to use the available power, 1 or 2 air conditioners (or 3 if you buy a larger RV) or other items in the MH.

The nice thing about this approach, is that it is fairly similar to what we do for the class B market. Let me know if it is interesting and then I can move forward with a more detailed analysis of space use, cost, etc.

It also is pretty easy to install, probably 1 day or less together with a local electrician.

To a first order estimate, it will take up about 20 % of the space in your storage box, but you can put things on top of and around it.

Total weight is about 800 lbs.
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