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Old 08-17-2012, 10:31 AM   #1
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Inversion Questions

Are RV inverters manually switched, or do they sense shore power and switch auto-magically in a few milliseconds like an UPS?

I see 50A rigs generally advertised in the 2-3000W inverter range. What circuits are picked up... for example, can you run anything in the coach or only specific outlets/appliances (within limits of load capacity).

Anybody out there with larger/complex setups?
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:38 AM   #2
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I think most modern inverter/chargers switch automatically when they sense shore power available. They do it quickly but not quickly enough to keep from rebooting my DirecTv DVR every time.

Newer rigs with large inverters will usually power most, but not all, AC needs of the coach. Air conditioners are not powered and I believe that some don't supply the microwave and/or fridge. Other items like the central vac may be omitted too. Kind of depends on the design and set up.

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Old 08-17-2012, 07:05 PM   #3
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Actually the very short and non informative answer is "YES".

But there is a longer answer:
Now if it is factory installed inverter, or an after market IN-Line inverter then it very likely (Every one I have seen) senes the presence of shore power and switches automatically to PASS THROUGH if it is.. larger units will also re-charge the battery.. In fact my Prosine works exactly like a UPS on a converter. with one small difference.. A UPS is designed to provide only a few minutes of power. The PROSINE, several hours depending on the batteries, Days if you have enough battery.

Smaller ones (like the 300 watt models they often put in front of a TV) do not re-charge the house bateries (usually).


On the other hand,,, If you installed a "Stand alone" These do not auto switch. Now some of the better ones may go into "Standby" if there is no load, and you can put an automatic transfer switch after them (THe inverter goes to the shore lead and shore power to the generator lead) but the inverter itself has no ac-input to sense.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:16 PM   #4
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My 2500 watt inverter senses 110 whether shore or generator power. The bigger inverters have a transfer switch that can go bad and you will get no power on the inverter fed lines in the coach when on 110 or generator.

All of my 110 outlets and my microwave, TV, audio equipment are powered by the inverter. A/C's, washer/dryer, water heater, block heater, refrigerator, are not powered by the inverter.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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I am a fairly new "newbie" and am getting a pretty good sense of how all this MH stuff works. But I have an obvious newbie question . I know we have an inverter, but where is it located - what does it look like?
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:00 PM   #6
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My 2500 watt inverter senses 110 whether shore or generator power. The bigger inverters have a transfer switch that can go bad and you will get no power on the inverter fed lines in the coach when on 110 or generator.

All of my 110 outlets and my microwave, TV, audio equipment are powered by the inverter. A/C's, washer/dryer, water heater, block heater, refrigerator, are not powered by the inverter.
Pretty much the same with ours although the refer works off the inverter.

On our 2000 DSDP we only got it with the 400 watt inverter for the front audio equip. Had CW install a 2500 watt unit. They didn't split the circuits so I could even run the heat pumps off the batteries for a few minutes! I also had to manually switch the refer to gas when boondocking. HAven't let CW touch a rig of mine since!
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:09 PM   #7
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Ours runs everything except ACs and washer dryer setup the manual shutoff switch i just shut down for the heck of it before plugging into shore power usually.It does pickup automatically but what the hay
i shut it down anyways.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by frazierdee View Post
I am a fairly new "newbie" and am getting a pretty good sense of how all this MH stuff works. But I have an obvious newbie question . I know we have an inverter, but where is it located - what does it look like?
Mine is attached to the ceiling of one of my lower compartment bays fairly close to the house batteries. Here's a pic of my old Xantrex.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:05 PM   #9
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It should be noted that generally there are 2 "groups" of inverters being installed as factory equipment in RV's...I will call them "BIG and "little."

The BIG 2,000-4,000 watt inverters are getting to be options on even mid-grade RV's.
The little 300-500 watt inverters are almost becoming standard equipment due to the entertainment suites (TV's & DVD players) on new rigs to keep kids happy on the road.

The little ones are usually an add'l inverter and are often switched manually.

The BIG ones are inverter/converter "combo units" (actually an Inverter/Charger). These factory units will be pre-wired to only power "select" 110Volt circuits to avoid the owner trying to power the AirCon and will often auto sense when there is Shore Power.

The combo units are easy to use, but if/when they fail you might not be able to charge the house batteys when plugged-in...until you get it fixed.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frazierdee View Post
I am a fairly new "newbie" and am getting a pretty good sense of how all this MH stuff works. But I have an obvious newbie question . I know we have an inverter, but where is it located - what does it look like?
Where is it located: Depends a bit on how big it is, the larger ones are not in the same area as the battery but will be darn close to it. Usually in the compartment NEXT to the batteries. I will tell you more in a bit.

Smaller ones can be most anywhere.

What does it look like.. An in-line inverter which includes all factory installed ones and the larger after-market ones is a box it has a pair of 120vac ROMEX cables goign to it and a pair of very very large 12 volt cables going to it, It will have a ventelation fan and likely fins. Can be black, red, yellow, green, blue pick a color. May have a switch and'/or indicator lights or not.

May have a smaller multi-wire cable (mine looks like telephone cord).

How to tell if you have one:

Unplug, turn off generator and turn ON television, if it works, you have one. (Assuming it is not a 12 volt TV) (That was easy wasn't it)

How to find it: The larger ones can most easily be found by finding the house batteries.. If you have a wire there that is way bigger than the others follow it Mine is about the size of my fresh water hose.

IF it's a nice big inverter the microwave will still have power when you are not plugged in or generating as well. .
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:21 AM   #11
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Thanks folks... a lot of great info. This goes a long way towards knowing what to look for and in deciding what kind of customization I want to do.

Any info as to quality of the larger stock inverters? Are they typically modified sine wave (cheaper) or do they come with pure sine?
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:46 AM   #12
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Thanks folks... a lot of great info. This goes a long way towards knowing what to look for and in deciding what kind of customization I want to do.

Any info as to quality of the larger stock inverters? Are they typically modified sine wave (cheaper) or do they come with pure sine?
The mfgt's are using off the shelf RV systems...some use premium sets and some use discount sets.

If you are worried about your electrical gear, you should closely check if the inverter in the rig you like is Pure Sine Wave vs. Modified. The small inverters installed for the entertainment suite will usually be pure sine wave.

I wouldn't/I didn't let the need for a mfgt installed inverter be an issue for the purchase of a rig. Just the fact that you know there is a difference in pure/modified sine wave probably shows that you understand the basics of electrical wiring.

My RV didn't have either the big or little inverter (mfgt options) so, I added an in-line inverter myself for boondocking and on the road power. They are really simple to add. And, if/when the inverter fails I will still have the converter to charge the house batterys (often a failure point for the combo units).


Good luck
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088

The mfgt's are using off the shelf RV systems...some use premium sets and some use discount sets.

If you are worried about your electrical gear, you should closely check if the inverter in the rig you like is Pure Sine Wave vs. Modified. The small inverters installed for the entertainment suite will usually be pure sine wave.

I wouldn't/I didn't let the need for a mfgt installed inverter be an issue for the purchase of a rig. Just the fact that you know there is a difference in pure/modified sine wave probably shows that you understand the basics of electrical wiring.

My RV didn't have either the big or little inverter (mfgt options) so, I added an in-line inverter myself for boondocking and on the road power. They are really simple to add. And, if/when the inverter fails I will still have the converter to charge the house batterys (often a failure point for the combo units).

Good luck
Ya, I like the idea if inversion/conversion being separate. I think it offers more flexibility in terms of maintenance/repair and modification/expansion.
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