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Old 06-08-2022, 03:08 PM   #1
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Understanding the Inverter

I understand the inverter converts my 12V DC battery power to 120V AC power. What I don't understand is if it should be doing that all of the time? or only when connected to shore / generator power?
Should I have "outlet power" via the inverter when I'm not connected?
How can I test my inverter to see if it's working properly?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-08-2022, 05:12 PM   #2
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Usually they are used when you are NOT hooked to shore power and they will run light loads like TVs, etc.

They also draw power even if you aren't using any 120 volt appliances, so don't leave it on whenever it isn't needed.
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Old 06-08-2022, 06:39 PM   #3
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Depends on how much battery capacity you have, as well as how your RV is wired. Typically, the inverter is most useful for providing 120v power when you are NOT hooked up to a 120v source. To do this, it must be able to draw sufficient 12v power from the batteries. Since 1 amp at 120v equals ten amps at 12v, you need a lot of battery capacity to provide meaningful 120v power.

I'm almost never hooked up to outside power or generator - I charge the batteries with solar - and so my inverter is on almost constantly, else I'd have no 120v outlets working.
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Old 06-08-2022, 06:56 PM   #4
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My coach has a Xantrax Freedom 458 2000 watt inverter/charger.

When connected to shore power, the charger charges the batteries.

When connected to shore power, some of the AC current is passed through the inverter/charger to selected appliances and receptacles via an AC sub panel.

When not connected to shore power, the house batteries supply all the power for my coach. Some of the power is direct 12v through the DC fuse panel. Some of the battery power is inverted to 120AC to power the items connected to the AC sub panel.

The inverter is not normally sized to power everything in the coach.
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Old 06-08-2022, 10:03 PM   #5
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We could probably answer this better if we had a clue what brand and model of inverter you have. Some RV's have small inverters rated a 200-300 watts, just big enough to provide power to a television, etc. others have a 1,000-3,000 watt inverter that can provide 120V power to all the outlets in the RV, most are somewhere in between if they have an inverter at all. Also some inverters also have built in chargers and transfer switches, and some don't
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Old 06-09-2022, 12:45 PM   #6
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Understanding the Inverter

I have a 2004 Jayco Greyhawk, 31SS. The inverter looks like it's Xpower by Xantrex, 1000W.

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I haven't following the wires plugged in that you see in the picture yet to see where they go, but I did plug my cell phone charger directly in to the other plug on the inverter and it doesn't seem to provide any kind of charge.
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Old 06-09-2022, 01:07 PM   #7
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It sounds like the inverter may be either broken, not connected to the batteries, or has a fuse blown (or the batteries are dead)
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Old 06-09-2022, 02:00 PM   #8
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Here is an owner's manual for a similar model.
https://xantrex.com/library/inverter...-owners-guide/
I could not find one for a 1000 watt inverter.

120 volt output from the inverter is through the 120 volt sockets on the end. It should power a charger plugged into that outlet. The 12 volt input on the other end must be supplying 12 volt DC. The switch must be "on". It is that simple.

There may be a circuit breaker on the inverter. See troubleshooting in the manual.

There is probably a fuse and possibly a disconnect switch in the 12 volt DC supply line to the battery. Check them as well.

The yellow plug in the socket shown in your picture goes to some dedicated circuit that is probably only live when the inverter is "on" and supplying power. It may be a refrigerator, Television or something like that.

You need a 200 amp hour deep draw 12 volt battery bank to supply 1000 watts. A small battery bank may cause the inverter to trip "off" when it is not enough to produce the output demand.
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Old 06-09-2022, 02:11 PM   #9
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Follow the positive cable from the inverter, should find an in line high amp fuse.
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Old 06-09-2022, 02:14 PM   #10
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Understanding the Inverter

Oh my goodness - user error. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction! I checked lines in on the back and they weren't registering 12-13 volts from the battery. (nothing at all) So I followed them underneath and they lead straight to the battery.

I've been fussing with the battery wires lately trying to troubleshoot some things... I also added in a lead from two solar panels that I added on top. At some point I connected the negative wire to the positive terminal, so both were connected to the positive.

After moving the negative wire to the negative post the inverter is now on! The green light is on and I plugged a cell phone charger directly into the inverter and it started to charge.

Next I checked things on the inside to see what is being powered by it. I found one outlet next to the TV that has power - nothing else.

Currently I only have one battery, but plan to add a second. If, as a bare minimum, I want to get power one of the outlets in the bedroom, what would that take? Do I need to redo a whole bunch of wiring?
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Old 06-10-2022, 01:05 PM   #11
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There are many possible methods of powering one outlet.

If the TV is close to the bedroom, you can run an extension cord from the TV.

You can run an extension cord from the inverter to where ever.

You can pull a "romex" (3 wire 14 gauge) cable from the inverter through walls to where ever. Install a new outlet there. Install a plug on the other end and plug into the inverter.

There are other ways I can think of, but they are more complicated and more expensive.

Extension cords are allowed for temporary use. "Romex" cable is rated for permanent installation in walls, floors, and ceiling spaces.

Note: For charging cell phones and other low power USB devices, you can get USB outlets that can be powered directly from a 12 volt battery. This would be much more efficient than turning an inverter "ON". The circuits of the inverter often use significant 12 volt power.
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Old 06-10-2022, 01:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papademuchos View Post
If, as a bare minimum, I want to get power one of the outlets in the bedroom, what would that take? Do I need to redo a whole bunch of wiring?
Plug your RV power cord into your inverter, and turn off your converter. Then your RV will function, from battery power, just like it was plugged in. Everything should work, including all outlets.

The converter needs to be turned off to do this, so that you aren't trying to charge your battery from your battery.

And, don't try to run air conditioning or microwave when doing this. Too much power needed for that.
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Old 06-13-2022, 11:03 AM   #13
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Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 06-15-2022, 07:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby F View Post
Plug your RV power cord into your inverter, and turn off your converter. Then your RV will function, from battery power, just like it was plugged in. Everything should work, including all outlets.

The converter needs to be turned off to do this, so that you aren't trying to charge your battery from your battery.

And, don't try to run air conditioning or microwave when doing this. Too much power needed for that.

my inverter xantrax 3000 says to never have it turned on when using shore power
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