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Old 01-31-2015, 02:35 PM   #1
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"Whole Rig" Solar Power and onboard inverter and charger

Howdy All,

So i have been doing my research on panels, controllers and inverters. I do want to have my inverter serve my entire RV (rather than run separate circuits). I saw one person with a clever idea. He ran the inverter output to a female 30A socket, then he just plugged in his shore power cord into that.
He warned tho that one must be sure to disable the existing (inside the rig ) charger controller. This got me to thinking... (scary)

One would have this same problem if they installed any kind of solar transfer switch on either side of the shore power / generator transfer switch.

So, am i missing something? Do i need to consider replacement of the existing charge controller inside the rig to one that takes into account if the AC power coming into the RV is from the inverter / batteries?

All of this worry is based on the fact that allowing the built in RV battery charger to run while the solar / battery / whole RV inverter is running.

Thoughts ?
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Old 01-31-2015, 02:49 PM   #2
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You are over-thinking it. Generally, the easiest way is to connect the output from the charge controller to the battery bank. Then install the inverter between the batteries and the 120v AC service panel. If you also have 120v AC service from a legacy converter (or inverter), you will want to disconnect those inputs to the service panel. It's OK to leave the 12v DC output from the legacy converter (or charger) connected to the batteries (you will need it to charge the batteries with shore power on cloudy days). Some new inverter products can provide all of this in one unit, making it a lot easier/cleaner. Be sensitive to wire sizes and fuse placement, please! \ken
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Old 01-31-2015, 03:02 PM   #3
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We just run a 15 amp (110 V AC) power cord to 1.5 kW of battery charger. The batteries are charged/stay charged. This runs inverter and a 508 WMean Well converter (we have a 48 V battery bank) to convert 48 to 12 V.

Son put in first battery charger when he and family visited us on beach near Tulum, Yucatan since we were having real problems with "dirty power" (it varied from around 80 to 150 or so - cannot remember the exact values and folks electronics were burning out). The battery charger could care less about varying voltage.

50 amp AC system was modified so that it does not charge the battery system/12 V. It only operates the 110 AC (water heater, fridge, AC and wall plugs). OEM converter was similarly disabled and only operates the "automatic" leveling system.

Reed and Elaine

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Old 01-31-2015, 06:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjsweeney View Post
Howdy All,



So i have been doing my research on panels, controllers and inverters. I do want to have my inverter serve my entire RV (rather than run separate circuits). I saw one person with a clever idea. He ran the inverter output to a female 30A socket, then he just plugged in his shore power cord into that.

He warned tho that one must be sure to disable the existing (inside the rig ) charger controller. This got me to thinking... (scary)



One would have this same problem if they installed any kind of solar transfer switch on either side of the shore power / generator transfer switch.



So, am i missing something? Do i need to consider replacement of the existing charge controller inside the rig to one that takes into account if the AC power coming into the RV is from the inverter / batteries?



All of this worry is based on the fact that allowing the built in RV battery charger to run while the solar / battery / whole RV inverter is running.



Thoughts ?

I have inverter connected to power the coach via the shore power cable as you describe. And yes, the converter battery charger needs to be powered off, else you have a charging loop (the inverter is powered by the batteries, the inverter is powering the converter/battery charger, which is charging the battery the inverter is drawing power from...). I also have solar charge controller, connected directly to the battery bank. This battery charge source is not a problem as it is not powered by the inverter, thus not a charging loop.

I do not know what you are referencing as a solar transfer switch and connection to the shore / generator switch. The solar controller connects directly to the battery bank.

Vince
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Old 01-31-2015, 08:50 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your help. Vince, i think you got to the heart of my question. I believe that if use a relay to shut off the onboard charger portion of the converter i may be good. I just have to see how its set up on my rig.
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:44 PM   #6
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"Whole Rig" Solar Power and onboard inverter and charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjsweeney View Post
Thank you all for your help. Vince, i think you got to the heart of my question. I believe that if use a relay to shut off the onboard charger portion of the converter i may be good. I just have to see how its set up on my rig.

My converter / charger is a deck type that simply plugs into a 120vac outlet. I installed a inline wireless controlled switch in its power cord. A push of the button on the remote wireless on/off fob provides control. About $15 and 15 minutes to set it up. Easy peasy if can be done this way.

I seldom have the converter turned on, even when on shore power. Rather I leave the charging job to the solar system and its better quality charger of the solar controller.

Vince
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjsweeney View Post
Howdy All,

I saw one person with a clever idea. He ran the inverter output to a female 30A socket, then he just plugged in his shore power cord into that.
He warned tho that one must be sure to disable the existing (inside the rig ) charger controller.
Here is my version of what you were talking about.

As for rewiring the RV's battery charge controller, just move the RV's battery charge controller's 120VAC supply wire to a vacant breaker (may have to purchase a breaker if there is a blank plate where one should be). It took me longer to remove the cover panel to the RV's power control panel than it did to move the wire. I rewired mine 2 years ago when I added solar, and have yet to turn it back on, as the solar keeps the batteries fully charged. No need for it any longer.

The only thing we need to remember is that you can not use the AC when operating only on solar, so we turn the AC breaker off also.

I was going to purchase an automatic transfer switch, but for a quality one I did not want to dish out $800, so I made a manual one (see picture below). You never have to worry about leaving the inverter plugged in with this set up either.

I am currently working on a circuit that will only allow the AC to work when the shore power is the source for power, through the use of a few relays that the shore power will activate.

This system is easy to use for the both of us.

Just my thoughts,

Don

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Old 02-03-2015, 10:17 AM   #8
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I was going to purchase an automatic transfer switch, but for a quality one I did not want to dish out $800, so I made a manual one (see picture below). You never have to worry about leaving the inverter plugged in with this set up either.
You must have been looking at residential transfer switches. A 30 amp RV transfer switch costs between $50 and $80.

PowerMax Transfer Switch
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:03 PM   #9
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Wwee just replaced the charger with an inverter/charger that has r he transfer withch embedded (Xantrex). Easy install and powers the qhole house without any hassle or worriez. Switch on and use...
Reiner
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Old 02-06-2015, 12:51 PM   #10
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Hi,

Perhaps a diagram will help. The prefered way, diagram 2, is to install a sub-panel and move the inverter circuits. The way you have described has caused some people to damage their inverter or converter when they forget the procedure.

If you must power your whole RV from the power cord, diagram 1 is at least a safer way because it prevents you from creating a feedback loop from inverter to charger.

Larry

For those reading this thread in the future, just wanted to acknowledge that BatteryPro 'Larry' is well thought of by those he has helped with Solar installs with his, and his wife Debbie, business in Yuma. Starlight Solar has a solid track record.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/starlight-solar-yuma-2

Due to their being 'half year full timers' timers too, our schedules did not work out for me to obtain their help with my system. But the many people that referred me to contact them, are fellow RV'ers that I trust.

Larry - Thanks for helping out and sharing your knowledge!! Hope the Snowbirds are keeping you guys busy!!!

Best to you, and all,
Smitty
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