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Old 09-28-2022, 01:28 PM   #1
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Everything Inverters

Just purchased a 2002 Born Free 24 RB motorhome in pristine condition with 90,000 miles. Went through the entire unit with the seller and all systems checked out satisfactorily. Drives like a high priced SUV. Since I dropped out of an electrical discussion in Kindergarten, I obviously need serious direction in this area.

The motorhome does not have an Inverter, at least I'm pretty sure. As such I guess the interior lights, etc., run off the coach batteries when parked on the road with no engine or generator running. I have seen some Sine Wave Inverters up to 5,000 watts advertised for only a few hundred dollars. I imagine that 5,000 watts would run every appliance, including the AC, in the unit. Since Inverters change DC power to AC power that DC power would have to come from the house batteries or maybe a solar setup. If you will, please educate me from this point on regarding possibilities and probabilities.

Thanks So Much,

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Old 09-28-2022, 02:02 PM   #2
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I usually don't chime in on these kinds of posts, but in this case I want to ask the question: Why change anything?

As background to my question, two observations:

1) There have been many thousands of motorhomes made and used that only have 12V batteries, a converter, and a generator, and

2) If you read through threads, you'll find many on problems with inverters, fewer with converters.

Before I owned the just-sold Class A, I had a well-made Class C, similar to your Born Free. No solar, no inverter, 220 amp-hours of battery. I had initially thought of adding batteries, solar and an inverter, but held off. Took the coach across the country, a five-month and 8,000-mile round-trip. Mostly stayed in parks with 120V hookups, but not everywhere. Where I didn't have 120V, ran the generator. In the end, it was a pretty low-stress trip for an "old-fashioned" coach (and owner). Just sayin'.
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:09 PM   #3
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Inverters use 12 volts to make 120 volts. In doing so it uses 10 times the amps.

Your air conditioner wil use 12 to 16 amps at 120 volts or 120 to 160 amps at 12 volts.

That's one deep cycle battery per hour. How much room do you have for batteries ?

Once they discharge, it will take 10 hours to recharge them. You can't fit enough solar on your roof to keep them charged.

Inverters are fine for 3 minutes of microwaving, watching TV, charging cell phones and making a few cups of coffee.

Gas/electric fridges on electric, water heaters and air conditioners require to much battery .
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:38 PM   #4
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Hey Dave,
Your Class C is not wired for a 5,000w inverter. Too much inverter draw on wires too skinny will start a fire. Most people who want the conveniences an inverter can provide can get by on a 2,000w model. Even still, you’ll have to beef up the battery cables and fuse between battery and inverter. Forget about running A/C on batteries. You can’t generate enough solar, or carry enough batteries to do it for more than a few minutes.

If you’re planning a major battery upgrade, it makes sense to install a hybrid inverter/charger at the same time, as it will charge any battery chemistry, and do it faster.
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Old 09-28-2022, 03:00 PM   #5
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This is the reason I am requesting information as I just don't have a clue beyond Google. Truly appreciate the information provided by all. Yes, I can get along with what the motorhome has already installed which should suit us fine. Was just curious about the reasoning for an inverter as I see that most new motorhomes do have inverters installed from the factory.

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Old 09-28-2022, 03:20 PM   #6
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The reason most new motorhomes have inverters is the switch to residential refrigerators vs absorption.

If you decide you need or want an inverter make sure it is a pure sine wave inverter and not a modified sine wave. Electronics don't play well with a modified sine wave.
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Old 09-28-2022, 04:18 PM   #7
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I installed a 1000 watt PS inverter in my 25 ft motorhome.
I use it with 2 100 AH batteries to watch TV, charge phones, and make morning coffee.
It's not big enough to power the microwave but that's what the generator is for.
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Old 09-28-2022, 04:48 PM   #8
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It is convenient (and an easy installation) to have a SIMPLE inverter (500-1000w) to power "mostly low power" items (ie. your laptop, cellphones, TV/DVD) when you are not plugged in and your generator is off (ie. boondocking, or driving). Pure sine wave is better than modified sine wave. If you want to venture into inverters, this would probably be a good place for you to start. Then, after many vacations in your rig you will learn what you need and what you don't need.

One of the first things you should do if you are wondering about batteries, inverters, solar, etc is to install a battery monitor. They range in price from ~$20-$200. I like the ones from Aili that run about $45 on Amazon.

When people have inverters of 4000w+ and want to run their entire RV with it, that's a serious undertaking and expense and are generally for people who know exactly what their needs are (and how it all works).

Sounds like you are starting off (...WELCOME!). This is a great forum to ask questions and learn from (...I've learned a LOT).

Many RVer get by with one 12v coach battery, no solar, no inverter, and a generator. All the 1000s of vacationers in Cruise America RVs have this setup and get by just fine.

The next step up would probably be two 12v coach battery (...or even better, two 6v CG batteries), 200-400w of solar, a 1000w inverter, and a generator. Most families of 2-4 people in an RV could probably remote camp (no electrical hookups) with this sort of setup and it would cover comfortably all their electrical/battery needs. Here's a link to installing this sort of setup that I was able to do on 3 of my RVs very inexpensively:

I was just camping for 4 days this weekend with no electrical hookups. The RV I was in has two 6v GC batteries (210AH) and 300w of solar. I checked in the morning (via battery monitor) and the lowest I saw my batteries at was 85% (~32AH used). We didn't need the furnace at night (which from past experience uses 10-30AH depending on temps). If you have a propane fridge and just use normal power (lights...change the bulbs to LEDs, water pump, phone charging, TV, furnace) you probably won't use more than 40-90AH/day.

Happy camping!
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Old 10-04-2022, 11:50 PM   #9
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I pulled up the Born Free Specs for this motorhome. Apparently all BF motorhomes have a factory installed 2000 watt Inverter. Believe it is a Sine Wave model. I won't know until I pick up the unit this Sunday from the seller. I have already gone over the motorhome from top to bottom when I bought it but did not look for an Inverter specifically at that time. It is true that one does not need an Inverter if there is an on board Generator. With a 2000 watt Inverter I guess I could use some of the appliances (not the AC) without running the generator which would only be a convenience factor.
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Old 10-05-2022, 02:07 PM   #10
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Check out DIY Solar with Will Prouse on YouTube. He has a lot of great beginner videos on 12V electrical, solar and inverters. You will learn a lot from what he says.
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