What size inverter and how did you decide? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-16-2018, 09:47 PM   #1
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What size inverter and how did you decide?

I am contemplating adding an inverter to my 1994 Bigfoot trailer. I do not have an AC unit or a microwave but might want to run a 100-w lamp, charge a laptop computer, charge a cordless drill battery, etc.

I would be interested to know what sizes others have installed and how they decided on the right size for their needs.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:08 PM   #2
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For small loads like charging a phone or laptop, I use a cigarette lighter plug-in inverter. They are cheap and found all over the place. About 100-150 watts is fine. They will also run a DVD player. IF you want to go a bit bigger, get a 400 watt one with alligator clips for the battery, as they can be too much power for a cigarette lighter. These will charge re-chargeable batteries for power tools. Or, they will run small power tools and fans directly. Or go to a 2000 watt, built in one for running the microwave, coffee makers, hair dryers and other things.

I have a 3000 watt unit that runs a 120 volt air compressor for pumping up tires.

If you want to run the AC, you'll need an even larger capacity one or an easy start controller to go along with it.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:18 PM   #3
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Have you any idea what it might take to run a small (maybe) 32" TV? I suspect it might be a bit as so many folks in RV's seem to run the generator when they want to watch TV.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bobblangley View Post
Have you any idea what it might take to run a small (maybe) 32" TV? I suspect it might be a bit as so many folks in RV's seem to run the generator when they want to watch TV.
Mine is a 12 volt TV. I would never run a generator to run a TV. But it's not just the TV. If you are out away from the signal and shore ties, you might want a blue-ray or DVD player too. Just look at how many watts the TV you are interested in draws and match it with an inverter. Leave yourself some headroom to run a player and charge the phone at the same time, etc.

Don't forget to match the load with enough battery.

If you need a TV and a generator to run it, are you really camping? What about the neighbors or the required quiet hours? Might be best to go to RV parks with hookups and avoid the whole problem.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:35 PM   #5
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100W light bulb?!? get a LED that uses less than 10 watts and puts out just as much light, and runs on 12VDC.

I looked up a typical cheap 2 year old 32" HDTV, Vizio D32h-D1, MAX power consumption is less than 28 watts, standby power is less than 0.5 watts. but phew, 32" would be HUGE in a small fiberglass trailer. the aisle in my Casita is only like 28" wide.
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:10 PM   #6
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We have a 400 portable inverter in our Casita and a factory 1500 watt inverter in our SOB trailer . We have never used either one , in fact the 400 watt is still in its’ original carton . Everything I can do with an inverter I can do equally well without an inverter .
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:56 PM   #7
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An inverter is of no use without a battery bank to power the microwave and A/C.
Everything else can be done with propane and 12V.
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Old 10-17-2018, 09:56 AM   #8
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Robert,
Here's an article that might help you decide:
https://www.donrowe.com/power-invert...8.htm#how_long


I have an 800W inverter that is only there if I need to recharge my laptop or camera batteries. Those batteries never charge to 100% on their 12V chargers. I recall that my Bosch 12V batteries did charge up OK on the inverter, but some cordless tool batteries won't, or so I've read. I do road repairs with hand tools. I've got lots of time. I haven't used a plug-in style inverter for those batteries, but that could be a cheap alternative. Wish I had tried that first.

Most smaller TV's operate on 12V DC and are easily modified for this (if needed), just check the specs and do some homework.



Good Luck!
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:46 AM   #9
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how?

your needs/wants sound a lot like mine.....I looked up how much a 20 inch tv consumes....about a hundred watts....and bought a 150W inverter....it's a portable one and is mounted "semi-permanently" in the trailer (has a mounting clip on the back)....that way I can use it somewhere else if/when need arises



"out of the box" this little inverter came with a cigarette plug...I shortened the the cord to just what I needed to reach the outlet on the bulkhead



I don't watch/have a tv....I use the inverter to run/recharge the laptop (watch movies on that)...recharge other devices/battery powered tools....and occasionally my e-bike... in full insolation after the batteries are topped up
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:58 AM   #10
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I have a 400W Tru-sine inverter in my Scamp hard wired to a group27 lead acid battery. It works great to run stuff like my TV and DVD player, etc.


Truth is, times have changed... You can buy a TV with a built in DVD, USB ports and powered antenna which runs on 12V for $135.
You can charge most devices on 12V power points.
Anything which you still need 110VAC for will likely draw more power than you can reasonably supply with your onboard battery.


I say put your money into more power points, USBs, and modern low voltage toys and lights and just forgo the inverter.


You could get a cheapo modified sine inverter and run it off your TV for the few times that you might need 110V which is probably not often.
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Old 10-17-2018, 02:10 PM   #11
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I have a KRIĖGER 2000 Watt 12V Power Inverter with Dual 110V AC Outlets. I have a 2013 Casita 17' Spirit Delux. My TV is a 2011 Tundra with 5.7L engine. I also havre a 3000k generator attached to the trailer.

I carry this will me as a back up, and would connect to the truck battery or possibly to the trailer battery if needed. I have yet to use it even one time.
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Old 10-17-2018, 03:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
I have a KRIĖGER 2000 Watt 12V Power Inverter with Dual 110V AC Outlets. I have a 2013 Casita 17' Spirit Delux. My TV is a 2011 Tundra with 5.7L engine. I also havre a 3000k generator attached to the trailer.

I carry this will me as a back up, and would connect to the truck battery or possibly to the trailer battery if needed. I have yet to use it even one time.
Since OP asked about size (rating).. let me say that the KRIĖGER KR2000 is maybe over-sized. Its rated at max 2000 watts continuous. Assuming you run it at 2000 watts and at its max efficiency of 90% (per specs), you will be drawing 2,222 watts from the battery, or roughly 180 amps. With a single battery of the type common in these campers you get about 50 amp hours of usable power, or about 17 minutes of use. And you have to wire it for your max use. Plus it draws up to 8/10ths amp from the battery ever with no load.

My 400 max, 200 watt continuous inverter draws about 222 watts from the battery at its max continuous load. Thats about four hours from my group 31, 125 AH battery until it is at 50% discharge. Of course with 200 watts I am limited to appliances that use not much more than 1.8 amps at 120 volts.

So (IMHO) unless you plan on substantially more battery power than most of the small campers usually have, and also do much wiring upgrading, then there is not much need for a larger inverter. Sure, you can still use it at 1-2 amps for a few hours but then you dont need the larger inverter to to that. If you have 1000, 2000 or more watts of solar power and a large battery bank, then that is different. Also, using it on the truck battery with the engine running might work OK, but you still need to have some pretty beefy cables to get the higher power out of it.

But I will go even further. I agree with Floyd. In these small campers its best to use 12 volts unless you have shore power (or a generator). I never use my inverter.
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Old 10-17-2018, 03:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobblangley View Post
I am contemplating adding an inverter to my 1994 Bigfoot trailer. I do not have an AC unit or a microwave but might want to run a 100-w lamp, charge a laptop computer, charge a cordless drill battery, etc.

I would be interested to know what sizes others have installed and how they decided on the right size for their needs.



You go by the current feeling that bigger is better and get the biggest you can afford. You'll need an electrician to wire it in.
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Old 10-17-2018, 03:18 PM   #14
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I have heavy cables to connect to the truck battery. I would only use it in a dire emergency to run power tools. I bought it before I bought the generator. Also while I have heavy cables, it will run small appliances/tools as needed, as well as the larger tools.

But I would not buy a large inverter, had I to do it over again.
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