Tell me about Inverters please. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-08-2012, 07:50 PM   #1
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Name: Don
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Tell me about Inverters please.

I'm in the market for a new LED TV, 15.5" or 18.5" for my Bigfoot. As suggested in the other tread on TVs, going with a new style AC LED TV and an inverter may be close enough to the power draw of an AC/DC TV. I am trying to make my trailer as energy efficient as possible.

All interior lights are now LED.
Running lights will be converted to LEDs this summer.
No airconditioning.
Very seldom run trailer heater on propane.
Boondock probably 20% of the time.
Need to charge cell phone and iPad on occasion.
Hope to install a 135 watt solar panel system this summer.

So, what wattage do I need in an inverter to run a LED TV and a small DVD player?

What's a Sine Wave Inverter?

Should the inverter be hooked directly to the battery?
My single battery and TV will be 17" apart.

Can I just tap into a 12 Volt supply near the TV?

I'm new to this electrical stuff, so any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:33 PM   #2
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Hi Don, to answer a couple of things on your list : Yes your inverter should be as close to your battery as possible , once you convert 12v to 110 v you can go the 15 or so feet to the tv outlet. You could run a single line from the inverter to a new outlet for the tv . A 1000 watt would be all you need and give lots to spare . Should go for the Pure sine wave it cost about a third more, it is just like shore power and will not hurt your electronics If you are going to get a 135w solar panel would be nice to upgrade your battery bank, you need a place to store all that free power .

Hope this helps Ken
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:36 PM   #3
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Read this, particularly part II
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
part II continues after part I
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:40 PM   #4
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Name: Larry H
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Inverter??

Hello,

Why not stick with 12V DC? I found a nice little LCD TV made by
Sharp... it had a 12vdc external power supply so it plugs right into
the trailer battery supply and draws about 3 amps. Add a little
Coby DVD209BLK Ultra-Compact DVD Player from Amazon and you have
a nice little entertainment center. Or get a little portable combo
DVD player with its own screen. DVDs can also be played on your laptop
computer and you can run it with a 12V DC power supply for the puter.

However, you can use AC appliances but their power draw would be
much more with the inherent losses of the inverter and TV AC power supply.

A sine wave inverter supplys AC power from your 12V battery and has a
waveform that is just like what comes out of the wall at home. The other
kind of inverter is a modified square wave which might work but nmight
not depending on your video equipment. Samlex makes a nice little
150W Sine Wave inverter that would power a 22"LCD TV and
a small simple DVD player.

As far as hooking all the stuff up there are many good older
discussions here or you can educate yourself on line to figure out
the installation.

I use a small cheap $20 inverter in my Trillium just to run the coffee
grinder.

Good Luck, Larry H
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Dunsmore View Post
I'm in the market for a new LED TV, 15.5" or 18.5" for my Bigfoot. As suggested in the other tread on TVs, going with a new style AC LED TV and an inverter may be close enough to the power draw of an AC/DC TV. I am trying to make my trailer as energy efficient as possible.

All interior lights are now LED.
Running lights will be converted to LEDs this summer.
No airconditioning.
Very seldom run trailer heater on propane.
Boondock probably 20% of the time.
Need to charge cell phone and iPad on occasion.
Hope to install a 135 watt solar panel system this summer.

So, what wattage do I need in an inverter to run a LED TV and a small DVD player?

What's a Sine Wave Inverter?

Should the inverter be hooked directly to the battery?
My single battery and TV will be 17" apart.

Can I just tap into a 12 Volt supply near the TV?

I'm new to this electrical stuff, so any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
I have a tru-sine 400W inverter which we use to run all of our electronics in our Scamp. Usually this includes only a digital tuner/converter , a DVD player and a Sharp 13" LCD Television along with an occasional laptop. We have a 27 Battery and about 12ft of 8 or 10 guage wire(I forget which).
This set-up has worked well for 7+years so far.This inverter is far more than really needed, but has proven to be a great choice. It is fan cooled and installed in a vented cabinet,It has never even gotten warm to touch and we watch movies and television for several days without shore power while using 12V pumps, lights, fantastic fan, etc. along with it.
It has an alarm and a light to warn of low voltage before automatic shutdown.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:12 PM   #6
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As far as wattage use goes, every electric devise has how much watts or amps it draws on a tag somewhere. You have to add up all your devices' wattages to get an idea of how much power you need. With a 135 watt solar panel and a good battery, you should be alright.
I do agree with Larry about getting all the 12 volt devices you can. You lose power when it goes through an inverter -about 10 %.
BTW- watts = amps x volts
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itlives View Post
As far as wattage use goes, every electric devise has how much watts or amps it draws on a tag somewhere. You have to add up all your devices' wattages to get an idea of how much power you need. With a 135 watt solar panel and a good battery, you should be alright.
I do agree with Larry about getting all the 12 volt devices you can. You lose power when it goes through an inverter -about 10 %.
BTW- watts = amps x volts

Let's clearify a bit. You only need to add up power (watts) of devices you want to use at the same time. Usually you'll only be using one device at a time, if that's the case then you want to make sure you can use the device with most power consumption.
Heating devices of any kind are power hogs, so you need to watch out there.
If you're going to be operating on battery without hookups you can determine the number of amps drawn from the battery by looking at 120 Volt device and multiplying the number of amps listed by 10. All these things need to be considered.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Dunsmore View Post

Hope to install a 135 watt solar panel system this summer.

What's a Sine Wave Inverter?

Should the inverter be hooked directly to the battery?
My single battery and TV will be 17" apart.

Can I just tap into a 12 Volt supply near the TV?

I'm new to this electrical stuff, so any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
135 Watt Solar Panel should be plenty. I very seldom have hookups of any kind. All LED lights, run the furnace as I would at home. A single 80 amp hour battery, and a 65 Watt solar panel that I use about every 3rd day. Contrary to popular belief a larger solar panel array is not necessarily a good thing. I get about 4 amps of charging current, which is about all my battery can safely handle. If I let the battery run all the way down, that's only 40amp hours. Even then 8 hours at 4 amps will bring it most of the way back. 10 hours and it's fully charged.
Solar panels are sold by the $$/watt. Get what you need and not much more. It sounds like in your case a 50 Watt to 75 Watt would be plenty.

Some inverters put square waves, some triangle waves, and some sine waves. The cleanest are sine wave inverters. Some devices don't like anything but a sine wave. (that's comes out your wall out let). Anything else can cause troubles with electronic devices.

The next questions are hard to answer without more information, wire sizes, current draw, etc. for the 12 volt line going to the inverter. Therefore the safest thing to do is put the inverter as close to the battery as possible. Then run 120 volt wiring to where you need it.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:27 AM   #9
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Another thing to realize is that the 12vdc power adapter for many items like Laptop computers is simply an INVERTER!
They are just just small task specific models made for the computer alone.

Most small LCD TVs now use a switching power supply either inside or outside to provide power from the wall and most of these will have no problem with even the cheapest inverter you can find.

My original point was that even though there is always some loss through the process of the inverter creating AC from DC the current draw of a newer LED backlight small TV is so small anyway that it is not a terrible way to go if you can not find an 12vdc model.

As with everything some research will help make a better choice.
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Let's clearify a bit. You only need to add up power (watts) of devices you want to use at the same time. Usually you'll only be using one device at a time, if that's the case then you want to make sure you can use the device with most power consumption.
Heating devices of any kind are power hogs, so you need to watch out there.
If you're going to be operating on battery without hookups you can determine the number of amps drawn from the battery by looking at 120 Volt device and multiplying the number of amps listed by 10. All these things need to be considered.
Well taken points Byron, however, I would fall somewhere between what you suggest and my first suggestion. Having camped for long periods of time in the winter, when sunlight is shorter or obscured by clouds, I have run pretty low on energy. I had two good batteries which got me through the time, but if I hadn't "overfigured"..... different story.
Better to have it and not need it than to not have it. Sunlight is free -so far.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:55 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Don Dunsmore View Post


Can I just tap into a 12 Volt supply near the TV?

I'm new to this electrical stuff, so any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Just remember that when using an inverter the input draws 10X the amperage of the output. If your TV & DVD Player together draw 2-3 amps, the wiring (and fuses) feeding the inverter will be drawing 20 - 30 amps. Since most standard 12v outlets are limited to 10 amps or so, in most cases you will need to install larger wiring & fuses for the inverter. Try to keep the DC side of the inverter wiring as short as possible - if you need to extend the wiring, do it on the output (120V) side.
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
Just remember that when using an inverter the input draws 10X the amperage of the output. If your TV & DVD Player together draw 2-3 amps, the wiring (and fuses) feeding the inverter will be drawing 20 - 30 amps. Since most standard 12v outlets are limited to 10 amps or so, in most cases you will need to install larger wiring & fuses for the inverter. Try to keep the DC side of the inverter wiring as short as possible - if you need to extend the wiring, do it on the output (120V) side.
Ok....I now have a 1000W Pure Sine Wave inverter. No cables were supplied. Where do I go from here in regards to cable size, type of wire, connectors, in line fuse size, etc. Really need to start with the basics. Thanks.
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:57 PM   #13
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Here is a link to a sample of what you need for that size of inverter

Hope this helps


Ken

GO POWER GP-DC-KIT2 INVERTER INSTALL KIT | eBay
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Old 02-18-2012, 10:09 PM   #14
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There are lots of different approaches. I also installed a 1000 watt inverter, a Qantrex Prowatt SW 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter. I followed their instructions (a PDF is available on line) & ran #0 Boat Cable (a high quality cable available from Genuine Dealz. They will sell parts or, for a reasonable price, well made cables at what ever length , color & ends you need.

I also included a 200 amp disconnect switch & a 150 amp fuse.

The advantage of going to an oversized cable is less voltage drop under load. Since the inverter has a low battery cutoff, wiring too small will drop enough voltage that the inverter will shut down before the batteries are actually at the cutoff voltage.
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