12v w/inverter tips for noob w/ 1980 El Macho (boler/scamp) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-28-2016, 01:16 PM   #1
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Name: Chris
Trailer: El Macho
California
Posts: 3
12v w/inverter tips for noob w/ 1980 El Macho (boler/scamp)

Hi Guys,
First post here and first time FGRV owner so bare with me. I picked up a 1980 El Macho for the right price that needed a fair amount of TLC and I need some tips/reassurances that Im on the right track. Im trying to keep this pretty basic but it is my first go round with something like this.

The electrical/Fridge were toasted and I wanted to replace incandescents with LED anyway. So I pretty much fully gutted the interior. Pulled the fridge, pulled the smoked converter, pulled the cracked water tank, pulled the lights. Stove burners and propane is working fine so I left that.

I picked up a deep cycle 12v marine battery (~100AH), charger, and inverter.

The old battery was on the trailer tongue but my intention was to install the new battery (in a battery box) next to the exterior vent panel where the fridge was and build a small wall/divider in that space to seal off the interior where I want to keep a cooler. On the wall/divider, I should have space to mount the inverter and charger adjacent to the battery. This will keep the battery close to the inverter and avoid loosing voltage running a longer cable??? Good idea? Bad Idea? Does it even matter when we are talking about 1ft vs 5/6ft distance difference?

The inverter will just be turned on and used to charge phones, Ipads, and other small battery powered devices. Maybe a small vent fan above the burners at some point. The only other thing the battery will power is 3 12v LED interior lights Im installing inside using existing wires.

Anything I'm missing here? Sound logical for my needs? As long as Im using LED designed for 12v power I should not need any load resistors or additional fuses?
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:40 PM   #2
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Trailer: 82 Scamp 13 ft
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Sure, but have you considered going without a fixed inverter entirely? That little stuff is charged more efficiently from 12v anyway, and 12v fans are great. Look at the little cigarette-lighter 12v to USB things, they are everywhere. There's plenty of LEDs which are ready to run on 12v just fine; Ebay. Look for "warm white". 100ah is a lot of battery! If it's not AGM I'd still keep it outdoors, myself. Sometimes I just run all my camper LEDs on my Dewalt drill battery, it is plenty.
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Old 09-28-2016, 02:24 PM   #3
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Name: Chris
Trailer: El Macho
California
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Originally Posted by John A View Post
Sure, but have you considered going without a fixed inverter entirely? That little stuff is charged more efficiently from 12v anyway, and 12v fans are great. Look at the little cigarette-lighter 12v to USB things, they are everywhere. There's plenty of LEDs which are ready to run on 12v just fine; Ebay. Look for "warm white". 100ah is a lot of battery! If it's not AGM I'd still keep it outdoors, myself. Sometimes I just run all my camper LEDs on my Dewalt drill battery, it is plenty.
Thanks for the feedback John! I had considered no inverter but kinda figured it was just $80 and it would be nice to have the 110 interior outlets inside live as well. I got the bigger battery just in case we were going to be off grid for a while and I didnt have the chance to charge it. Also, I don't currently have it set up to charge thru the vehicle (but plan to do that eventually). Thanks for the tip on the battery. Maybe I will just stick it on the tongue....
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Old 10-11-2016, 12:51 PM   #4
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Name: D
Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
Illinois
Posts: 23
Inverter

Dubc,

I initially installed an inverter in my Scamp '13. Turned out to be nearly useless. Any significant load pulled the battery down to below ~11 volts at which time the inverter automatically shuts down. When you think about it, a given load at 12vdc will draw ~10 times the current than that same load at 12vac. In order to supply a constant load at 120vac, as the battery voltage goes down the inverter will compensate by increasing the current draw from the battery. The inverter will need to shut down to protect the wiring between the battery & the inverter. In addition there are internal losses in the inverter that add a parasitic load on your battery.

I agree with John A. Most of the accessories that you will need are available in 12vdc.

Happy Trails. Dennis.
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Old 10-11-2016, 04:24 PM   #5
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Name: Chris
Trailer: El Macho
California
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Originally Posted by Dennis McMillan View Post
Dubc,

I initially installed an inverter in my Scamp '13. Turned out to be nearly useless. Any significant load pulled the battery down to below ~11 volts at which time the inverter automatically shuts down. When you think about it, a given load at 12vdc will draw ~10 times the current than that same load at 12vac. In order to supply a constant load at 120vac, as the battery voltage goes down the inverter will compensate by increasing the current draw from the battery. The inverter will need to shut down to protect the wiring between the battery & the inverter. In addition there are internal losses in the inverter that add a parasitic load on your battery.

I agree with John A. Most of the accessories that you will need are available in 12vdc.

Happy Trails. Dennis.
Hey Dennis - thanks for the feedback - my initial experience would lead me to agree with you. I got everything hooked up as I described above with the exception that I put the battery and inverter in a box I attached to the tongue. After a couple of furious weeks of work on El Macho, I got her road worthy and headed out to Lake Manzanita in Lassen Natl Park this past weekend with the fam.

I ran the interior LED's both nights for a while and just turned the inverter on to charge the phone a few times. It worked fine but as you guys mentioned, it is probably not necessary if I wire up one of the 12v cig lighter outlets. That would avoid requiring to turn on the inverter (and possibly forget it on and drain the battery). I got home to plenty over 65% of the battery left so it is nice to know I have at least 5 days worth of battery power in the capacity I was using it. Not sure if Ill just use the inverter since I have it now or spend the time to wire up the 12v cig outlet with a couple of USB plugs. Charging the iphone and other electronics sure did take a while when using the inverter USB outlets.
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