Inverter/converter? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-13-2013, 03:35 PM   #1
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Gleam B's Avatar
Name: Glenn
Trailer: lil snoozy
South Carolina
Posts: 104

OK. I am confused. Is an inverter the same thing as a converter? I want to provide AC power to my Lil Snoozy while I'm on the road to power my refrigerator and maybe the A/C, to keep all things "cool". the Refrig uses 1.5 amps and the AC 4.5 at startup, according to Lil Snnozy.
Any recommendations for size/manufacturer and am I on the right track?
Thanks, and Happy Trails

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Old 01-13-2013, 03:42 PM   #2
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Posts: 5,281
Glenn, I am sorry to tell you that AC uses too much power to run off your battery. The amp load you are refering to is at 120 VAC. It is at least ten times that at 12VDC. The only practical way to run AC without shore power, is to use a generator.

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Old 01-13-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2011 Escape 17B
Oswego, NY
Posts: 1,275
As to your original question - Converters convert 120V AC to 12V DC to power your 12v lights & appliances & charge your batteries.

Inverters convert your battery's 12V DC to 120V AC and can be used to produce 120V AC when you don't have hookups.

There are combination devices that are both inverters & converters, but they are expensive - in the $2K-$3K range.

The problem, as Glenn mentioned, is since the wattage is the same at 12V as it is at 120V, and wattage = Volts X Amps, the inverter draws a minimum of 10X the amperage from your batteries that the device uses. They work fine of low power loads, or, properly sized, OK for short duration medium to high wattage loads, but an AC would kill your batteries in a couple of minutes.

While a large enough battery pack might be able to run your AC, it probably would weight a significant part of your trailers weight. I know of one individual that powers his RV's AC with an inverter. It is a 3000 Watt inverter/charger & he has a battery system consisting of 8 6V, 232 amp/hr batteries (520 lbs of batteries). Even then, he only runs it to cool down his RV, then shuts it off.

I use a 1000 watt inverter to make coffee. I draw 60 amps @ 12V for 6 minutes from a pair of 6V, 232 amp/hr batteries to make a pot. To do that I had to install large sized wiring between the batteries & inverter, use a pair of 6V batteries, and expect to take at least an hour for my solar system to put back what the pot of coffee took out. For me it is worth it for a great cup of morning coffee, but without the solar system it would severely limit my ability to dry camp.
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