Inverter recommendations - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-08-2016, 01:51 PM   #1
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Inverter recommendations

I'm thinking of a 600 watt inverter, or possibly even 1000 watt since some of the less expensive brands (E.G microsolar) have those at reasonable prices and not much over the price of the 600 watt.

Pure sine wave rather than modified. I have battery chargers for camera to run as one primary need for the inverter and I understand for chargers pure sine is the way to go.

Laptop, charging phone, kindle, etc. Maybe once in a great while the coffee pot (hitting the road rapidly in the morning) or maybe a 500 watt blow dryer or power tool. No TV or refrigerator.

Remote on/off switch desired since I will mount this under front couch and don't want the .5 amp vampire draw 24 hrs. a day.

Less than $200 would be the price point. I'll buy wire, fuse holder and fuse since I want some beefy wire even if it is a short run.

Any suggestions of models or brands?
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:52 PM   #2
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For running more sensitive electronics such as computers and printers you would need the pure sine wave, or or a good modified sine wave.That's because in digital electronics non-sine wave power can introduce interference in the system.

For chargers you are already converting to DC before the power goes to the battery being charged, so sine wave isn't really necessary. Now if you are directly powering a DC appliance with an AC adapter, such as a radio or TV that doesn't have a battery interposed between the adapter and the electronics, there are usually sufficient filter capacitors in the system to smooth the DC fluctuations caused by the rectified AC.

On a laptop or camera the battery is what is powering the unit, whether the unit is plugged into the charger or not.

Consider using DC/DC chargers that can plug into a 12 volt accessory outlet. What's the point of converting DC to AC just to turn it back to DC, with concomitant power losses in both stages.

Also, any AC appliance that uses resistance heat such as a coffee pot doesn't care what kind of AC it's getting. As to power tools, you may have to use an AC powered charger to charge them, but battery powered tools are much more handy on the road, and once again the chargers are not too particular about the AC power they are getting, sine, square, or saw tooth, so long it is alternating current.

When I was working on the road, I powered my laptop from the DC outlet in my van. My AC powered laser printer I ran off of a Triplite modified sine inverter, without any problems.

Try to keep things as simple as possible.

Good luck.
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:39 PM   #3
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My camera uses a proprietary battery and charger which is only AC, and takes a long time to charge I might add. Some items such as AA batteries I do have a DC charger for but I also have a good 6 hr. AC charger for them too.


Good point on cordless tools beating corded. Leave with the tool battery charged and probably won't have to re-charge on most trips.


What had me looking at pure rather than modified sine wave was the price difference for the 600 - 1000 watt units was not that significant in dollar terms. $90 -$100 for modified wave Bestek 1000 watt vs. $160 for a pure wave MicroSolar with remote. That $70 difference is nothing to sneeze at but compared to work installing and wire for hookup it does not seem like a huge difference.


I have the couch out for installation of wiring junction and new pig tail so it seemed like a good time to install one of these. I don't want to have to do another one any time soon.
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:41 PM   #4
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For a little more than $200 I would consider this Samlex Solar PST-600-12 PST Series Pure Sine Wave Inverter. 600 watts.

Great reviews and as I recall very low RF noise.

I plan on adding to my truck's interior hard wired to the battery delivering up to 5 amp AC through conduit to bumper. A marine twist on 120 vac connector will send to the Escape and quickly charge bank of AGM batteries using the 40 amp dc charger while we drive. Using pure sine should I need "clean" power in the truck, camper shell or in the campground area.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYH6BSO/...l_86i6va8id9_e
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Old 06-08-2016, 05:45 PM   #5
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For a little more than $200 I would consider this Samlex Solar PST-600-12 PST Series Pure Sine Wave Inverter. 600 watts.

Great reviews and as I recall very low RF noise.

I plan on adding to my truck's interior hard wired to the battery delivering up to 5 amp AC through conduit to bumper. A marine twist on 120 vac connector will send to the Escape and quickly charge bank of AGM batteries using the 40 amp dc charger while we drive. Using pure sine should I need "clean" power in the truck, camper shell or in the campground area.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYH6BSO/...l_86i6va8id9_e
I was looking at that one a bit. Samlex has a pretty good reputation. I get the feeling that as often as not people have issues with inverter not able to run things at wattages it "should" be able to handle are mostly an issue of feeding enough DC through fat enough wire to handle the draw.

I was puzzled by the unit having a GFI outlet. Like where is it going to fault to? No real ground.


For completeness these are a couple I looked at (and mentioned)
http://www.amazon.com/MicroSolar-100...D98Y45M7N6ZDVM


http://www.amazon.com/BESTEK-1000W-P...ct_top?ie=UTF8
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Old 06-08-2016, 05:49 PM   #6
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I was puzzled by the unit having a GFI outlet. Like where is it going to fault to? No real ground.

Roger I wondered about that GFI too !
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:05 PM   #7
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As is often said there's more than one way.
I the standard electronic devices, lap top computers, phones, iPods, cameras, etc. When I purchased each one I also bought 12Volt charger that pugs into the cigarette light type power outlet. They're usually less than $50 each. Many the newer devices will charge with a USB charger, hence 12 Volt USB charger does the trick for those devices. Many of them I plug into the tow and charge while traveling to the next camping site or sight seeing. For all other 120 VAC needs I bought a 300 Watt inverter that I connect to a battery when needed, rarely needed I should say.
So like I said there's other ways of doing things.
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
I was looking at that one a bit. Samlex has a pretty good reputation. I get the feeling that as often as not people have issues with inverter not able to run things at wattages it "should" be able to handle are mostly an issue of feeding enough DC through fat enough wire to handle the draw.

I was puzzled by the unit having a GFI outlet. Like where is it going to fault to? No real ground.


For completeness these are a couple I looked at (and mentioned)
http://www.amazon.com/MicroSolar-100...D98Y45M7N6ZDVM


http://www.amazon.com/BESTEK-1000W-P...ct_top?ie=UTF8
Hi Roger,
FYI a GFI does not need the ground to detect a fault. The current from one leg of 120 has the be the same as the other leg, if not there's a fault.
My house was built before a 3rd wire ground was required and I have GFI outlets all over the place. It's a way to conform without the need to rewire.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:21 AM   #9
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Byron - I did look at the 300 watt units. Price per watt fell going higher. 90% of what I would run would not need more than 300 watts. Small blow dryer & coffee pot were the two use cases I thought of that justified the higher wattage.


If I understand what I am reading correctly the efficiency of inverter improves if it is used at about 80% of capacity. Charging camera battery or running a TV might actually be more efficient off of a lower wattage inverter.


I do have a portable 400 watt modified sine wave unit, loose, that unit has alligator clips and lighter power plug connection. On my to-do list is adding a couple of 12 volt power plugs in the camper. Have not worked out where yet. The old Scamp has a single 110 volt outlet under the sink, and a two prong connection at the light over the sink. I lost the second one when I replaced the light. :-(
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
...I was puzzled by the unit having a GFI outlet. Like where is it going to fault to? No real ground...
A GFCI does not need a ground to provide protection. In fact, US code (the NEC) allows them to be used to replace 2 wire receptacles (those without a ground). The metal case of most inverters is connected to the ground pin on the receptacle, which might come in contact with other metal in the trailer (or the operator).

The GFCI detects the difference between the current in the hot & neutral. If it is different by more than 5ma, it has to be going somewhere & it shuts down. It is usually to ground, but could be to another neutral, another hot, etc. Modern GFCIs also have a circuit that detects neutral to ground faults which provides additional protection.

On Edit - Sorry for duplicating Byron's post.
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:09 AM   #11
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As to inverters, I have been using a Xantrex ProWatt SW 1000 watt inverter for a couple of years. It is pure sine wave, has a fan that only runs when necessary (and is quiet) and is available with a remote so it can be located out of the way. They also have a transfer switch that can be added as an option.
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Old 06-09-2016, 02:38 PM   #12
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Think pure sign wave only way to go, but that is a personal opintion
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Old 06-10-2016, 04:03 PM   #13
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How much does that coffee maker draw? 600W seems a bit undersized for a coffee maker. Personally I would figure out what my biggest load was and size the inverter at least 25% bigger (more if the load has a motor).
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:20 PM   #14
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How much does that coffee maker draw? 600W seems a bit undersized for a coffee maker. Personally I would figure out what my biggest load was and size the inverter at least 25% bigger (more if the load has a motor).
Depends on the coffee maker I guess but the drip through ones I checked were 650 watt. I have a travel percolator that draws less, I don't recall the wattage, but the AC plug is an adapter to the 12 volt lighter plug so that takes it down to a load that won't blow a 12 volt cigarette lighter fuse.

Thing is I think a 650 watt coffee pot would draw 5.5 amps AC, which at the battery would be a 55 amp draw. That can't be maintained for very long (good deal less than an hour) so it would really be a use case where I'm making a pot so I can have breakfast with the stove not being used while packing up to go. Knowing the tow vehicle will replace the amps used.

Or wife wanting to use a blow dryer to spruce up before we head back in from the boondocks. Me I figure I shave and I'm all set, some people have a little higher standards for public appearances.
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