Originally Posted by mariaandskip
….and now my question. The invertor says not to wire the 110 into my panel but I want to provide power to most of my 110 appliances without extension cords to trip over. I know that in a house, generators need a transfer switch to separate the power sources. I found a 12v transfer switch from WFCO. Is that what I need to install? I have shut off switches for both the batteries and the solar panels but would not like to deal with that all the time plus, if I forget just once, it could be costly, and maybe exciting.
I'm putting the invertor in a cabinet next to the batteries. I found a 12v thermostat and 44 cfm fan along with 2 "vents" that I'll rig in that cabinet
Personally, I don’t like WFCO products. Our WCFO charger in our Escape
5.0 decided to charge our AGM batteries at 20.3 volts and fried them. I found others who had the same issue. I have more faith in Progressive Dynamics products, but there are other good transfer switches out there besides PD.
What year is your camper?
Do you have the Progressive Dynamics charger that Bigfoot
Do you have an absorption or compressor fridge
What size inverter do you plan to install?
We prefer to use the KISS philosophy.
Whole house is the easiest to wire. Just place your transfer switch at the input side between the input from the campground post and the Bigfoot
distribution box. The inverter goes into the inverter entrance of the distribution box. Easy Peazy. No extra boxes to add and no wires to move.
We plan on installing a Progressive Dynamics 2200 watt inverter. Our main uses will be a toaster, microwave
, and hair dryer. Down the road we may need a CPAC. I installed a 1500 watt inverter in our Escape
5.0 and it worked great for toast, but it was only for one outlet in the kitchen. We now want whole house ac and feel 2000 watts is a minimum.
Whole house? If you don’t want to use the microwave
when on inverter just don’t. If you don’t want to run the water heater on the inverter, don’t turn on the existing Bigfoot switch. We rarely run our water heater on ac, so both the breaker and the switch are off. If you don’t want to run the fridge on the inverters ac power merely install a on/off switch on the fridge/dinette wall.
Once we installed 270 ah’s of SiO2 batteries we never needed the WFCO charger and it was disconnected for the last 250 nights of camping with about 2/3’s boondocking
. When we added the 1500 watt inverter we also added 300 watts on the roof giving us 465 theoretical watts. You have 500 watts! We used the toaster all the time and always were full by 11am unless it was a few rainy days, but that’s when the 270 useable battery ah’s come in handy. We always had at least 190 ah’s available, and most days the full 270 ah’s. In other words, you shouldn’t need a charger with 500 watts on your roof.
There’s too much obsession about charging. We found we didn’t need a DC-DC charger, and most who have one don’t either. If we ever need an ac charger when camping we’ll just plug in our Victron 30a Blue Smart charger, but doubt that will happen much, but it’s small and isn’t in the way. If you have the Progressive Dynamics charger that Bigfoot has been known to install you can buy a PD Charge Wizzard to charge lithium for the rare times you’ll need it, if you need it. Again, you have 500 watts on your roof?
We just purchased two 100 ah SOK lithium batteries and are running just fine with 160 watts on the roof and a 100 watt portable, both on Victron charge controllers. This May I’ll be adding two, 200 watt 24v panels going to our existing Victron 100/50 controller, with the 160 watt panel to our Victron 100/20 controller, and add a 2200 watt inverter. With 560 watts on our roof we’ll be just fine, however if we ever need the portable it will be on the GoPower PWM controller that came with our 25RQ (but is now disconnected in favor of the 100/50). You can’t have too much solar on the roof.
We’ll see how this winter goes with just 200 ah’s of lithium. We may buy a third SOK if we feel 200 ah’s are not enough.
I do agree with Oldwave’s First, Second, and Fourth suggestions. His Third suggestion is optional, but for me not needed. YMMV.
If you want the exercise, have the extra time and money to add a sub panel and move wiring that really doesn’t need to be moved, go right ahead. OTOH, you can do whole house and employ the KISS approach.
Food for thought,