Inverter or Converter That is the question - Fiberglass RV

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Old 04-21-2008, 06:43 PM   #1
Trailer: 1977 Boler 13 ft
Posts: 37
I'm in the process of restoring a 1977 boler and originaly it just had a single circuit breaker which i had to be pluged in at a serviced site. I'm not sure what avenue to try i like the idea of being self contained and be able to enjoy some more secluded camp sites. Just looking for some advantages or disadvantages on both systems, from those who have installed them. Thanks Johnathan
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Old 04-21-2008, 06:59 PM   #2
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Name: Booker
Trailer: Trillium
British Columbia
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You are going to get a lot of feedback on that one as it's much discussed on this forum.

I think the ideal setup allows for you to charge your batteries when connected to shore power, charge your batteries when you are driving, have a solar setup to maintain your batteries while camping and then have a nice 3 stage charge to maintain and boost your batteries when you are back at home.

Specifics I will leave to others with much greater knowledge =)
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:01 PM   #3
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Inverter is what changes 12VDC to 120VAC to power 120V appliances. Bigger inverters connected to bigger batteries can power bigger stuf. I hook small inverter to truck battery, run 120V extension cord back to laptop to power it. Truck battery recharges when I use truck.

I keep small inverter in glove compartment of truck to power laptop, cell phone, recharge drill, etc.

Converter, usually found in RVs, is aka a 12VDC power supply, changing 120VAC to 12VDC. When connected to shore power or generator, it provides 12VDC to your 12V appliances. As a second function, it will also charge your battery, but may do a very poor job of it unless fitted with a good smart-charging card. Without shore power or generator, converter is useless.

I personally am never hooked up to shore power to justify the weight of carrying my old, heavy transformer-based converter, so I pitched it (done that twice now) and bought a good battery charger (just once, moved it from old trailer to new) and use that to recharge when shore power is available. I probably wouldn't pitch a newer electronic converter, but I wouldn't spend anything to replace it. You can buy several good battery chargers for the price of one good converter and it's useful elsewhere, like charging neighbor's battery - YMMV!
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:56 PM   #4
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Name: Greg
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19
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Yah, I'm with Pete on the converter issue, although I can certainly see the need for a converter if ur wanting to run certain things while on battery. Decided not to put one in when I rebuilt, and simply bought a charger. When we have power I simply plug in the outside outlet by the door and hook to the battery if needed. I put all LED and Cold Cathode lights in and it takes about 10 to 14 days to run the battery down enough to need a charge. Adding the first briefcase solar panel(thanks, Gina ) in the next couple of weeks which should be plenty in AZ to keep the battery up.

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Old 04-21-2008, 11:00 PM   #5
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,015
You'll get varied opinions on the converter. I personally have a love hate relationship with mine. I have seen 16.5 volt spikes in it, it's blown out some of my LED lighting and it's heavy.

I have been remiss about replacing my battery charger, and since all of my lighting is 12v, I use the converter begrudgingly. (I disconnected the charger in the conveter.. it... stunk for charging)

It has a great distribution panel tho, and I keep it in for that, but once I rebuild it.. out it goes. I haven't had one before and did well with the..

Charger charges the battery while items draw off the battery.. a circle of depletion and replenishment.

I also have solar, and a generator for high draw AC items like my teeny weeny microwave..I can charge with it as well, but usually don't

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Old 04-22-2008, 09:51 AM   #6
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Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
Posts: 868
Here is my "varied" opinion: my old converter (probably the same as Gina's) was as she described. Bad for lights, bad for batteries, and bad for my blood pressure. Grafted a Progressive Dynamics 9245 on to it, lightened the load, and lowered the stress level.

Unless you opt for a modern multi-stage converter, forget it. Just go with a charger or something. Old technology chargers eat batteries and lights. Mine is now a install-and-forget-it setup.
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:40 AM   #7
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
Posts: 1,899
Here's a discussion

Another discussion about converter size

Here's a poll

A generator vs converter discussion that talks about a "system" look at things

Another converter discussion with talk about wiring

Here's another charger/converter discussion from the Legacy Posts.

Lots more discussions once someone has made the decision to go the converter route and the brands features to consider.

All the above from a quick search for the word "converter".
Without adult supervision...
Quando omni flunkus, moritati.
I'm a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.
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