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Old 08-12-2012, 12:55 PM   #1
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Inverter FAQ's

Inverter FAQ's also includes a "How long can I run the inverter on my battery?" worksheet about halfway down the page. The watts estimates are very helpful as well. Its a quickie way of figuring out how big your battery bank needs to be or a rough estimate of how long the battery bank you're stuck with will last. Just remember, you will rarely be running everything at one time. And refrigerators/freezers will easily stay cold for the 8 to 10 hours if you keep the doors closed and run them for at least 2 hours every 8 to 10 hours (we like to run a couple hours before bed and a couple hours when we get up before hitting the road). I can't see running the generator overnight if things like lights & water pump are on batteries for midnight runs to the loo.

For example we could watch TV for almost 5 hours off the (3 12 volt) battery bank while sitting in a parking lot with no generator running. Would we? Probably not. But nice to know that we could. As it is, I am probably quite safe pulling into a parking lot, run a generator while I cook supper, watch a movie on TV, run the water heater for showers, check out our options for the next stop and the weather (always check the weather) on the desktop computer, run the freezer & refrigerator for a few hours, charge the cell phones if needed, then shut down for the night. David could even watch the TV if he wanted to (more likely only if we were stuck in a parking lot for a day or two due to bad weather). Do I care if we "disturb" others in a parking lot with a generator? Nope. The semi truck that seems to park next to us with the engine running all night tends to be pretty loud. The semi trucks that park in the empty lot across the 4 lane street from us with their engines running all night are pretty loud.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:07 AM   #2
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Re: Inverter FAQ's

Speaking of inverters.. Harbor Freight had 3 open box ones here in the Salem store yesterday.. 1200 continous was $80, and the 1000 continous were $60 each.. Shoulda bought them to add to my collection.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:08 PM   #3
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Re: Inverter FAQ's

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Old 08-13-2012, 08:23 PM   #4
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Re: Inverter FAQ's

I bought a 1000 watt Xantrex one for $30 a couple of years ago. When I run a small miter saw the thing barely starts, and you can hear that square wave. Next inverter will be a 2000 watt sine wave unit. I've got 4 golf cart batteries, with room in the battery box for two more. What's interesting in running an inverter is how many amps of 12 volts they'll pull. A real test of your DC side,
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:15 PM   #5
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Re: Inverter FAQ's

I prefer several small "dedicated" inverters rather than one large one. That why if the computer decides it doesn't like an MSW I can get a Pure sine just for it. Not a big expense nor do I have to worry if my inverter dies... I can just swap out with another one that I don't use as much until a replacement can be bought at a reasonable price. I can also size my inverter to the appliances on it. Does it end up costing more over time? Probably but it's spread out of time rather than one large up front cost. This method tends to lend itself well to "out of pocket" and/or "over time" conversions. All my inverters (I'm up to 3 for now... I might add one more) will be kept in the "electrical bay" next to the "battery bay".

There is no one single "right" or "wrong" way. That's just what we have decided would work for us after a lot of reading and much discussion. I can also wire more inverters into our system later as we decide that we want or need to. It is more cost effective to run (mostly) readily available 110vAC appliances rather than spend precious $$ on crappy 12vDC RV stuff. I realized this when I figured I would save roughly 50% (or more) by going 110vAC fluorescent lights from Wal-Mart (yes they run off my cheap 7050W inverter) plus a cheap (or low cost if you object to "cheap") dedicated inverter rather than spend lots of $$ on a pile of 12vDC fluorescent ThinLites (all my $20 fluorescent lights I bought for the Class C literally burned up... scorch marks on ceiling... FLAMES ... after a month or two of full-time use so I'm leery of cheap 12vDC RV lights).

The purpose of the links I posted was to give others enough information to make better informed decisions rather than blindly follow what someone else has done without knowing it that method would suit them. Given that we have been full-time in campgrounds for several years, we have a pretty good idea as to our needs & wants which can, and most likely will, change later down the road.
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