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Old 07-26-2015, 01:43 AM   #1
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Installing whole trailer inverter outlet like the shore cable

i was wondering if this has been or can be done. we can skip the trailers with front and rear inputs unless that has a simple solution.

what i'm thinking is an inverter is mounted inside the trailer with the output connected to an outlet mounted to the outside of the trailer. the shore cable would plug into the new converter outlet.
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:39 AM   #2
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http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...se-138718.html
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:07 AM   #3
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What I said in the linked post. No need to run this outside. Just make a extension cord with 2 male ends, make sure to keep the wiring straight. Plug one end into the inverter, other end into an interior outlet. Voila. Check above linked post for caveats.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:36 AM   #4
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thanks but to me that is more than a caveat i'd want to deal with.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:02 AM   #5
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I've run 14 ga. romex from my inverter in the front of my trailer to an additional transfer switch in the rear compartment. An automatic transfer switch normally switches between shore power and generator power when the shore power is disconnected and generator power is connected to the receptacle on the trailer front. If you don't use a generator, you can rewire the existing one so that when shore power is disconnected and inverter power is detected, your 120v circuit panel is powered as it would be when on shore power. The only caveat is not to turn on AC, microwave, coffee pots, or any appliance that would exceed the capacity of your inverter.

In addition to the above and because I have a pair of Honda generators, I have wired two transfer switches in series in a manner that they will detect whether the power is coming from the generators or inverter and automatically switch to the appropriate power source. Again, when on inverter power I have to be cognizant that it won't power high amperage appliances nor AC. On generator power, I can power everything shore power will.

If interested, I can provide electrical diagrams showing how both these methods are done.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJoeSilver View Post
What I said in the linked post. No need to run this outside. Just make a extension cord with 2 male ends, make sure to keep the wiring straight. Plug one end into the inverter, other end into an interior outlet. Voila. Check above linked post for caveats.
My inverter has a 110 VAC plug on it that isn't plugged into anything. If I run a line to an existing 110 vac source, will that allow the power to flow through the inverter to the inverter plugs, making them 'live' when I'm on shore power? That's the only reason I can see for the cord to be there.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:21 PM   #7
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My inverter has a 110 VAC plug on it that isn't plugged into anything. If I run a line to an existing 110 vac source, will that allow the power to flow through the inverter to the inverter plugs, making them 'live' when I'm on shore power? That's the only reason I can see for the cord to be there.
That may work, depending on the internal stuff in the inverter. The optional 1000 watt WFCO in my 2014 FC 20' has a similar plug set on the inverter, but when plugged in to grid power, nothing happens. Apparently, according to the very limited information in the WFCO manual, the power through is an option and Airstream did not specify it, at least on my year. However, WFCO put the plug and cord on but disabled the internal transfer switch system.

Others have said that theirs worked and passed power through, so some do, some don't. I wish mine did. You can certainly try it to see on yours. You will not hurt anything.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acstokes View Post
I've run 14 ga. romex from my inverter in the front of my trailer to an additional transfer switch in the rear compartment. An automatic transfer switch normally switches between shore power and generator power when the shore power is disconnected and generator power is connected to the receptacle on the trailer front. If you don't use a generator, you can rewire the existing one so that when shore power is disconnected and inverter power is detected, your 120v circuit panel is powered as it would be when on shore power. The only caveat is not to turn on AC, microwave, coffee pots, or any appliance that would exceed the capacity of your inverter.

In addition to the above and because I have a pair of Honda generators, I have wired two transfer switches in series in a manner that they will detect whether the power is coming from the generators or inverter and automatically switch to the appropriate power source. Again, when on inverter power I have to be cognizant that it won't power high amperage appliances nor AC. On generator power, I can power everything shore power will.

If interested, I can provide electrical diagrams showing how both these methods are done.

Hi Fred,
This is how my Airstream is wired, minus the generators, and it works perfectly. When on inverter power, one must be cognizant of the limitations as you mentioned. Jim


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Old 07-26-2015, 12:34 PM   #9
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What I said in the linked post. No need to run this outside. Just make a extension cord with 2 male ends, make sure to keep the wiring straight. Plug one end into the inverter, other end into an interior outlet. Voila. Check above linked post for caveats.
That's an intriguing idea. How dangerous could that be?
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:45 PM   #10
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Installing whole trailer inverter outlet like the shore cable

I have used an inverter as "full trailer" for a couple of years now.

I will be modifying my setup to simplify daily opperation later this week or next week, I will post updates once I get started.

My plan will include three switches like this, (although I shopped more and got them a lot cheaper).

Leviton 1288 30-Amp 120-Volt Toggle Double-Pole AC Quiet Switch, Brown https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003AUPTP8..._9PsTvbK7GDJ8C

Two switches will make my manual "transfer switch",

(Main) Switch 1 (To breaker box)
Land line/ off / auxiliary

(Auxiliary) Switch 2 (to breaker box)
Inverter/ off / generator

The third switch is for my refrigerator only

Refrigerator outlet only
Land line / off / inverter
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:55 PM   #11
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Installing whole trailer inverter outlet like the shore cable

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane View Post
That's an intriguing idea. How dangerous could that be?

They call these "suicide cords"...

You do the math...

Either end has the ability to shock or electrocute a person under very common circumstances.

If a person does not know the risks, what is otherwise considered "normal handling" of the cord can be lethal, and even if a person knows the risks, a moment of inattention could be lethal.

Imho, the risk is too high to use these cords, especially regularly.
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Old 07-26-2015, 03:41 PM   #12
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Using a cord with a plug on each end is called back-feeding and is illegal. In residential situations with a power outage, back-feeding can accidentally feed power back into mains that are 'off' and electrocute unsuspecting workers.

For trailers, it would be easy to forget (of miscommunicate with a spouse) and put a 'live' plug into a utility post or any number of other bad things. The exposed male connectors are hazardous to handle if live.

Only the female connector should ever supply power. (No snide analogies from the peanut gallery, please

On homemade transfer switching systems. Again forgetfulness and miscommunication are Murphie's-Law agents. You should only use 'double throw' switches -- like two-way light switches -- with the two potential sources on the 'runner' wires and the load on the switched connection. That arrangement makes it impossible (barring mechanical failure) for the two sources to be connected to each other and cause a hazard.

Unfortunately, what works well under normal circumstances can be a big problem in error or failure modes.
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:30 PM   #13
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That may work, depending on the internal stuff in the inverter. The optional 1000 watt WFCO in my 2014 FC 20' has a similar plug set on the inverter, but when plugged in to grid power, nothing happens. Apparently, according to the very limited information in the WFCO manual, the power through is an option and Airstream did not specify it, at least on my year. However, WFCO put the plug and cord on but disabled the internal transfer switch system.

Others have said that theirs worked and passed power through, so some do, some don't. I wish mine did. You can certainly try it to see on yours. You will not hurt anything.
Not much in my book either but it says "AC Input" on the diagram and there's reference to a transfer switch. I think I can put an extension cord along the wall and out to the fridge vent area where there's a plug. I'm traveling in a few weeks, I'll give 'er a go. Thanks
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:49 PM   #14
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Installing whole trailer inverter outlet like the shore cable

The switches I am using are DPDT switches. (Double post double throw)

Switch 1 will feed the breaker box, with position "A" fed by shore power, position "B" fed by switch 2.

Switch 2 will feed switch 1 position "B".

Switch 2 position "A" will be fed by my inverter, position "B" will be fed by my generator.

In short, switch 1 turns on either the shore power or switch 2 which controls whether the inverter or the generator supplies power.

With this arrangement, back feeding is not possible, and I can control three sources of power by simply moving two switches.

(three counting my refrigerator switch, not covered in this post)
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:52 PM   #15
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Not for nothing, an extension cord with two males ends is known as a suicide cable. If someone innocently energizes such an abomination, someone else could have a shocking experience, one with possibly fatal consequences.In such a situation, hardwiring is a best practice, not a suicide cable...
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:02 AM   #16
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J have you considered using a DPDT switch between the inverter and any combination of the 120 breakers in your panel. That just makes a simple and safe $30 transfer switch. The existing shore power is input to one side of the switch and inverter to the other with the common center position going to the breakers. Center switch throw position is then off ensuring no possible backfeed.
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:06 AM   #17
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i'll just add that in trailers with the batteries and converter on one end and the main breaker panel on the other, wiring in a transfer switch adds a lot of wire.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:44 AM   #18
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That is a good idea Daynar, but I put eight or nine circuits in my trailer when I built it, that is a lot of switches..
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:40 AM   #19
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That's an intriguing idea. How dangerous could that be?
I will admit, it's got potential.

Potentially it can be. As long as the cord is not energized when handling and you disconnect when not in use it can be fairly safe. But that's up to the person doing it knowing how the system is set up and how to use it. My set up and me using it I am very comfortable. In my case the inverter and outlet are in a small not regularly accessed cabinet, nobody else going in there to mess with anything. Cord is only 12" long so not long enough to go between just about any other 2 outlets. I always make sure the inverter is off, plug wall first then inverter, and only where there is zero chance of getting shore power. Only used for temporary use and only long enough to do what I want to get done.
Perfect for permanent solution, not really.
Won't bring it up again realizing others may not be as cautious and procedural as I am.
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Old 07-27-2015, 11:35 AM   #20
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I will mention that by and large most accidents are not caused by people not knowing the hazards, but by people forgetting them just for a casual instant.

#JustSayin
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