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Old 04-04-2015, 11:48 PM   #1
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Inverter - better to order factory or do aftermarket?

We're considering ordering an AS vs. buying a new one off a lot.

Is it better to have the factory install the 1000w unit or have an aftermarket unit (and additional outlets?) installed in an existing unit.

It would seem better done at the factory, even if the capacity/rating (1000w) is less than one might have done aftermarket (1500w).

What are your thoughts on this? Is it rather straightforward to retro fit an AS with an inverter and inverter-fed outlets?
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:58 PM   #2
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Remember that the power supplied by the inverter is limited by the battery storage capacity, and the ability to recharge them. The factory setup works well within its limitations, and the inverter on-off switch and advisory light on the kitchen wall is convenient. We have it and like it.

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Old 04-05-2015, 12:05 AM   #3
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Although the WFCO factory inverter is marginal in quality at best I liked the outlets which are very difficult if not impossible to add later. So, I opted for the factory package and can change the inverter itself out easily. The inverter also has the needed wiring to the battery box, and the special large fuse needed for protection.

I have already added a second Morningstar 300 watt, much more efficient inverter to my rig, but have not yet connected it to the inverter outlets (yes, there is a reason).
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Old 04-05-2015, 12:23 AM   #4
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My hunch was that factory inverter option makes good sense, if for no other reason than the specific inverter outlets (are these really needed?) that would definitely be difficult to add later.

I do understand that the battery/inverter system would only be capable of powering a few small-drain items or just one or two higher drain items.

Would the 1000w inverter be enough to power one AC unit? Or just the microwave? I'm sure it could power a TV or a coffeemaker.

I'm wondering, though, if an inverter were to be added aftermarket instead of factory... couldn't it be done in such a way as to feed all of the existing factory outlets in the trailer?

I'm not sure why there would be outlets only fed by the inverter and other outlets fed by shore power. It would seem that one set of outlets should be fed by either choice of power.

But my understanding is limited. What am I not 'getting'?
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Old 04-05-2015, 12:49 AM   #5
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The factory inverter outlets are placed to power primarily the entertainment and sound systems, and recharge electronic devices. The factory batteries are just not capable of powering water pump, furnace, vent fans, lights, entertainment, computers and such, plus microwaves and coffee makers. I think that's their logic, so they limit the available inverter outlets.
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Old 04-05-2015, 01:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ckottum View Post
The factory inverter outlets are placed to power primarily the entertainment and sound systems, and recharge electronic devices. The factory batteries are just not capable of powering water pump, furnace, vent fans, lights, entertainment, computers and such, plus microwaves and coffee makers. I think that's their logic, so they limit the available inverter outlets.
That makes sense. And, as you say, given the limited capacity of the two batteries, getting a larger aftermarket inverter won't necessarily provide much, if any, added benefit.

I'm contemplating downsize mode right now, as we're considering trading our coach for a trailer. Our present rig is a 2011 43' Class A with enough battery power and inverter to run the full size residential electric fridge and other stuff as well. And a 10,000w generator which will run 3 rooftop AC units, the residential fridge, and pretty much everything else in the coach while boon docking! So, I really need to adjust my thinking down, down, down to a much smaller, simpler way of RVing.

I think we will opt for factory inverter rather than plan on an aftermarket option.

Thanks.
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Old 04-05-2015, 04:21 AM   #7
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Don't make the assumption that a 1000w inverter is going to run a coffee maker (or anything else). Check the power requirements of what you want to use. A coffee maker could easily require 1500w or more. That isn't going to run. That said I have a single pot coffee maker requiring 800w and it runs fine.
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Old 04-05-2015, 05:09 AM   #8
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While looking at the potential new trailer and deciding to swap the propane oven for a convection/microwave oven, look at the power requirement. The factory 1,000 watt inverter could lack the capacity for that electric cooking unit. As an example, our plain microwave that was installed by the factory requires over 1500 watts.

When we ordered our 31' Classic, I knew we were doing a large solar system that when completed would provide power to every outlet in the trailer and could even run the smaller air conditioner for over an hour.

I suggest looking at the Magnum product line of inverter/converters that can be programmed to properly charge any type of battery in the future as well as providing adequate power for whatever. They have pure sine wave models for clean power to your electronics.
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Old 04-05-2015, 07:32 AM   #9
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Depends on how much use you are intending to give your inverter when off-grid. There are other reasons to either pass on ordering the factory inverter package or replace and upgrade it if you already have one.

A quality inverter/charger like a Magnum (all of their units are also battery chargers) will give you fully programmable 4-stage charging set to match the specifications of your battery bank. This will assure long battery life (rather than letting the OEM Parallax toast your batteries in short order).

Again, depending on what 120VAC appliances you want to add into the off-grid mix, an upgrade in the size/quality of your battery bank should be considered. Also, I have installed many 2000 and 2800 watt sine wave inverters and 3000 watt 'hybrid' sine wave inverters from Magnum that will effectively energize your entire trailer, eliminating the need for dedicated 'inverter only' outlets. EVERY outlet is now an inverter outlet when off-grid.

I also replace a number of the WFCO inverters from the Airstream package with Magnum MMS-1012 1000 watt inverters that also take over the battery charging functions and can also be configured to be a full function battery monitor system thru the ME-RC remote. In fact, I know where you can get a 'deal' on a WFCO unit right now!

And depending on the size of your battery bank, you can start and run a 15K BTU roof A/C with a Honda 2000 watt generator and a Magnum MSH3012-M hybrid inverter. It will seamlessly supplement the output from the generator to 'fill in the gap' for additional amperage when the A/C starts.

Many custom electrical options exist if you think just a bit 'out of the box' and consult someone with the knowledge and experience to point you in the right direction.
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Old 04-05-2015, 09:02 AM   #10
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So, I really need to adjust my thinking down, down, down to a much smaller, simpler way of RVing.

Yep. Best to avoid TV, micro, electric coffee maker. Use propane for all cooking, including the coffee. Reserve your battery power for lights, water pump, fans, etc. The 1000w inverter may allow you to run some of this stuff but you won’t have the battery to power all of it. And if you add more batteries, you’ll also have to add charging capacity. It is hard to boondock and try to maintain your electricity usage the same as when you’re connected to shore power.
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:23 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by SCOTTinNJ View Post
Don't make the assumption that a 1000w inverter is going to run a coffee maker (or anything else). Check the power requirements of what you want to use. A coffee maker could easily require 1500w or more. That isn't going to run. That said I have a single pot coffee maker requiring 800w and it runs fine.
Of course, you're right. A 1000w inverter is incapable of powering a device requiring more power than that. Some coffee makers do require more than 1000w.
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:32 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by switz View Post
When we ordered our 31' Classic, I knew we were doing a large solar system that when completed would provide power to every outlet in the trailer and could even run the smaller air conditioner for over an hour.

I suggest looking at the Magnum product line of inverter/converters that can be programmed to properly charge any type of battery in the future as well as providing adequate power for whatever. They have pure sine wave models for clean power to your electronics.
This is a very appealing idea - having a solar system on the trailer that had much greater capacity than just trickle charging the batteries. Are such systems readily available and adaptable to the roof of a 30' Airstream? I'm thinking that higher capacity batteries may also be obtained to replace the batteries that Airstream provides, possibly fitting the same space, but taller?

If one intended to install higher capacity batteries and a higher capacity inverter, along with a larger than standard solar power system... does it make sense to order the factory inverter anyway, for some of the pre-wired lines?
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Depends on how much use you are intending to give your inverter when off-grid. There are other reasons to either pass on ordering the factory inverter package or replace and upgrade it if you already have one.

A quality inverter/charger like a Magnum (all of their units are also battery chargers) will give you fully programmable 4-stage charging set to match the specifications of your battery bank. This will assure long battery life (rather than letting the OEM Parallax toast your batteries in short order).

Again, depending on what 120VAC appliances you want to add into the off-grid mix, an upgrade in the size/quality of your battery bank should be considered. Also, I have installed many 2000 and 2800 watt sine wave inverters and 3000 watt 'hybrid' sine wave inverters from Magnum that will effectively energize your entire trailer, eliminating the need for dedicated 'inverter only' outlets. EVERY outlet is now an inverter outlet when off-grid.

I also replace a number of the WFCO inverters from the Airstream package with Magnum MMS-1012 1000 watt inverters that also take over the battery charging functions and can also be configured to be a full function battery monitor system thru the ME-RC remote. In fact, I know where you can get a 'deal' on a WFCO unit right now!

And depending on the size of your battery bank, you can start and run a 15K BTU roof A/C with a Honda 2000 watt generator and a Magnum MSH3012-M hybrid inverter. It will seamlessly supplement the output from the generator to 'fill in the gap' for additional amperage when the A/C starts.

Many custom electrical options exist if you think just a bit 'out of the box' and consult someone with the knowledge and experience to point you in the right direction.
My mind is opening wide now!

If I plan to go with a Magnum inverter/charger and upgrade batteries, and install a higher capacity solar system is there any benefit to ordering the factory inverter and factory solar as an initial step? Or best to skip all of that entirely?
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:44 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DHart View Post
My mind is opening wide now!

If I plan to go with a Magnum inverter/charger and upgrade batteries, and install a higher capacity solar system is there any benefit to ordering the factory inverter and factory solar as an initial step? Or best to skip all of that entirely?
If you are going to a large, high quality inverter/charger/solar/battery changeout, probably there is no real advantage to the factory inverter system to begin with.

If you don't need or want all that much electrical capacity, especially at 120 volts, the factory inverter option is a fair solution.
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