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Old 02-02-2014, 05:52 AM   #1
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inverter or generator

Looking at purchasing our first Airstream (Flying Cloud 25). It does not come with an inverter which the dealer has offered as an add-on. my questions are:

if I plan to travel with portable generators, do I even need the inverter?

Is there a difference between the factory installed inverter versus a dealer installed?

Thanks for any and all replies.
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:22 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rooksg View Post
Looking at purchasing our first Airstream (Flying Cloud 25). It does not come with an inverter which the dealer has offered as an add-on. my questions are:

if I plan to travel with portable generators, do I even need the inverter?

Is there a difference between the factory installed inverter versus a dealer installed?

Thanks for any and all replies.
Yes. You probably need an inverter even if you're going to carry a generator. You can't run the generator 24/7, and without the inverter, you can't run any 120vAC appliances at all unless the generator is running. With the inverter, you can run some 120vAC appliances, such as televisions, but you will not be able to run real power-hungry appliances such as air conditioning or microwave off the inverter.

Any inverter you get should be an inverter/charger. Charger mode should be multistage and programmable for charging either AGM or wet-cell batteries (each type needs a different charging sequence). Magnum is an excellent brand.

If you go with factory-installed, you have no choice at all of make/model; they'll use whatever is standard (read, "low-cost," not "high quality"). With dealer-installed, you may be able to specify a make and model, and get a good one. Ask your dealer if he'll let you select make and model of the inverter/charger. If he won't, then don't get the option; buy your own and ask the dealer to install it for you.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:13 AM   #3
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I don't have an inverter on my AS and don't feel I need one. The reason is very limited 120 volt AC capacity with stock group 24 batteries. You can watch tv and run a computer, but for making coffee or other heavy use a 2000 watt inverter will drain the batteries quickly and the inverter uses battery power all the time, even when it is not inverting. I need all the battery capacity I can get to run the furnace all night. I have a little inverter that plugs into a 12 volt power supply to run my lap top.
I agree with Protagonist, a good inverter charger will keep the batteries happy. I am going into my 6th year with the agm batteries on my boat and they have been charged with my Xantrac.
If you want a big inverter to make coffee or run the electric fry pan, you are going to have to upgrade your batteries and carry a generator along to charge them.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:47 AM   #4
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We don't have an inverter but do have a 3 level charger and generator. We use propane for making coffee and preparing meals. The TV and computer/ phones can run/charge on 12v when boondocking and when in an area having reception.
Been doing this for a number of years without any problems.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:11 AM   #5
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We carry both for different reasons. We did have the factory 700 watt inverter replaced with an 1800 watt so we could run everything but the AC. We also have a 100 watt solar panel and charger.

We use the gen to charge bats if needed and we use inverter when we stop along the way to make coffee or a latte, even use the microwave for lunch. We don't like running the gen in national parks or some place where peace and quite just seems right. Redwoods come to mind and so many other beautiful places.

Out dealer did the change over and did a very good job.

Good luck
Mike
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:41 AM   #6
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We spent four months on the road late last summer and into the fall. On several occasions we dry camped up to four nights at a time. We do not have an inverter in our AS, but did carry two Honda 2000i's.

Our experience was even though in some instances we were limited in our generator use (primarily in national parks), we never really missed having 120 volt ac. Our AGM batteries and propane handled our needs just fine. In fact, we ended up never using the 2000i Companion. My sense is the Companion is necessary only when a/c is needed.

Also, we love coffee and found that a Chemex worked great when we could not use our electric maker. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:05 PM   #7
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Both! Last year I was deciding what route as well with power. I looked at solar, generator and inverter. When you consider the advantages and disadvantages to cost, the generator cannot be beat for power generation over a solar system. (I know that solar was not mentioned but FYI) A solar system is very expensive when one considers batteries, high quality panels and installation- all to get a meager bit of power as long as you don't park too deep in the woods.

The inverter has almost another purpose with/without a generator- to provide power while on battery power. I purchased a 1000 watt inverter, installed it last Dec. and boon docked in Jan last year. I used the coffee pot, TV/DVD player off of it. It is for very temporary power using the two batteries already on the trailer. Seventy minutes of coffeemaker (just saying, not that you need it that long); Several hours of TV watching, etc. The truck WILL charge the battery back up but requires time or hours of travel. The generator is even better. Mine will run the AC and anything in the trailer including a two or more at once.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:16 PM   #8
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Both! Last year I was deciding what route as well with power. I looked at solar, generator and inverter. When you consider the advantages and disadvantages to cost, the generator cannot be beat for power generation over a solar system. (I know that solar was not mentioned but FYI) A solar system is very expensive when one considers batteries, high quality panels and installation- all to get a meager bit of power as long as you don't park too deep in the woods.



The inverter has almost another purpose with/without a generator- to provide power while on battery power. I purchased a 1000 watt inverter, installed it last Dec. and boon docked in Jan last year. I used the coffee pot, TV/DVD player off of it. It is for very temporary power using the two batteries already on the trailer. Seventy minutes of coffeemaker (just saying, not that you need it that long); Several hours of TV watching, etc. The truck WILL charge the battery back up but requires time or hours of travel. The generator is even better. Mine will run the AC and anything in the trailer including a two or more at once.

I'm leaning the same way. Just curious as to what size generator you're running. I was thinking of a small propane portable till I checked on prices. Thanks for the info.
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