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Old 10-25-2014, 08:23 PM   #1
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Power inverter / converter recommendation for '79 Excella 500 31'

Hello,

my wife and I are doing a "restomod" to our 1979 Airstream Excella 500 31' Travel Trailer. It's missing it's original power inverter/converter and I'm looking for a replacement.

The trailer itself is wired for 30 AMP, and I'm planning on replacing the 2 12v batteries with 4 6 volt batteries. The trailer lights connector is wired for 12v charging from the tow vehicle. We'll use a generator when we need to but don't have one yet. We will wire for solar panels, but since that will be expensive we're going to hold off on purchasing and installing the actual panels until later.

As far as typical use, we're planning on living in the travel trailer full time starting 1 year from now. We'll boonedock maybe a quarter of the time and plan to be hooked up to shore power the rest of the time.

I'll be honest, I'm new to all this, so I'm really looking for some guidance on which power inverter/converter to get. I would like to be able to run our ceiling mounted AC unit from the trailer batteries in emergencies (i.e. broken down on the side of the road in the dessert with wife and baby). I know this will kill the batteries pretty quickly; it'd be a last resort after the generator and tow vehicle both ran out of gas.

I'd like two recommendations for power inverter/converters:
  1. A unit that's powerful enough to run the AC
  2. A unit that's powerful enough to run everything but the AC
In both cases, I'd like a unit that will charge the trailers batteries automatically when connected to shore power.

I'd also prefer a unit that's fully or mostly automated so I don't have to mess with it all the time.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:00 PM   #2
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Best suggestion I can think of is to call Randy at bestconverter.com. He'll be able to point you in the right direction.
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:01 PM   #3
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I think Magnum Energy makes a unit that would meet #2 above and most other requirements. Not cheap and installation is probably a project by itself. I'm assuming #2 means powering the microwave and smaller appliances for short durations.

I don't know of a way to power the AC with an inverter. You would probably need more than 4 batteries if there is a way. BTW - the desert may be hot in the summer but humidity is very low. Find some shade, sit next to a fan and spray some water on your face. Almost as effective as AC and a lot less energy intensive.
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:02 PM   #4
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First. An explanation of the difference between an Inverter and a Converter.
An Inverter is a device that provides 120 volt AC power using a 12 volt DC Power source. It is typically used to power low current devices such as phone chargers, laptops, television etc.. Rarely are they capable of running items such as a hair dryer or microwave. And the A/C is out of the question.
Converters take 120 volt AC power and converts it to 12 volts DC. Typically they charge the house battery(s) as well as provide DC power to all of the devices internal to the coach when on generator or shore power. Lights, furnace, water pump etc.
A Progressive Dynamics 9245 converter will suffice. The 9245 has 45 amp capability. You can go with a higher rated converter. But there are limited advantages.
There are inverter/chargers. Which are normally used In large motorhomes/ which have considerably more battery capacity than your coach.
Unless you have 30 amp shore power or a generator large enough (2,600 watts) or more. You will not be able to use the A/C.
Your coach was originally equipped with a Converter. Again 45 amp converters are large enough to handle your rig.



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Old 10-25-2014, 09:55 PM   #5
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I have installed several solar charging systems with 440-600 amp/hour battery systems on Airstream trailers that have been using the new Magnum MSH-3012M hybrid inverter. It allows you to use a smaller generator (like the Honda 2000) or an otherwise less than capable shore line (20 amps or less) and will supplement this lower amperage 120VAC input so you can successfully operate your roof A/C unit.

Most of the initial large amperage draw of the A/C happens on start up, and the MSH-3012M will seamlessly supplement any required amperage to allow you to start the A/C. As the power requirements lessen the inverter lowers it's contribution to the load and allows the generator or shore line to operate the load.

Magnum inverter/chargers also have one of the best battery charging systems available for RV and marine use. No converter can match the programmability and use of full temperature compensation that a Magnum offers, and you will not need both a converter and inverter/charger.

You can also wire this unit to power your entire trailer's 120VAC circuit breaker box from the inverter when off-grid.

PM me if you would like more details.
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Old 10-26-2014, 12:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinTin View Post
Best suggestion I can think of is to call Randy at bestconverter.com. He'll be able to point you in the right direction.
I will second TinTin and call Randy at bestconverter.com He is great to deal with and very, very patient answering all the different questions. Great customer service.

After several emails and phone calls with Randy about updating our '79 Land Yacht. We went with the all in one boondocker 4 stage power center (BPC4-60) because it fit and works with our situation.
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starstream View Post
I will second TinTin and call Randy at bestconverter.com He is great to deal with and very, very patient answering all the different questions. Great customer service.

After several emails and phone calls with Randy about updating our '79 Land Yacht. We went with the all in one boondocker 4 stage power center (BPC4-60) because it fit and works with our situation.
Thanks for the advice! Do you happen to have a picture of your Boondocker 4 stage power center installed? Preferably with the cover off.
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
I have installed several solar charging systems with 440-600 amp/hour battery systems on Airstream trailers that have been using the new Magnum MSH-3012M hybrid inverter. It allows you to use a smaller generator (like the Honda 2000) or an otherwise less than capable shore line (20 amps or less) and will supplement this lower amperage 120VAC input so you can successfully operate your roof A/C unit.

Most of the initial large amperage draw of the A/C happens on start up, and the MSH-3012M will seamlessly supplement any required amperage to allow you to start the A/C. As the power requirements lessen the inverter lowers it's contribution to the load and allows the generator or shore line to operate the load.

Magnum inverter/chargers also have one of the best battery charging systems available for RV and marine use. No converter can match the programmability and use of full temperature compensation that a Magnum offers, and you will not need both a converter and inverter/charger.

You can also wire this unit to power your entire trailer's 120VAC circuit breaker box from the inverter when off-grid.

PM me if you would like more details.
Holy cow,
I just look that unit up on a couple of marine web sites. They were listed at $2500+. A guy had better be serious about A/C. I think I'd just invest in a whole bunch of beer and live with the heat.

Ken
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:39 PM   #9
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All depends on your comfort level and the depth of your pockets!!! :-))


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Old 12-20-2014, 02:32 PM   #10
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We almost never use air conditioning at home or in our Airstream,but I still like to consider a practical reason for an expensive but quality and useful upgrade.

Using this expensive inverter may mean we wouldn't need a second 2000 watt Honda, that's $1,000. We need to upgrade our factory charger/converter anyway so that's $250. We might need less solar power to provide our boon docking power. More saved perhaps.

It begins to look a little better. Then the question may be how long will it last, 5 years, 10 or 20? And can we take it with us if we trade up, how difficult is it to reinstall the original befor trading?
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:34 PM   #11
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All depends on your comfort level and the depth of your pockets!!! :-))


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Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
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Yeah, in this case my comfort level and pockets are both too shallow. However, come to think of it, I haven't checked the numbers on my mega-millions ticket against last night's drawing. If I buy one, I'll make sure you install it.

Ken
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Old 12-20-2014, 07:11 PM   #12
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Yeah, in this case my comfort level and pockets are both too shallow. However, come to think of it, I haven't checked the numbers on my mega-millions ticket against last night's drawing. If I buy one, I'll make sure you install it.

Ken
DEAL!!
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:36 PM   #13
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Just to close out my input on this topic I started, after reading everyone's recommendations (and subsequently ignoring them! haha) I've decided to give a relatively unknown inverter+charger+transfer-relay unit a try: AIMS 2000 Watt Pure Sine Low Frequency Inverter Charger. I called the company (based in Reno, but products manufactured in China) and spoke to one of the techs about common problems with the units (damage from improper wiring to unit), return rates (3% by the way) etc. and was satisfied by their answers enough to give the unit a try. Evidently these units are primarily used in Ambulances and Big Rig trucks but there's no reason they can't be used in Campers as well.

There aren't many reviews for this particular unit, so I plan on giving it a thorough walk-through and reporting the results. I hope it will help someone else seeking to find a cost-effective combo unit as I was.
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:47 AM   #14
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My last comment on this topic. MASE IN CHINA


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