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Old 05-16-2004, 08:54 PM   #15
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TK your point is well taken. I certainly agree with you about running from an inverter connected to the battery. There is no switching--you just simply run through the battery. I'm not sure though if an inverter that attachs to the batteries would be cheaper than a UPS, especially if you had to have it installed at a dealership. The UPS I have only cost $39.99. The 75 watt inverters you can plug into into a 12V outlet to run a laptop cost about $20. The larger inverters (300 watts) you can run a TV from cost about $30-$40. So with those you're looking at about the same cost as a UPS.

Having an inverter connected straight to the battery would give you the advantage of protecting all outlets it's connected to. But the fact is most people are only going to need an inverter on one or two circuits. Maybe for a TV/computer in the bedroom and a TV/computer in the living area. The only other thing that you MIGHT be concerned about would be the microwave if it is an expensive one. None of the other electrical components are going to be so sensitive to brown out or power outtages and thus it's not worth the expense to try to “protect” them.

So if you get two 300 watt inverters you're going to be out anywhere from $60-$80. And when you get another camper you just take your inverters with you. The same goes for a UPS. If you don't have 12V DC outlets you can just use a UPS. And again a UPS doesn't cost a whole lot of money and you take it with you when you sell.

It's going to be hard for anyone to convince me it's worth spending the money required to install a 1000 watt or greater inverter directly to the battery because of the initial expense of the inverter itself in addition to the other materials needed—wires, connectors and so on, the time involved in rewiring or the cost of having all that wiring done. PLUS the fact that the inverter is gone when you sell. An inverter certainly won't increase the value of your rig. It's just not worth it and that's why so few people actually do it.
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Old 06-09-2004, 07:03 PM   #16
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I'm impressed at your general knowledge. I thought these things were to protect us from lightening bolts. Before you laugh too much. One house in the neighborhood burned to the ground from a lightening strike, another was hit close enough that everyone's hair stood straight up and EVERYTHING electrical was fried. Trees have been split into flat fans, so what's to protect an airstream from a strike? Yhe tires? But we all have other things tied down or in some way connect trailer to metal to ground. What protection is needed there? silver suz
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Old 06-09-2004, 07:21 PM   #17
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my trailer has a ground lug on the rear bumper.

i suppose if i had it in one place long enough, i could pound ground rods and attach a wire to it.

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Old 06-09-2004, 07:31 PM   #18
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A ground lug? where does one purchase such a thing? With the lightening going on lately- it's definately in my mind. Did you know that in a tornado, a person is 73 times more likely to die in a trailer than a person in a home? EEK!! Matter of fact ,it's safer to be in your car than in the trailer! of course a ditch and titanium body armor would be preferred- suz
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Old 06-09-2004, 08:06 PM   #19
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any good electrical supply house should have it. a ground lug is simply a terminal you can attach a wire to.

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Old 06-10-2004, 09:36 AM   #20
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You don't need to ground the trailer. Even if it doesn't have the metal stabilizers down, and even if you aren't connected to ground through a power outlet, the small gap between the rims and ground, or even the frame and ground, won't stop lightning from going around the trailer skin and getting to ground. Tires acting as an insulator in the face of lightning is a joke.

Like motor vehicles that get hit by lightning, the all metal trailer will act as a Faraday cage. Lightning hits, and passes around, the outer skin of aircraft all the time, and they aren't anywhere near grounded.

That was one of the problems when composites were first used in aircraft. Lightning would punch through rather than go around. Manufacturers started embedding copper mesh in the composites and the problem went away. I can't imagine a safer place to be than in an Airstream.
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Old 06-10-2004, 06:41 PM   #21
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you are correct as usual!

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Old 06-10-2004, 06:46 PM   #22
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I'm wondering if I should run a ground wire from the metal plate in my head to the ground.
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Old 06-10-2004, 06:52 PM   #23
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wire that lightning arrestor i pictured in series with the ground wire and your steel plate.

when you get hit by lightning the .22 shell will go off letting you know you've been hit!
with a bang!

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Old 06-10-2004, 06:54 PM   #24
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that's my problem, I'm not smart enough to figure out how to wire it all up. That's why I clued in on ground wire, tires and lug nut. That much I can grasp.
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Old 06-10-2004, 07:00 PM   #25
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wire it like this: huts head to lightning arrestor top terminal, bottom lightning arrestor terminal to earth.

it should go like this: ZAP! OUCH! KERBANG!


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Old 06-10-2004, 07:09 PM   #26
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If my wife reads that she'll do it. Especially the part about the 22 putting me out of my (her) misery
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:08 AM   #27
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I had my AS connected to my home power charging the batteries prior to our last trip, There was a thunderstorm and a nearby lightning strike. The only thing damaged was my parallax powerconverter in the AS. This turned out to be a rather expensive fuse. I went to camping world and picked up a replacement power converter - and - a surge protector.

The surge protector's job is to protect the AS from sudden high voltage spikes, way above the normal power line voltage. These spikes can come from nearby lightning - it doesn't have to hit your home transformer it could be nearby and couple into your home wiring. Or they could come form other equipment in your home or on the same circuit as your home that is switching a large electrical voltage or current that puts a very short pulse of high voltage on the line.

This very short bursts of energy can be coupled into the electronic devices and easily destroy the electronic circuits. Generators that have a square wave type output could also create high transient voltages due to the high frequency components in the square wave.

There are a couple of ways to prevent damage. Filters, which reduce the high frequency components and keep them from getting through to your electronics, and surge protectors which can reduce the amplitude of the voltage spike.

Most of you have seen small filters on your computer cables as small round plastic tubes that are clamped over the cable. They contain a ferrite washer which will add inductance and tends to slow down those fast moving voltage spikes, Inductors and transformers like their electricity to be slow and steady.

Most laptops today come with switching power supplies that can adapt to the line voltages of various countries. That is good for transient protection as well because the filter at the output of the power supply is designed to suppress the voltage transients caused by the switching converter.

My own preference (learned the hard way) is to use a surge protector between my RV and the power source to protect the electronics in my power converter and refrigerator. The one I purchased has a built in ground fault interrupter which can protect me against unintended electrical current paths to ground.
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