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Old 01-28-2016, 02:44 PM   #1
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Adding an inverter

I have a 2010 27 foot Front Bed Classic with a queen bed.

I would like to put an inverter very near the batteries. I haven't taken anything apart yet, but there appears to be a carpeted box that runs the width of the trailer under the head of the bed that covers the batteries and separates the external storage box from the inside of the trailer. I also have the shore power plug on the front of the trailer that is used for a generator connection.

1) how do you get into the box under the head of the bed and what will I find?

2) will there be access to the two batteries?

3) Do I need access to both batteries or are they paralleled with heavy cables within this front box?

4) can I get to the inside of the generator shore power plug and can I hook the output of the inverter to that.

Thanks
Brad
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Old 01-28-2016, 03:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbelk View Post
I have a 2010 27 foot Front Bed Classic with a queen bed.

I would like to put an inverter very near the batteries. I haven't taken anything apart yet, but there appears to be a carpeted box that runs the width of the trailer under the head of the bed that covers the batteries and separates the external storage box from the inside of the trailer. I also have the shore power plug on the front of the trailer that is used for a generator connection.

1) how do you get into the box under the head of the bed and what will I find?

2) will there be access to the two batteries?

3) Do I need access to both batteries or are they paralleled with heavy cables within this front box?

4) can I get to the inside of the generator shore power plug and can I hook the output of the inverter to that.

Thanks
Brad
Our Bambi came from the factory with a tiny inverter and Airstream does not combine the inverter 120 volt output with the rest of the "shore" power coming from either the generator or the power cord...
I'm guessing that it has to do with back feeding current into the inverter when plugged in or perhaps feeding the power cable when the inverter is on!

On our sailboat the inverter/charger handles the split internally so there is no danger of feeding current where it is not wanted...

You could download a manual or two and see what the inverter manufacturer suggests... We have Xantrex on both the boat and the Bambi after I upgraded it.

Just something to think about.

Bruce
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Old 01-28-2016, 03:34 PM   #3
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Correctly and properly installing an inverter is not a trivial project. You should have some electrical wiring experience before attempting. The inverter needs to be located as close as possible to the batteries, I assume yours are located in the external metal box on the trailer A frame. You'll need heavy gauge wire from there to the inverter (think jumper cable sized wires). Both batteries need to be included in the circuit.

Running the output of the inverter into the 30 Amp external shore plug is a bad idea. It will power the converter which will then attempt to put current back into the batteries, not to mention trying to power every other thing in the trailer.

Re-wireing the trailer to power all the 120 volt outlets off the inverter is a big task. I did it on mine and so have others. There's different ways to go about it, ranging from moderately difficult and expensive to just plain difficult and time consuming, but not so expensive. In either case the job must be done correctly and to code because nobody wants to cause a fire or an electrocution.

The easiest permanent solution is to direct wire the inverter to the batteries (with appropriate fusses and disconnects) then run the output to a new dedicated 120 volt outlet, say mounted to the queen bed pedestal. From there run a normal extension cord down the hallway to whatever thing needs the 120 volts.
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Old 01-28-2016, 03:53 PM   #4
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I wired a 600 watt inverter directly to the battery (with 50 amp fuse) and connected it to my shore power connection with an automatic transfer switch which prevents backfeeding. My converter is on a switched circuit which I turn off when running on the inverter. The only thing I cannot run on the inverter is my AC.
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:41 AM   #5
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I wired a 600 watt inverter directly to the battery (with 50 amp fuse) and connected it to my shore power connection with an automatic transfer switch which prevents backfeeding. My converter is on a switched circuit which I turn off when running on the inverter. The only thing I cannot run on the inverter is my AC.
This is the installation that I envision with a larger inverter. I understand the electrical issues. My questions are related to the physical lay out of the front of my camper. How much has to be removed to get at this stuff.
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:07 AM   #6
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I place most of the inverters for a 27FB installation directly under the bed in the front storage compartment. You can access this by removing the bed platform. All of these installations have enlarged battery banks and minimum 2000 watt Magnum inverter/chargers, so battery access is no problem.

If retaining the front tongue location for your batteries, you will have to pull larger cables (dependent on the sizing of your inverter) the the opening in the floor at the forward curb side of the trailer. this location will be obvious once you remove the bed platform.

Here are a few shots of an installation:
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:11 AM   #7
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Now that is an inverter! Nice looking installation Lew...
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:31 PM   #8
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My hat is off to you LEW! Work of art.
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Old 01-30-2016, 06:49 AM   #9
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Thanks! It's that left brain/tight brain thing!!! :-))


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Old 01-31-2016, 11:11 AM   #10
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That's 'left brain/RIGHT brain' 😁


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Old 01-31-2016, 11:31 AM   #11
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When I got the Eddie Bauer it had the wimpy factory inverter. Truth... I've used it once or twice to charge my cell phone or I-pad when I'm without hookups. I could have done that from the DC plug in my truck. If I'd had to pay for the inverter, I wouldn't have.

If you want to boondock, IMHO it is time to CAMP. Cook over a fire, leave the TV and radio OFF and listen to the chirping birds and buzzing bees and Was that a BEAR? Is it time to head back to civilization?

Paula
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:53 AM   #12
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My purpose is so I can leave the generator at home. The only thing we use that for is roadside lunch breaks when we use the microwave or make a pot of coffee. 1200 watts translates into 100 amps at the battery. My pair of deep cycle batteries should handle that for the 5 to 10 minutes of use. I won't be doing that if we are boondocking for more than an overnight. I will try and remember to switch off the converter when I am using the inverter, but other than a large inefficacy, it shouldn't hurt anything.

Thanks for the input and I am looking forward to looking at the pictures on something bigger than my phone. I am currently boondocking at the very edge of the digital world.


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Old 01-31-2016, 11:54 AM   #13
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Inverters

Inverters are nice, "BUT".

Keep in mind the drain on the battery or batteries.

If you want lets say 1500 watts from the output, then assuming an 80 percent efficiency, which would be very good, you would have to provide right at 1900 watts input.

Simple Ohms Law formula, W=EI (watts equals voltage times the current) your 12 volt battery system MUST PROVIDE 12 volts at 158 amps.

Since most batteries are about 120 amperes, that would mean that 2 fully charged batteries, in parallel, would last less that ONE HOUR. Maybe 1/2 hour at best.

Inverters are another nice "gadget", but for RV use, they becomes rather questionable, considering the rapid drain on the batteries.

Most household appliances draw more that 1000 watts, on city power, making them difficult to use with an inverter, simply because of the necessary huge drain on the batteries. Some exceptions are a can opener, a knife sharpener, a mixer, and the like.

Because of an inverters huge drain, generators quickly become into use. For even a small generator to handle 2000 watts or more, becomes a very easy task.

Personally, I appreciate an inverter, but they become sort of useless in a travel trailer. A motor home doesn't need one, since they have a generator.

Andy
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbelk View Post
My purpose is so I can leave the generator at home. The only thing we use that for is roadside lunch breaks when we use the microwave or make a pot of coffee. 1200 watts translates into 100 amps at the battery. My pair of deep cycle batteries should handle that for the 5 to 10 minutes of use. I won't be doing that if we are boondocking for more than an overnight. I will try and remember to switch off the converter when I am using the inverter, but other than a large inefficacy, it shouldn't hurt anything.

Thanks for the input and I am looking forward to looking at the pictures on something bigger than my phone. I am currently boondocking at the very edge of the digital world.


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Your translation is absolutely correct, if you have an inverter that is 100 percent efficient.

Most good inverters are about 80 percent efficiency. therefore to get 1200 watts output you would need 1500 watts input.

Two fully charge good batteries would last less than 1/2 hour.

Granted, it hurts nothing, other than being a huge drain on the otherwise very good battery setup.

Andy
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