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Old 01-13-2008, 02:40 PM   #1
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Airstream inverter installation

I own a 32' 1990 Excella 1000. Boondocking is high priority for us to maximize our travel bug. I recently upgraded my batteries to four Interstate 12 volt and have purchased a 2000 watt inverter with plans to eventually add two 130 watt solar panels. My question is: where is the best place to install the inverter? My choice at first was inside the streetside couch armrest but this would require the cable to be over six feet to connect at the battery switch which is a no, no I'm told...too far. If I installed the inverter against the wall behind the couch I could easily stay within the three feet length of cable recommended by the manufacturer as there it would be close to the battery turn off switch. What say you out there? Also if you've installed it what problems have you had by penetrating the inside skin. I plan to have expert help with the installation.
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:18 PM   #2
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2000 Watts is alot of power and alot of battery draw. YOu boon docking will not last long if you use it a lot.
On to you question. As close to the batteries as possible.
2000 Watts 12.6Volts Dc is 15.9 Amps that will drain the batteries quickly.
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Old 01-13-2008, 04:29 PM   #3
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All of the trailer systems except the air conditioner and 120V wall outlets are 12V and don't need an inverter. I've got a 12V portable fan for comfort ('Endless Breeze' by Fantastic Fan). Your batteries will not last but mere minutes if you run the A/C, a microwave or a resistance appliance (eg, hair dryer, toaster) off of the inverter. Aim for the most energy conserving TV you can find. I know my home LCD sure gives off a lot of waste heat! 2+ years into my Safari experiment and I have yet to turn on or want a TV inside. Less so when I'm boondocking or there's a sunset or campfire outside!

Solar panels have a fraction of the recharge rate of a simple Honda eu2000i -- which isn't enough to run the A/C either. Gensets get really heavy if the A/C has to be run. I wish I had 4 batteries -- but am going to settle for 2 glassmat group 24s when my current pair of Interstates give up the ghost -- figure I'm living on borrowed time as they were new in summer of '06.
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Old 01-13-2008, 04:54 PM   #4
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I also thought about mounting an inverter in the arm rest but decided that when I order a Prosine 1000 or 1800, budgeted in 2009, I will put it under the front couch to the right of my Intellipower and next to the battery box. The battery box will not have a battery in it because I plan on having someone rebuild the storage box between frame rails to hold two 12 volt grp 27 batteries. This should put the inverter near the 3 ft. distance. I will then run one or two heavy power strips with a 6' cord to be placed under the cradenza near the streetside window. I would only plug in a 15" TV and VHS/DVD player/recorder in this anyway. I'm still in the planning stage now.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:25 PM   #5
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So how are you going to run the electrical wire to the 110V fuse box?
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talltales View Post
I own a 32' 1990 Excella 1000. Boondocking is high priority for us to maximize our travel bug. I recently upgraded my batteries to four Interstate 12 volt and have purchased a 2000 watt inverter with plans to eventually add two 130 watt solar panels. My question is: where is the best place to install the inverter? My choice at first was inside the streetside couch armrest but this would require the cable to be over six feet to connect at the battery switch which is a no, no I'm told...too far. If I installed the inverter against the wall behind the couch I could easily stay within the three feet length of cable recommended by the manufacturer as there it would be close to the battery turn off switch. What say you out there? Also if you've installed it what problems have you had by penetrating the inside skin. I plan to have expert help with the installation.
Assuming a 100 percent efficiency, which is impossible, 2000 watts at 12 volts DC equals 166 amps. An efficiency of 80 percent is outstanding. Therefore to get 2000 watts AC output, will take closer to 200 amps at 12 volts DC, input.

The DC formula is W=EI

W=watts.
E=the DC voltage
I= current in amperes.

The wire size to carry that kind of current is probably "0", or "00", even for a very few feet.

Andy
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:25 AM   #7
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Where did you find room to install 4 batteries?
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:37 AM   #8
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Inverters create their own heat. Be sure there is adequate ventilation. I mounted mine on the inside aluminum skin to help as a heat sync.

As for connecting cable, I went to Pep Boys and bought a cheap set of jumper cables. They had good multi-strand siamese (one red, one black) cable, but had very cheap clamps. I cut the clamps off, ran the cable, added good connectors, job done. $15,00.
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:20 PM   #9
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I would like an inverter to power my TV and a few other limited items (non-laptop computer, router, coffee grinder, etc.). It seems like it shouldn't be that hard, but...

I have a 2007 Safari 27FB. The converter / fuse box is in the center of the trailer. It would seem to be the right place to put one.

The converter is tightly coupled with big wires to the battery. There's the power the inverter needs.

The fuse box has a 20 amp GFCI circuit that hits everything I want energized by the inverter. It's just a few inches away from the big wires. There's where the inverter's output should go.

This is where it gets less obvious, and I'm hoping someone here has some experience with it.

Ideally, when shore power is active I would like the GFCI circuit to use that and the inverter is switched off. When it's not then the inverter is switched on and the GFCI circuit uses the inverter output.

What do I use to detect shore power and switch on the inverter and reroute the GFCI circuit?
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Old 07-31-2009, 11:00 PM   #10
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inverter just installed

I just installed a 1500 watt modified sine wave inverter. Read the instructions that come with the inverter real close! All I wanted to do is run the coffee pot and TV once in a while. The big wires coming off the batteries on my A/S were only #6 and inverter needed #2 welding cable min. Add to that they recommend no more than 5 ft. long cables over fuse block and master cutoff switch. I didn't wire it into the A/C panel, so can't help you there. Not sure it was worth all the work, but had fun with the challenge.
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:59 AM   #11
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What do I use to detect shore power and switch on the inverter and reroute the GFCI circuit?

You can install a "transfer switch" to detect the shore power and automatically switch from battery (inverter) to shore power. Not sure about using a GFCI since the ground and in some cases neutral is not switched.

Most folks use a dedicated AC wire and outlet from the inverter what you can power and for how long is limited.

Garry
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