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Old 03-20-2013, 11:41 AM   #1
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Installing an inverter in a Bambi... Any advice?

Hey all you Bambi people... Well heck, hey EVERYBODY!

I'm thinking about installing a 600 or 800 watt inverter in our 2007 16' Bambi. The idea is to use it to run a blender for our morning smoothies when we're boondocking, which is pretty much every time we go camping. We're gettin' healthy with lots of fruits & veggies, and I've become addicted to the morning smoothie. And let's be honest, the blender will definitely see some booze-y action too. (Watermelon daiquiris: freeze chunks of watermelon and blend with rum, fresh lime juice, and a squeeze of agave nectar. YUM.) We've been using a hand-crank blender and it's great for the daiquiris, but it's not so great for blending up kale in a smoothie. I know, kale seems gross for breakfast, but it's actually pretty good when it's mixed with apples, ginger, and citrus. So, I thought why not install an inverter and get a decent electric blender. I'm thinking an 800 watt inverter to power a 600 watt blender would do the trick, no? We've got 2 6-volt AGM batteries being recharged with a 100 watt solar panel on the roof... thank you AM Solar! There's always plenty of electric juice, so it seemed to me that we could use some to run a blender for 60 seconds or so. Here's an inverter that seems like it would work:

800 Watt Power Inverter with cables by AIMS

So...

What do you all think? I'm very interested to know if anyone has installed a similar inverter in a Bambi like ours, and if so, where did you put it? I'm thinking it would work to somehow install it under the street-side dinette seat, where the fresh water tank is. Seems like there would be enough room in there with plenty of air around the inverter. It would be a very short cable run to the batteries, which are right in front on the tongue. I thought I could maybe cut a hole in the cabinet and install the inverter in such a way that it's supported inside the cabinet with the front of the inverter flush with the outside of the cabinet, creating a new electrical outlet. Make sense? Or maybe on the other side of the dinette, close to the subwoofer. Has anyone done something like this? Am I totally bonkers for thinking this might be a good idea??

Thanks in advance for any help, suggestions, and advice!

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Old 03-20-2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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It probably will work, but sometimes the start load of a blender with a 600 watt rating can be considerable and more than an 800 watt inverter will support. That said, there is no real way to tell other than trying it out. I guess I would go ahead and buy it, assuming it can be returned if it does not work. Test it when you get it by hooking it up to a car battery and making a full jar of your "product" prior to doing a full install in the trailer.

One reason I say the above is that recently I picked up a 400 watt sine wave inverter, and on my test found that it would not run my Dremel tool if I started it on high speed. It would run on low though. It seemed to me that a little Dremel tool would run fine on a 400 watt inverter, but apparently not this one. You just cannot be sure.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:05 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, Idroba. Looks like I've got some homework to do!
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:38 AM   #4
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I like the idea of an inverter. We just bought a 2012 16 foot Sport in October and are waiting for the first weekend out. (it is stuck in the snow right now and it is -10C or 10F). Two things we will likely do right away are the second battery and a solar panel. I am wondering which solar panel you went with and if you did the install yourself. Please provide updates on the inverter install. It will be great to hear how it works.

Great looking trailer BTW. How does it pull with the SUV?

Keith
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:52 AM   #5
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I would recommend at least 1200 watts. Because of the starting current required by the blender.
If you regularly take the 800 watt inverter to it's max. Eventually, you will pay the price.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:36 PM   #6
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I like 3000w inverters/charger the best, because of the large battery size used and the best recharging time. However, over kill for your needs, but if you place a 2000w inverter in it should run almost anything you plug in.... spend a few more $$ and go with a 2000w!
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:21 PM   #7
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Inverter ads usually tout "peak" rating, while appliances need "RMS" power. (RMS is .707 times peak; thus, a 1,000 Watt inverter will reliably power only a 707 Watt appliance.) Look for RMS Wattage rating a little larger than your blender, and you will probably be OK.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:06 PM   #8
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Phoenix... thanks for the "a-ha" moment. Very useful advice. I had no idea about "RMS".

And thank you as well, vinstream and TG Twinkie. Everyone seems to be saying something similar, about "sizing" an inverter larger than what I thought would be adequate. Thanks everybody for the good advice! I'll let you know what I end up doing.

Keith and Sue in PG, congratulations! Welcome to the family! We went with a 100 watt panel from AM Solar, which they installed. They also installed their charge controller, and 2 AGM batteries. I'm not able to speak with much authority about our system, other than to say it works great and we love it. We never run out of power! We do live and camp mostly in sunny California, so it might be different for you guys if you camp in lots of trees or rainy weather. I would say to email or call AM Solar and talk to them about it. They're very helpful and just really nice people. The bottom line for me is that the system works silently and consistently and I never have to worry about it. We always have plenty of power for lights, satellite radio, a movie every now and then, the furnace blower... it is a small trailer and heats up quickly. The only thing we can't use with the batteries is the air conditioner. And a blender, at least not until I get an inverter! I'll let you know what happens. And about towing, we pull it with our almost 12-year old 4Runner with no problems. We're not the fastest up the steep hills, but we always get where we're going. We use an Equal-izer hitch, which I love. Good luck with your new baby! You're going to love it. Don't forget to post some pictures!

Thanks again, everyone. I'll post again about the inverter when I finally buy one and get it all worked out.

Andy
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:13 PM   #9
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Amazon will cheerfully sell you a 12 volt "tailgater" blender that would solve the problem. Buy a smaller inverter as well to charge stuff and run small appliances...

Better than "idling" a high capacity inverter when you only need it occasionally.

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Old 03-23-2013, 06:20 PM   #10
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We don't need no stinkin' wires!

Not to be a smart aleck or anything, but I suppose you've seen this little guy:

Amazon.com: Tailgator Gas-Powered Blender: Kitchen & Dining

They're noisy, but no wires required!!!

But more seriously, I think you're on the right track to oversize your inverter. Do be SURE to use a high quality in-line fuse near the battery connection.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:49 PM   #11
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That gas-powered blender is awesome! Maybe we could tow it with my uncle's Cruzin Cooler!

Cruzin Cooler Official Site

Now, someone tell me, where do I get a fur sink?? (Thanks, Steve!)
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:56 PM   #12
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You betcha!

Quote:
Originally Posted by R2DTube View Post
That gas-powered blender is awesome! Maybe we could tow it with my uncle's Cruzin Cooler!

Cruzin Cooler Official Site

Now, someone tell me, where do I get a fur sink?? (Thanks, Steve!)

And if that didn't work out, I expect you could rig up a propshaft, add a small propeller, and run an inflatable boat around with it. Or use it to power your very own drone!
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:05 PM   #13
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I was just around the corner from you today at City Hall for SPCLA vaccinations... Should've stopped by and visited
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:21 AM   #14
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Glenn, you would have missed me... I've been on the east coast for a while. Heading home today for a few weeks and I couldn't be happier! Unless I could squeeze in a weekend camping trip, of course...
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