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Old 10-24-2007, 01:27 PM   #1
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Inverter question

I'll be picking up a 2008 Safari 25' SE FB with 96 watt PV next Monday. I think I need an inverter to charge my laptop and occasionally and briefly run a toaster or microwave on batteries. None of the inverters I see in stores tell me whether they have true sine wave capability, necessary for laptops. I will check elsewhere (such as Amazon where the prices are incedibly lower than Camping World), but wonder about others' experience. I am unsure how many watts I will need and whether plugging an inverter into one of the 12 v. receptacles will overload those circuits, or whether an inverter gets wired into the control panel (which I have never examined). Thanks for any information. I am pretty good with electrical systems, but auto-style 12 v. wiring has always been bizarre to meónot at all like a house. I've rewired houses, but they are very different.

Gene
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:37 PM   #2
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Hi Gene. Resistance appliances like hair dryers and toasters will make quick work on draining your batteries. Lead acid batteries will be damaged if you draw them below 50% capacity. Microwaves are bigger energy hogs. I'm not going to do the math right now -- I'd wonder if you'd even be able to run a microwave for a minute on a full battery charge. Solar isn't remotely the answer to these challenges. I'd strongly recommend one of the modern quiet 40# Honda or Yamaha gensets if you don't have a campground hookup.

Air conditioner capable gensets are a whole 'nother issue -- and 100# heavier than the more basic generators; eg, Honda eu2000i. I'd better let the Yamaha owners speak about their very good products -- which I understand can be ordered for propane only usage.
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Old 10-24-2007, 04:25 PM   #3
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Thanks Bob. I've been thinking your answer was the right answer, but wanted to check to see if I was wrong. The 1 Kw generators are pretty easy to carry, but the bigger ones get heavier every year as I get older. I suppose there'd be a way to link 2 1 Kw ones to get 2 Kw, but that is in the realm of trying too hard. Easier to go to Canada in the summer if we ever get around to getting passports. Still gotta look for the true sine wave inverter.

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Old 10-24-2007, 04:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
I'll be picking up a 2008 Safari 25' SE FB with 96 watt PV next Monday. I think I need an inverter to charge my laptop and occasionally and briefly run a toaster or microwave on batteries. None of the inverters I see in stores tell me whether they have true sine wave capability, necessary for laptops. I will check elsewhere (such as Amazon where the prices are incedibly lower than Camping World), but wonder about others' experience. I am unsure how many watts I will need and whether plugging an inverter into one of the 12 v. receptacles will overload those circuits, or whether an inverter gets wired into the control panel (which I have never examined). Thanks for any information. I am pretty good with electrical systems, but auto-style 12 v. wiring has always been bizarre to meónot at all like a house. I've rewired houses, but they are very different.

Gene
Gene,

There are several pure sine wave inverters available. IIRC, they start out around 1000 watts and go up from there. Because they put out a true sine wavefrom, not a modified one that most inverters create, they are on the expensive side.

If you are interested, let me know and I'll research my sources for you and get you names, numbers and prices. I do know that Xantrex makes them as I work on them in the high-end MoHos that I service.
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Old 10-24-2007, 05:31 PM   #5
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Lew, thanks for the offer. I might do better with a 1 Kw generator—less money, probably (or, hopefully is more accurate) true sign wave and I'll probably get a generator anyway. In fact the cheapest thing would be to get more laptop batteries… or, a windup laptop—that one designed for isolated African villages. Whoops, I'm going over the edge…

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Old 10-24-2007, 05:34 PM   #6
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Hi Gene -- Time to go into your control panel (User CP) and update from 'Currently looking..' Congrats on the excitement!
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Old 10-24-2007, 06:17 PM   #7
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Gene
When it comes to gen's becareful. They might be little and lite but hang on to your wallet when it comes to gettin parts,if you can even find any. Most of them are throwaways. It costs more to repair them that it did to buy it origainally.Trust me,Im in the small engine repair business.
Also just remember if ya run em U have to service em,changing oil (less they are 2cycle and airfilters is a MUST to give them longevity.
Good luck on your gen quest.
Roger
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Old 10-24-2007, 06:26 PM   #8
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68 Overlander's web site (BestConverter - Inteli-Power, WFCO, Parallax, Xantrex, Samlex, Electrical Supplies) lists several pure sine wave inverters in low power range (150 watts up). Not expensive in the lower powers.
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Old 10-24-2007, 06:45 PM   #9
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hi gene...

to repeat others again...

hairdryer? microwave? blender/food processor?

get a 2k genset, honda. these are stupid quick to start, use and maintain...

and perfect for 30-90 minutes of solid ac power when needed.

also great for restoring those lead acid batteries which will need it after 1-2 nights of furnace.

any large inverter will WASTE significant reserve power when used for small things like lcd tele or laptops or 'lectric razors.

like guy99 suggests get a couple of SIMPLE 150 watt xantrex units and you can charge the laptop, or watch a dvd/movie or weather on an lcd tele for days.

i keep 2 in the trailer and one in the truck, so i can juice things from multiple batteries, or while driving.

one fixed high watt inverter is not nearly as flexible or electron thrifty.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:04 PM   #10
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Honda Eu2000is is a inverter generator with a true sine wave. I am not sure if they make it in a 1000 watt version but to run the microwave you will need at least 2000 watts.
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:06 PM   #11
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Just another dumb question

I sounds like the above discussion refers to a "inverter" which will take care of the whole coach, Right? What about those smaller inverters to change 12v to 110 at the inside outlet for a specific appliance. Does this sine wave stuff still apply?
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Marshall
What about those smaller inverters to change 12v to 110 at the inside outlet for a specific appliance. Does this sine wave stuff still apply?
hi marshall,

yes and no.

disclaimer: i'm just an a/s owner and gadget junkie...

the small units i mentioned aren't true sine wave (tsw) but modified sine wave (msw) like the pic below.

there are other models with 200 watts or less that have a cord/box style...

most electronics that have a 'black box' (regulator/inverter) between the outlet and gadget work fine with msw...

because the black box cleans up the current on the way into the gadgets...

electronics that run directly from outlets via the cord may have issues..

small battery chargers or electric toothbrushes, razors and such...

i've used many computers, lcd tvs and so on without issue from msw units...

keep in mind the rating (175w for example) is peak output and continuous power will be less (140w for example)

my lcd runs on 90w (or less) while the laptops are close to this number too.

tsw inverters are more important with audio equipment, cb/ham radios and such, i think.

the nice thing about power from a honda 'ei' series genset is it's pretty clean

and running it into the a/s first gives us the option to use a voltage monitor in the arrangement.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-24-2007, 09:07 PM   #13
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Still gotta look for the true sine wave inverter.
why get an inverter in the first place?

isn't there a 12 volt charger available for your laptop?

i have one for my panasonic tough book in my truck at work.

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Old 10-26-2007, 12:39 PM   #14
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John, no individual charger for my Mac, but Apple does list a plug in, 120 w. inverter (probably mostly for cars cigarette lighters), very vaguely like the picture 2air posted. Since a laptop runs on DC and so do batteries, all this is to change DC to AC to DC. Crazy world. There are 1 and 2 Kw. generator/inverters from Honda and Yamaha. They promise "clean" power and Honda claims it's since wave is better than from the power company.

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