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Old 09-11-2013, 08:16 PM   #29
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The main reason we are discussing these particular inverters is that they can BOOST current from a generator so you can use a smaller one to start and run an air conditioner. For this purpose, these inverters are only supplying big power for a few seconds during starting. Then, after running, the used power from the batteries is replenished from the generator or another source. We're not talking about running an AC off of batteries for long periods of time.
At the prices you guys are talking wouldn't it be a better (more economical) investment to just buy a generator big enough to run the AC ?
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:50 PM   #30
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The reason I posted was to hopefully save someone from wasting their money....the last truck I had came with a power inverter it would hardly run a skill saw with the engine running......and would do nothing without the engine running.

Trying to get 110 volts out of 12 volt car batteries is senseless.
Some folks feel that adding larger battery banks, sizable inverters and solar charging systems is NOT a waste of money but rather an investment in their trailers that is both an environmental statement and a way to get clean, quiet power on demand without being connected to the grid or having to carry additional flammable liquids and heavy power generation equipment.

And contrary to your experience, a properly designed, sized and installed solar charging system with appropriate battery bank (a car battery is NOT the proper type of battery for this usage as it is a starting battery and NOT a deep cycle battery) and quality inverter can produce way more 120VAC power than you would think.

I can run virtually any corded power tool from my service van that I wish, including a 1800 watt heat gun, from my 500 watt solar array, 300 amp/hour Lifeline battery bank and Magnum MS-2812 inverter/charger. My batteries have never gone below 12.5VDC with extended usage of these tools and recharge rapidly on a sunny day.

I install these systems professionally, and I have more work than I can handle while I am in the NorthWest this summer, so it would seem to me that you are perhaps in a minority, especially among Airstream owners.

You also never specify the parameters of your inverter system that came with your last truck. How about giving us some accurate details from which to make an intelligent discussion........rather than posting your opinion that is perhaps based on your experience with inferior components installed in a less than ideal situation.

And just for the record; AC refers to 120VAC residential power and A/C refers to the RV air conditioner commonly found on the roof of Airstreams and other RVs. Let's not confuse this dichotomy.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:10 AM   #31
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I can run virtually any corded power tool from my service van that I wish, including a 1800 watt heat gun, from my 500 watt solar array, 300 amp/hour Lifeline battery bank and Magnum MS-2812 inverter/charger. My batteries have never gone below 12.5VDC with extended usage of these tools and recharge rapidly on a sunny day.

I install these systems professionally, and I have more work than I can handle while I am in the NorthWest this summer, so it would seem to me that you are perhaps in a minority, especially among Airstream owners.
I don't doubt you can from a "service van"....last I looked we were talking camping trailers.

Lets keep it simple....one has a gasoline engine the other doesn't.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:15 AM   #32
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Actually, adding a large inverter/ charger for both AC and DC use does require quite a bit of re-wiring. The smallest wire I use for battery to inverter runs is 2/0 with 4/0 for runs over 5'. They also need the proper size of Class T fuse and fuse block.

Then you need to run an ' in loop' and and an 'out loop' to and from the inverter for 120VAC, plus a couple of 30 amp breakers. Not to mention the re- wire of the existing breaker box's 30 amp 120 VAC input, all 10/3 cabling minimum, depending on the length of the wire runs.

Nothing really difficult, but you surely need to know what is going where of you will have one mess on your hands !
I hadn't considered yet needing to "up size" the existing wire runs for just the inverter, but I have read that it's required for solar. It's going to take some strategy planning to figure out what to do when to get to the final goal.

In general, I thought the inverters were designed to take the place of the converter, but route the AC shore power through the inverter on the way to the AC panel with the necessary extra breakers already in the inverter. Adding the hybrid inverter shouldn't be much different than adding a non-hybrid in how it is connected, no? They both tie AC and DC systems together but the hybrid does some "magic" inside the box.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:15 AM   #33
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I install these systems professionally, and I have more work than I can handle while I am in the NorthWest this summer, so it would seem to me that you are perhaps in a minority, especially among Airstream owners.

You also never specify the parameters of your inverter system that came with your last truck. How about giving us some accurate details from which to make an intelligent discussion........rather than posting your opinion that is perhaps based on your experience with inferior components installed in a less than ideal situation.

And just for the record; AC refers to 120VAC residential power and A/C refers to the RV air conditioner commonly found on the roof of Airstreams and other RVs. Let's not confuse this dichotomy.
I think everyone that owns an Airstream knew what I was referring to when I said AC.....my inverter was factory installed.

Sorry I interrupted your sales meeting....

Here's a free tip......You might do better in the Motorhome section those guys have gas motors capable of putting out lots of voltage.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:25 AM   #34
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At the prices you guys are talking wouldn't it be a better (more economical) investment to just buy a generator big enough to run the AC ?
Yes - more economical. Better - depends. I have a generator that can barely start the AC, but no more (yamaha 2400iSHC). A hybrid inverter could keep me from overloading it when I try and use anything else while keeping the generator size small. And solar for boondocking so I don't have to pull out the generator unless I need A/C.

For me, I want solar and an inverter anyway. The hybrid would be a convenience - keep the small generator and not overload it as often. And insurance to not trip a weak campground breaker and come back to a hot trailer because the A/C (and AC) quit.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:35 AM   #35
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It's pretty common knowledge that it takes a minimum of 3000 watts to run an AC unit.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:37 AM   #36
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It's pretty common knowledge that it takes a minimum of 3000 watts to run an AC unit.
Guess I'm just lucky then, because I can run my Coleman rooftop AC (but nothing else at the same time) on 2500 watts, which is the output of my Onan propane generator.
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:58 AM   #37
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I think everyone that owns an Airstream knew what I was referring to when I said AC.....my inverter was factory installed.

Sorry I interrupted your sales meeting....

Here's a free tip......You might do better in the Motorhome section those guys have gas motors capable of putting out lots of voltage.
Thank you for your 'informative and unsolicited' comment! If you have read anything I have said in my 4200 posts, I DO NOT commercialize any of my statements! Sales have no part of my postings on this Forum.

And let me add a 'free tip' of my own. Engines, whether gas or diesel, have no bearing at all on this conversation or thread! I don't know, nor do I care where you are coming from with that remark.

And a bit of information for you also: the majority of solar and inverter systems that do I install are on Airstream TRAILERS, NOT motor homes.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:15 AM   #38
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The challenge is to design the solar array to replenish the used battery energy in a reasonable amount of time.

We are looking to use at least four Lifeline 6Vdc 300-amp hour batteries at 93 pounds each. One can rapidly use up the trailer payload and create a tremendous amount of tongue weight by adding six or eight of these model batteries to create a truly self sufficient trailer unit without needing generator input when off grid.

So use a pencil to figure all these parameteres out with a knowledgable installer or solar system designer and then decide if the pen can sign that large solar system cost check or one would rather use a generator instead.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:30 AM   #39
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I hadn't considered yet needing to "up size" the existing wire runs for just the inverter, but I have read that it's required for solar. It's going to take some strategy planning to figure out what to do when to get to the final goal.

In general, I thought the inverters were designed to take the place of the converter, but route the AC shore power through the inverter on the way to the AC panel with the necessary extra breakers already in the inverter. Adding the hybrid inverter shouldn't be much different than adding a non-hybrid in how it is connected, no? They both tie AC and DC systems together but the hybrid does some "magic" inside the box.
The biggest difference is in how these units tie AC and DC together more on the consumption side, and since you say you are not going to upgrade batteries at first, you really need to understand exactly how that is going to work. Right now for me, I only enable my AC inverter at very specific times and connected directly to very specific loads when I don't have shore power so there is no extraneous draw on the DC system.

I'm not sure about the wiring and placement for electrical components in your trailer, but in general, you need very thick wiring from the inverter/charger to your battery bank as the inverter can pull a LOT of current very, very quickly out of the batteries. It will not be able to work at the specified capacity without. Heavy welding cable is a good option for this wiring run. It is likely that you may need even heavier cable than you have now for your converter (which only needs heavy enough cable for the charging amps in a converter only configuration).

Also, I believe that this unit is generally going to be the first stop of your incoming shore power cable, though perhaps that isn't required. It has a number of AC input transfer switching capability which is why I think it is contemplated to be first. Wiring runs for AC current are more flexible as you can run AC for longer distances without voltage drops and current becoming as much of an issue as it is with DC. But my shore power connection is in the back and converter is in front.

Then you have the AC output from the unit which needs to feed your regular AC panel or an AC sub panel. My AC panel is towards the rear of the trailer while my converter is in the front.

One other consideration is that I believe these devices are not supposed to be mounted directly in the same space as batteries since batteries can put off explosive gasses. In my trailer, I would probably want to make some changes to isolate the batteries and this unit if I were to place it where my (mostly unused) converter is now.

I am guessing that most installs will also have the remote so there is also the wiring for that.

Probably more to consider as well but this is just from the top of my head.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:40 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by switz View Post
The challenge is to design the solar array to replenish the used battery energy in a reasonable amount of time.

We are looking to use at least four Lifeline 6Vdc 300-amp hour batteries at 93 pounds each. One can rapidly use up the trailer payload and create a tremendous amount of tongue weight by adding six or eight of these model batteries to create a truly self sufficient trailer unit without needing generator input when off grid.

So use a pencil to figure all these parameteres out with a knowledgable installer or solar system designer and then decide if the pen can sign that large solar system cost check or one would rather use a generator instead.
One thing I've been coming across lately is people converting to Lithium batteries (LiFePO4?). I don't know much about this yet but apparently they are like 1/2 to 1/3 the weight of other batteries AND you can use more of the amp hours out of them without damaging them. Very, very expensive but huge game change in stored energy options if these claims are true (but at a $$$ price)
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:20 PM   #41
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Lithium ferrite batteries have awesome potential, but they are not quite ready for prime time in the RV arena yet. As of today, none of the inverter/chargers have the firmware to support these batteries, but I do know that Magnum is working on new ways to charge these units.

When that happens......it should be a game-changer! Very large amp/hour capacities for a fraction of the lead acid weight.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:16 AM   #42
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Has any product been issued yet on the Magnum with Lith-Ion battery?
I have a very old. Non- working Univolt that needs upgrading. 40 amp I believe... Original fuse block set up . I would like to replace the Optima with 2 that match the Magnum,if that's feasable?
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