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Old 04-12-2008, 08:11 PM   #15
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I've never heard of Flying J. It looks like the ones up here are affiliated with Shell.

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Old 04-12-2008, 10:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by n2916s
...I actually use the inverter even when on shore power as the inverter output is cleaner than commercial power in a surprising number of places...
Mike, very perspicacious of you.


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Old 04-12-2008, 11:42 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Leipper
Many folks find that heating a cup of coffee in the microwave or running a hair drier for a couple of minutes is no big deal as far as batteries go. A 2kw inverter properly wired can do this on a typical Airstream 2 battery bank without a hassle.

running the A/C is another ballgame, though.

In light of Joe's distributed power idea it should be noted that wiring resistance losses at 120v are quite a bit less than at 12v. That is an argument for putting the inverter close to the batteries and running a 110v trailer.
Leipper, not to make fun of other's attempts to live like home, but I notice you do alright making coffee on the galley stove in a pot for the Sierra Nevada Unit. It's better than most can make with a 120 volt drip coffee maker! Further Gail and I have three different ways of making coffee on our galley stove without AC, a Bialetti Mukka Express expresso maker, Aero-Express expresso maker and an old fashion blue enameled camp style percolator. I am reserving my AC appliances to those which can't be done on DC or the stove. We even have a 12 volt lunch-box cooker. Works great during the day when the solar is producing.
Don (KD6UVT) & Gail Williams

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Old 04-13-2008, 09:06 AM   #18
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not to make fun of other's attempts to live like home,
and I don't have a microwave or hair dryer in my rig, either. (See Coffee for what Don is talking about)

But I do note that many live differently than I and have different preferences. As I saw where this thread is going, I also saw that many that participate have a different point of view than others I encounter out in the wilds. So I let it go the direction this bunch chooses to take it (I do wonder about 2air and his toys, but I note he _is_ a playful guy ;-) ).

The fact is that it is much easier to find AC lights and appliances and gadgets for household electrical systems and they are often much less expensive than those you find in RV stores or truck stops for 12v. This means you have many more options in selecting for quality, cost, and features in the 110v arena.

I also note that the 12v wiring losses for a 100 watt load can easily exceed 5 watts in an RV. Upping the voltage by a factor of 10 reduces this loss by a factor of 100. That tends to allow for a significant compensation for any inverter losses.

The only downside to running a larger inverter is that it will cost a bit more. The upside is that it provides many more options and much more flexibility. It also tends to encourage proper wiring and installation which increases safety and reduces connection risks. (that doesn't mean it happens - I have seen a 4kw inverter under a couch wired with 20' of 10 gauge)

I may not now run such a system but I did 10 years ago when I needed to run a small office in the rig. I used a pair of AGM's to power a 24v input 2kw inverter. It did the job. (that was one heavy sucker of an inverter, too)

It rather bothers me to see the defensiveness to a suggestion about available choices here. Yes power supplies get hot. Yes you can abuse your energy availability. Yes you can choose to live a different way. Yes I am 'evaluating' the options rather than living them right now. Yes you can question my motives or experience if the forum rules don't bother you much.

But I wonder why not explore the idea a little bit rather than just trying to trash it? It seems unsafe in these forums to bring up any idea that doesn't fit the prevailing paradigm. I find that sad.
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:16 AM   #19
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Here is a link you might find useful: - Technical Support

I also called Aims and asked a few questions. Here is what they told me:

Q: What is the efficiency of an inverter?
A: Depends on the load requirement and inverter type. Inverters that do not supply a pure sine wave signal are often low efficiency because the parts of the signal that are not pure sine wave are not used. Some equipment is slightly more efficient using a modified sine wave because the circuitry is simpler. A pure sine wave converter is 90% to 95% efficient. If you apply a load that requires a pure sine wave to a modified sine wave converter, or even worse, a square wave converter, your efficiency can drop to 60% or less.

Comment: For my money a pure sine wave converter is the only way to go. These differences may explain the varying results that people have reported here.

Q: How should you size an inverter for best efficiency?
A: the Inverter will be most efficient at 1/3 the rated load. IE, for a 100 watt load, get a 300 watt inverter, but also make sure that any surge power at start-up is covered.

Q: Is the price of a digital pure sine wave inverter justified over the cost of an analog pure sine wave inverter?
A: in nearly every case, no. Get the analog unit.

Q: Do inverters still draw power when there is no load?
A: Yes. a small drain continues so for energy conservation, the inverter should be switched off when not in use.

One interesting side bar: I have heard people say that Honda generators rated at say 2000W are able to power equipment as large as cheaper generators rated much higher. I've always wondered why, but it turns out that the same principle applies about having a pure signal. You can generate a ton of wattage but if only a portion of the signal is usuable, Then the actual equipment you can run is lower. Hondas produce more usable power because they have a more expensive inverter system which produces a cleaner signal.

I'm not advocating either approach, but I'm going to try the standard electronics on an inverter for my full time AS TV/DVD. I put a meter on my system and it draws 52 watts. At 90% efficiency that is still only 57 watts or about 4 1/2 amps at the battery. It's a 19" Sharp LCD flat screen with a Sony DVD player. My opinion is that for a system that gets used alot like by fulltimers, you may be better off with 115V products. Higher voltage means lower amperage, which means less heat. Heat is a killer for almost everything electric. That's why 115V motors outlast 12 volt motors, and 220V motors outlast 115V units. For TV units that are used infrequently, the mode of failure is more likely to be moisture, vibration or other things that a 12V mobile ( marine) rated unit might endure better. I'm not so sure this question is purely black or white. More likely it depends on the environment and intended use. Just my thoughts on the matter. Life is an ongoing experiment.

I appreciate all the ideas presented. This forum has saved me a ton of money by informing me or just making me consider things I might have missed! Thanks!


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