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Old 10-02-2003, 06:15 PM   #1
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Inverters again !

The reason we chose a 3000 watt inverter was for the convenience of having all the power we may need without strain on our electrical equipment. With the inrush of the air conditioner turning on, and maybe the microwave running and toaster all at the same time, can put you in the high twenty amp draw range pretty fast. So better to have a high capacity unit to handle the load than not enough.
Here is how our 3000 watt system works. The Pro Sine inverter / Charger is a true sine wave unit which is programmable. Since we use gel cell batteries we set the dip switches on the inverter to gel so it prevents you from performing an equalization charge on the batteries. (you only equalize lead acid batteries). You set the battery size using dip switches and the charger will charge the battery with the proper amp hour rating for your battery. Since our battery is a 310 amp hour, it will charge it at 120 amp hour, the max this pro sine will charge at. It utilizes bulk charging, regular charging to top off the battery and a float charge.
In the inverter mode (off the grid) the unit sends out a single or ping to detect a ac load on an outlet. When the inverter detects a load like a vacuum or toaster it turns on and powers the unit. Since you can set the sensing time from every 5 seconds to minutes, you may have to wait a couple seconds for the inverter to turn your appliance on. The longer you set the sense time the longer battery life you have. We set ours to ping the outlets every thirty seconds so if you push down the toaster lever just after the last ping it may take twenty five seconds to turn on. However you can turn on the inverter any time using the control panel which we mounted on the side of the microwave cabinet , this was a good place because the microwave must have ac power just to program the microwave to run. The inverter only consumes a few milliamps in the sleep / search mode, but does consume sixty watts when the inverter is running plus the load you require. If you have not manually over ridden the sense mode the inverter goes to sleep after the load is not demanded. So after we use the microwave we put the inverter back on the auto seek mode.
What we like best about the unit is the power conditioning when low or fluctuating ac power is present at some camp grounds. This inverter provides a regulated noise free ac output, which will lengthen the life of our air conditioner and other appliances. The unit makes no noise itself except for the cooling fans that come on once in awhile, and there is no noise in any of the electronics we carry on board. We do carry additional batteries and a generator in our tow vehicle and connect the external batteries to the Airstream using Anderson 2/0 quick connectors which are inside one of the unused battery boxes, when we are camping.
We do not run high current devices from the batteries like the refrigerator, water heater or heat pump. The batteries would not last long at all or the inverter would go to sleep because the draw from the batteries would drop below the voltage set point due to the power demand. Also the 2/0 wire would not carry that kind of load but more likely blow the fuse on our main 12 volt battery buss. When boondocking and need to charge the batteries or run the air conditioner we just plug the Airstream into our 4000 watt generator. When the generator is up to speed the inverter detects a stable voltage and switches from battery power to ac power. At a 120 amp charge rate it doesn't take long for a full battery charge. When we are in tow the alternator charges all the batteries. Now I know this is overkill on the power side of things but we have never been disappointed because we lost juice and at times have helped other campers get through a long dark night.
The down side. EXPENSIVE plus difficult to install. In fact it was a big pain in several parts of the anatomy to do. We mounted the inverter on the dining table side, in the empty space under the removable sofa arm rest, at the wall, not against it, along with a thirty amp ac input breaker. We made a base support for the inverter so we would not have to have all it's weight hanging on the wall. There is more than ample breathing room for the inverter in this location. The arm rest is now supported by an stiff breathable painted wire mesh, which is about three inches higher than the original arm rest support for ventilation. We put four large quick screw clamps that holds the sofa into place so it could be removed without tools for access to the inverter or battery, should we need to. I carry the original converter in the tow vehicle in case of an emergency. Pull sofa, put converter in box, hook up two wires, + & - and plug it in, and were back to OEM status. You don't even need to remove inverter wiring because should it fail the ac passes right through it to the ac receptacles.
The Airstream input ac must be run to the inverter and back to the electrical box, because the input neutral wire cannot be tied to the Airstream and must go into the inverter first because it is a transfer switch. All the wire is in flexible conduit. At the same time we pulled a video cable and mounted a camera in the rear window of the Airstream and a camera in the rear window of the tow vehicle so we could keep a watch on traffic behind us, and a watch on the hitch from the drivers seat using a 5 inch monitor. Works great and is a big help to safety in towing. After all, we did add about 90 pounds of weight to the front of the Airstream.
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Old 10-02-2003, 06:26 PM   #2
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Here is a flick. Hope this works?
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Old 10-02-2003, 06:30 PM   #3
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Sofa is back.
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Old 10-02-2003, 06:44 PM   #4
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How much heat do you get out of the vent? I am going to put a Prosine 2000 under the dinette and wondered how warm it will get.

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Old 10-02-2003, 06:47 PM   #5
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I did a lot of study of inverters when I was planning to start construction of a 45' trawler. Looked at all the specs and designs from naval architects, and talked to my brother-in-law who built mega yachts for the rich and famous.
I never saw a set up as sweet and well thought out as what you have. Congratulations. You picked first class equipment. May I use this design?
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Old 10-02-2003, 06:57 PM   #6
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When the fan turns on in the inverter which is seldom, it blows the heat from the top out of the grill. Since there is so much exposure behind the sofa the heat disappates readily. It really depends on your load demand of how much heat you produce from the inverter. We have not had any overheat problems even when the vent get's blocked because it comes out from behind the sofa.
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Old 10-03-2003, 04:10 PM   #7
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I researched this pretty heavily when I was considering an inverter.

Let's clarify something up front. The ProSines don't "power-condition" or "regulate" AC campground power. Nowhere in their User Manuals or on their web site do they claim to do so. By code, the external AC connection must be disconnected from trailer when a connected generator or inverter, including the inverter section of the ProSine, is running. That's what the transfer switch does. If you're plugged into "dirty" power, the ProSine transfer switch may, depending on the definition of "dirty," disconnect your trailer and appliances from the "clean" inverter output, and connect them, as well as the battery charger input, to the "dirty" campground power. The only time you get "clean, regulated sinewave power" from the ProSines is when they are providing power from the batteries.

The User Manuals are very clear about what the ProSines do when they DO detect what they consider to be "bad power" on the external AC line. They switch the load to the inverter output provided by the batteries instead of the campground power. According to the User Manual, on the 2.5 (2500W) and 3.0 (3000W) models, the transfer switch disconnects the load from the campground power and connects it to the inverter if the campground power drops below 90 volts. The manual does not indicate this is user adjustable and many consider it to be too low to protect an air-conditioner. The 2.0 (2000W) User Manual outlines how the user can set thresholds for low and high campground voltage and frequency, and lists several conditions it considers "bad power," which will cause the transfer switch to move the load to the inverter section providing power from the batteries.

AC Bad Cause     Details
None             There is no problem with the AC input.
Low Cycle V In   The rms voltage as calculated over one cycle (0.016s) was
                 less than the user-set minimum acceptable operating voltage.
High Cycle V In  The rms voltage as calculated over one cycle (0.016s) was
                 greater than the user-set maximum acceptable operating
Low Average V In The rms voltage as calculated over 16 cycles (0.25s) was
                 less than the user-set minimum acceptable operating
Hi Average V In  The rms voltage as calculated over 16 cycles (0.25s) was
                 greater than the user-set maximum acceptable operating
Low Frequency    The frequency was less than the user-set minimum
                 acceptable operating frequency.
High Frequency   The frequency was greater than the user-set maximum
                 acceptable operating frequency.
V In Cycle Delta The present cycle of shorepower is significantly different
                 from the previous cycle. This is a fast method of
                 recognizing an imminent power failure and is caused by a
                 sudden change in the waveshape, magnitude, or frequency
                 of the shorepower AC.
V In Step Delta  The shorepower contains large, repetitive, sharp edges
                 which are incompatible with the PROsine and which you
                 may not want to pass to your loads. This might be caused
                 by a "modified sinewave" inverter or generator.
The question is, whether you want to continue to operate totally off batteries at high loads, such as those generated by air-conditioning, which may discharge the batteries in less than an hour. You may consider this a bad thing if you aren't there when it happens. A 3000W inverter may have the capacity to do so without overloading until it has run the batteries down sufficiently far. A 2000W is more likely to overload sooner and not run the batteries down. The bottomline is that you don't need a huge 3000W inverter just on account of your air-conditioner or other big loads you normally won't be running off batteries. The transfer switch will have your trailer disconnected from the inverter when you're plugged into external AC and these items are in use.

What you do need is outlined below.

If you want a whole-house (trailer) inverter, you need a 30A transfer switch if your trailer is wired 30A. That can be built into the inverter, or separate, and the inverter need not provide 30A, or even 25A (3000W).

If you don't want possible interference on electronics, or overheating on motor or inductive/transformer-driven appliances, you need a pure sine wave inverter.

If you want the inverter to replace the converter for battery charging, you need it to be an inverter/charger, such as the ProSine 2.0 (2000W), 2.5 (2500W), or 3.0 (3000W), which also all have internal 30A transfer switches.

The ProSine 2.0 is really about as much as most folks would need in an Airstream. It can power a 1500W (1000W cooking power) microwave oven, OR a 900W two-slice toaster, OR 1600W hair dryer, and still have power remaining to keep a laptop computer operating/charging off its AC adapter, or an AC TV and satellite receiver going.

At at 17.7" X 11.2" X 5.7" and 24 lbs, the 2.0 is also much smaller and lighter than the behemoth 2.5/3.0 at 20.1" X 15.2" X 6.1" and 32 lbs. The 3.0 comes with the Advanced Control System (ACS) remote and sells for $2188 at one site. The 2.0 sells there for $1444 without the ACS, which is $194 extra, if you feel you need it.

The 2.0 supplies up to 100A of charge current, which is sufficient to charge 333AH of batteries at 30%, 400AH of batteries at 25% and 500AH of batteries at 20% of rated capacity. Keep in mind, that at 100A, it's using at least 1/3 of the 30A campground or generator power, and may have to cut back the charge rate when the air-conditioner or other appliances come on. These also monitor the battery temperature during charging if the sensor is connected, and adjust the charge rate according to temperature. You don't want to charge most batteries at more than 20% of rated capacity without it.

The ProSines, when connected in whole-house configuration DO MONITOR the total AC current being used from the campground and can "power-share," that is, cut back on their battery charging and thus reduce the amount of external AC the charger is using, if the total current approaches that of the campground, or the trailer's 30A breaker rating.

Airstreams are obviously not designed for inverter use with the batteries at one end and the AC hub at the other. Keep in mind that if you run cable from the rear of the trailer where the power cable is, to the front for the transfer switch, and back to the circuit breaker box, you're talkin' about a lot of length and voltage drop when you're on external power, including a generator when you consider the trailer power cord. I wouldn't use smaller than 6AWG wire, even though you only need the ampacity of 10AWG for 30A. And it certainly should be in conduit to protect it under the trailer, however, by code, other things like TV/satellite cable, phone or network cable, should not be in the same conduit.

Then there's the consideration of battery capacity. Just as you don't want to charge more than 20% of capacity without temperature monitoring, as a general rule of thumb, you don't want to discharge more that much either without monitoring. I'm still unclear as to whether the ProSines provide this protection when inverting, as they do when charging. For example, 50A, or 500W is the point beyond which you'd want to monitor a pair of T-105 golf cart batteries for overheating.

T-105 batteries have 230AH of rated capacity at the standard 20 hour rate, i.e. when discharged at 230/20=11.5A they have 20 hours (1200 minutes) of output until battery voltage drops from full charge to a minumum voltage considered fully discharged. Looking up their Peukert Factor (or calculating it) and finding 1.24, a "capacity number" can be calculated by C=20*11.5^1.24=413.

We can use this to find the total charge life time at the 200A a ProSine 2.0 would draw at rated output. 413/200^1.24=.58 hours or 34.7 minutes. 1200/34.7 means that every minute at 2000W, is like running 35 minutes at 11.5A.

At this discharge rate, the AH rating of two T-105s is 200*.58=116AH, about half that of the specified capacity at the 20 hour rate (11.5A) and you're actually using 2AH of the 230AH capacity for every AH of use at this rate. The Xantrex Link models are only one of two amp-hour meter brands that take the Peukert Factor into account. The Trace TM500 and Trimetic TM2020 do not.

The charge curve of a battery starts getting very flat beyond 80-90% charge, meaning it takes even longer to charge that last little bit than it does to go from 20-80%. You're probably not going to want to run the generator beyond 90% charge. If you also try to not discharge below 50% for long life, you're working with 40% of the capacity, which is 90AH at 11.5A discharge, but only 45AH at 200A discharge. I believe I once calculated that a coffeemaker run only for 12 minutes to brew takes 1/3 of this 40% capacity.

A second pair of T-105s (or using larger batteries) reduces the impact of high discharge possible with the inverter. 460 AH is close to the minimum I'd want for a 2000W inverter. One might also consider using two 130AH Group 31 12V batteries in the factory compartments, with a third in a battery box in the tool box behind the LP tanks for 390 AH.

In the end, I realized what Tinsel Loaf said in this post was true, "The inverter draws 60 watts when it is running but you will find you will not be using it much while boondocking." It saves us a LOT of money ($2000-$2500), a lot of work, storage area under the couch (not to mention in the arm), and battery capacity requirement, just to step outside the door and pull start one or both of the EU2000s when we want to use the microwave, toaster, or vacuum at other than the evening generator run time. And the guys with the electric start EU3000s or Yamaha 3500s have it even easier, especially with a remote start. But if it's worth all this to you not to start the generator every now and then, go for it. It's your Airstream and your money.
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Old 02-29-2004, 12:49 AM   #8
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Prosine 2.o compatibility with gensets

As RoadKingMoe pointed out, the Prosine 2.0 does not have any ability to modify the waveform of the AC current that is passed through the unit by the transfer switch bypassing the Prosine.

When the Prosine does detect "bad AC" waveforms, it will engage and thus, in some conditions, may provide better AC waveform to the load than it would get without the Prosine active.

However, this can be a problem for users with modified or true sinewave gensets, as a Xantrex technical note from July 2001 points out.
It is Technical note # 512-0020-01-01, available at:

The first line of the note states:
"Xantrex... has identified that the PROsine 2.0 is not compatible with modified sine wave (MSW) generators and some "true sine wave" (TSW) generators."

They say to contact Xantrex at 1-800-446-6180 to get a list of generators that do work with the PROsine 2.0.

The specific website address also given for this information did not work for me.

Update on 3/2/04: I called Xantrex about this tech note and was told that while the note still applied to modified sinewave generators, it no longer applied to true sinewave generators. I'll be testing this out with my Prosine 2.0 next weekend.

Update on 3/3/04:
Tested the ProSine 2.0 for use with the EU3000. The ProSine was powered from three T105 AGM batteries, set to factory default conditions and for factory-loaded charge algorithm 3 (for AGMs). The AC load sense was turned off. There was a 500W theatre light on the inverter AC output as a load.

I fired up the EU3000, and plugged the temporary ProSine AC input cord I connected for testing to the EU3000 front panel outlets. The ProSine had no problem with recognizing the EU3000 as a good AC source, and after 10 connect/disconnect sequences of the AC source (EU3000), even when adding other loads to the genset in addition to the inverter input, the ProSine was not fooled to think the EU3000 was, as Xantrex calls it, "Bad AC".

** So it appears that the EU3000 genset can be used to supply AC to a ProSine 2.0 inverter, either in pass-through or in charging modes, as I was told by Xantrex. **

I never did get a reply to my email to them on this question, however. I've written them again to ask why.

Waveform distortion:
Using a digitizing storage HP oscilloscope on the lines, it appears that the ProSine is transferring as advertised within about one cycle, or under 17 milliseconds, when the "shorepower" AC source drops out. When reappied, the ProSine waits 5 seconds to assure stability before reclosing to shore power and mode-changing the inverter section to standby.

With this resistive load, the ProSine has a very clean waveform and doesn't seem to have any observable distortion of the sine wave. It would be good to watch how the ProSine output behaves under changing AC loads, but that will have to wait.

Marshall Swartz
2001 19-ft Bambi
2000 Odyssey[URL]
Marshall Swartz
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2013 Honda Ridgeline RTL
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Old 08-22-2004, 07:22 AM   #9
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Smile Wiring the Inverter

I appreciate the details of your inverter/charger installation. I want to do exactly the same thing.

Do you have any details on how you changed the wiring between the shore line, the existing breaker panel and the inverter/charger?

Except for this part, it looks like a straightforward changeout of the existing Univolt.

Your help would be appreciated.

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