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Old 01-01-2015, 12:29 PM   #1
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2006 22' International CCD
Estes Park , Colorado
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Converter/Inverter: Another Newbie Question

A couple of months ago when we did the walk-through at the dealership before taking posession of our 2006 22' International CCD, I asked what the electrical thingie was under the front bed on the street side. The walk-through person peeked under the bed and said it was the converter. Last week, I squirmed under there and discovered it's an inverter. My newbie question is, what does this mean/imply? For example, can I safely plug into shore power if there's no converter?

More information that might be relevant. 1) I couldn't find any information about an inverter in the owners manual, nor anything very useful about the converter either. I have seen elsewhere, however, that an inverter was an option for this model. 2) the original owner installed a television above the refrigerator. Next to the fridge is a wall plug that's been labeled "Inverter Only." Plugging the television into this outlet seems to be the only way it works, but this might not be so if plugged into shore power. 3) we had the dealership install solar, and we had them replace the 12v battery with two 6v batteries.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:49 PM   #2
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2009 23' FB Flying Cloud
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The converter will be in the electrical compartment, probably under or near the refrigerator. The converter converts shore power (AC) into DC power usable by your lights, etc. The converter will also have a charging circuit to charge your batteries. It may be a one stage charger or, if upgraded, a multistage charger. The multi-stage chargers are preferable, in that they will not overcharge your batteries.

The inverter will allow you to run AC appliances off your batteries. Take a look at it to determine the wattage of your inverter, common wattages are 600 watts or 1000 watts. The inverter will power the TV and small appliances, but may not output adequate power for appliances requiring higher input, such as electric heaters or the microwave. You should have a couple of power outlets in the trailer marked INVERTER. One will be adjacent to the TV, one in the galley.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:51 PM   #3
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An Inverter converts 12 volts DC current from your batteries into 110 volts AC. Usually the Inverter is wired to a limited number of specially marked outlets in strategic places in the trailer. Those locations usually include near the TV, CD player and one or two other places. The Inverter outlets are usually located adjacent to regular AC outlets that will work when you are hooked up to shore power.

The Inverter outlets will only be energized when you turn on the Inverter. You would typically only do this when you are not hooked up to shore power (otherwise, why bother?) If you are not hooked up to shore power and want to watch TV (for example) just turn on the inverter and switch the TV plug from the AC outlet to the Inverter outlet.

Be aware that the Inverter is not 100% efficient and you can expect a penalty of between 10% and 20% (or more) when using it. What this means is that to generate 10 amp hours of 110 volts AC power, you will use between 11 and 12 (or more) amp hours of your battery capacity. Also be aware that use of the Inverter will really eat up your battery capacity unless you have added more batteries to the standard Airstream capacity.

Most of your appliances (including the refrigerator) and lights in the Airstream will work just fine on 12 volt battery and propane power and do not need the Inverter. Only the TV, CD player and Inverter outlets need the Inverter to be energized.

Finally, keep in mind that your Inverter is probably a 600 or 1,000 watt unit (could be 2,000 or 3,000 but I doubt it.) That will limit what you can plug into an inverter outlet. For example, if you have a 1,000 watt Inverter, a 1,500 watt hair dryer would be too much.

Be careful using the Inverter if you have the standard two battery setup that most Aistreams come with. Also, be careful if your batteries are not in tip top shape. The Inverter can eat up your battery power if you are not careful and then you could be without power until you can charge the batteries. Many people with the need for extensive 110 volt AC capacity when not hooked up to shore power will add solar to their Airstreams as well as beef up their battery banks.
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