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Old 01-26-2019, 04:01 PM   #1
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1000W to 1800W inverter, pros and cons?

Would like to increase inverter capacity, going from the WFCO WF-5110R 1000W inverter installed by Airstream to the WFCO WF-5118, 1800 Watt inverter (unless someone has a better suggestion).

What are pros and cons, considerations, concerns, etc?

Would this be a drop in replacement or do I need to replace wires with a lower gauge, etc?

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 01-26-2019, 04:37 PM   #2
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Should be a drop in replacement. Why do you want to swap it out.
Swapping the inverter will only slight up the output of the already powered inverter plugs.
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Old 01-26-2019, 04:54 PM   #3
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Thoughts

It is quite possible you will need to rewire the supply side of the new inverter. You'd be putting nearly double the current into the inverter and your wire needs to be sized appropriately. In all likelihood, you'll also need to replace the fuse, too. You'll need to check the wire size and compare on an Ampacity chart for wire size. Fuses are sized in amps and generally allow for slightly more current than is required but not much.


The reasons you might want to upgrade to another brand:


* Hybrid inverters can combine power from shore/generator and the batteries to deliver very high watts. Some members here have 2500w inverters (or more) that can drive the AC all by itself. In fact, I am planning on doing this before camping season begins. The hyrbid function will allow me to run the AC primarily off the generator but will supplement from the batteries - thus allowing me to use a 2000w generator to run a 15k BTU AC at 6000' elevation (with an Easy Start)



* Integrated charges - get rid of your old charger (AC to DC) and use one unit for both directions



* Better integration - some inverters will integrate with other electrical components like solar charges. Often this will allow the user to get a detailed picture of what is happening at the electrical level (amp in, amps out, etc)


* More recognizable brands - the WFCO inverter is not something most people seek out. I'll be using a Victron but there are other brands here that people like, too.


Hope that helps,
Adam
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
Should be a drop in replacement. Why do you want to swap it out.
Swapping the inverter will only slight up the output of the already powered inverter plugs.
So my wife can run her hair dryer which is 1,200 watts and perhaps kitchen appliances that are more than 1,000 watts.

Steve
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afk314 View Post
It is quite possible you will need to rewire the supply side of the new inverter. You'd be putting nearly double the current into the inverter and your wire needs to be sized appropriately. In all likelihood, you'll also need to replace the fuse, too. You'll need to check the wire size and compare on an Ampacity chart for wire size. Fuses are sized in amps and generally allow for slightly more current than is required but not much.
Thanks Adam, that's kind of what I thought. The trick will be figuring out what gauge wire I have now. The Parts book for my trailer does not specify. Hopefully either it's printed on the insulation or Airstream can tell me. The fuse is 100 amps according to the Parts book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by afk314 View Post
The reasons you might want to upgrade to another brand:

* More recognizable brands - the WFCO inverter is not something most people seek out. I'll be using a Victron but there are other brands here that people like, too.
OK, so why Victron or other brands? More reliable? Better built? Made in USA vs China? Was looking at WFCO at the start since that is what is in there now and wanted something that should be compatible with the existing remote on/off, etc. But I'm definitely open to suggestions.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:43 PM   #6
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I would like to put one thing out there. If you almost double the watts you will be almost doubling the battery drain. Sorry if you already knew this, but you may need to up the amount of batteries and solar for more capacity. It depends on load and usage.

Volts X Amps = Watts

Dave
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:40 AM   #7
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Why Victron

I can't speak for other brands (like Magnum or Xantrex) but they have their supporters. I like Victron because they design components to integrate into systems. For instance, their multiplus inverter/charger can be networked into other components (battery monitor, solar charger, etc) that allows for features like:


  • Data output that can tell you how much energy is flowing in (from generator and/or solar) vs going out via DC and AC.
  • Programmable to allow for thins like cutting the inverter when the battery voltages get too low
  • Are widely used in marine environments where the stakes of failure are MUCH higher than we have in RVs
In the end if you just need more juice for the hairdryer this may all be overkill.


Adam
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:41 AM   #8
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Going from 1000w to 1800w is almost doubling the current draw from your batteries. You will almost certainly need to upgrade the DC wiring from batteries to inverter and as Tuco mentioned above, you may also need to upgrade the battery bank. WFCO's website says the 5118 is 80% efficient, so it will draw ~ 187A vs. the ~96A that the 5110 wil draw (it's 86% efficient, according to their website). AFK314 makes some good points about other brands as well. Anything you find that is marine rated will also be made with corrosion resistance in mind (i.e. conformal coatings on electronics, tinned copper conductors, etc...) -- but you'll pay more for those features. The West Marine website has a some decent articles on sizing battery banks, selecting inverters and sizing cables. Electrically, this is definitely not a drop-in replacement.

Tim
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:01 PM   #9
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A completely different option: Purchase a Goal Zero Yeti 1000 or 1400 Lithium unit. It will deliver 1500 watts (continuous pure sine wave) for a while and then is gently recharging when not needed. (Saves having to rewire or add additional batteries). The 1000 fits under our dinette seat (1400 probably too tall) when we travel. We pull it out when we are camped. With the Yeti 1000 and 300 watts of solar, we no longer take a generator along when we travel.
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:25 PM   #10
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This brings up another thought. You have a large TV so bringing a generator along would be a much cheaper solution to upgrading the inverter and its subsystems. Especially one that runs on propane. Another .02 to add to the jar.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:24 PM   #11
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Steve

I just upgraded my inverter from a 1,000 watt pure sine Zamp inverter to a 2,000 watt pure sine Samlex inverter (attached photo). There is a thread showing all the details. My main reason for the upgrade was so that we could operate our microwave plus anything else that we might like to operate down the road that wouldn’t work on the 1,000 watt inverter.

I did need to change the wiring from the batteries to the inverter from #4 (I think) to 1/0 and I increased the fuse size to 300 amps.

Sure you will use more battery, but not much more if you are only operating your wife’s hairdryer and the microwave.

Good luck.

Dan

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Old 01-28-2019, 08:16 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone!

Thanks for all the info guys.

At one point I was considering a solar generator, so I'll take another look at that option.

We are planning on a regular generator, and intend to get an LPG powered unit. Had not considered the point that the generator would solve the hair dryer problem so thanks for pointing that out. However not sure I'd want to fire it up just for drying hair...

Of course the easy thing would be to just skip the hair drying when we are boon docking...

Thanks all,

Steve
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:22 AM   #13
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Power pass through?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
I just upgraded my inverter from a 1,000 watt pure sine Zamp inverter to a 2,000 watt pure sine Samlex inverter (attached photo).
Hi Dan, for the unit currently in my trailer, when 115 VAC utility power is applied through the Shore cord, 120 VAC will pass through the Inverter to the plugs. Because of this I have one set of plugs, not separate ones for the inverter like on older Airstreams.

Does the Samlex have this feature?

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 01-28-2019, 11:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevejones View Post
Hi Dan, for the unit currently in my trailer, when 115 VAC utility power is applied through the Shore cord, 120 VAC will pass through the Inverter to the plugs. Because of this I have one set of plugs, not separate ones for the inverter like on older Airstreams.



Does the Samlex have this feature?



Thanks,



Steve


Steve

I don’t believe the Samlex has that feature but I really don’t know. I would call Randy at Bestconverters.com (888-828-1893).

Regarding the hairdryer, my wife’s hairdryer would work on the low heat setting using the 1,000 watt inverter. This inverter would also operate other kitchen appliances like our toaster and rice cooker (and anything else heater upper). The only appliance it wouldn’t operate was the microwave.

Dan
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:06 AM   #15
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The Samlex doesn't have this feature according to the user manual. It states not to run inverter connected in parallel to another AC system otherwise you'll damage the inverter or cause fire. You'd have to install a transfer switch to prevent that scenario happening by accident.

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