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Old 12-08-2022, 10:38 AM   #1
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2016 27' International
Las Vegas , Nevada
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Where to plug in my inverter?

2016 27' International Serenity.

Problem statement:

I would like ideas on where to plug the inverter into a 110v outlet.

Details:

Inverter is located in the front storage compartment under the curb side bedroom.

I want to be able to plug the inverter in so I can use all my outlets while on shore power.

I just found the plug was taped with electrical tape over the three prongs so it has never been plugged in.

I don't want to turn on the inverter because the fan noise is right under our bed. I will put up with the noise if boon-docking, but it is not needed while on shore power.

I don't see a 110v outlet anywhere in the storage compartment, so it seems like I would have to run power to the inverter up through the bedroom and plug it in a wall.

I know less than zero about electrical, so before I go on a months long journey learning about electrical (to possibly run new wires or something), I was hoping someone could give me a great idea on where to plug this thing in with the minimum of work.
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Old 12-08-2022, 11:28 AM   #2
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Slidell , Louisiana
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I wrote a detailed description of this issue and then lost it, but I'll provide it if you or someone else is interested otherwise here is the summary.

You must rewire to do this safely. However if you don't also upgrade both the inverter and batteries, you will likely be unsatisfied with the outcome.

If you don't rewire and instead just plug it into the GFI outlet branch and forget to trip the GFI breaker to prevent back feeding the 120V bus, bad, unsafe things could happen and inconvenient things will happen.
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Old 12-08-2022, 12:00 PM   #3
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I didn't think inverters plugged into 120VAC outlets. 120VAC appliances are plugged into inverters. Or else the inverter is wired into the 120VAC system. Not sure what a power cord is for on an inverter, unless it is also a "converter" that charges the batteries.
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Old 12-08-2022, 12:05 PM   #4
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10smiles, some but not all inverters have plugs to "back feed" outlet circuits.
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Old 12-08-2022, 12:21 PM   #5
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Some inverters allow a pass-through so you plug it in and shore power goes through to outlets when available and without shore power the inverter powers the outlets. With this setup you don't need to keep switching outlets. It is also safe with the transfer switch in the inverter doing its job.

Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with the OP's layout for where he can plug it in. Just advise using a heavy duty extension cord if needed, many extension cords are rated for 12 amps or less.
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Old 12-08-2022, 02:53 PM   #6
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Mine has the pass-through capability and is also unplugged.

While on shore power why not leave the inverter unplugged from 120VAC but switch on the inverter to get power to the inverter outlets?
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Old 12-08-2022, 03:58 PM   #7
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Play Guitar,

Initially, there is a problem with your post. You said that you want to use the inverter when plugged in to shore power. This is not necessary as all of your outlets should already be energized when on shore power.

If not, then there should be a 120VAC plug in the inverter area where you can plug it in...look more closely. In any event, the inverter should be powering a small number of outlets, and these should be marked with a black sticker indicating that they are on the inverter circuit.
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Old 12-08-2022, 04:05 PM   #8
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Indeed lewster. It seems I misunderstood the issue and the question. I think you have it right.
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Old 12-08-2022, 06:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
10smiles, some but not all inverters have plugs to "back feed" outlet circuits.
I've never heard about that kind of inverter. Sounds scary to me and possibly illegal, requires too much operator skill to make sure you are not back feeding the grid. I suppose it could be one of the pass through inverters.
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Old 12-08-2022, 06:25 PM   #10
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The inverter becomes a pass through when plugged in to shore power, it feeds the shore power directly to the “out” 14awg wire that powers the outlets connected to the inverter. While plugged in to shore, the inverter will not engage the fan. When not plugged into shore power, you will turn the inverter on. The inverter will then pull power directly from the batteries and produce 110v powering the outlets. Its a 10-1 conversion which causes the inverter to warm up, which triggers the fans. Your outlet should be right next to your inverter. Does this help?
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Old 12-08-2022, 11:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Smiles View Post
I've never heard about that kind of inverter. Sounds scary to me and possibly illegal, requires too much operator skill to make sure you are not back feeding the grid. I suppose it could be one of the pass through inverters.
This type of inverter has a transfer switch built into it. When on shore power the inverter circuit is disabled and the transfer switch feeds power to the 120v circuits the inverter feeds. When no shore power is present the transfer switch connects the inverter circuit to the 120v outlets.

Nothing illegal or scary about this type of inverter - they are commonplace and used in many/most recent production years.

My thought about the OP's situation that that this inverter was not factory installed. If it were, there would be an outlet nearby to plug it into. Rather, this originally had an inverter without the pass-through feature, and someone replaced it with this one and just didn't use the pass-through.

If you have evidence that it is factory installed, search further for the outlet. It might be in the next cabinet over and the cord gets to it via a small opening somewhere.
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Old 12-09-2022, 10:14 AM   #12
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Hi

I agree that this does not sound like a factory install. Unless the OP also is the original owner of the AS, there's no way to be 100% sure.

On a factory install there are two basic options. One inverter has a transfer in in, the other (lower cost) unit does not have the transfer switch. If your trailer gets the one with no transfer switch you have a pair of outlets near each other. One is the "inverter" outlet. The other is the "shore power" outlet. When on shore power, you move the plug for your device over to that outlet. The transfer switch version takes care of this process for you.

Some level of digging in will be needed to work out what's what in this case. A very good starting point would be the AS manual for the specific trailer in question. That will give you an electrical diagram. From that, you should be able to work out how the factory set it up.

Bob
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Old 12-09-2022, 11:20 AM   #13
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Inverter plug

I have a slightly different take on this. I would suggest that this was the original install done by Airstream. Why? Because they did the same thing on my 2016FB Eddie Bauer. Black tape on the Inverter bypass plug. I couldnít find any outlet under the bed, so when I upgraded the bed and frame I just drilled a hole on the side of the bed frame and plugged the inverter into the plug I moved from the little night stand to the wall. No more inverter or inverter fan noise when using the inverter plugs on shore power, which is exactly how the inverter is supposed to work as per the inverter manual.
So, am I courting disaster here, or is this just another of the endless Airstream QC issues?
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Old 12-09-2022, 12:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredRob View Post
I have a slightly different take on this. I would suggest that this was the original install done by Airstream. Why? Because they did the same thing on my 2016FB Eddie Bauer. Black tape on the Inverter bypass plug. I couldn’t find any outlet under the bed, so when I upgraded the bed and frame I just drilled a hole on the side of the bed frame and plugged the inverter into the plug I moved from the little night stand to the wall. No more inverter or inverter fan noise when using the inverter plugs on shore power, which is exactly how the inverter is supposed to work as per the inverter manual.
So, am I courting disaster here, or is this just another of the endless Airstream QC issues?
You're not courting disaster. Might be a case of Airstream started upgrading the inverters before they upgraded all models of trailers to take advantage of this feature. Airstream does have a record of phasing in changes as they run out of the old part being replaced in an unpredictable/unexplained manor.
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Old 12-09-2022, 01:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredRob View Post
I have a slightly different take on this. I would suggest that this was the original install done by Airstream. Why? Because they did the same thing on my 2016FB Eddie Bauer. Black tape on the Inverter bypass plug. I couldnít find any outlet under the bed, so when I upgraded the bed and frame I just drilled a hole on the side of the bed frame and plugged the inverter into the plug I moved from the little night stand to the wall. No more inverter or inverter fan noise when using the inverter plugs on shore power, which is exactly how the inverter is supposed to work as per the inverter manual.
So, am I courting disaster here, or is this just another of the endless Airstream QC issues?

This.

It is a factory install. There is another post about the person plugging in their inverter in a bedside 110 outlet.

This is a WFCO WF 5110HP and the manual states to plug the inverter into a 110V AC source so as to power the outlets when on shore power.

Without this plugged in, the inverter outlets don't work unless I turn on the inverter with the inverter power button in the trailer. This will turn on the inverter and power the inverter outlets.
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Old 12-09-2022, 01:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Smiles View Post
I didn't think inverters plugged into 120VAC outlets. 120VAC appliances are plugged into inverters. Or else the inverter is wired into the 120VAC system. Not sure what a power cord is for on an inverter, unless it is also a "converter" that charges the batteries.
WFCO WF 5110HP is designed so that if you want the inverter plugs to have power when on shore power, but without turning on the inverter, then the inverter must be plugged into a 110V outlet.

If it is plugged into 110V then it acts as a pass through and will power the inverter outlets. Without having to turn on the inverter.
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Old 12-09-2022, 01:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
Mine has the pass-through capability and is also unplugged.

While on shore power why not leave the inverter unplugged from 120VAC but switch on the inverter to get power to the inverter outlets?

Per the original post, I don't want the fan noise of the inverter. I would rather have it act as a pass-through (which is silent) when on shore power.

My years in the Navy has made me a pretty light sleeper, and it can keep me awake some.
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Old 12-09-2022, 01:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
Some inverters allow a pass-through so you plug it in and shore power goes through to outlets when available and without shore power the inverter powers the outlets. With this setup you don't need to keep switching outlets. It is also safe with the transfer switch in the inverter doing its job.

Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with the OP's layout for where he can plug it in. Just advise using a heavy duty extension cord if needed, many extension cords are rated for 12 amps or less.
Yes, these were my thoughts as well, but there is no 110V in the storage compartment, so if I don't run a new outlet (note my OP where I know nothing of electricity) then I'll need to plug it in somewhere.

But the question is "where to plug it in?" Looking for ideas
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Old 12-09-2022, 01:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Play Guitar,

Initially, there is a problem with your post. You said that you want to use the inverter when plugged in to shore power. This is not necessary as all of your outlets should already be energized when on shore power.

If not, then there should be a 120VAC plug in the inverter area where you can plug it in...look more closely. In any event, the inverter should be powering a small number of outlets, and these should be marked with a black sticker indicating that they are on the inverter circuit.

I can't identify the problem with my original post, but to follow up on your post:

There is not a 120VAC plug in the inverter area (front storage compartment). Therefore, if I want to use the inverter outlets I have to turn on my inverter, which turns on the fan, which is my original goal of NOT having the fan on when on shore power.
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Old 12-09-2022, 01:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredRob View Post
I have a slightly different take on this. I would suggest that this was the original install done by Airstream. Why? Because they did the same thing on my 2016FB Eddie Bauer. Black tape on the Inverter bypass plug. I couldnít find any outlet under the bed, so when I upgraded the bed and frame I just drilled a hole on the side of the bed frame and plugged the inverter into the plug I moved from the little night stand to the wall. No more inverter or inverter fan noise when using the inverter plugs on shore power, which is exactly how the inverter is supposed to work as per the inverter manual.
So, am I courting disaster here, or is this just another of the endless Airstream QC issues?
I also have a 2016 FB.

I was afraid that I would have to run an extension cord to a plug in the bedroom --OR-- do something with electrical, like move a plug or install a plug in the storage compartment.

Yuck.
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