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Old 06-20-2013, 12:38 PM   #1
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Inverter question

We'll be picking up our 5.0 in a couple of weeks and that devil in the details is keeping me up at night. Quick questions...

I am having a 12 volt outlet installed at the foot of the bed near the television mount. The TV we have is a 22 inch Samsung that according to its specs uses up to about 35 watts. The television uses an AC/DC converter as a power supply.

My questions are:
(1) can I use an inexpensive 150 watt inverter plugged into the 12 volt outlet to run the television without burning down the trailer or frying the TV?
(2) Can I buy an adapter so the television can run directly from the 12 volt plug without the inverter?
(3) Is it worth it to ask Reace at this stage of the build to install something like a 1000 watt inverter for the TV and maybe the microwave too. What the heck, right?

Thanks.

Tim

P.S. I'm trying to avoid calling Kim or Tammy AGAIN.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:13 PM   #2
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Tim:

If your TV will run directly from the 12 volt outlet this would seem to be the easiest solution.

Before we wired in a 300 watt true sine wave inverter we used a small 200 watt portable modified sine wave inverter that plugged into our 12 volt outlet. We used it both in the car and trailer and it was useful for charging batteries and worked okay.

I installed our 300 watt inverter myself this year after we had Escape install our solar system. We don't have a microwave in our trailer and our needs are modest. There is no end to "going big".
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:47 PM   #3
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If you are planning on using a inverter for a microwave you will need a inverter that is 1500 watts or larger. Possibly a larger battery bank.
Estimated Watts
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:54 PM   #4
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If you are planning on using a inverter for a microwave you will need a inverter that is 1500 watts or larger. Possibly a larger battery bank.
Estimated Watts
Jubal, have you taken into account that the microwave in the 19' and probably the 5.0 is 700 watts??
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:08 PM   #5
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No, I did not know the microwave supplied by Escape trailers uses 700 watts. After corresponding with Escape, I thought the demand was higher. Still 700 watts is close to the recommended 30% margin.
Thank you for the information.
Sigh, another senior moment.
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:47 AM   #6
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Thanks folks.

I tried the television in my truck with my 150 watt inexpensive Tripp Lite inverter and it seemed to work fine.

I hesitate to use it in the trailer because everything I've read says the inverter must be as close to the battery as possible with heavy gauge connections. My 12 volt outlet in the 5.0 will be about as far from the battery as possible. I'm guessing the wire from the battery to the 12 volt plug Reace installs in the trailer can support a 150 watt inverter (about 12 amps?). The television should draw only about 3 amps (35 watts/12 volts), so I think I'm OK.

Thanks again.

Tim
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:12 AM   #7
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With only 3 amp draw you should be fine from the factory 12v outlet. Ideally a 12v plug that fits your tv would also work.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:08 AM   #8
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Careful with this...

I ran into a problem trying to run a 65W laptop off a Canadian Tire inverter. The problem isn't that the wiring or outlet can't handle 65W, but rather that the voltage drop across the distance to the outlet is sufficient that the inverter gives up and cuts out. When I plugged my laptop in, the voltage display on the inverter starts to drop, and when it drops far enough (around 11 or 11.5V for the Canadian Tire model I was using), the inverter gives an alarm and cuts the power.

You can find various voltage drop calculators on the internet (e.g.: Voltage Drop Calculator). To use it, you need to know the wire material (copper) and size (Reace uses 16ga for outlet wiring), voltage (12.5V is a good number to use), phase (DC), # of conductors (single set), distance (maybe 25'?) and load (3A for 35W).

Plug those numbers into the calculator, and it tells you the voltage at your outlet will be about 11.9V. You're probably OK with that, but maybe not.

If you will be heart-broken if you can't use your TV at that outlet, you might want to ask Reace to increase the wire size, or find a TV that runs off 12V.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvansnell View Post
If your TV will run directly from the 12 volt outlet this would seem to be the easiest solution.
I agree.

Tim, is the output of the TV convert 12V or slightly higher? It should be labeled right on the converter. Does the manual list an acceptable input voltage range?

A Jensen TV in our motorhome uses an external converter like this, and was even supplied the a power cord ending in just bare wires for connection to a vehicle's DC power. Jensen intends this model for mobile use. Of course the idiots at Damon used the converter and didn't provide a DC outlet at the TV location so we still need AC power to run it...
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:32 AM   #10
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Jim and Brian— When I bought the TV I saw that it had an AC/DC power brick and assumed it was 12 volts. Of course, it's 14 volts input.

If my little inverter works then my wife and son will be happy to watch some TV while off grid. If not, so be it.

Perhaps I'll install an inverter (or give Reace a call) down the road.

Thanks again for everybody's help.

Tim
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:01 PM   #11
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Last fall I purchased a TV that runs off of AC or DC. Seems to work quite well just plugged into the 12V outlet in my 19'. Details were provided in this thread: (19 in RCA LCD TV with DVD on sale London Drugs
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:32 PM   #12
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Another word of caution. Many of today's electronics are sensitive to the type of input. Using an inverter that doesn't have a pure sine wave output can be dangerous. In the past, the components used were less sensitive to this sort of thing and one could use an almost square wave device and get away with it. Nowadays, you just can't tell so it's best to err on the side of caution. Things like brute force battery chargers will likely not have a problem but I would be very careful with TV's, laptops etc. Most inverters will say on the label if they are pure sine wave or not. Just some info to be on the safe side.

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Old 06-22-2013, 09:55 AM   #13
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If you are planning to use the standard sockets built into the Escape trailers, you should do your best to keep the input current to the inverter under 10 amps. Most small multimeters will measure up to 10 amps, so you could use one to check, or better yet, a clamp on meter that is capable of measuring DC.

You can draw a bit more if you wire a standard socket with heavier wire & short distances, however I wouldn't try to draw more than 15 amps from the socket. That works out to a bit more than a 150 watt load.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:35 AM   #14
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If a trailer had a 1500w inverter installed, why wouldn't it be an advantage to have every electrical socket wired to it?
When hooked up to shore power the battery bank would get topped up allowing all electrical outlets able to provide 110w inverter power.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:51 AM   #15
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Jon, I'll only use the DC plug for a television that draws up to 3 amps or maybe a DC table radio. I think I'll be OK.

Doug, The television I'll be plugging into my cheap 150 watt inverter has an AC/DC converter/power supply. Is a sine wave inverter needed? I thought sine wave inverters were critical for appliances with motors such as fans, but not so critical for current converted to DC. Am I correct?

Getting educated...

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Old 06-22-2013, 11:34 AM   #16
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If a trailer had a 1500w inverter installed, why wouldn't it be an advantage to have every electrical socket wired to it?
When hooked up to shore power the battery bank would get topped up allowing all electrical outlets able to provide 110w inverter power.
J Mac, if a 1500 watt inverter is permanently installed then it is beneficial to use a manual transfer switch that will switch the electrical supply for the trailer from 120 volt AC shore power to 120 volt AC inverter power when desired. This ties the inverter to all of the electrical outlets in the trailer when switched over. Of course the transfer switch also disconnect large-draw appliances from the panel like the AC and also disconnects the converter battery charger. There is no advantage to using the inverter at all for any reason when on shore power. Mine is set up like that and it is very quick and easy for me to switch over to inverter power which I do frequently when boon-docking. I don't leave it on full time because there is a residual power draw that is undesirable.

Steve
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:40 AM   #17
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Thanks Steve but what I'm trying to figure out is why, if you have an inverter tied to all electrical outlets (120v AC inverter power) would you want to disconnect the inverter and just run on shore power (120v AC shore power)?
Of course one would want the option to turn off the inverter when not needed (out for a hike etc).
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:13 PM   #18
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Thanks Steve but what I'm trying to figure out is why, if you have an inverter tied to all electrical outlets (120v AC inverter power) would you want to disconnect the inverter and just run on shore power (120v AC shore power)?
Of course one would want the option to turn off the inverter when not needed (out for a hike etc).
Inverters used in consumer applications are basically inefficient, a lot of power is lost to heat, they put a lot of strain on the batteries they are connected to and a 1500 watt unit will not provide nearly as much power as shore power will. You will basically be limiting yourself to a maximum of 1050 watts of available power (70%) at the outlets. You will also not be able to run the AC off the inverter. Additionally, the amp draw on the batteries while at maximum power is significant and much higher amperage than the shore power converter-charger is able to put out so your batteries will be losing charge. It is possible to do but will take a lot of battery capacity, a big and expensive inverter with good cooling and venting, and a very big on-board converter-charger to charge the batteries from shore power. This would be very expensive and inefficient.

I personally have 4 6-volt batteries, a 2500 watt inverter built in , 2 solar panels (190 watts), an upgraded solar charger, an upgraded converter battery charger and I only turn my inverter on when needed and only when disconnected from shore power.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:52 PM   #19
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As Steve explained, running off shore power is preferred if it is available. The other connection option is to wire each AC outlet with one plug connected to the inverter output, and the other plug connected to shore power. That means plugging appliances in to the other side of the outlet when switching to shore power. This is the setup if you order a built-in inverter as an option on a new Escape. Steve's switch avoids changing plugs, but a few more switch settings to coordinate.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:36 PM   #20
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Here is another alternative to switch between shore power and inverter power (automaticaly).
Transfer Switches | GPElectric
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