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Old 10-05-2019, 11:17 AM   #1
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Inverter won't charge?

I don't have solar and have a single 12 V battery (fairly high amp rating but I can't remember exactly). And I have this portable inverter: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And bear with me as I don't know a whole lot about these things.

So I was camping at a site with no electric. Battery started fully charged and unfortunately I forgot to check the level before I left and let the truck recharge so don't know how low it went, but lights, fridge, and furnace were all still fine.

On day 2 the inverter was used to charge my Macbookpro battery from about 10% to about 70%. Charging was slow but that would be expected, I think.

On day 3 it wouldn't charge the battery. The fan ran but nothing happened.

Morning of day 4 all the electric still seemed fine, and as mentioned earlier, I forgot to check the battery level.

So my guess is the inverter wouldn't work after the battery level went down past some point? Does that make sense? I guess I can check after the battery is fully charged again and see if it works again.

And second question- I guess it would be smart to get a direct 12V charger for the Mac?
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:30 AM   #2
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Yes to both your questions...you should have a 12v meter for future and a 12v adapter for charging.
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:48 PM   #3
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Many inverters have a low voltage cut off, but it is usually in the neighborhood of 10.5V. This is essentially a dead battery, and I doubt you were that low if the rest of your appliances worked. Check that the plug on the inverter is fully plugged into the receptacle. You may be getting close to the limits of the connector if the Mac was down to 10%. Still, since the fan was working, it might not be the connection.

I agree with Jim - a plug in voltage meter is a very useful addition.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:40 PM   #4
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To be clear, a meter that you plug into the 12V outlet?
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbie54 View Post
To be clear, a meter that you plug into the 12V outlet?

It's cheap and provides all the information I need.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Voltmeter.jpg (166.6 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Voltmeter 2.jpg (151.3 KB, 7 views)
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:21 PM   #6
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that inverter you show has a 40A fuse, which would blow if you tried to pull more than ~400W out of the inverter, but 40A is far more than a cigar socket should safely be able to deliver, and in fact, you'd likely blow a 20A or so fuse in the trailer's power center, long before you'd blow that 40A fuse in the inverter. I've seen those 'cigar plugs' melt down at 15 amps.

I use a "300W" inverter for similar duties, I try not to pull more than 100-150 watts from it, and I plug it into a 'powerpole' PP30 aux power connector I installed near the power center, on its own 30A fuse in the main fuse panel, via a short run of 12 gauge marine wiring.
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:25 PM   #7
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presumably thats this inverter? Bestek | 300W Power Inverter


Over Voltage Shutdown: DC 15V-16V
Low Voltage Shutdown: DC 10V-11V

if your RV battery actually got down to under 11V, you're getting into permanent damage mode
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:38 PM   #8
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Do not forget, every Escape comes with a built in battery mater, on your instrument panel.
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:51 PM   #9
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Yeah, and I just found a manual for troubleshooting it. Says the device has been damaged if the fan comes on and it won't charge. Great. I think I've used it twice although it is 2 years old. Yep, out of warranty as of May 2019. Well, all I've ever used it for is to charge a computer so I'll just get the car charger.
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Old 10-05-2019, 04:29 PM   #10
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An all-purpose 300-400 watt pure sine wave inverter is a nice thing to have around to charge all your gadgets: phones, toothbrush, shaver, computers, battery power tools, etc. On the other hand, a single purpose 12V computer charger will make better use of the limited energy that your trailer battery contains. So, it is a trade-off and you have to decide which is better suited to your situation.

As others have pointed out, a cigarette lighter plug is not designed to power a 400 watt appliance of any sort. If your inverter - or other 12V gadget - needs more than about 10 Amps, for more than a few minutes, consider connecting it directly to the battery, with its own fused connector. 100 watts is a reasonable safe cutoff.

It is also possible that if you were using the cigarette lighter outlet with your inverter you may have introduced a low voltage cutoff condition - even if your battery was well charged. There is just too much resistance in the wires between the distribution panel and the plug. Plus there may be resistance in the socket and/or plug due to less than ideal metals used. Resistance is the enemy of Amperage!

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Old 10-05-2019, 05:23 PM   #11
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According to the troubleshooting manual, if the voltage was too low the fan would have shut off, too.

It did not occur to me until I was home that I could have charged the computer from the truck's outlet (motor running). It wasn't critical so probably I would not have done that except when I ran up to the grocery store it could have been plugged in.

But I'll put the dedicated charger and the meter both on my shopping list before the next trip.
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbie54 View Post
According to the troubleshooting manual, if the voltage was too low the fan would have shut off, too.

It did not occur to me until I was home that I could have charged the computer from the truck's outlet (motor running). It wasn't critical so probably I would not have done that except when I ran up to the grocery store it could have been plugged in.

But I'll put the dedicated charger and the meter both on my shopping list before the next trip.
You might take a look at a 12V charger for Macs. For the newer ones, a USB C charger. This is the one I use.

I can't find a MagSafe charger at Amazon, but here is one from SavingOlogy. Don't know anything about them...

Going from 12V to the Mac rather than up to 120 & back down will save in efficiency.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:34 PM   #13
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Do not forget, every Escape comes with a built in battery mater, on your instrument panel.

I doubt that a 15A has that instrument panel. Our 17A does not.
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