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Old 02-05-2018, 12:06 AM   #1
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Inverter and Battery Capacity

We are working on our build sheet. Just got our hatch date moved up a month as they have finished their capacity upgrades so we are now under the gun to get the details finished.

My question is on using a 1500W inverter with just dual 6V batteries. I have read on threads the stock 6V batteries Escape supplies are good for about 232 AH. Researching solar in general and inverters I see there are two issues you need to worry about, not depleting your batteries below reasonable levels like 50% but also not drawing, or charging for that matter, at too high of levels. I keep seeing the C/8 rules suggested for the maximum current draw where C is the AH capacity of the battery bank. So with a 232 AH battery bank that would only be 29 amps. For a 1500W inverter, assuming 1500W is the inverter output with a 85% efficiency that is 1,765W input which at 12V is 147.1A WAY over the recommended 29A. Applying the C/8 rule to the 147.1A and you need a 1,177AH battery bank, a trailer full.

This is probably a continuous rating but still we are talking about using 5 times more current than recommended for the battery. Am I looking at this right and does anyone have any additional info. Based on this info, it seems using a 1500W inverter is just signing your batteries up for a short life.

Thanks, Dave
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Old 02-05-2018, 04:19 AM   #2
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Go here for some guidance parts 1 and 2....The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:00 AM   #3
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My experience with an inverter of that size is: It does not function when the battery drops below 80%, this is using the Escape provided microwave which I believe is 700 watts. Your mileage may vary depending on the age of batteries and other simultaneous uses of power. Now, this is not all bad, as the microwave still functions, it is just a limitation of how much battery they draw at once. It does have an implication to what you can microwave, warming up soup is different than cooking a bag of mini potatoes.

We boondock extensively and use the microwave mainly for vegetables, those frozen packages, whole potatoes, packaged and prepared potatoes. It works fine if you have a full battery.

None of this has an effect on battery life, the inverter will not operate at low battery capacity,
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Old 02-05-2018, 09:05 AM   #4
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My experience with an inverter of that size is: It does not function when the battery drops below 80%, this is using the Escape provided microwave which I believe is 700 watts. Your mileage may vary depending on the age of batteries and other simultaneous uses of power. Now, this is not all bad, as the microwave still functions, it is just a limitation of how much battery they draw at once. It does have an implication to what you can microwave, warming up soup is different than cooking a bag of mini potatoes.

We boondock extensively and use the microwave mainly for vegetables, those frozen packages, whole potatoes, packaged and prepared potatoes. It works fine if you have a full battery.

None of this has an effect on battery life, the inverter will not operate at low battery capacity,
I need to reread my inverter/EMS book(s). There's plainly more I need to learn. But please expand on "not" if possible. We don't have a m'wave, so even with recharging our e bike along with some led's on and keeping our propane water heater, fridge, and heater instrumentation working, we can't envision using more than ~250 watts. Will that be a problem at 80%?
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Old 02-05-2018, 09:07 AM   #5
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I need to reread my inverter/EMS book(s). There's plainly more I need to learn. But please expand on "not" if possible. We don't have a m'wave, so even with recharging our e bike along with some led's on and keeping our propane water heater, fridge, and heater instrumentation working, we can't envision using more than ~250 watts. Will that be a problem at 80%?
All of those things you mention are DC appliances or propane/dc, so an inverter is not involved.
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Old 02-05-2018, 01:55 PM   #6
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Go here for some guidance parts 1 and 2....The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
There is a lot of good info in the two parts of that guide but he doesn't ever mention there being a maximum current draw from the battery bank. This is the C/8 rule I was asking about. Seems like everyone just talks about capacities to figure out amp hours but never mentions a limit on how much current you can draw.
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Old 02-05-2018, 02:00 PM   #7
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According to the chart, 11.9V is the lowest and at 10.5V they are dead. These ar the parameters mentioned and the chart in the article.
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Old 02-05-2018, 02:02 PM   #8
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My experience with an inverter of that size is: It does not function when the battery drops below 80%,

None of this has an effect on battery life, the inverter will not operate at low battery capacity,
Fudge Brownie - When you say it does not function what exactly do you mean. Does the inverter fault because it can't supply the requested power without dropping the voltage or does the microwave run but just doesn't heat much.

"None of this has an effect on battery life" This is what I am questioning. The C/8 rule I saw stated was supposedly from the battery manufacturer stating if you exceed this value your battery life will suffer. Seems like the solar house people are expecting to get 10 yrs out of batteries and us RVers don't typically get anywhere near that. Maybe this is part of the issue.

Can people comment on how long their batteries last, if they use an inverter and how big of one??

Thanks - Dave
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Old 02-05-2018, 02:09 PM   #9
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The way I under stand it Dave,if you abuse the battery bank they will not last. Meaning using something as an inverter to the point where the voltage goes below 11.9. Occasional use is okay but daily or routine dropping that low will shorten the life. Solar is a gentle charge whereas the converter is quicker and a charger is too quick. The ups and down extremes hurts the battery, keeping the use in the middle is good and the battery will last.
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Old 02-05-2018, 04:15 PM   #10
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Fudge Brownie - When you say it does not function what exactly do you mean. Does the inverter fault because it can't supply the requested power without dropping the voltage or does the microwave run but just doesn't heat much.

The inverter I have will alarm and shut down when the charge in the battery drops to a certain level. I am not sure what that level is on the inverter, but using the measurements from my Trimetric Battery Monitor, it appears to be at about 80% of battery capacity. Obviously the microwave shuts down as well. This applies to an Escape trailer equipped with the dual six volt battery system. I do not think the inverter can power the microwave when the trailer is equipped with a single 12 volt battery.

There are a number of variables present, some I mentioned already. Frequent repeated use of the microwave for short bursts will cause an alarm and shut down. So duration comes into play. Sometimes waiting for 15 to 30 minutes will allow the battery to recover enough and the microwave can be used again.

Using the microwave is the only time I have encountered a shut down. I also use an 120 volt portable vacuum cleaner without any issues. Those are the only non 12 volt devices I use. The microwave is a huge draw, no microwave and no problem.

While it is theoretically possible that you could over charge your batteries it would require a rogue controller/charger to do so. The built in WFCO charger is so lame that it does not even fully charge your batteries. See the posting I did on this subject. I have only found a half a dozen solar controllers that can charge at the recommended Interstate rate and zero built in RV chargers that can achieve the recommended rate. There may be some portable units that could charge at those rates, I am not familiar with those products, and they are not a practical solution. So over charging, while possible, is going to be an exceptional event.

I am confused about "the C/8 rule", could you explain what this is? I have not read about damaging a battery by drawing too much power, only by running the battery below 50%.
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