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Old 06-05-2016, 12:32 AM   #1
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Inverter advice/recommendations sought

I've scoured the forum and think I have most of my questions answered -- but am looking for specific inverter model recommendations -- or advice that my thinking is off base?

Our 2012 17B is going back to ETI soon to get retrofitted with the ETI solar setup (trailer was new to us a year ago, already had dual 6V, & has been back to ETI for LED retrofit already. Yes I know I could probably get solar setup for less $ doing it myself, but I'm not tech-literate enough to forego the comfort of having it done by the ETI pros who know both the trailer & the system!

ETI inverter retrofit, in addition to the solar, is not in our budget right now, probably never. Especially at the after-build / retrofit prices.

The vast majority of our camping is/will be boondocking, and our 120V needs are minimal -- but not non-existent. E.g. I use a CPAP (ResMed S8) for which the DC adapter is no longer available. Laptop, iPad, camera battery charger, etc. No TV or DVD, hair dryers or coffee pots or . . .

I'm currently using a Xantrex xPower 175 single-outlet inverter for the CPAP (which runs just fine on this). Incidentally, using only the CPAP, evening LED's, minimal furnace, getting 4 or 5 nights use when boondocking before the battery monitor goes below yellow.

This inverter will NOT run any of our laptops (inverter "whines" quite loudly when I plug the laptop or even my camera battery charger into it). Inverter is marked "non-sinusoidal", presumably meaning it is MSW?

I think I want an small(ish) inverter to plug into the 12v outlet, with two outlets instead of one, and a true sine wave to protect sensitive electronics. Not a built-in (among other things, the rear dinette is almost permanently left as a bed, and access to the systems under the dinette is not readily accessible). Power limit = ?? Maybe around 500 - 700?? The problem I've encountered is that no matter where I've looked, there seems to be no information on whether any given inverter I've found for sale is MSW (modified sine wave) or PSW (pure sine wave) -- and I get only blank stares from the "salesperson" when I ask. Yes, even from our RV and marine shops!

So, I'm looking for specific make/model recommendations, or advice that my thinking about what I think I need/want is OTL (out to lunch)!

Thanks heaps for helping out.
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:29 AM   #2
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I had ETI I install a 1500 watt Sine Wave inverter as I use cpap, and may watch a DVD movie if we aren't too tired and some lighting before bed. We bought a Honda EU 2000 for the coffee maker and toaster in the mornings as well as charging the batteries. So when we are making breakfast I let the generator run for an hour and it tops the batteries right off.
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:41 AM   #3
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Hi Lotar, I would consider this pure sine inverter. 600 watts is continuous and with voltage regulated +- 3%. Might offer more capacity than what you stated but that could come in handy.

Amazon.com: Samlex America PST60S12A 600W Pure Sine Wave Inverter: Automotive
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Old 06-05-2016, 02:17 AM   #4
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I don't understand why your current inverter whines etc. I use a couple of MSW ones, both from Canadian Tire. I use the the plug into a 12 volt outlet ones as well as a 1500 watt one without any problems charging my netbook etc. as well as powering the microwave.

But the Amazon one would do the job and ebay has lots of pure sine wave choices. Not hard to install and for way less cost than ETI.

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Old 06-05-2016, 02:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maurerl View Post
The problem I've encountered is that no matter where I've looked, there seems to be no information on whether any given inverter I've found for sale is MSW (modified sine wave) or PSW (pure sine wave) -- and I get only blank stares from the "salesperson" when I ask. Yes, even from our RV and marine shops!
Another confirmation that most sales people are not very useful.

My guess is that with the significantly higher cost to make an inverter with a sine-wave output, that will be a clearly visible part of the features and specifications of any sine-wave inverter... and usually in the title of online sales listings as in the example above. If it doesn't mention sine-wave output, it is almost certainly a three-state (which they call "modified sine wave) design.
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Old 06-05-2016, 05:31 AM   #6
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Samlex makes a small portable pure sine wave DonRowe.com: Samlex PST-120-12, 12 Volt, 120 Watt Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter but it only has one output.

The only issue with going bigger, like the one Santiago shows, is it needs to be hardwired, as opposed to plugging into a lighter socket.

Samlex also makes a 300w in the same style as the 600w, it also needs to be hardwired.


For those less electrically challenged them I... I have a cheap 300w MSW inverter. How much wattage at 120vac can a 300w portable inverter that plugs into a 10A lighter socket really provide?
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
... I have a cheap 300w MSW inverter. How much wattage at 120vac can a 300w portable inverter that plugs into a 10A lighter socket really provide?
10 amps at 12 volts is 120 watts, and you can't get more power (watts) out at 120 volts than you put in at 12 volts. They're pretty efficient, so if the supply is really 12 volts, you'll get within a few watts of 120 watts out.

On the other hand, the inverter and the wires don't know that the outlet is only intended for 10 amps. If you use more than about 120 watts AC power the inverter will take more than 10 amps, and the only things stopping that from happening are:
  • reduced DC voltage supplied to the inverter due to resistance in the small-gauge wiring, or
  • blowing the fuse on the socket's circuit... which might be 10 amps, but might be higher.
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