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Old 10-10-2020, 10:00 AM   #1
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Do I need an inverter?

Looking at a 5.0 which we will use 80% of the time in state/national parks with no hook ups. Planning on having dual batteries and at least one solar panel on the roof. If all we want to do is run the lights and Max fan, plus charge cell phones/ipad using the 12V receptacles or USB, do we need an inverter? Planning on no microwave and do not have any small appliances we care to run.

Also wondering if instead of dual batteries/solar we had a single lithium battery/no solar, would that work just as well for our camping style? Would the best combo be lithium/solar?

Camping trips are usually 3-7 days long.


Thank-You!
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Old 10-10-2020, 10:04 AM   #2
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No inverter needed as everything other than air conditioning is either propane or 12v. I have never used an inverter, nor had the need to use even once in my 15 years of camping in a trailer.
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Old 10-10-2020, 10:36 AM   #3
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I agree with Jim

For Grinding coffee beans we have a small inverter which inserts into a 12 volt socket
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Old 10-10-2020, 10:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTMurphy View Post
Looking at a 5.0 which we will use 80% of the time in state/national parks with no hook ups. Planning on having dual batteries and at least one solar panel on the roof. If all we want to do is run the lights and Max fan, plus charge cell phones/ipad using the 12V receptacles or USB, do we need an inverter? Planning on no microwave and do not have any small appliances we care to run.

Also wondering if instead of dual batteries/solar we had a single lithium battery/no solar, would that work just as well for our camping style? Would the best combo be lithium/solar?

Camping trips are usually 3-7 days long.
We use electricity like you, have had 14 previous campers over the years, and don't need or want an inverter. Inverters are for those who don't camp like us.

There is no way you're going to have solar installed after the fact for $710. Not even close! After you own one and see your batteries are charged 90% of the time, you'll never regret purchasing solar.

I can see lithium if you plan on more than one lithium battery, but not for a single lithium.

The jury is really out on lithium. We have two 6v Crown AGM's that were purchased for around $450. Escape's provided flooded dual batteries are $220 extra. A Battleborn is $900+. You can pay for most of that $710 solar with flooded or AGM's. Our AGM's have 220 ah's giving 110 ah's useable, whereas a Battleborn has 100 ah's usable at best. We don't have to worry about temps. Lithium degrades when stored over 105 F, and doesn't charge at under 25 F, not a problem for AGMs.

Lithiums can charge faster, but our problem has never been charging time. With even halfway decent sun our batteries are charged by noon. Instead, the problem is shade, and without input lithium won't charge either.

For a single system the lithium will save you 70#'s of weight, but for smaller systems like you and I need that's negligible. Now if your talking multiple lithiums there is a weight difference, but you're not.

I suggest you read the Lithium replacement? thread, especially the closer it gets to the end.

IMHO, using your information, either flooded or AGM batteries would be best, not lithium.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 10-10-2020, 11:10 AM   #5
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There are a couple other things to consider that you may need for an inverter:
- Medical devices: I have a hearing aid charger that is AC, and other folks have things like CPAP machines that are AC
- Computers & peripherals: I work remotely, so I need an inverter for my laptop, extra monitor, webcam, etc

None of these things need a big inverter, but I recommend a smaller one that plugs into a DC socket, like 300W, you can get a great little pure sine wave one of that size for under $50
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Old 10-10-2020, 11:46 AM   #6
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I added a 400 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter just for small things. Likely it will only get used for running a couple strings of Christmas lights or Patio Lanterns.
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Old 10-10-2020, 11:52 AM   #7
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There are a couple other things to consider that you may need for an inverter:
- Medical devices: I have a hearing aid charger that is AC, and other folks have things like CPAP machines that are AC
- Computers & peripherals: I work remotely, so I need an inverter for my laptop, extra monitor, webcam, etc

None of these things need a big inverter, but I recommend a smaller one that plugs into a DC socket, like 300W, you can get a great little pure sine wave one of that size for under $50
On the other hand, many CPAP machines are available in 12 volt, and it's FAR more efficient than trying to run one on AC power when boondocking. And, laptops can be powered easily with a 12V travel power adapter.
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Old 10-10-2020, 12:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by TahoeJoe View Post
There are a couple other things to consider that you may need for an inverter:
- Medical devices: I have a hearing aid charger that is AC, and other folks have things like CPAP machines that are AC
- Computers & peripherals: I work remotely, so I need an inverter for my laptop, extra monitor, webcam, etc

None of these things need a big inverter, but I recommend a smaller one that plugs into a DC socket, like 300W, you can get a great little pure sine wave one of that size for under $50
You don't need an inverter for a CPAP nor likely for a hearing aid charger. For our CPAP we bought a 12-24v converter and use that when we have no power. We have the standard Escape solar I think only 120 (2016 installation) and we can boondock without issues. We have a small 140 watt plug in inverter which will run our small TV or an AC fan or laptop just fine, one at a time of course.

Also I note the OP is in Vermont. There's a current thread saying lithium should not be stored in a trailer during the winter in cold climates. We have the standard Escape dual six volt and they stay charged just with the solar panel all winter with temperatures down to -40, that's either C or F degrees.
https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...tml#post357270
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Old 10-10-2020, 12:29 PM   #9
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We have the factory inverter and have never used it in the 2 1/2 years we’ve owned our Escape . We bought a portable 400 watt inverter years ago for use with a medical device when without hookups and again have never used it .
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Old 10-10-2020, 02:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by VTMurphy View Post
...
Planning on no microwave and do not have any small appliances we care to run.
...
Camping trips are usually 3-7 days long.
It's important to note that an inverter is one of the easier options to add after you take delivery of the trailer. Much easier than adding solar for example.

Try camping for a few months first. Then ask yourself if you missed the microwave, the coffee maker, toaster, hair dryer, etc. If the answer is still no then you don't need the 1500 watt inverter.

Now ask yourself if you missed the laptop charger, the small TV, the electric toothbrush, the camera battery charger, etc, etc. If the answer is now "yes" then a small inverter as many above have suggested is your solution.

In cool weather I would absolutely miss my electric blanket (125 watts per side - his/hers). You would have to pry my 400 watt sine wave inverter out of my frigid fingers.

Regarding the length of stay. Pretty easy to test that out also. But without solar you will need to be prepared to cut your trip short if the batteries go flat and you can't run your furnace in the evening to stay warm. Having solar to recharge every day automatically makes camping stress free.

Its your camping style that will provide the answers.
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Old 10-10-2020, 03:34 PM   #11
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On the other hand, many CPAP machines are available in 12 volt, and it's FAR more efficient than trying to run one on AC power when boondocking. And, laptops can be powered easily with a 12V travel power adapter.
That "12V travel power adapter" for the laptop is a small inverter. Just sayin...
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Old 10-10-2020, 03:47 PM   #12
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That "12V travel power adapter" for the laptop is a small inverter. Just sayin...
That is likely wrong in many cases. An inverter takes 12DC and converts it to 110VAC - sometimes a sine wave, sometimes a square wave and sometimes in-between.

A 12V power adapter for a laptop is a DC-DC boost converter. No AC involved. They typically put out anywhere between 16 and 20 volts DC depending on the brand of computer.

This can be verified at:https://www.powerstream.com/ADC-p006.htm (A seller of laptop power adapters that just happen to pop up on Google. I know nothing about the company.)
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Old 10-10-2020, 03:58 PM   #13
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That is likely wrong in many cases. An inverter takes 12DC and converts it to 110VAC - sometimes a sine wave, sometimes a square wave and sometimes in-between.

A 12V power adapter for a laptop is a DC-DC boost converter. No AC involved. They typically put out anywhere between 16 and 20 volts DC depending on the brand of computer.

This can be verified at:https://www.powerstream.com/ADC-p006.htm (A seller of laptop power adapters that just happen to pop up on Google. I know nothing about the company.)
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I stand corrected, I have not come across those before. I wonder, do they draw less power, or have some other advantage over a small inverter? Looking at ones that will work for my laptop, and they are more expensive than an inverter...
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Old 10-10-2020, 04:34 PM   #14
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Being a Newbie I appreciate this tread. After reading these posts I can't think of what a 1500 watt inverter would be used for. Looking on Amazon for 300 watt inverter I came across the Bestek 300W Pure Sine Wave Inverter, $49US. The item description mentions if you use a car cigarette lighter limit your usage to 150 watts as that is what most car cigarette lighters are fused for.
Questions:
What are escape's 12v outlets fused for?
How do you use yours? Are the hard wired?
Concerning Batteries is the standard Deep Cycle battery sufficient?
What are Transfer Switches?
Thanks for your help.
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Old 10-10-2020, 04:42 PM   #15
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...
have some other advantage over a small inverter? Looking at ones that will work for my laptop, and they are more expensive than an inverter...
Actually, both advantages and disadvantages. (Like most everything else in this world.)

A 12V laptop charger will pull less juice from your trailer battery than an inverter - but the difference may not be significant. What I see as the biggest difference is - your small 300-400 watt pure sine wave inverter (more expensive than non-sine wave) can power a whole bunch of different chargers and gadgets, sometimes at the same time. Of course it will pull 300-400 watts from your battery if you turn on all the gadgets at once. But your laptop charger is a single purpose gadget - it won't charge your toothbrush. The decision will depend on your electrical priorities.
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Old 10-10-2020, 04:45 PM   #16
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Being a Newbie I appreciate this tread. After reading these posts I can't think of what a 1500 watt inverter would be used for.

...
Microwaves, hair dryers, toasters, coffee pots, power tools. All things that (some) campers can't live with out. Oh, and of course, electric blankets.
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Old 10-10-2020, 05:16 PM   #17
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Microwaves, hair dryers, toasters, coffee pots, power tools. All things that (some) campers can't live with out. Oh, and of course, electric blankets.
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Well said. We have a 30' sailboat and use a group 27 deep cycle for navigation electronics, running and cabin lights and charging cell phones. We cook on an alcohol stove or a charcoal grill, make coffee in a press and get by with an icebox.
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Old 10-10-2020, 05:27 PM   #18
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Microwaves, hair dryers, toasters, coffee pots, power tools. All things that (some) campers can't live with out. Oh, and of course, electric blankets.
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We bought a good heavy wool blanket , works just as well as an electric blanket and doesn’t require any electricity
Last night we slept in our trailer , outside temps were in the high 30’s , furnace was turned off and we were very comfortable.covered with our wool blanket .
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Old 10-10-2020, 08:08 PM   #19
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I sleep very warm under our various down layers. It is the initial shock of crawling into an ice cold bed that I make efforts to avoid. My wife feels the same way, so instead of bribing the other party to get into bed 15 minutes early we agreed on using electricity to keep the peace.
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Old 10-11-2020, 12:28 AM   #20
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1.5kW inverter would need a large capacity battery or a regular recharge with solar. With just 190W you would be able to run a 700w microwave for an hour or so in the summer if you don’t park in the shade.
100ah battery would run a microwave for an hour as well.
Recharge during long stays is the main issue, but then it should be easy to live without 110v appliances just for a couple of days.
All in all, to run microwaves, crockpots etc on a regular basis, you would need at least 400-500w of solar in full sun or 200ah battery if parked in a shade for a couple days.
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