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Old 01-20-2018, 01:21 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by SouthernCamper View Post
What happens when you split a 12v? Do you get two good 12v?

Long ago I read about someone putting a 300w inverter in their Escape. Was this with larger gauge wiring? What's the highest wattage inverter I can use, and then can I plug anything into it that falls below the listed wattage?
I have to defer to the electrical gurus on the forum, but yes, you will get two 12V outlets. How much you can run through those outlets is still limited.
I ran a one-cup coffee maker that claimed to be low wattage through a 100 watt inverter in my company car. Melted the plug.
By the numbers, it should have worked.
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Old 01-20-2018, 01:28 AM   #42
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I ran a one-cup coffee maker that claimed to be low wattage through a 100 watt inverter in my company car. Melted the plug.
By the numbers, it should have worked.
Ooo. I hope you at least got your one cup of coffee that day
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:36 AM   #43
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I'm sorry if this is an ignorant question! Does this wind up using just the 12v or does some get wasted in stepping down?

Do you use one like this? I've gone from 12v to 120v, but never this direction.
Any time you convert, ac/dc there is some loss in efficiency. Going from 120 to 12v is what your on board converter performs and going from 12v to 120 is what the optional inverter option performs. Most electronic devices these days are 12v, my computer, albeit plugged in to 120v is operating off 12v battery with the 120v merely keeping it charged. Televisions and other modern day items operate on 12v so you may want more 12v outlets. Planning is important...
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:23 PM   #44
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I'm finalizing our additional outlets today. Nothing fancy: additional interior 12v/USB and one external 12v.

We hope to boondock alot, so I want to be sure we have a good selection of 12v options, and consider whether we need another 12v outlet.

We have our 2 phones, which of course can be USB. We'll likely get a 12v fan for outside, which I can see wanting to use inside at times. We'll probably get a 12v rechargeable spotlight, maybe a radio...nothing hugely important there.

My question is regarding charging our computers. What is the outlet type for a DC computer charger? Can you use USB for that or are they all 12v cigar chargers?
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:38 PM   #45
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This doesn't answer you computer question, because it depends on the computer. We charge ours through a 200 watt sine wave inverter plugged into a 12 volt receptacle under the dinette. This is because our Mac requires greater than 12 volts.

We have a total of six 12 volt outlets in our Escape 21. Two are outside between the 2 wheels on each side. We use them for our 12 volt tire compressor. Inside we have 12v/USB receptacles in front of the counter (by the 120 volt outlet), under the dinette in the middle of the back bench of the u-shaped dinette, by the drawer stack (I think this one is standard) and above the bed on the passenger's side. This last one was originally for a 12 volt fan, but I wired the fan directly into the bathroom light power, so we aren't using it.
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:38 PM   #46
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My question is regarding charging our computers. What is the outlet type for a DC computer charger? Can you use USB for that or are they all 12v cigar chargers?
I suppose that it depends what you consider a "computer", but a typical laptop has a much higher-power charger than USB could support, so they come with 120 V AC adapters, and you can get 12 V (lighter socket) adapters for them.
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:40 PM   #47
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I picked up a small inverter (135 w) to use 12V to charger our laptops. Doesn't take all that long to do that; each laptop draws about 45w.
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:56 PM   #48
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I suppose that it depends what you consider a "computer", but a typical laptop has a much higher-power charger than USB could support, so they come with 120 V AC adapters, and you can get 12 V (lighter socket) adapters for them.
So you're saying just use an inverter for this? Is that an efficient way of charging a computer with your battery power?

My understanding of a typical laptop charger is that within the charger itself, it converts AC to DC for the actual charging Is that right? If computers (full size laptops) charge with DC power, but you use an inverter to convert your 12v to 120v, then your standard charger converts it back to DC, are you wasting battery power?
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:57 PM   #49
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I picked up a small inverter (135 w) to use 12V to charger our laptops. Doesn't take all that long to do that; each laptop draws about 45w.
Thanks for the wattage draw info!
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Old 01-24-2018, 11:53 PM   #50
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My question is regarding charging our computers. What is the outlet type for a DC computer charger? Can you use USB for that or are they all 12v cigar chargers?
Some newer computers come with USB-C ports that are also used for charging the computer. It would be VERY slow to charge them via a regular old USB port, even though in theory it could be done. To give some perspective, my Lenovo laptop can charge via a 12 volt 90 watt DC charger that Lenovo sells. The original USB spec allows 0.5 amps * 5 volts = 2.5 watts, so it would take 36 times longer! I have no idea if the ETI USB outlet allows higher power

200 watts is about the most you can pass through a cigarette lighter. Here is one pure sine wave inverter that will work at 200 watts:

https://www.amazon.com/Wagan-EL2600-.../dp/B00KMYRPM0

You can also buy higher wattage inverters (400 watts being common), but these are required to be connected directly to the battery via alligator clips.

One option you might consider if you are worrying about this kind of stuff: ETI allowed us to upgrade our outlet wiring to AWG 10, which I was grateful for because a calculation showed me that our farthest outlet would pull down the voltage below the inverter cutoff voltage under high load.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:03 AM   #51
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My understanding of a typical laptop charger is that within the charger itself, it converts AC to DC for the actual charging Is that right? If computers (full size laptops) charge with DC power, but you use an inverter to convert your 12v to 120v, then your standard charger converts it back to DC, are you wasting battery power?

Yes, you’ve got it!
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:31 AM   #52
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So you're saying just use an inverter for this?
Yes, as already mentioned you can just use an inverter (plugged into 12 volts DC from the usual "lighter" socket) to produce 120 volt AC, then plug the adapter provided with the laptop into the inverter. You can also buy a proper adapter to go directly from 12 V to the computer, but that is not cheap.

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Is that an efficient way of charging a computer with your battery power?
No, it's not wonderfully efficient, but it's effective.

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My understanding of a typical laptop charger is that within the charger itself, it converts AC to DC for the actual charging Is that right?
Yes, the power from the adapter into the computer is DC, usually around 20 volts.

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If computers (full size laptops) charge with DC power, but you use an inverter to convert your 12v to 120v, then your standard charger converts it back to DC, are you wasting battery power?
Yes. Are you wasting enough for it to matter? That depends on how much you charge computers, and how much energy you have available. It is very much a matter of personal use, and the power lost to inefficiency charging a computer is probably small compared to even brief use of something like a microwave oven.

I have a 12 V adapter that we bought for a laptop, but despite a set of interchangeable tips to suit different computers, it has not been suitable for later laptops. I even bought the 12 V DC cable for an Apple Macintosh PowerBook (which never really worked, which is another story...). I have given up for now, and use a portable inverter if required.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:37 AM   #53
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You can also buy higher wattage inverters (400 watts being common), but these are required to be connected directly to the battery via alligator clips.
You would need a higher-capacity connection if using the full 400 watts, but the inverter only takes as much power as needed (including some extra for inefficiency). If you only have a 90-watt laptop power supply, the inverter (even an inverter rated for up to 400 watts of output) will not use much more than 100 watts to run it.

We have a 400-watt inverter with a "lighter" plug, used mostly in the van. We've never had a problem with it, but have never plugged anything into the inverter which would use more than 100 watts.

There's no point in buying a 400-watt inverter if it will only be plugged into a 10 amp (120 watt) 12 volt socket, but if that's what you've got it will work for smaller items.

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One option you might consider if you are worrying about this kind of stuff: ETI allowed us to upgrade our outlet wiring to AWG 10, which I was grateful for because a calculation showed me that our farthest outlet would pull down the voltage below the inverter cutoff voltage under high load.
That makes a lot of sense to me.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:37 AM   #54
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Some newer computers come with USB-C ports that are also used for charging the computer. It would be VERY slow to charge them via a regular old USB port, even though in theory it could be done. To give some perspective, my Lenovo laptop can charge via a 12 volt 90 watt DC charger that Lenovo sells. The original USB spec allows 0.5 amps * 5 volts = 2.5 watts, so it would take 36 times longer! I have no idea if the ETI USB outlet allows higher power

200 watts is about the most you can pass through a cigarette lighter. Here is one pure sine wave inverter that will work at 200 watts:

https://www.amazon.com/Wagan-EL2600-.../dp/B00KMYRPM0

You can also buy higher wattage inverters (400 watts being common), but these are required to be connected directly to the battery via alligator clips.

One option you might consider if you are worrying about this kind of stuff: ETI allowed us to upgrade our outlet wiring to AWG 10, which I was grateful for because a calculation showed me that our farthest outlet would pull down the voltage below the inverter cutoff voltage under high load.
OK, so the USBs won't be useful for the laptops. With it being faster to charge via 120v Vs 12v, would I still come out ahead by using 12v?

Your last clause, my brain cannot comprehend

We're 95% certain we'll go with the inverter with transfer switch, so maybe I'll skip the upgraded wiring. Whether this is a good alternative to what you suggested, I don't know.

Is it difficult to connect an inverter via alligator clips to the battery in the 21'?

If I flip on the full trailer inverter via transfer switch, am I only using power on outlets I'm accessing, or is it burning power to continuously invert to 120v to all outlets?
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:42 AM   #55
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OK, so the USBs won't be useful for the laptops. With it being faster to charge via 120v Vs 12v, would I still come out ahead by using 12v?



Your last clause, my brain cannot comprehend



We're 95% certain we'll go with the inverter with transfer switch, so maybe I'll skip the upgraded wiring. Whether this is a good alternative to what you suggested, I don't know.



Is it difficult to connect an inverter via alligator clips to the battery in the 21'?



If I flip on the full trailer inverter via transfer switch, am I only using power on outlets I'm accessing, or is it burning power to continuously invert to 120v to all outlets?

All the outlets are live when you turn on inverter+transfer switch. But you only use electricity for whatever is plugged in, plus some overhead for the inverter’s conversion fee. If you don’t have anything plugged in the inverter will still use a small amount of juice just being on. Some have a sleep mode to bring standby draw loads down further.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:43 AM   #56
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If I flip on the full trailer inverter via transfer switch, am I only using power on outlets I'm accessing, or is it burning power to continuously invert to 120v to all outlets?
The inverter takes just enough power to run what you are actually using, plus a few percent for inefficiency, plus a few watts of power which keeps the inverter running (so it makes sense to turn it off when you are not using it). It doesn't matter how many outlets are connected to the inverter's output - extras don't take more power.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:48 AM   #57
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my last laptop, I got a 12V/car power supply from ebay or amazon or somethign that was specific to the laptop brand and series, and plugged into a cigar plug. that laptop was a Samsung 'ultrabook', very low power, it would run for many hours on a 20AH AGM UPS battery I used in the field for running astronomy stuff.

I use a tablet now, and USB charge it when I'm sleeping. a piece of red rubylith cut to cover the screen works great.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:52 AM   #58
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OK, so the USBs won't be useful for the laptops. With it being faster to charge via 120v Vs 12v, would I still come out ahead by using 12v?
To generalize: 120 volts is usually the fastest. Depends on your laptop though obviously. 12 volts, if your laptop has such a charger, will be almost as fast. If you are getting the inverter option, I'd probably just use the 120 volt outlets and call it good.

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Your last clause, my brain cannot comprehend
I'll simplify: Don't worry about it if you are getting the built in inverter. If you are not getting the built in inverter and want to run a portable 200 watt inverter through a cigarette lighter, ask ETI about upgraded AWG 10 wiring.

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Is it difficult to connect an inverter via alligator clips to the battery in the 21'?
I don't own a 21, but I think the batteries are inside a compartment if you don't have the storage box and in the storage box if you do. Sounds like a minor hassle, but it might not be suitable for some types of activities like running an instant pot in the storage box, for example.

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If I flip on the full trailer inverter via transfer switch, am I only using power on outlets I'm accessing, or is it burning power to continuously invert to 120v to all outlets?
For the most part, you only pay for what you use, but the inverter will consume some energy while idle, so leave it off until you need it.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:57 AM   #59
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my last laptop, I got a 12V/car power supply from ebay or amazon or somethign that was specific to the laptop brand and series, and plugged into a cigar plug. that laptop was a Samsung 'ultrabook', very low power, it would run for many hours on a 20AH AGM UPS battery I used in the field for running astronomy stuff.

I use a tablet now, and USB charge it when I'm sleeping. a piece of red rubylith cut to cover the screen works great.
Today I've learned that astronomy buffs use red rubylith to preserve their night vision! Good to know!
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Old 01-25-2018, 01:04 AM   #60
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To generalize: 120 volts is usually the fastest. Depends on your laptop though obviously. 12 volts, if your laptop has such a charger, will be almost as fast. If you are getting the inverter option, I'd probably just use the 120 volt outlets and call it good.
we may find ourselves in ultra preservation mode at times, and we are getting into the inverter option knowing that at times of rationed battery power, we won't be able to really use it.

In strict battery preservation terms, the 12v is still a better option though, right? I don't know how to calculate it.
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