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Old 01-18-2017, 03:04 PM   #1
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what runs on battery without inverter?

So confused about inverters


I don't even pretend to understand electronics, batteries, amps, volts etc. The only thing I do know is what 12v, 120, usb, and 30amp plugs look like.

I know the refrig, water heater, any extra 12v and the tv can run on battery without an inverter. What else runs on battery without an inverter?

Anybody know how long the refrig would last if it was just on battery?
I know that I could put it on gas.

I was considering getting the two 6 battery, but not sure it would benefit if I dont have an inverter or solar.

Solar is out of the question; we live in baseball size HAIL country.

We do have a generator that we bought for the Casita last year and have never used. Would it be better to sell that and get an inverter in case we were not around electricity? I would hate to be left in the dark.
What does it take to get the lights to come on with out being hooked up to electricity?
Would an inverter be able to run the microwave or air conditioner?

Maybe I should just get a 12v toaster, and coffe pot and live with out the microwave and use a battery lantern and would be okay for a few days if necessary. I don't fuss with hairdryers anyways. It is hard to do without AC in the heat though. I really have to think twice about boondocking. Must only go in good weather or a little cool.

Thanks for any one who is brave enough to answer these q!uestions.
Nancy
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:24 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by The Quilting Lady View Post
So confused about inverters


I don't even pretend to understand electronics, batteries, amps, volts etc. The only thing I do know is what 12v, 120, usb, and 30amp plugs look like.

I know the refrig, water heater, any extra 12v and the tv can run on battery without an inverter. What else runs on battery without an inverter?

Anybody know how long the refrig would last if it was just on battery?
I know that I could put it on gas.

I was considering getting the two 6 battery, but not sure it would benefit if I dont have an inverter or solar.

Solar is out of the question; we live in baseball size HAIL country.

We do have a generator that we bought for the Casita last year and have never used. Would it be better to sell that and get an inverter in case we were not around electricity? I would hate to be left in the dark.
What does it take to get the lights to come on with out being hooked up to electricity?
Would an inverter be able to run the microwave or air conditioner?

Maybe I should just get a 12v toaster, and coffe pot and live with out the microwave and use a battery lantern and would be okay for a few days if necessary. I don't fuss with hairdryers anyways. It is hard to do without AC in the heat though. I really have to think twice about boondocking. Must only go in good weather or a little cool.

Thanks for any one who is brave enough to answer these q!uestions.
Nancy
Anything that consumes a lot of electricity in a hurry (such as anything that is heating, cooling including cooking) should not be used to run on an inverter. So A/C or fridge or an electric kettle or toaster/toaster oven will use power very quickly and should not be used as it will consume your battery very very quickly. Things that are low power such as TVs/PCs etc can run on an inverter, although there is power loss when using an inverter. A 12V Toaster and Coffee pot, not sure they exist but would gobble up power quickly. If you want to be off the grid, use propane to heat water and get yourself a nice double walled stainless steel french press. We just bought a Cuisinox, works great and looks good.

As to the extra battery you will need to think about how long you plan to be "off the grid". Someone suggested that the extra 6V batteries would enable you to function using lights/fan etc for up to a week, whereas the basic battery might only go for two to three days.
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:44 PM   #3
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Thanks Chris and Pat, it is good to know the lights and fan works on battery. I am planning on getting the oven so can do without the microwave while off the grid. I think truckers have several 12v small appliances like a coffee pot, maybe not the toaster.

So can you use any of the 120v sockets if you are not hooked up to electricity or have an inverter? What about the usb ports, will they work off the battery without an inverter?

what do people use inverters for? laptops and cell phones?
Thanks for the coffee pot idea.
I got to get all this straightened out because I only have a few days left. who is a good person at ETI who would know about all this?
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:39 PM   #4
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For coffee, we use a 50 oz. lexan french press. Makes excellent coffee, and is unbreakable.

https://www.amazon.com/GSI-Outdoors-.../dp/B007F8913W

For toast, we use a camping stove top toaster. It works well, also.

https://www.campmor.com/c/coghlan--3...V_zhoCp4bw_wcB

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Old 01-18-2017, 05:53 PM   #5
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Here is some good reading The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
read part 1 and part 2
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Old 01-18-2017, 06:01 PM   #6
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If you have not needed a inverter with the Casita you probably will not need one with the Escape. If you carry a generator for your A/C you will never use it.
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Old 01-18-2017, 07:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Quilting Lady View Post
Thanks Chris and Pat, it is good to know the lights and fan works on battery. I am planning on getting the oven so can do without the microwave while off the grid. I think truckers have several 12v small appliances like a coffee pot, maybe not the toaster.

So can you use any of the 120v sockets if you are not hooked up to electricity or have an inverter? What about the usb ports, will they work off the battery without an inverter?

what do people use inverters for? laptops and cell phones?
Thanks for the coffee pot idea.
I got to get all this straightened out because I only have a few days left. who is a good person at ETI who would know about all this?
I note what you say about the truckers; however, I suspect that a large truck has substantially more battery power than a small 17ft trailer and not sure that I would worry about a 12V coffee pot when propane works well for heating water.

As to the inverters, we did not opt for one. I believe that the basic inverter will only power a single 120V outlet, whereas the larger (and more expensive) inverter will power all the 120V outlets when running on battery power. All the USBs will work from the battery without an inverter.

As to guidance, both Sarah and Tammy at ETI can give you guidance on your best choices and the other contributors to this thread also provided some links.

Good luck!
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Old 01-18-2017, 07:23 PM   #8
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For the most part, I rarely see truckers shut down their diesels when parked - so running a high current 12v appliance is not an issue for them.
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Old 01-18-2017, 08:00 PM   #9
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Hello Ms. Quilting, Some basics on the electricity in campers. The main power when your camper when it is plugged in is the 120 volts from the power cord. This will run all your systems in your camper including your AC and microwave it will also charge your batteries at the same time. But when you are unplugged (I call it "dry camping" but they call it "boondocking" here) you use the 12 volt battery system. The AC and microwave usually can not be used when the camper is not plugged in. The 12 volt battery has a limited amount of electricity and how long it lasts depends on how much electricity it uses. If you use LED lights (use very little electricity) and are careful you can extend how long you are unplugged (how long depends on how much you use). The inverter (depending on the system) changes 12 volts DC of the battery to 120 volts AC and can run many 120 volt items in your camper BUT it will use your battery to do so. So here is the main question you have to ask yourself .... will you be camping with the unit plugged in or "boondocking"? We way prefer to boondock instead of relying on finding a place to plug in. And at least here in California many of the nice places to camp do not have power at the sites. Now the two batteries or one question. If you are boondocking it might be wise to get the two batteries (two 6 volt batteries increase the capacity to hold electricity and will last twice as long). BTW they hook the two batteries together (in series) to make it 12 volts. We extend our boondocking by having a portable solar panel that I can plug into my batteries to recharge them they not have to be mounted on your camper unless that is important to you. We use a portable because heck the camper maybe in the shade and we want to charge the batteries. Generators are loud, heavy, smelly and obnoxious (I am not a fan ... did you catch that). You can use your stove to make great coffee .... OK enough info..
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Old 01-18-2017, 08:57 PM   #10
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Solar

The comment about portable solar was a good recommendation if you have concerns about big hail. I camped near Durango CO last summer and one camper had two large
Flexible solar mats he put out each morning and kept his dual 6 volts easily charged. If you get wired for solar then you can make your mind up about getting portable or upsizing capacity at a later date. I'm not a generator fan either. If I need AC I seek out a campground with hookups. I toast my bread with a $4 wire job on the camp stove burner. We don't have a lot of 110 volt appliances and do about 50/50 boondocking and services. Everybody is different and with some camping you will find your style.
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:38 PM   #11
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I think some may not realize that opting for a 1500W inverter from ETI that covers all outlets sounds cool but it doesn't mean you have the battery capacity to handle running all kinds of crazy higher draw appliances (micro, coffee, toasters) for very long. Amps have to go back in eventually whether it be via solar, generator or shore power. Just noticed on the ETI website that dual 6V batteries (higher amp-hours) are now required with the inverter option which makes complete sense. It all depends on your needs but you must also understand the practical limitations of the systems you are buying. I speculate that many could save the $950 on the large hard-wired inverter option and buy one of these for occasional, low demand inverting needs (TV, laptop, etc.) for $20 and simply plug it into a 12V outlet: http://www.amazon.com/Energizer-EN10.../dp/B00VMRHE7C
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:42 PM   #12
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Thank you so much Cool Camping Kid. I think you are probably right about the generators and since we have never even used hours maybe we should go ahead and sell it and consider getting a portable solar panel. Do we need a hatch added to our build shape so wires can get to The double batteries?
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:44 PM   #13
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I used to shave my head before going on my two-week fishing / camping trip. Didn't need no stink'n hair dryer or inverter.
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:44 PM   #14
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Thanks Dave I will check into the wiring for solar and do you know where your friend got the portable mats?
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:50 PM   #15
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Yes, Rubicon, I was wondering about that too because I used one of those in my car to run my laptop. Maybe I should just get a couple more 12 V outlets.
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:07 PM   #16
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Solar mats

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Thanks Dave I will check into the wiring for solar and do you know where your friend got the portable mats?
I did not ask him and since I have roof solar, have not looked into them. I'm sure there are several members on this forum who have either the mats or the suitcase panels.
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:09 PM   #17
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Nancy, just to clarify some things that Bill (coolcampingkid) mentioned. Your trailer is, for the most part, a 12 volt system. The lights, fan, etc all run on 12v DC power, whether you're hooked up with a power cord or not. How does that happen? Your trailer has a CONVERTER that takes AC power and converts it to 12v DC. When you're not plugged in, you are still using 12v power for the trailer, but there is nothing to convert, so the DC power is coming from the batteries.

An Inverter does the opposite. It takes 12v DC (battery) power and inverts it to AC. It's used when you are not on AC power, and need an AC outlet.

Grasp that and most of the power questions you have about your trailer will be easier to figure out. Just remember a converter converts AC to DC, and an inverter inverts DC to AC. The first is used when on shore power, and the second is used when you're not.

So, to your original question - what runs on battery without an inverter? The answer is pretty much everything, except for something plugged in to an AC outlet. Exceptions would be things like the fridge when you've selected AC power, and the air conditioner when you're plugged in to shore power. A more accurate question would be, 'what runs on 12v DC power'.
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:11 PM   #18
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I used to shave my head before going on my two-week fishing / camping trip. Didn't need no stink'n hair dryer or inverter.
Mine all fell out from hard hat and bed abrasion. So all I need is a towel and a hat. If women don't find you handsome, at least they you can find you handy.
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:18 PM   #19
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Nancy, just to clarify some things that Bill (coolcampingkid) mentioned. Your trailer is, for the most part, a 12 volt system. The lights, fan, etc all run on 12v DC power, whether you're hooked up with a power cord or not. How does that happen? Your trailer has a CONVERTER that takes AC power and converts it to 12v DC. When you're not plugged in, you are still using 12v power for the trailer, but there is nothing to convert, so you're just using your batteries.

An Inverter does the opposite. It takes 12v DC (battery) power and inverts it to AC. It's used when you are not on AC power, and need an AC outlet.

Grasp that and most of the power questions you have about your trailer will be easier to figure out. Just remember a converter converts AC to DC, and an inverter inverts DC to AC. The first is used when on shore power, and the second is used when you're not.

So, to your original question - what runs on battery without an inverter? The answer is pretty much everything, except for something plugged in to an AC outlet. Exceptions would be things like the fridge when you've selected AC power, and the air conditioner when you're plugged in to shore power. A more accurate question would be, 'what runs on 12v DC power'.

Ooooooh!!!! Now I get it. Thanks!
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:39 PM   #20
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Another way of looking at the problem is to consider how much power an appliance needs, regardless of 12V or 120V. If a toaster needs 900 watts then that is how much an inverter needs to supply - and it comes from the batteries (plus a bit more for overhead.) So as a rule of thumb, don't run anything that consumes more than 100 watts for more than a few minutes - regardless of wether it is a 120V appliance running from the inverter, or a 12V coffee pot.

Lights, fans, cabin heater, computer & phone charger, radio, small TV, are all good (low wattage). An electric blanket is pushing the limits but probably OK for 1 night. (Did that a lot on my boat.) The fridge, when set on 12V, takes 350 watts, too much except for an emergency. Of course you normally run the fridge on propane and the lights and controls take almost nothing.

Anything that produces cold or heat is likely high wattage and to be avoided when boon docking if you can. It doesn't matter if it runs directly off 12V or through the inverter.

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