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Old 12-17-2010, 01:42 PM   #1
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Default Toterhome electrical info needed

I am looking for advice/input on shoreline transfer switches (50 amp) ,converter/chargers and pure sine wave inverters. The 50 amp service is needed to run two roof airs.One on the toter and one on the trailer.The converter would need to have the distribution panel with it. The inverter would need to run a LED flatsreen TV,a bar sized refrigerator and a coffee pot.Approx. 16 amps total if all were running at the same time.
Now the questions: Who makes the best of these products and where to buy them. I am currently looking at the Xantrex SW 2000 inverter. Seems a little pricey but have heard they build quailty products.
The converter and transfer switches have a wide range of prices for what appear to be the same product. Why is that?
How many batteries would it take to run a 2000 watt inverter for 8 hours at 60% ?
Is a 2000 watt inverter to big for this application?
Sorry for the dumb questions but this is an area I know nothing about. Any and all input/advice is appreciated.
MMM
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:49 PM   #2
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I'm not very good with electricity. My rig has a Iota DLS-45 charger converter: IOTA Engineering DLS-45 12VDC Battery Charger and Power Converter - 45 Amps

I've got 2x 12 volt deep cycle house batteries. I don't have a inverter wired in tho. I have a small 300 watt inverter that I sometimes plug in to charge/run my laptop. 2000 watts doesn't sound that huge to me. That coffee pot is the big drainer. I'll bet RanD or BlizzND will chime in with some good advice.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:40 PM   #3
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Default Toterhome electrical info needed

MMM, Your questions are just the tip of the iceberg. You need a lot more information than I can give you right now, but I will try to get you started.

1. Go buy ďManaging 12 VoltsĒ by Harold Barre
2. Post your question on the Escapees forum. There are lots more people with answers there and you will be better off with multiple sources of information.
3. Read my topic ďStealth Camper Build thread, starting with post #34

I suggest you get a fully integrated unit, meaning inverter, battery charger, and transfer switch. That way you wonít have to worry about all of the pieces playing nicely together.

IMHO, you will need 2 large (65 pound) batteries. Thereís lots of ways to configure them, lots of brands, etc. They need to be deep cycle batteries, not car batteries.

You need a battery charger capable of 35A, preferably more like 100A. It needs to be multistage with temperature compensation.

2000W is not at all excessive for your inverter. You already did the math on that one.

I know Xantrex has a good reputation. I liked what I read about Magnum Energy. Trip-Lite also makes this sort of thing. There are others but I canít make an endorsement. My feeling is that you pay higher prices for the name brands, which gives you some assurance that they will stand behind their warranty. Cheaper Chinese knock offs are often made in the very same factory using the same materials and very similar designs, so they might work just fine, but they are probably throw away units if they fail. Then again, repairs after warranty will often cost half the price of the unit or more, so treating them as throw away units probably isnít so bad. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

You can answer many of your other questions (approximately) with simple math.

A 65 pound battery is good for about 1,200 watt hours of energy, less if you draw it down rapidly. Some of that will be lost in the conversion from DC to AC, and you should never plan to draw your batteries down more than 60%, so practically speaking you might figure 500 watt hours per 65 pound battery.

So, using your question as an exampleÖ ďHow many batteries would it take to run a 2000 watt inverter for 8 hours at 60%?Ē. Thatís 2,000 x .6 x 8 = 9,600 watt hours. Divide by 500 watt hours per battery and you get 19.2 batteries, or 1,248 pounds of batteries.

The method is correct but the assumptions are wrong. You wonít need anywhere near that much energy for a day or two. You need to do some careful math to figure how much energy you actually need. For example, You can make a pot of coffee with about 1,000 watts in about 6 minutes. Thatís 1000 watts times 0.1 hours or 100 watt hours. Your LED TV will probably use about 50W so 8 hours of that is 400 watt hours. I would guess your fridge will average about 25W so over 24 hours thatís 600 watt hours. Now you know why RVís often have propane powered refrigerators. You can buy 12V TVís and even 12V refrigerators, but ultimately energy is energy and all you save is the efficiency losses of the inverter, which arenít that bad.

Donít trust my figures. Do your own research and math, and get some more opinions, cuz I make mistakes sometimes.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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Default Electrical

Thanks Bob and Ran D
I think more research is needed before I purchase any devices.I am in the process of mounting the generator and was wandering how much additional space would be needed for the electrical components mentioned.
I have been a lurker on Escapees for quite some time and there is a lot of knowledge on that site. The majority of the HDT's on that forum are just semi's with a porta potty,microwave and ice chest in the sleeper to meet the "rules" to register the truck as a motorhome.I have yet to see any discussions on actually staying in the truck.I do applaud their move to HDT'S to pull some of those fifth wheels. The size and weight of some of those things is unbelieveable. Having been a comercial driver for many years,I have seen many travel trailers/trucks in the ditch because the capacity of the truck was not adequate to pull the trailer.Sorta like the tail wagging the dog!
Again,thanks for the input.I'll keep digging.
MMM
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:38 PM   #5
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I think you want the generator mounted in kind of an open area along the frame there don't you? I know it would have a door covering it but I don't think you want a box built around it do you? But I think you do want the house batteries mounted in a box with the switch and charger don't you? At least that's how mine is wired up.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:08 PM   #6
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From the way you're describing your load situation, you might want to consider two 1500or 2000 watt inverters, . . .one on each 120V leg. Then you would have enough AC power to run everything (and future everything as well)
It's not advisable to run 2 roof AC's or other high wattage components on one 120V leg especially when on generator power as only one set of windings will be (trying) to pull everything.

I wouldn't necessarily invest in pure sinewave inverters due to cost vs application. Most 120V RV components are quite happy with a stepped square wave (modified sine), which is what you get with an Xantrex or Trip-lite non-SW.
China made (el-cheapo) inverters IMHO are usually trouble sooner or later, . . .usually sooner.
Most put out a trashy square wave and things like rotory AC compressors don't like that, they tend to run hot(er) & ultimately require more wattage.
Computer power supply's, refridgerator circuit boards, furnace circuit boards, TV's etc,. . .don't like it either, . . .some won't even work.

I would suggest an integrated inverter/3 stage charger as they will automatically go from 120V AC to charge mode, . . .however I would get a separate transfer switch.

RV Surplus & Salvage in Elkhart stocks a good 50 amp 220VAC switch with a 30 second load transfer delay, for around $50. The delay is a good feature when you are going to generator power, as it gives the gen time to stabilize after start-up, before taking on the load.
Check with them on inverters & converters also, . . . ask for Trina (she owns the place)
Also check this website Backwoods Solar Electric Systems there is some good info there, along with inverters & solar panels for sale. (inverters are probably less than from Trina)
Hope this helps.
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