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Inverter Question for Dummies

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Re: Inverter Question for Dummies
Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:01 am


Clifford, you make a good point that we are spending Pauls funds pretty freely :D :D .

I have not studied smaller inverters, so those reading this need to verify my thoughts.

Here is what I **THINK** are the issues with smaller and/or cheaper inverters:

1) Limited wattage. I just ran my microwave and it took a bit over 15 amps of 120 volt power. That is 1800 watts. So, if you want to run the microwave and you have a 1000 watt inverter, you will need to fire up the generator. Same would probably be true with a coffee pot.

2) Stable voltage. I would want to make sure that these inverters gave good voltage control over the full range of wattage. IF ***note IF*** the voltage dropped when the inverter was loaded, that could cause damage to some types of equipment.

3) Chopped off sine wave. Again, not sure, but this could be an issue. A modified sine wave does a bunch of "stepping" to approximate the sine wave. Good modified sine wave inverters have a very large number of steps that do a pretty good job. However, I would expect the cheaper units have much fewer steps and proably do not give very good peak to peak voltage control. That is where you loose power on a microwave. If the voltage is OK, but the peak to peak is not good, I don't think it will hurt the microwave, but it will take longer to get the same cooking value.

4) No (or poor) battery charger. Good inverters have at least a three stage charging circuit that PROPERLY charges your battery. As Clifford ponts out, you can get a good battery charger. The emphasis should be GOOD. I did not look, but I would think a three stage charger with good amperage capacity will be at least $100. A charger should not be less than 50 amps if you want to use the generator to charge the house batteries. Otherwise you will be running the generator for very long periods of time. A good inverter will put out about 100 amps charging (12V).

By the time you think about your needs and the cost of "cheap" systems (limited, marginal quality power, and cost of a good charger), you may find that a good system is not a bad value.

If you were only going to use your bus for a few days a year, then going cheap may not be all bad. However, living in it full time is a whole different story. While you say you will be on the post most of the time, I wonder if that is what you really want to limit yourself to? You would have an bit of an issue in Quartzsite for example. How about a week or two in the desert?

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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Re: Inverter Question for Dummies
Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:34 pm


Good Grief! I'm gone for the day working and come back to a complete reference library that will take me a long time to sort out. Think I'll just go down to the bar and have a few Guinness and think about it! ;)

Clifford, there goes my theory! More like a Blitz budget now, and they ended up in China!

I'll bet you guys are having fun designing a system for me and spending our childrens's inheritance! :lol:

Jim and others, Thanks for taking the time to teach an Inverter Dummy! Great stuff to learn. I'm pretty good at keeping the smoke contained, at least so far anyway! So this will be a great opportunity to try and keep it that way.

Dale, as soon as I hit the post button, I knew all I had to do was right click. Just to lazy to edit it.........

I'm headed home tomorrow, this will give me lots to read and learn while I'm in between flights. Oh Boy!

~Paul~
Becky & Paul Lawry
Dreamscape
1968 Eagle 01 #7443
Silver 8V92 HT 740

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Re: Inverter Question for Dummies
Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:19 pm


Paul, obviously you have done the correct thing and asked for input.

You have been given several different options. Take your time and think your way through it. There is a lot of reference material out there. Come back to us with some more thoughts.

As I recall, you are stiill working on the interior. Now would be a good time to do the wiring that I mentioned. I would do that even if you can't get the inverter and batteries right now. You do not have to go first class with the "inverter breaker" box. A smaller home style panel will do just fine.

You did not ask, but if you start thinking about solar panels (big $$$$), my opinion is that it is not a good value. I spent a ton of money on mine, and the results just do not justify the cost, especailly this time of year when the sun is low. But that should be the subject of another thread if folks want to talk about it.

Jim
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog: http://beltguy.com/blog/
Email: jim@eaglesinternational.net (Please email me rather than use the PM process)
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Re: Inverter Question for Dummies
Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:13 pm


Jim, Yes we are still working on the interior, and will take your input into consideration. I don't have enough room on the roof for solar panels, to many warts, so that's out anyway. I did get a small one to help charge the one 12 v batt we have, but that's gonna be it. I'll hook it up when I get home and settled in our new environment.

I will take my time to study up on the subject. That's one thing I'm pretty good at, gathering information on a topic that I'm not familiar with. That's why I posted the topic. I figure with the experienced guys here on the board I would get enough information to get me in trouble! And lead me in the right direction, so I have a good base to build from. A good foundation is always a must.

I would entertain more answers from others who have not responded. Of course all help is very much appreciated.

~Paul~
Becky & Paul Lawry
Dreamscape
1968 Eagle 01 #7443
Silver 8V92 HT 740

Dreamscape Eagle Travel Blog: https://dreamscapetravels.wordpress.com/

Dreamscape Build Blog: https://dreamscapesilvereagle.wordpress.com/
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