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  #1  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:29 AM
MS Fowler's Avatar
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Inverter Question

As detailed in the thread about RV repair, it appears that I will need corded power tools where I store my RV in order to effect the repairs.
Anyone have any experience with inverters? I am thinking 1000-1500 watts will do what I need.
Are they reliable?

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  #2  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:43 AM
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I have had seven travel trailers over the years and never a problem with an inverter. I am pretty sure they all had one so yes I think they must be pretty reliable.
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  #3  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:02 AM
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Lot to be said for a small (1000-1200 watt) gas generator. I have one that I use with my trailer when I am camping where there is no power. Runs power tools and will charge the batteries in the camper. Try to get a four cycle one if you go that way.
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  #4  
Old 11-03-2011, 09:32 AM
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X2. A Honda 2000 is ideal. You can use it for boondocking with the RV also. It's what I use when I have to work on my RV or boat in the storage yard also.
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  #5  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:18 AM
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The inverter is only as good as the power source feeding it.

I use one on a regular basis for running a Peavy Amp and a set of speakers. It holds up fairly well. It's a 750 Watt unit.

BUT...plug in a few strings of lights AND the above load...the battery of the truck AND the alternator (I believe it's about a 110 Amp) have a hard time keeping a constant E & I coming...so I, sometimes, will watch the power inverter just cycle on/off.

kerry and BobK have the better idea...invest in a small, portable generator that will do/handle whatever you need. It IS the power source and you won't need to run your vehicle out of gas/diesel.

Your best bet before investing in any inverter? See if a friend will let you try one out (the size you're interested in) to see if it holds up to what you expect it to do. You'll find out really quick if it's what it's advertised. And, if you're looking at a quality unit, expect to pay anywhere from 11-20 cents/watt. But, keep in mind the ratings. Most (that I've seen and worked with) are rated at PEAK wattage, not constant/duty load. Make sure you over-size. Nothing worse than taking it out of the package, plugging/clipping it in and finding out your cigarette-lighter, in the dashboard, is higher-rated.

(Don't ask. Been there, been burned.)

Besides, you can use the generator anywhere you can't park/take the vehicle. The generator might be the smarter buy. But...watch out there for the pricing/wattage ratios...HONDA Gensets seem to be the GOLD STANDARD (As in "How much gold do you have?") and everyone else seems to come in a bit lower, with comparable options. Noise seems to be the #1 consideration for everyone and that's the "option" you seem to pay a premium for.

GL!
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  #6  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgburg View Post
The inverter is only as good as the power source feeding it.
Ditto. And during long stretches between games on out-of-town soccer tournaments where we weren't near civilization, the team generator (a Honda 2000) was the perfect solution! An inverter is okay for smaller stuff, but a generator is more suitable for power tools and other heavy-duty equipment.
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  #7  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:23 AM
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Thanks all.
My only real objection to the generator was that it was another piece of gas-powered equipment that I need to store and maintain. The inverter is just a box that mounts under the hood--out of sight, out of mind.

If the engine in my large ( 18HP) Cub Cadet hadn't taken a crap a few months ago, I'd get the generator head and mount it on the front PTO. But that's another story.
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  #8  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:25 AM
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And if the power goes out, a Honda 2000 would be enough to power your furnace.
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  #9  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS Fowler View Post
Thanks all. ... My only real objection to the generator was that it was another piece of gas-powered equipment that I need to store and maintain. The inverter is just a box that mounts under the hood--out of sight, out of mind. ...
Ummm, there's a "small" problem doing that. Depending on the unit you decide to buy, you'll probably see some inlets/outlets with little, tiny, boxed fans mounted there. Cooling is fairly critical with these things. Unless, of course, you don't mind replacing them on a regular basis. Being solid-state, those components (as well as the filtering capacitors) are items that don't take heat very well. The units I use sit in the passenger-side of the vehicle and I make my connections to the battery through a set of jumper cables, threaded from under the hood, up and through the passenger side window.

It is amazing what you'll see for temperatures under the hood. Well over 160° or better...depending on the outside, ambient air. And humidity will shut you down if the heat hasn't got to it first. Until I "remoted" the inverter setup, it would take about 15 minutes with the hood up and the engine off before I could comfortably touch the inverter to remove it. That particular inverter lasted less than 4 parades. Total running/sitting-under-hood time? About 9 hours in all...pretty expensive inverter...

Keep it cool. Then you'll be able to keep your cool.
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'10 - Dakota SXT - Daily Ride / ≈ 172.5K
.'76 - 450SLC - 107.024.12 / < .89.20 K
..'77 - 280E - 123.033.12 / > 128.20 K
...'67 - El Camino - 283ci / > 207.00 K
....'75 - Yamaha - 650XS / < 21.00 K
.....'87 - G20 Sportvan / > 206.00 K
......'85 - 4WINNS 160 I.O. / 140hp
.......'74 - Honda CT70 / Real 125

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  #10  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:09 AM
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Generator advice is good. Honda 2000 for $1000, you won't regret it. Inverter generators are a great advancement over the noisy, gas swilling beasts of the past. That 2000 may not pull a 13.5 BTU A/C.

If you go the inverter route get one with a replacement plan, don't buy it at a truck stop, etc.

Read about sine wave inverters before you buy.
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  #11  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS Fowler View Post
Thanks all.
My only real objection to the generator was that it was another piece of gas-powered equipment that I need to store and maintain. The inverter is just a box that mounts under the hood--out of sight, out of mind.

If the engine in my large ( 18HP) Cub Cadet hadn't taken a crap a few months ago, I'd get the generator head and mount it on the front PTO. But that's another story.
Most any inverter you are going to mount under the hood and expect to be able to run any power tools from is going to cost as much if not more than the Honda EU2000. Plus you will have to run the vehicle motor constantly using way more fuel than a generator. You will also need to add a second battery if you don't already have one. I work in remote locations often and my solution is a good set of cordless tools, with a small plug in inverter (400 watts) to charge them if needed, and the honda if I need constant power for a saw or something similar. The Honda 2000 will run a wormdrive skilsaw, but you have to let the blade spin for a second before you start cutting, and be careful not to bind the blade. Other than that it runs any drill, grinder, sawzall, etc with no problem. I have wired numerous houses with the generator as my source of power and am always impressed with the low noise, low fuel usage, and low maintenance needed. If you have your heart set on an inverter I have a Trace 2000 watt I'll make you a deal on!
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  #12  
Old 11-03-2011, 12:51 PM
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My mind is not set on anything, yet--still gathering data, and these answers are part of that data-collection.
The advice against under-hood mounting has carried the day---if I go the inverter route, it will not be under the hood.
Truck is a '94 F250 Diesel with 2 LARGE batteries.
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  #13  
Old 11-03-2011, 01:10 PM
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Inverter is fairly reliable as it is solid-state. It all depends on how long you want it for and what equipment is hooked to it. Inverter comes with 'Pure Sine Wave' or Modified Sine Wave'. 'Pure Sine Wave' inverter is very expensive for high output. Most stuff can run off 'Modified SW'. You can also buy a 2nd hand computer graded UPS. They are cheap and it is 'Pure SW'. I bought a 2nd hand 600W one for $2. The battery is small inside UPS but you can always hook it up to the car battery. The only thing is some higher output ones use 2 x 12V ( 24V ) battery. Good luck with your search.
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  #14  
Old 11-03-2011, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwitchKitty View Post
Generator advice is good. Honda 2000 for $1000, you won't regret it. Inverter generators are a great advancement over the noisy, gas swilling beasts of the past. That 2000 may not pull a 13.5 BTU A/C.

If you go the inverter route get one with a replacement plan, don't buy it at a truck stop, etc.

Read about sine wave inverters before you buy.
you can get em new shipped for around $800, the 2000 is a nice compact size--The 3000 is a monster-you have to have a pickup -van to move it and a ramp to get it loaded.
You can run a lincoln 110 wire welder off one too if you have to repair something.
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  #15  
Old 11-03-2011, 04:33 PM
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I have a set-up that many find odd and cool at the same time. I have twin 12-volt batteries in my '68 Pathfinder that power lighting and the like. I removed the water heater, since it was nothing more than a drain on the propane and inefficient as well. In that space, I installed a pull out shelf that pulls out of the side of the trailer. It feeds charger that feeds the batteries, as well as 4 120V outlets.

The noise from the generator is high, but if used properly, it isn't that bad. I run it about a half hour in the evening to keep the batteries charged, and again if I need to run something that runs off of 120. I've never used more than 2 gallons of fuel on a 7 day trip.

I can remove the generator and plug the trailer in with an extension cord for when the wife comes along for a normal camping trip. When she comes, I put a small air conditioner in where the generator sits, so she can be with me and not complain about the heat.

I could buy an updated TT, but I really like how the old one is set up. I even removed the shower and toilet from the trailer to add more space...it's only an 18 footer.

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