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Old 03-24-2014, 12:42 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Goshen
Posts: 363
Inverter Install

Just hauled the 5er back from Florida to Maine. Obviously, would have preferred to stay then to come back ............oh, well.

While there, I decided to create a few creature comforts for our travel home. For obvious reasons, it gets cooler as we trek home. We end up stopping at truck stops, Welcome Centers, or Wally Worlds (didn't do the latter on this trip). Normally, we depend on our forced air furnace for most heat. My wife likes her heat blanket, though. She also, likes to have coffee in the morning. I like a toasted bagel and oatmeal. On the road traveling we have not had these creature comforts in the past.

I have a portable generator. Pain getting it out of the truck and plugging it in let alone at 6:00AM in a truck stop (I don't have a generator in the unit). I started researching what people do in motor homes. They don't need to run a generator when they're not on shore power. I found that I could install a 5000 watt inverter and increase my battery bank to achieve my creature feature mission.

I've got three 12v deep cell batteries. I know I could have done 6 volt. I already had two 12 volt. I ran a #10/2 wire to a single receptacle that I installed in the stair riser in my kitchen area. While traveling I just ran extension cords to this receptacle. I ran a toaster, microwave, & Mr. Coffee coffee maker off the inverter. We also, ran the normal 12v stuff ie., lights, furnace and slides. Had plenty of battery power left.

We stopped two different nights and what a difference in my wife's attitude having coffee in the morning, WOW.

This Spring I will install a transfer switch and hook into the converter/breaker box. We don't do a lot of dry camping so I won't be installing a 5500 watt Onan generator.

If, and when I replace this 5er I will have all this factory installed on the next one.

I also, replaced all my interior halogen lights with LED's.

Happy Campin', all.


2012 Dutchmen 3850RL
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:23 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Anacortes
Posts: 229
Sounds like a workable solution. I like my coffee in the morning too. I'm going to look into an inverter when I start traveling with mine. Still waiting to pick it up from CW. They've finally finished the work after months of dealing with the warranty issues you're very familiar with. I'm out at work for a month and won't be able to pick it up until returning. CW really went to bat for me on all the issues with Dutchmen. After Keystone stepped in it became much easier.
I'm surprised you're able to get back home this early! Last fall you said it only stopped snowing in May.

"All fisherman are liars, except you and me, and I'm beginning to wonder about you.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:26 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Helena, MT
Posts: 472
We use an inverter in our TT for 120V AC needs as well and we boondock/dry camp 100% of the time. It mainly just powers an LED TV and various plug in battery chargers, sometimes an electric rice cooker. With solar for battery charging, we rarely unload the Yamaha 2400 generator from the truck.
I just wanted to point out that a 5000 watt inverter is HUGE for most camping needs. I may be coming from a completely different mindset as camper trailer owner versus a motorhome or large 5th wheel, but that would be more than twice the power than our Yamaha 2400 generator is rated for. In order to actually get that much power out of the inverter, you would need a humongous battery bank and wiring to supply the ~400 amps of 12V electricity. Of course you may not ever intend on drawing that much power from it and wouldn't need to provide that necessary 12V input, but it seems like buying way more power than you need. With a typical 2-4 battery bank setup, I would say it is best to limit your AC power use to low to moderate draws (<1500 watts continuous, the typical max rating of a standard AC power outlet). This would be things like a microwave, toaster, or electric coffee maker. Air conditioners are usually considered beyond the capabilities of an inverter (although a 5000 watt one with adequate 12V supply could!). We get by with a 1500 watt pure sine wave inverter that is not quite adequate to run the microwave which is rated at around 1400 VA input. It runs a 1000 watt waffle maker no problem though. Sucks a lot of juice from the batteries at that load.

RV Inverter: How to Choose the Best Option
2012 Aspen Trail 2710BH | 280 watts of solar on the roof | 2x6V GC batteries | 100% LED lighting | 1500 & 300 watt PSW inverters | so far strictly boondocking
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Old 04-08-2014, 12:02 AM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Goshen
Posts: 363
Yes, good point. 5000 watt is very huge and larger than our needs. Bigger's better for us. I also, have the capability of taking it out of our unit and using it in a non-camping application when we're not long haul traveling. In our case Pure Sine Wave wasn't needed. We aren't using televisions or computers or anything that would require pure sine wave.

I believe that in other coach applications that 2000 or 2500 watt pure sine wave units are installed. I also, believe that they have integral battery chargers in them. So, I've read.

2012 Dutchmen 3850RL
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