192rd Converter & Solar Question - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 10-31-2016, 01:37 PM   #1
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192rd Converter & Solar Question

My wife and I have a small piece of property and we are doing some boon-docking there in our RV. We have a Coleman 192rd, 2015. I am starting to put together a solar system that will run the unit but I can't really get a good idea of what size inverter it will take to handle the unit. We will not be running the AC being that we only hunt in the fall so we will basically run, outlets, water pump, tv, led lights and the fridge if I can't figure out how to run it on propane alone. I thought it might be helpfull if I knew how big the converter is on my RV so that I could match or slightly increase that wattage rating, but I can't find anything on the size of the on board converter. I know this is a random bit of questions but I want to make sure I buy what will work the first time.

thanks
Brad
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Old 10-31-2016, 02:33 PM   #2
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Of the items you listed that you want to run, only the outlets run on 120V AC that would be supplied by the inverter. Unless you've got a 12V TV, then it plugs into a 120V AC outlet for power. So no inverter needed for the water pump and LED lights because they run on 12V DC electricity and the fridge can run on propane. The fridge does need 12V power to run though, whether on gas or 120V AC. It will probably have a switch right on front that says "Auto - Off - Gas." Auto means 120V AC that automatically switches to gas if 120V AC is not available, Off means off, and gas means propane only even if 120V AC is available. Don't use the inverter to run the fridge on 120V AC, it will complicate your solar/inverter project by having to design around its relatively large power needs (~300 watts) and running it on gas is more efficient anyway.

Your solar charging system needs to be based on your battery capacity, not the power needs, since its job will be to replace the power you took out of the batteries. Your battery bank is what you need to design around your power needs. From your description, it is minimal and should be served by 1x to 2x12V batteries depending on furnace use. Or 2x6V batteries in series. 200 watts of solar will match up well with 1x12V battery but will barely be the minimum if you have 2x12V or 2x6V batteries. With 2 batteries, try for 300+ watts. If you're using the furnace, plan on it potentially depleting a single 12V battery in one night.

Since the TV is the only 120V AC item you've mentioned, a small 300 watt inverter should work fine. The TV probably requires less than 100 watts to run. I suggest getting a pure sine wave inverter.

Your converter is not related at all to a solar charging system, although it will be critical to disable the converter if you wire your inverter up as "whole house" providing power to the entire 120V AC system. Otherwise the converter will try and charge the batteries by using power supplied from those same batteries via the inverter which will just end up in a power draining loop due to inefficiencies in the DC-AC-DC inversion/conversion.
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:32 PM   #3
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ewarnerusa,

I appreciate your quick reply and the information is valuable but there is something missing in my question I believe. What I am trying to do is run the RV as a whole unit off of a solar bank system and from what I understand without doing to major wiring inside my RV I will need to use an inverter so that I can plug in to the RV where I would normally use a 30 amp plug, but with a regular 120 extension cord. I will have limitations like the micro and ac running together but I want to build my solar system in a small shed and just plug into it like I would at a KOA. I hope this helps with my question and the lack of clarity I gave in the initial post. I do like the 300w 2+ battery idea as that was what I thought it would take to run the RV for a weekend, which is the amount of time we stay.
Also, one last thing, my fridge only has a push button that changes things and I have not tried whether or not I can cut it off electric or not. I would like to run this as a whole unit with only plugging in from outside. I know it will be 120 which will not handle everything at one time but that is how we use the RV when we travel to my families and we manage pretty well. Hope you can help me further with the size of the inverter to handle this load.
Brad
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:39 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums!

What is the model number of your converter? It is probably 45 amp or 60 amp.

However I do agree with ewarner, need to size the solar panels to replace what you use, or plan on using. You may have to up the size of your battery bank too, especially if you really draw down on it with the inverter.

FWIW most of my primo RV systems have been around 400 watts with 4 Group 27 batteries, typically used a 3,000 watt inverter and kept a close eye on what we used with it. My personal preference is to use as much LP powered stuff as possible and save the battery for the items that absolutely won't work on LP, like televisions and DVD players. I use LP for cooking, heating water and heating the RV. With my trailers I would quite often use a 100# cylinder (or two) for longer stays.

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Old 10-31-2016, 10:44 PM   #5
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Yes I agree on the LP. Our RV will run most things on LP like cooking, hot water heater, furnace and even the fridge provided I can figure out how to make it use LP even when electric is available. So would the 3k watt inverter handle the internal converter and the ac together? I am not sure about the model number as my RV is not where I can look at it and I can't find my owners manual.
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Old 10-31-2016, 11:08 PM   #6
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You want the converter OFF if you are on solar. The solar panel will charge the batteries directly through the the controller. If you turn the converter on you will create a feed back loop that will kill the batteries pretty quickly.

I have a simple diagram that explains this, have to see if I can find it...

But basically the solar provides the power to the batteries and then you pull power from the batteries via the inverter. When the sun doesn't shine you are depending on the batteries. To keep the fridge from defaulting to AC power you isolate that circuit so it isn't powered by the inverter. Sounds complicated, but once you get your mind around it, it is pretty straight forward.

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Old 10-31-2016, 11:17 PM   #7
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Solar panels are typically mounted right to your camper and go everywhere with you. Then they are working any time the sun shines to recharge your batteries. They are wired directly to your battery via a charge controller. Based on your original post, the TV was the only thing that required AC power. And that doesn't take very much. Now you've mentioned a microwave, that requires a lot of AC power. I would suggest forgetting the microwave along with the air conditioner.
The inverter can be wired up directly to your AC control panel and use a transfer switch, then there is no need to worry about plugging anything in. Or you could do what we do and just plug your Shore power cable directly into the inverter Outlet. Then it Powers the whole camper. But as stated a couple times, your converter must be shut off
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Old 10-31-2016, 11:21 PM   #8
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I am being educated so thank you for your time and effort. I was under the impression that the converter took the 30 amp power supply and turned that into 2 sources, 120 for wall plugs and "stuff" and 12v to charge the single battery on my RV. Am I wrong in this assumption? When I kill the breaker on the converter I thought that it killed the power that ran things like the tv and other wall unit items? I could be wrong but I can't get into the RV to test my half hearted theory of an idiot, ahhaha.
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Old 10-31-2016, 11:27 PM   #9
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You're more or less right. But it will have no role charging the battery if you're not plugged into shore power or generator. In Your earlier reply to me, you describe a solar generator which you could just plug into as if it was your shore power. But that's not a typical way of using solar for your RV. Normally you install it on the camper and then it's with you working at all times.

Killing the breaker for the converter may have shut off your other outlets because they are all on the same AC circuit. If that's the case, you'll have to isolate the converter on to its own breaker. That's what I had to

Some reading for you.
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:20 AM   #10
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You are completely correct. We want to use a solar bank as the only electric source combined with the LP tanks to boondock for weekend hunting trips. I guess I need to find out if killing the converter breaker actually downs the other 120 systems in the RV. If it does then I am in a pickle as I am not an electrician and have no idea about setting it on its own system because that would involve moving those 120 outlets and such to their own electrical input that would be fed by the inverter, or I need to plan on enough power for a weekend that can absorb the loss going from inverter to converter to 120?

I think that statement makes sense....at least in my head.
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