Inverter Install, need to know how to turn off converter - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 08-30-2014, 07:56 PM   #1
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Inverter Install, need to know how to turn off converter

We have owned and loved our Kodiak for a couple years now, and want to add an inverter to stay quiet in generator restricted areas. I would like to connect the inverter to the shore power connection to power the whole coach, but need to turn off the converter. I have done some research and looking around and just can't figure it out. I don't want to tackle the complexity of a transfer switch right now.

Here is a picture of the front of our fusebox/breaker box, but it doesn't look like there is anything useful here:

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Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-31-2014, 05:26 PM   #2
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Are you wanting to be able to power the whole coach off an inverter? Meaning A/C, heaters, TV's, microwave, etc.? And how long would you like to be able to power these extras. Your existing 12V system will handle your lights and fans and such. But it would take a very large inverter and battery bank to power just about any of the 120V appliances for any length of time. Let us know what you're trying to get out of this.
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Old 08-31-2014, 05:39 PM   #3
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No, just TV and speakers or coffee pot (1200w) for a couple of cups.
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Old 08-31-2014, 05:42 PM   #4
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X2 with a very very big battery bank and inverter if you are talking solar to run any of the heavy draw 120V stuff. Would need some pretty big solar panels as well.
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:00 PM   #5
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Still not quite sure what you're wanting here. But I just went out to my coach and flipped the main breaker off on the converter. It kills all 120V appliances and leaves the 12V system running on the battery. Not sure if that's what you're looking for as to turning off the converter. If so just flip off the 30Amp main breaker in your box. But if all you're trying to do is run your TV and get a cup of coffee this would probably be easiest. Get a small inverter, 500W would probably do it but check you're TV specs, wire it in near the TV and plug the TV in when you need it. And get a stovetop percolator for your coffee. The coffee maker would pull your battery down pretty quickly, especially if you only have one.
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:22 PM   #6
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Still not quite sure what you're wanting here. But I just went out to my coach and flipped the main breaker off on the converter. It kills all 120V appliances and leaves the 12V system running on the battery. Not sure if that's what you're looking for as to turning off the converter. If so just flip off the 30Amp main breaker in your box. But if all you're trying to do is run your TV and get a cup of coffee this would probably be easiest. Get a small inverter, 500W would probably do it but check you're TV specs, wire it in near the TV and plug the TV in when you need it. And get a stovetop percolator for your coffee. The coffee maker would pull your battery down pretty quickly, especially if you only have one.
Agree! Our TV IS a 12 volt, and uses a 120 VAC transformer plug if you want to go that way. We run it off of 12 volt, no need to change when on or off of shore power. (BTW, it is a DVD player also) Stovetop percolator is the ideal solution, for those who want a drip type, Coleman makes a pretty cool propane coffee maker.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by treeofliberty View Post
We have owned and loved our Kodiak for a couple years now, and want to add an inverter to stay quiet in generator restricted areas. I would like to connect the inverter to the shore power connection to power the whole coach, but need to turn off the converter. I have done some research and looking around and just can't figure it out. I don't want to tackle the complexity of a transfer switch right now.

Here is a picture of the front of our fusebox/breaker box, but it doesn't look like there is anything useful here:

Dropbox Link

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
It was my intention to do this when we bought our unit which is the reason for going with 4, 6V battery bank. Depending on what you are planning to run, you may still have to frequently run the Genny for a few minutes to recharge the batteries. I did a few google runs last year and found several good articles and how to's on installing the inverter. Good Luck.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:06 PM   #8
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I have installed an inverter without getting involved with my converter and breaker box.
When I run from Maine to Florida and vise versa I stop in at truck stops due to the time of the year. I'm running three 12 volt deep cycles. My DW and I need coffee, microwave, and toaster. She needs her blow drier.
I purchased and installed a 5000 watt modified sine wave inverter (2000 - 3000 watt will do). I have created a box to hold the three batteries and vented them.
I have run an outlet plug to a storage drawer in my steps heading from the kitchen up to the bedroom. This 12/2 wire is plugged into the 110 outlet at the inverter. I unplug the microwave from the cabinet and run an extension cord to the drawer area. Same with the coffee maker and toaster.
I'm not doing this for dry camping, more for creature comforts during my 3 day travels South and back again..
Also, during my 10 hour travel time, per day, the truck is helping to recharge the battery bank.
I got this idea from a toy hauler owner on another forum.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:27 AM   #9
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It's a piece of cake. Using your inverter like this is exactly how we do it, we plug the shore power cable into the inverter 110 V outlet and it energizes the whole AC side of the TT. For some reason it often confuses folks when you describe doing this and they think it can't be done, I found the same thing when I've posted about it. I use both a 300W PSW inverter and a 1500W PSW inverter in this manner.
My converter was tied into the AC breaker labeled "Gen" on my AC panel, as in "general Purpose" on yours I would guess. When I took the cover off the panel, I saw that the power wire for the converter was piggy backed in with the line feeding the outlets from the "Gen" breaker. I have the same WFCO panel, so I'm guessing yours is the same. I had room for another breaker in the board, so I went to the hardware store and picked up another and tied the converter into that one so it is completely isolated on its own circuit. I flip that breaker off only the converter is disconnected.

I also flip off breakers for the electric side of the water heater, microwave, and air conditioner. It doesn't hurt anything to have the breakers left on for these items, but if you were to try and use them it would overcome the inverter and trip its breaker. So to avoid that happening accidentally, I flip their breakers off. Also make sure the fridge is on gas.

Since I use solar for nearly 100% of my battery charging, the converter breaker is actually off most of the time.



Now I have one more breaker at the bottom beneath the "W.H." that I've labeled "converter."
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ewarnerusa View Post
It's a piece of cake. Using your inverter like this is exactly how we do it, we plug the shore power cable into the inverter 110 V outlet and it energizes the whole TT. For some reason it often confuses folks when you describe doing this and they think it can't be done, I found the same thing when I've posted about it. I use both a 300W PSW inverter and a 1500W PSW inverter in this manner.
My converter was tied into the AC breaker labeled "Gen" on my AC panel, as in "general Purpose" on yours I would guess. This is not the Air Con which was clearly labeled as such. When I took the cover off the panel, I saw that the power wire for the converter was piggy backed in with the line feeding the outlets from the "Gen" breaker. I have the same WFCO panel, so I'm guessing yours is the same. I had room for another breaker in the board, so I went to the hardware store and picked up another and tied the converter into that one so it is completely isolated on its own circuit. I flip that breaker off only the converter is disconnected.

I also flip off breakers for the electric side of the water heater, microwave, and air conditioner. It doesn't hurt anything to have the breakers left on for these items, but if you were to try and use them it would overcome the inverter and trip its breaker. So to avoid that happening accidentally, I flip their breakers off. Also make sure the fridge is on gas.

Since I use solar for nearly 100% of my battery charging, the converter breaker is actually off most of the time.



Now I have one more breaker at the bottom beneath the "W.H." that I've labeled "converter."
Thank you. Now I understand what was being asked and it makes a lot of sense.
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:40 AM   #11
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Fyi, I tried this with a Samlex MSW inverter first it the inverter would trip immediately without any loads applied. The manual said to not use it to power an ac panel.
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Old 09-01-2014, 02:20 AM   #12
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If I was dry campin' for a couple days or more I'd do it ewarnerusa's way. It's simple and easy.
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Old 09-01-2014, 06:44 AM   #13
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Agree! Our TV IS a 12 volt, and uses a 120 VAC transformer plug if you want to go that way. We run it off of 12 volt, no need to change when on or off of shore power. (BTW, it is a DVD player also) Stovetop percolator is the ideal solution, for those who want a drip type, Coleman makes a pretty cool propane coffee maker.
Have you ever had coffee made with a french press.

We were shopping for a new non-electric coffee maker for the camper and came across an article about french press coffee makers.

We tried it and now we no longer have an electric coffee marker.

I can't describe it, you have to try it.
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:01 PM   #14
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Have you ever had coffee made with a french press.

We were shopping for a new non-electric coffee maker for the camper and came across an article about french press coffee makers.

We tried it and now we no longer have an electric coffee marker.

I can't describe it, you have to try it.
I've had it, and I like it. But my wife thinks it's too strong. Ah, life is a balance, isn't it! Enjoy! Pour me a cup if I ever end up in your campground!
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:56 PM   #15
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I've had it, and I like it. But my wife thinks it's too strong. Ah, life is a balance, isn't it! Enjoy! Pour me a cup if I ever end up in your campground!
Just let me know when you'll be here.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:18 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ewarnerusa View Post
It's a piece of cake. Using your inverter like this is exactly how we do it, we plug the shore power cable into the inverter 110 V outlet and it energizes the whole AC side of the TT.
I did the same thing with our Voltage 3950. When we dry camped I plugged the shore power into our 1800 watt Tripp Lite PV1800HF Inverter. I already had a breaker labeled Converter so I just turned it off. I also turned off other breakers that I did not want to power with the inverter: like the AC units and hot water tank. All I really wanted to power was the TV, Home Theater, WiFi Router and our computers. I changed all our lights to LED's so they didn't pull much current. I would run the generator if I wanted to make coffee or pop some popcorn. When I ran the generator I would turn on the converter breaker so the batteries would charge. We were very successful doing this and very happy I didn't have to run the generator all the time.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:19 PM   #17
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Way to go Sawpoilt. Great description on the inverter. This is my next move as well, I just installed 260 worth of solar panels and have been researching inverters. I was also hitting a mental block when it came to the breakers. To treeofliberty please post on you progress.
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:22 PM   #18
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Reading this, I'm confused. I understand that you plug your shore power cable into the inverter. Are you only using one of the inverter outlets with a 50/30/20 adapter or have you wired multiple inverter outlets together to get the amps? I'm looking to power TV, outlets for computers, cell phone chargers, MAYBE a microwave use (yes I know that's a lot more power)
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:39 PM   #19
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^^Yes. Although for us it is a 30->15A dogbone adapter.
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