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Old 08-06-2014, 07:57 AM   #1
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Inverter Requirements for Small TV

Boondocked at a Walmart for the first time a few weeks ago for 1 night. I was wondering what sort of inverter I'd need to run a small flat screen for a few hours at a time? I may need to add an additional battery which I have plenty of room inside to do. My battery is tongue mounted currently and I wasn't sure how to wire up an extra battery, or how to charge it. Thinking of taking a few day trip with my dad and we'd be staying at walmart's along the way, and would like a TV to break the silence in the evenings. Also does the antenna work off 12 volt or shorepower? Will it work or is there some way to make it work? I like boondocking have alot to learn, but enjoy saving money while traveling.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:57 AM   #2
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Check the wattage of the TV then get an inverter which will be sufficient. Most modern TV's don't draw a significant amount. The Antenna is 12V powered.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:08 AM   #3
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Any good 300W available for just a few $$'s will work for a small flat screen. Have ran an older [non-flat] TV and a sat receiver on just that kind of inverter. Note that most of them are what is called a modified sinewave vs a pure sinewave which cost more. The TV will work on either but will tend to pull more amps thru the cheaper one. Usage of a mod sinewave inverter for an evening here and there is probably not going to hurt anything, but computers, cell phone chargers and other electronics don't like and may not work on a mod sinewave.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:01 PM   #4
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We initially went with a small 150WATT PSW Inverter and it did just great for the TV. Then you start thinking hey this is neat and want to add cell phone charger, computer charger, maybe a small fan, etc..

Then I went with a 300WATT PSW Inverter. Then momabear says I need a electric lap blanket now when sitting here watching HDTV . Then I went with the 600WATT PSW Inverter.


We all set now for almost what ever momabear can think of needing hehe...

Normally we need less than 200 WATTS to make it through one nights run between 4PM and 11PM.

Having the 600WATT PSW doesn't hurt a thing just sitting there and gives the extra 120VAC we might need.

I would go with the PSW TYPE Inverter and then you do not have to worry about what you need to plug into it without it going up in BLUE SMOKE. in the early days they were really alot more expensive but not so these days. My 600WATT AIMS PSW Inverter is available from AMAZON for $149 the last time I checked...

My INVERTER is installed as close to the battery bank as I could get it, has its on dedicated Blue Sea fuse block and then I run two regular extension cords from the Inverter to a drop in the main HDTV area and another extension cord to the bedroom TV area. My extension cords are hidden from view using a wire management WIREMOLD CORDMATE II install kit (LOWES-HOME DEPOT) and the only thing visible is the multi-tap 120VAC receptacle of the extension cord attached to the back of the cabinet top...

One of the most useful mods I did having 120VAC always available for the small things when needed.

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Old 08-07-2014, 09:12 AM   #5
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Go with a 500 watt inverter gives you some "play room" if you find other uses for it. Yes the antenna works off of 12 V
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:27 PM   #6
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I have lots to learn about wattage and usage etc. I wonder if I should install a second battery or if the one on the tongue would be enough. I do have my truck fixed to charge my trailer battery while I'm driving. How much actually this charges is what I was wondering? I'm planning a trip basically where we'd be driving all day and only stopping at night, where we'd use the TV for maybe a couple hours using an inverter and whatever we could pick up on the antenna. What sort of gauge could I install to monitor my battery, the idiot lights are useless on the stock control panel.

The Girlfriend will probably also want to charge her ipad or iphone so the 500 watt sounds like what I should go with.
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:46 PM   #7
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Also could i mount an inverter under the front couch/dinette as long as it could get air ciruculation? Also do you just run extension cords from the inverter itself, or do you hard wire it in some how?

I was looking on craigslist here locally and found some new 2500 watt inverters, what would these be used for that large?
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:58 AM   #8
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That wire to charge the battery from the truck is pretty small and runs a long distance.. it really does not do much.. A second battery is always a good thing.. always make sure the new battery is a true deep cycle battery and does not have a CCA rating .. if it says CCA it is not a true deep cycle battery. please note that 2-6's wired for 12V will give you way more power than 2-12's ever will and they will last longer.
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:06 PM   #9
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Ok found a good deal on a 400 watt cobra inverter at the flea market this morning. Was amazed how easy it installed as I didn't realize there was a 12 volt cigarette plug outlet behind the counter where I was planning on setting my TV. Checked my 28 inch TV owners manual and it said it only uses 36.5 watts. Plugged everything up with a 5 v 1 A ROKU box and everything worked great. Now my question can anyone give me a general idea how long I can run it like this? My battery is a 12 volt marine and it says 109 amp hours @1A.

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Old 08-18-2014, 10:18 PM   #10
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There are a some other things to consider. Like what other items will be using power? Lights, CONverter, and propane leak detector to name a few. Also, you will not want to discharge the battery more than 50%, otherwise you end up shortening the battery life. If you Boondock (overnight park) for two nights in a row, will your battery be completely recharged for the second night or just partially recharged. There are charts that can advise you about what power RV appliances use (sorry, I don't have one handy right now, but someone will come along with a good one, I'm sure). You can measure your battery power level with a Multitester. They can be purchased almost anywhere and are pretty cheap.
Also, in your first post you said that you had "plenty of room inside" for an additional battery. If you are talking about adding a wet cel battery inside your RV, it MUST BE vented (unless it's an AGM battery, and even that, I would never put inside vented or not). Also, if you do determine you need an additional battery, both batteries should be of the same condition and age. So much for simple answers.
Just some stuff to think about.
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