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Old 02-24-2014, 05:59 AM   #1
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Inverter for 24' White Hawk?

We are anxiously awaiting our first season with the new travel trailer. After reading a very detailed article on camper electrical systems, we wondered how many people buy & install an inverter before using a generator with their campers? The list of items to buy is getting pretty pricey but we don't want to damage anything. We do like to dry camp. Thanks for your thoughts on this!
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:00 AM   #2
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In my way of thinking camping off the power you need to make sure you have smart mode converter/charger technology (NOT WFCO), beef up your batteries (Min 225AHs), change over to LED lightning, add at least a 2KW Honda type generator, and add a min 300WATT Pure Sine Wave Inverter (we use a 600WATT pure sine way Inverter setup).

My game plan was to find out all of the items we wanted to run when camping off the power using an PSW Inverter for the 120VAC items and direct connected to the battery banks for the 12VDC items.

Then plan out to be able to run the day/night run off the batteries and have them drop to around 12.0VDC by 8AM the next morning so you will be able to use your 2KW Generator to run your trailer's on-board smart mode converter/charger to recharge your battery banks back up to the 90% charge state so you can do all of this all over again the next day/night run from the batteries. Using smart mode charging this will require around three hours of generator run time which usually fits into the camp grounds rules for running your generator during the day time run periods. We can do these 50% to 90% charge states for 12-14 days before having to do a full 100% charge state for the batteries which will take around 12 hours of generator run time. This is not normally allowed at most camp grounds so this is usually when we head for the house to get our batteries back up to their full performance levels.

Adding solar panels to this will help out big time for keeping the batteries charged back up and in our case will drop the generator run time down to around two hours of use each day being operated first to get beyond the high current initial high current charge. Once the batteries start dropping their demand for high current then the solar panels are ideal to complete the lower DC CURRENT requirements to get the batteries back up to 90% or more during the remaining of the day when in high SUN. A typical 120WATT solar Panel will only give you around 5-6 AMPS of usable DC current when in the high SUN.

We have been doing the camping off the power grid for over five years doing much what is listed above and just now getting to the point of adding solar panels to keep from having to run the generator as much each.

Keep in mind this is our camping experiences off the power grid and we run just about everything we run at regular camp grounds with electric with the exception of air conditioning and high wattage microwaves. I'm sure others have different experiences and probably get by using less DC CURRENT from the battery banks. Its all what YOU want to use when camping off the power grid. We are lit up everynight just like we are at regular camp sites with electric , watch HDTV and DVDs after supper, and I play with my Ham radio. We keep in contacts with the kids, pay bills online, and do some surfing the internet. I also keep a close watch on the condition of the battery bank with my DC MONITOR PANEL inside the trailer to make sure we don't drop below the 50% charge state of the batteries by 8Am the next morning when usually allowed to run our generator to recharge things back up to the at least the 90% charge state. If i don't get the batteries back up to at least their 90% charge state then they will not make it through the the next day/night run off the batteries. It usually gets dark on us around 10PM at night when this happens. not good on the battery banks.

This is my take on camping off the power grid and being successful about it. We are tent campers from the 50s-60s and know all about camping using sacks full of D-Cells batteries to run flash lights and using alot of candles... Now we use all the 120VAC and 12VDC appliances that our battery bank will support and be able to replenish the DC power used in a three hour generator run time to be able to do it all over again for the next day/night battery run.

Works great for us but does take some planning to be successful. It is all second nature to us now...

Roy Ken
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:57 AM   #3
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Hi there 2Mainers and welcome to the forum. This is a great melting pot of ideas, I think you'll enjoy having this community with you as you get to know your new trailer. Step one is to fully understand what you'll be wanting to use in DC power. You will need to be able to know how much power you need to run what you'd like to while camping. This amount varies by camper. I've done a great deal of research on this topic and I've found just about everyone has their own take on how to set up a battery usage system. We are big eaters of electricity. We currently have 4, 6-volt golf cart batteries, in series - parallel. (see pic below, located on tongue behind propane tank, custom battery tray welded) Each battery is 220 Amp Hours, when connected the way we have them for a 12-volt system we have a 440 AH battery bank and we use a Xantrex 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter. We also currently use a 30 amp battery charger on our 3000 Watt generator to recharge during gen hours. We easily will use 220 amps in a day. So we are currently looking at installing a new charging system and adding upwards of 500+ watts in a solar panel array to help. Charging ability is key and your stock converter/charger will not typically be enough juice to put back in anywhere near what you take out of your batteries in a given day. I've attached a few links that I think many are familiar with and it is a good starting point to learn the basics. Read these and what all of us have posted and you'll be on your way.

The 12 volt side of life Part 1: http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm

The 12 volt side of life Part 2: http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volta.htm

The RV battery charging puzzle:
http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/t...ging-puzzle-2/

[ATTACH][/ATTACH][ATTACH][/ATTACH][ATTACH][/ATTACH]
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:37 AM   #4
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Roy is correct.
The VERY FIRST thing you need to know is what you plan on using, while dry-camping. You can then decide as to what your inverter size and battery needs will be. Then you have to decide as to how you want to recharge the batteries to meet your daily dry-camping life style.

If you want to continue living your regular life style (AC, Toaster, Elec coffee Pot...) no two ways about it, you will need a generator. If you can live without the AC, and high powered gizmos, SOLAR could be an option. Either way, you need to do a lot of research on each method.
Just my thoughts
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:06 AM   #5
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X2 on what Don said and one of the first things in my thread as well. You have to figure out exactly what you want to use before you spend a dime. There is a lot of people out there ready to take your money. Take your time and do the research. Design the set up that works for your specific needs.

If you read the "12 volt side of life" it has tables listing the amount of draw from various devices and how to convert that into amp hours. These can be a helpful guide in beginning to understand how much power you may need.


It does not have to be expensive.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:04 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the great information. We have a lot to learn...
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