Does an inverter make sense? (2023)

Topic: Does an inverter make sense?Posted By: sofar-sogoodon 03/07/11 10:18amJust ordered a toy hauler and was considering adding some battery capacity and an inverter to minimize generator/propane use. Also wondering if the 12V coming from the tow vehicle is enough to help charge the batts and if the inverter idea is worthwhile? Posted By: AB6FCon 03/07/11 10:28amI would say yes to added batteries and an inverter, but that is me. It depends on how much you really use AC. If it is 15 mins per trip, i would say no, if it is all the time, then I would rather have the inverter and even some solar 2010 Berkshire 390BH
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Does an inverter make sense? (1)Posted By: time2rollon 03/07/11 10:32amWhat do you plan to run from the inverter?
Camp a few times first and see if it makes sense for your style. 2001 F150 SuperCrew
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675w Solar pictures back up Posted By: fly-boyon 03/07/11 10:33amThe 12 volt off the tow vehicle will charge the batteries but only very slowly- certainly not an efficient way to charge unless you are already towing the unit some place.

I have a built in 3000 watt inverter and it is a waste IMO- even if you have 4 six volt batteries. In the long run it is cheaper to just run the generator- If you want to conserve some fuel and have it pretty quiet get a small Honda gennie.

Now if you put a really big premium on solitude and absolute peacefulness the inverter makes some sense but you need to combine it with a significant amount of solar capacity. Other wise you have to charge the batteries by starting a gennie anyhow.

If I had it to do over I would forget the inverter and spend the $$$ on a Honda gennie- then you have a fairly quiet and inexpensive backup power source.

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A few toys... Posted By: dedmistonon 03/07/11 10:40amDon't expect much of a charge from your tow vehicle. In fact, many pickups come without a fuse in the "trailer charge" position in the fuse block. So you might not be getting any charge whatsoever. So check that.

But the amount of juice going to your trailer isn't what you'd expect.

Fly-boy brought up what I think is the most important point about inverters: how much do you like/hate the noise from the gen. My wife HATES it when I run the gen. So we have four 6-volt batteries and watch our power consumption. But it takes awhile to top off the batteries, so we still run the gen for a few hours a day. (I try to "accidentally" turn it on before we leave for a ride to get a few hours of charge without bugging the wife...)

Before you shop for an inverter, figure out what you want it to run. A common mistake is to get too big of an inverter. I go ape when I see my son charging his DS game with the inverter. It takes way more juice to run the inverter than it does to charge his game. (Plus he has a car charger in the truck.)

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Posted By: skipncharon 03/07/11 12:24pmWouldn't be without one but keep in mind "what you take out of the batteries has to be put back in" so not likely it'll cut down on generator use that much. It WILL give you the ability to use AC power during non generator hours but still got to run that generator to put it back in again. How well your tow vehicle does in charging the batteries depends completely on the tow vehicle. How much alternator power it has and the wire size going to the plug. 2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR -
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Does an inverter make sense? (2)

Posted By: christopherglennon 03/07/11 02:54pman inverter to run the tv/satellite & microwave makes sence to save fuel in the generator. Running the ac off an inverter will take much longer to recharge the batteries then the ac ran. 300 watts from the TV into the batteries is more then you should expect, lots of losses in the wiring. 2007 Chevrolet 3500 CC/LB Duramax/Dually 4X4 Mine r4tech, Reese Signature Series 18k +slider, duratrac, Titan 62 gallon, diamond eye, Cheetah 64
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Does an inverter make sense? (3)Posted By: jim87vetteon 03/07/11 02:54pmIf you boondock a lot then yes.Do your research on this as their are so many variables? 08 GMC 3500 Dually Duramax
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04 Gearbox 335FS 5er 14k wet Posted By: pianotunaon 03/07/11 07:08pmHi,

I love my 2500 watt inverter. I do not even carry a generator. My ideal inverter would be 3600 watts pure sine wave.

Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start. Posted By: McKenziekon 03/07/11 07:57pmAgree with most of what has been said especially about spending a weekend dry camping without one. Keep track of how much you run the generator and how annoyed you are by the noise especially at night when you might be watching TV.

I think you can cut your generator use 50% with an inverter if it includes a fast high capacity charger. And this figure can be increased if you add a significant solar panel charging system. It will eliminate the 2 minute runs just to use the microwave, the toaster, or the blow dryer.

I personally wouldn't camp without one, IMO it makes boondocking more enjoyable

2005 Monaco Diplomat Posted By: jbbrickon 03/07/11 08:05pmI installed an 1800w Xantrex in my MH, also did it in my last one. I rewired the panel so that the inverter hots up all the outlets except for the refrig, ac, a few others. It's great to be able to microwave for a few minutes or plug in the computer for a bit. I rarely use the generator at all now. You'll love it, go for it. '06 Itasca Suncruiser 33'
2016 Ford Edge toad Posted By: 2btowedon 03/08/11 08:22pmI have a 2500w Magnum inverter charger that I installed from day one.At 1st had6- 6v for 5years.Main idea is that the charger is so much better than the stock charger.Programable to as high as 120 amps ,then 3-way charge ,then to auto float.Temp gauge on batts so know worry. Wired to sub-panel breaker then to main panel,except ac.Has worked very well, the Misses can watch TV charge phones,etc and its simple,push of a button..5 years latter and 2grandkids with us ..TV cmputers,lights on all the time,too much going out...sooo just bought small Yamaha to use so I dont have to run the Onan. My thought is ,if its just us we can go appx 4days on batts then charge like HHH,if its grandkids and toys run the Yamaha...soo it depends on amps out. 08 Ranger/sold/14 rzr900 4
08 Grizzly x2
06 400ex
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Does an inverter make sense? (4)Posted By: ljbsvton 03/08/11 08:53pmone 6 day trip, we put 27 hours on the generator to watch TV....
no more. I got a 400 watt inverter, just enough to power the TV/DVD and don't have to run the genny to watch TV - to me, its worth its weight in gold. 2011 F-250 6.7 Lariet CC/SB Loaded
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Does an inverter make sense? (5)Posted By: Pauljdavon 03/08/11 10:04pmI have a 100 watt inverter. It powers the tv great. If I need more juice than that I turn on the gen.

Everything else is 12 volt.

Posted By: jeffwson 03/09/11 08:57am

ljbsvt wrote:
Does an inverter make sense? (6)

I got a 400 watt inverter, just enough to power the TV/DVD and don't have to run the genny to watch TV - to me, its worth its weight in gold.

I also picked up a 400 watt inverter at amazon for $32 shipped - Works great for watching TV and charging the kids stuff. I run the honda 2000 for every thing else unless I need the AC.

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Posted By: Sandia Manon 03/09/11 04:13pmIt really depends on what you want to use it for but a 300-400 watt inverter is very handy when wanting to watch a movie, some news, or video games for the kids without having to crank up the genny. It is an easy and affordable mod that can be extremely useful when the need arises. Posted By: deltabravoon 03/09/11 07:58pm

sofar-sogood wrote:
Does an inverter make sense? (7)
Also wondering if the 12V coming from the tow vehicle is enough to help charge the batts

Generally speaking, it's not, unless major wiring upgrades are done on the tow rig and between the battery bank and umbilical cord, but the cord still is the limiting factor as it has only 10 or 12 AWG wire.

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