Inverter Installation - Luxury Coach Lifestyles
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:34 AM   #1
GORDON HUMMEL
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Default Inverter Installation

Just purchased a new inverter & looking for info on installation. My Newell was not built with one. Any special precautions one should lookout for? AC posts are +/- input, +/- output, & a single ground. It includes a 50amp transfer switch. Looks straight forward to me, but ............??


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Old 05-09-2008, 07:30 AM   #2
fulltiming
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Not sure what brand you have purchased or what size or features it has but a typical inverter is the Xantrex. Check here for a Xantrex manual with wiring diagrams starting on page 31.

I replaced my existing Heart inverter with a ProSine 2000 and had to install a subpanel which the original installation did not use (it used manually activated relays instead).

Make sure you use a good high current fuse and appropriate sized (LARGE) wire to the house battery bank. Those specs should be in the installation instruction information for the inverter. Try to mount the inverter as close as practical to the battery bank to minimize voltage drop.

Mount the subpanel as close to the main power panel as you can for ease of access. You will typically need to take a breaker sized to the inverter in the main panel and run a wire from that breaker to the inverter AC input. The inverter AC out goes to the subpanel. Move the items you want to be powered by the inverter to the subpanel. Remember that putting high draw items on the inverter will drain the battery bank in a hurry. Label the main power panel to note those circuits that have been moved to the subpanel.

Let us know if you have any specific questions we might answer for you.
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:21 PM   #3
GORDON HUMMEL
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Michael,
As always, thanks for the response. Electrically speaking, what is the difference in using a seperate subpanel, & using one leg in my existing panel for the inverter load? The ground & nuetral will still be tied together in both the main & subpanel, so why just not use one? Is there any concern with isolating the neutral/grounds?
My inverter is a Ecostar 4.8k pure sine wave w/load sharing & a 150 amp 5 stage charger.
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:58 PM   #4
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The reason for the subpanel is to isolate those items that will be fed from the inverter. You don't want two sources feeding the main panel, i.e. shorepower and battery power that has been inverted to 120 volts AC. Therefore, you have to install a subpanel to take power from the inverter to specific circuits. Now IF you had a pair of 6500 watt inverters (and a gigantic battery bank) you could in theory run the entire coach off of the inverters. Otherwise the subpanel isolates those circuits you want to power from the batteries. The newer inverters have a built in transfer switch to allow them to use shorepower (the AC in posts on the inverter) when it is available to feed the subpanel. When you remove shorepower, the transfer switch in the inverter instantly changes over to the batteries and converts the 12 volts DC to 120 volt AC to continue feeding the circuit in the subpanel through the AC out posts on the inverter).

With a 4.8K inverter you are going to need a LOT of batteries if you attempt to sustain anywhere near that load. I have a pair of 8D AGM house batteries and if I don't turn my separate icemaker off, I can bring those batteries down in 4-6 hours to the point that I need to start the generator. Newell originally wired my coach such that the icemaker would run off the inverter ONLY when the engine was running to constantly recharge the batteries. I did not wire it that way when I installed the new inverter/charger.

Oh, you didn't ask but I would leave the original battery boiler in place if you have the room. The new inverter/chargers do a better job of controlling the recharge of the batteries BUT if the batteries really get badly discharged, they will not bring them back to life the way the old single stage chargers will. Just unplug the old charger from the AC outlet and it will be disabled until someday when you need it.
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:28 PM   #5
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Thanks again, but I'm still confused. My inverter has the auto transfer switch. In the original panel, there are 2 vertical strips that the circuit breakers attach to. If I supply inverted power to one of those strips, then just the circuit breaker that are attached to that strip will be powered. The other strip is isolated. I know I must be missing something, because it seems to simple.
Thanks for the advise on the old converter. Mine is a Magnetek 75 amp, but only states 7.5amp charging. Is it possible to use the converter to run the 12v stuff , rather than using the charger on my inverter?
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:48 AM   #6
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Your loads should be balanced as well as possible between the two 50 amp legs. What I believe you are suggesting is to take one leg of the coach's 50 amp circuit and run it directly to the inverter than run the inverter out back to the power than leg. The disadvantage to this approach is you would either have things you don't want powered off the inverter, such as electric heaters and air conditioners OR you would have to reshuffle the load and put all of those items on the opposite leg and that would not be good for 'normal' load balancing.

I have not looked at the circuit on the charger/converter (very hard to access on my coach) but I would doubt that you could disable the charger component without disabling the converter component also.
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Old 05-13-2008, 12:03 AM   #7
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Michael,
To be honest I did not think of the load balancing issue. While there will be some items on the converter powered leg that the converter will not support, if not turned on it should not be a problem. The rear air, ice maker & front TV are the items that I would want to run off the inverter. Yes, I will need a large battery bank ! I have included a spredsheet indicating the "as built" & what I am changing. I was quite surprised to see the imbalance from the factory.
In obtaining amperage rating from the various component, I had to take the grill off the ice maker. While laying on the floor, I could see the condenser, and it was totally covered in lint. I guess after 17 years things needed cleaning. My ice maker worked fine before, but this cleaning has to help. I mention this as you had indicated your ice maker only worked for 1 hour off the inverter, which at 2.7 amps 120vac seems very short given your inverter & battery bank
Thanks again
Gordon
PS the spreadsheet is to large to upload, so I will just send the totals

...............AS BUIlT----------------------PROPOSED
COOLING..............HEATING----------COOLING.............HEATING
A...........B...........A............B--------A..........B...........A...........B
AMPS
68.8.......28.8.......66..........51.2-----56.6.......41.........54.4.......63.4
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:42 AM   #8
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Please give us some insight into what you are trying to accomplish. It is certainly easy enough to add a sub-panel for the inverter. I am surprised that you have acquired such a large inverter.

I indicated that 4-6 hours with the ice maker, in addition to my other loads would pull down my 2-8D batteries. There are a number of loads on most coaches that can be noticeable. For example, lights, computers, TV's, satellite receivers, the DC power to a propane refrigerator, as well as coffee makers, hair dryers, microwave ovens used for a few minutes at a time conspire to suck current out of the battery bank quickly (and heavy power draws such as coffee makers, hair dryers and microwaves are typically limited to use one at a time with the other loads on the inverter).

It appears that you are proposing potentially running an air-conditioner or electric heaters off the batteries. Although running an AC unit off the inverter has been done on some Marathon Prevost conversions although they are using 24 volt systems, it requires a significant increase in the number of batteries and a significant upgrade to alternator capacity to effectively meet the loads when the engine is running and to recharge all those batteries if the units are run when the engine is not running. Driving down the road with the air conditioner powered from batteries will work but needs an alternator sized to handle the load being placed on the batteries by the inverter. A friends Marathon has 6-8D house batteries and a 270 amp 24 volt alternator.

A new all electric Newell uses a pair of 2800 watt inverters, 6-8D house batteries, 2-8D starting batteries, a 400 amp alternator and a 20kw generator. Certainly if enough money is thrown at additional batteries, larger wiring, larger alternators, etc, it can be done but large loads run for an extended period of time, such as heaters and air conditioners are the reason 12.5kw - 20kw generators are used.

I am confused as to why you would want to be able to draw 40+ amps AC through an inverter from your batteries unless you have a 120 volt residential refrigerator. Your chart indicates you could be drawing as much as 57 to 64 amps through one leg which would be feed from your inverter. Certainly even your 4.8kw inverter would not support that load without tripping it's internal breaker.

EDIT:
As an example of the load of one air conditioners, my coach has two 8D AGM batteries. These batteries are rated at 250 amp-hrs each. In parallel, these would provide 500 amp-hrs. Since you don't want to draw down a battery bank past about 50%, this is a usable 250 amp-hrs of 12 volt power. Assuming 100% efficiency from the inverter, which it isn't, that would provide 25 amp-hrs of 120 volt AC power. A single air condition using approximately 13 amps at 120 volts would run for less than 2 hours with NO other loads on the inverter before needing to recharge the batteries. Adding additional batteries will extend the operational period but then the issue of recharge comes into play necessitating increasing the alternator size proportionally. I hope that helps some.
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Old 06-01-2008, 03:10 PM   #9
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Gordon, during the past few weeks there have been several threads on the Wandlerlodge Forum about running air conditioner(s) off of the inverter(s). With 8 batteries and at least a 300 amp alternator, they are indicated that it appears doable.
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Old 06-29-2008, 09:36 PM   #10
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I got delayed on installing my inverter, but planning to do it this week. Today I was planning the location & wire layout. Looks like there is room under the foot of the bed & that would put it close to the batteries.

2 questions

In the right rear there is an electrical panel. Between the engine & chassis disconnect switches there is a ? with the label "inverter" under it. I removed the 2 screws attaching it but it would not move. I took the top of the compartment off & using a mirror to look @ the wiring, it appears battery cables are attached to this ? To those of you with a factory installed inverter, is this possibly where an inverter disconnect swithch is mounted?

Secondly, there is a wire run on the floor in the bedroom on the left hand side, from just above the AC cord compartment, forward to the closet containing the breaker box. It is carpeted. I am trying to remove it to run additional wires. I have looked for screws to no avail. Gently tried a pry bar, but no luck!

Any advise

Gordon
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