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RE: 50 Amp Receptacle to Inverter

I've been struggling to find good information on inverters. Do you have any recommendations for quality pure sine wave inverters at that wattage? I'd need one with the hard wire terminal. I'm not really up on specific brands, sorry, beyond generally hearing good things about the major well-known brands such as Samlex, Xantrex, Go Power, etc.
DrewE 04/03/20 07:46pm Tech Issues
RE: 50 Amp Receptacle to Inverter

This is definitely one area where, at least to some extent, you get what you pay for. A $300 pure sine wave 3000W inverter is either going to be significantly overspecified (not capable of putting out anywhere near its rated output continuously), or not actually pure sine wave, or very poorly constructed with sometimes dubious safety. Anyhow, wiring the hot output of the inverter to both hots of the 50A receptacle for your shore power cord is apropriate and is what the 30A to 50A adapters do. There's no inherent safety issues with that wiring setup.
DrewE 04/03/20 03:43pm Tech Issues
RE: What meal to cook next

Pulled pork--very easy in a crock pot. Take the cheapest chunk/roast of pork you can find (that fits in your crock pot), finely chop an onion or two, and cover them with ginger ale. Slow cook for eight hours or so. Dump the contents into a strainer or collander, put the meat in a big bowl, and pull it apart with a couple of forks, of course discarding any bones or obvious big blobs of fat but most of that melts away into the liquid. Mix in some barbecue sauce or whatever sauce you want, pop it back in the crock pot, and heat through for an hour or two. Delicious! Lots of great leftovers for sandwhiches or mac and cheese or whatever. Cooking a sort of hotdish on the stovetop with rice and whatever meat/seafood/vegetables are handy is another easy meal. In a large frypan or, preferably, a saute pan (sligthly deeper with more vertical sides and a lid), stir-fry your meat and firmer vegetables (and onions if you like) until at least partly done. Add a cup of rice, two cups of water, a bullion cube, seasonings, and other veggies, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low heat for fifteen minutes. All the flavors kind of meld together somewhat. Most recently I used chicken, part of a leek, a tomato, some broccoli, half a jalapeño (it was a pretty hot one), and peas, if memory serves.
DrewE 04/03/20 12:08pm Around the Campfire
RE: 12v outlet question

So I'm just sayin, but I used this inverter in my last rv's 12v outlet under the tv that was about 13' from the batteries for the last 4 yrs with no problems. That does suggest that your TV uses a lot less than 600 watts. Any halfway modern TV will use a lot less than 600 watts. Something around 25-50 watts is probably more typical, depending on screen size, etc.
DrewE 04/02/20 09:37pm General RVing Issues
RE: Charge Controller/Converter issue?

Most portable generators do not have the ground wire bonded to the neutral wire, and indeed have the output floating with respect to ground. (This ground is also rarely an earth ground since one doesn't tend to install or attach to a grounding rod, but that's immaterial). AC appliances only get power from the hot and neutral lines, so the voltage there is all that matters for their operation. 120V there is normal. Seeing 65V between the ground pin and hot and neutral just indicates that the ground line, not really connected to anything, is tending to float about halfway with respect to the power lines, and that's about what one might expect. If you use one of the three light outlet testers, it will indicate open ground, which is also expected since the ground and neutral are not bonded together, which is what it is actually detecting. ("Bonding" in this discussion simply means having the two lines shorted together at their source; in a house, this generally happens at the service entrance or the main electric panel. In an RV with a built-in generator, the built-in generator bonds the neutral and ground lines at the built-in generator, but portable generators usually don't have a bonded output for electrical code reasons that don't really matter here.) Your fan problem is unrelated to these 65V measurements.
DrewE 04/02/20 11:21am Tech Issues
RE: 12v outlet question

Easiest probably would be to remove the existing plug (if any) and wire to the battery. Yes, you need a fuse a close to the battery as reasonably practical to protect against fire in case of a short in the wiring to the inverter. (The inverter presumably has a DC fuse or fuses to protect it from catching fire in the event of an overload or fault.) Any connector rated for at least 50A would be suitable to use, but you'd still need wiring to connect between the one connector and the battery, and a fuse to protect that wiring. Using standard AC electrical connectors is not recommended due to the possibility of someone mixing things up accidentally at some point. One example of a fairly readily available connector that would be entirely suitable is the SMH SY50. A 12V lighter plug is limited to somewhere in the vicinity of 10A or so, and would be ill suited for running the inverter at full rated power. For a low draw, such as many TVs, it should be usable but not ideal; they tend to be a bit unreliable at times.
DrewE 04/02/20 11:12am General RVing Issues
RE: Jensen 212T Radio Problem

Some car radios have a reset button somewhere on the front panel, often inside a little hole that you have to poke an unbent paper clip or something similar into. If yours has that, try doing that reset operation. If all you want is a plain radio, they're dirt cheap these days. A few years ago I upgraded my motorhome radio from the original one (with its cassette player) to a new one that cannot play cassettes but does have an AUX in jack and bluetooth connectivity. The new radio was all of $20 at Wal-Mart. It's certainly not superior quality, and its LCD display is sometimes a bit flakey, but works well enough for my needs.
DrewE 04/01/20 09:57am Class A Motorhomes
RE: The perfect RV campground

^ for what its worth that parking lot above is as far from what im looking for as possible. see no advantage to my driveway and it costs me money. In many cases, it's the location. I've stayed in at least one noticeably tighter than the picture, but it was in downtown Dawson City, Yukon, within easy walking distance of lots of stuff I wanted to see. More room would have been nice, but having a site available when I got there because they packed as many in as they could was even better.
DrewE 03/30/20 10:41am Family Camping
RE: Battery Charging Problem ***UPDATE***

Lets say a new motorhome with a smart charging system also included a battery combiner that connected the chassis battery and the house bank when the engine is running. Would the ECM still see the chassis battery as fully charged and drop the alternator voltage before both are fully charged? Yes the ECM "sees" the chassis battery and drops the alternator voltage. Yes and no. The ECM sees the voltage at the chassis battery. Provided the two batteries are connected with a low enough resistance connection, the voltage will be practically the same at both batteries, and the ECM will see that same voltage and not deem the battery to be charged and drop the voltage until both are at whatever it thinks is fully charged. Not all motorhomes have a connection between them with a low enough resistance for this to work too well. That could be because the wire is insufficiently heavy, or there's a poor connection somewhere, or in some cases because an auto-resetting circuit breaker is clicking on and off (and, of course, has a very high resistance in the off state). The greater the resistance is in the connection, the greater the voltage drop will be to the house batteries, and the more prematurely the charge voltage will drop.
DrewE 03/30/20 10:38am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Battery Charging Problem ***UPDATE***

I was thinking about long term storage in the future without shore power, I was going to try a Trik L Start but thought it might eventually run down both house AND chassis batteries while parked, not plugged in to shore power, while parked long term. It seems to me that the chassis battery will eventually deplete the house bank unless you also have solar in place. The Trik-L-Start won't do that, at least not to any appreciable extent, because it only charges the chassis battery when the house battery voltage is above a certain threshold (I think high enough that the house battery is actually being charged). Otherwise, it's basically an open circuit. I guess the LED indicator would consume a few milliamps. Without some source of energy, your batteries will run themselves down eventually (self-discharge) even with nothing attached--relatively quickly in warm temperatures, more slowly in cold temperatures. For long term storage, there's basically no way around needing solar or something to keep them charged.
DrewE 03/30/20 06:49am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Best route for surface conditions

Both the routes you're considering are okay, in my estimation. I-86 to I-88 has less traffic generally (particularly as you don't have to go through Scranton et al in eastern PA) and in my opinion is a bit more scenic. It has, in years past, had some pretty rough areas of pavement, but most of them, at least the worst bits, have been repaired in the last several years and it's not too terrible now. I-80 on the whole is probably a bit better maintained, I-81 maybe a hair less so just because of the traffic it gets, and I-84 through PA and NY is miserably rough. Once in MA, I-84 is now fine although normally busy.
DrewE 03/29/20 03:45pm Roads and Routes
RE: Need owner’s manual for my 1987 elite 33’ diesel

A little bit more detailed information on what isn't working or what you think is messed up would be helpful. As a basic start, understand that the RV basically has two separate electrical systems: the 120V AC system, and the 12V DC system. The 120V system powers the 120V outlets and whatever is plugged into them, the air conditioner, the microwave, the electric water heater, the fridge heating element when in electric mode (assuming you have an absorption fridge), and maybe a couple other things--though not every device listed would necessarily exist in every RV. The 12V system, on the other hand, powers the lights, the water pump, the controls for the fridge (in both propane and electric mode), the gas water heater controls, the exhaust fans, slideouts and electric steps, and most everything else electrical. There is a device called a converter that is, at its heart, not much different from a battery charger; it provides 12V power from 120V power when plugged into shore power or using a generator, and also charges the 12V battery as it does so. There may be an inverter, as well, to convert 12V power into (limited) 120V power, and sometimes the inverter and converter are combined into an inverter/charger. Most simpler and/or older RVs don't have an inverter as standard equipment. If this is a motorhome, there's a third electrical system for the vehicle stuff--starting the engine, running the headlights, that sort of thing. There's some sort of a scheme by which the vehicle electrical system can charge the (house) 12V system when the engine is running. As part of the 12V system, there's usually a shut-off or battery disconnect switch. In general you would want to leave that in the "on" or connected state. For longer-term storage, it's usually better to physically disconnect the battery if you have no way of keeping it charged than to rely on the disconnect switch that quite often does not disconnect quite everything. Hope that overview helps some. As I said above, feel free to post with specific problems or difficulties and there are plenty of people here who can help.
DrewE 03/29/20 03:31pm Class A Motorhomes
RE: Interstate and other roadside Rest Areas - Open or Closed?

Vermont: parking areas open, buildings closed, porta-potties deployed.
DrewE 03/29/20 09:45am Roads and Routes
RE: IL to VT Any news on my preferred route?

It also seems to me that route should be fine. I'd likely go I-71 to I-90 to I-86 to I-88 myself, but that's just personal preference and nothing more. Safe travels.
DrewE 03/28/20 03:07pm Roads and Routes
RE: Battery Charging Problem ***UPDATE***

The solenoid is a kind of battery isolator. The system is quite simple conceptually: there's a relay (the solenoid) that connects a wire between the two batteries when the engine is running. Often this is done simply by powering the solenoid from a run circuit on the vehicle, similar to other accessories like the windshield wipers. If you can find the solenoid (which is occasionally a bit hidden), it shouldnt' be too hard of a task to sort out where the fault is: whether the solenoid itself is bad, or a connection to it, or a wire or fuse or something similar.
DrewE 03/28/20 02:55pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Power center problem

Are you reading the voltage across the fuse terminals (or where the fuse would go)? If so, having a very high resistance on the load side, nearly an open circuit, would make your meter show something other than 12V. Having an entirely open circuit would result in basically no reading as there's no path to ground. Slightly more useful is to check the voltage from the source side of the fuse to a known ground point; they should all be at (nominal) +12V and all be the same. Since a meter doesn't provide any significant load, though, it doesn't tell you much beyond there's some connection there; in particular, it tells nothing about how good that connection is.
DrewE 03/28/20 12:50pm Tech Issues
RE: 12V heater run straight from solar panel

What if I bought 5 of these, wired them in parallel, and mounted them on a board? PRODUCT LINK At 12V, Ohm's law says that 1.2A would flow through each one, which means a dissipation of a bit under 15W each. Total wattage would be around 150W. To get 50W power dissipation, the applied voltage would have to be a bit over 22V. According to the resistor data sheet, with no heat sink (i.e. mounted on a board), rated dissipation is 14W. To dissipate 50W each you must have a heat sink to keep their temperature reasonable. In either case they ought to be mounted on something that can take the heat; a wooden board would not be the wisest choice in my estimation. $35 seems like a lot of money to spend for the anemic results you'd tend to get.
DrewE 03/26/20 03:29pm Tech Issues
RE: 12V heater run straight from solar panel

A big resistor that can dissipate a lot of power at 12V, sufficient to be a useful heater, is also a low-valued resistor, on the order of one ohm (approximately 150 watts). Making your own with resistance wire would probably be easier and less expensive than finding and affording a commercially produced resistor, marketed as such. Having a few coils wired in parallel is probably a good idea, too. I'd think, for heating with solar power, that a solar water heater (as in a black pipe in a reflective trough or something similar) and a radiator of some sort would be more efficient and effective overall. The cost would probably be lower, too.
DrewE 03/26/20 01:29pm Tech Issues
RE: Will fridge run off tow vehicle on batts on TT?

* just in case someone reading is a very newbie... propane fridges, or 2-way or 3-way fridges heat the gases to make the fridge cool. sounds backwards, but is how it works, so a DC heating element makes the fridge cool, or when on propane, the hot flame makes it cool. The 3rd way is a heating element that is AC household current, which if you run a generator this will work fine while driving. The DC and AC heating element probably are the same in one and run off either. The DC and AC elements are not the same element on three-way fridges, because the operating voltages are so widely different. A 300W 120V element has a nominal resistance of 48 ohms; a 300W 12V element has a nominal resistance of 0.48 ohms. To use the same element, the fridge would have to either step down the 120V power to 12V, or step up the 12V to 120V, or convert both to some common voltage, as well as having some circuitry to switch the element between the different supplies. It's simpler and cheaper to just have separate elements. (Very often, too, the 12V element is less powerful than the 120V element to keep the current consumption a little lower.)
DrewE 03/26/20 09:47am Tech Issues
RE: Converter and Battery Question

The battery can be grounded to the frame wherever it's convenient to do so. With a solar controller, that doesn't need to change for any reason; the battery negative side of the controller can likewise be connected to a convenient chassis ground location (not necessarily the same one as the battery). The frame does provide a good, low-impedance path for the current, provided the connections to it are good and clean and tight. You'd be hard-pressed to create a better, lower-impedance connection with a wire in most cases. Any halfway modern system will basically have the converter, the battery, and the DC fuse panel connected in parallel, ignoring the battery disconnect switch for the moment. This may be physicallly accomplished by having the converter connect to lugs on the DC distribution panel, basically making it be the junction point for all three, but electrically it's equivalent in theory. Others have the converter wired more or less directly to the battery lugs, or perhaps to some intermediate bus bar or other junction point. In any case, the converter does supply power not only to the battery but to the rest of the 12V system when plugged in, since they're all interconnected. A standard battery charger clamped to the battery would do the exact same thing, for the same reasons. You continue to have 12V power when unplugged simply because the battery is now carrying the load, and you have a working battery. The specific details of what connects together physically and in what locations is somewhat more variable than the basic electrical setup. Fiddling around with those connection points is perfectly reasonable, provided of course you employ appropriate electrical safety practices, such as making sure sufficient overcurrent protection (fuses) are there for the circuits you reroute. It is perhaps worth observing that modifying the converter connections may alter how the system behaves if the battery disconnect switch is used to disconnect the battery. If the converter is connected to the electric panel (or anywhere on that side of the switch), then it will power the 12V system when the battery is disconnected but not charge the battery. If it's on the battery side, then it would charge the battery but the 12V system for the RV would have no power. Neither one is especially desirable in most situations.
DrewE 03/26/20 09:39am Tech Issues
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