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 > When on inverter am I using the batteries?

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Tinstar

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Posted: 02/05/18 07:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK, that's exactly what I needed.

Thanks folks.


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valhalla360

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Posted: 02/05/18 11:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

msturtz wrote:

You are using shore power. The inverters have an internal transfer switch to automatically switch from inverter power to shore or generator power.


For others coming across this thread, it depends on the inverter and how it's wired in.

The specific model the OP has includes the automatic bypass switch not all inverters include this and it's possible, it wasn't wired in (unlikely but possible)

If you have an inverter that doesn't automatically bypass, it's actually fine to leave it on. Assuming it's a good quality true sine wave inverter and you have a charger that can keep up (air/con would need big units), it actually makes a nice power conditioner. The park power may have low voltage, brownouts and spikes. Within reason, the charger won't care and the batteries absorb the spikes and fill in the low spots. Then the inverter puts out near perfect 120v-60hz power to the outlets.


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Noel

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Posted: 02/06/18 08:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awhile back I was on shore power and decided to exercise the generator. Forget the details, but I think a circuit breaker popped in my incoming 120v box inside the RV shed. Now I disconnect shore power before running generator.

My Xantrex 2000 has a power-sharing feature. Not sure what happened. No harm done......but has anybody run their generator when plugged in to shore power ?


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pianotuna

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Posted: 02/06/18 09:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are a few inverter/chargers that allow dual 120 volt shore or generator sources to be used together, blending the power. These tend to be quite expensive. (3k and up). They tend to have all the bells and whistles.

One step down from that are inverter/chargers that allow load support, which may blend power from shore and battery bank.

On the second step down, there are some that will switch from shore to battery bank for starting up loads. It is unclear to me which are which.

A very few inverters are also solar charge controllers. I'd look closely at one of these for the future, if my current Magnum 3012 hybrid should fail (again).

There is a "new kid on the block" inverter from Magnum that uses grid tied inverters and a line voltage inverter to eliminate using a charge controller. Of course, it is intended for large installations--but would save about a thousand dollars on doing a solar install.

Finally there are plain Jane inverters.

Unless load support is a desired feature, it is better financially to have a good stand alone inverter mated to a good converter or battery charger.

Can anyone add to this list of inverter/charger types? (Please I'm truly interested, not trying to be a "smart ass")


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Mile High

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Posted: 02/06/18 09:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:


One step down from that are inverter/chargers that allow load support, which may blend power from shore and battery bank.


We have the second one here on your list - a Powerline EMS and Magnum 2812 Inverter. I didn't know it worked that way until I was educated on another forum and then found it in the manual. Pretty cool stuff [emoticon]


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MrWizard

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Posted: 02/06/18 10:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's happen before, with other members
Usually with more extensive and expensive repair costs

Always always unplug shore power before starting generator

Turn off shut down generator before plugging into shore power

I 'harp' on this, I'm adamant about it, it's prevents damage and is a safety issue
But some people disagree
Until the flying Sparks, happens to them


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msturtz

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Posted: 02/06/18 02:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

msturtz wrote:

You are using shore power. The inverters have an internal transfer switch to automatically switch from inverter power to shore or generator power.


For others coming across this thread, it depends on the inverter and how it's wired in.

The specific model the OP has includes the automatic bypass switch not all inverters include this and it's possible, it wasn't wired in (unlikely but possible)

If you have an inverter that doesn't automatically bypass, it's actually fine to leave it on. Assuming it's a good quality true sine wave inverter and you have a charger that can keep up (air/con would need big units), it actually makes a nice power conditioner. The park power may have low voltage, brownouts and spikes. Within reason, the charger won't care and the batteries absorb the spikes and fill in the low spots. Then the inverter puts out near perfect 120v-60hz power to the outlets.


In 99% of the lower end motorhomes the inverters and most combined inverter converters have automatic transfer switches that will select external power when available. This is separate and distinct from the generator automatic transfer switch. In general there is an automatic transfer switch between shore power and the generator (some coach manufacturers bias the generator power when available) and then power is routed to the inverter incoming AC power supply inputs (not the DC side) if power is present on the incoming AC supply line for the inverter that closes an internal relay which turns off the inverter circuit and disconnects the inverter power circuits from the coach. This means the power provided to those outlets is provided by incoming shore power. There are a few variations that are very uncommon some especially older coaches had designated “inverter only” outlets that were only powered by the inverter. This method is very common in the towable market because they generally don’t have onboard generators. Another uncommon system is to have a phase locked paralleled inverter system. These combination inverter converters are generally referred to as “hybrid” inverter systems that will sync their line phase to the incoming AC if available. The inverter and associated EMS system manage the demand by load shedding. This means the inverter may come online and start powering certain circuits if the instant demand exceeds the available AC power supplied. For example, if a coach has 3 15K BTU AC units and the customer starts running the microwave the EMS system may direct the hybrid inverter to start powering the microwave by drawing power from the batteries at the same time it commands the battery charger (also called a converter) to stop charging. This is especially useful if the coach is plugged into a 15, 20, or 30 AMP shore power connection and 50 AMP split phase power is not available. These systems are generally only available on very high end coaches. It is also important to note that most inverters on most coaches provide square wave otherwise known as modified sine wave power not pure sinewave power. Many things do not work well with MSW power.


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msturtz

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Posted: 02/06/18 02:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MrWizard wrote:

It's happen before, with other members
Usually with more extensive and expensive repair costs

Always always unplug shore power before starting generator

Turn off shut down generator before plugging into shore power

I 'harp' on this, I'm adamant about it, it's prevents damage and is a safety issue
But some people disagree
Until the flying Sparks, happens to them


This should never ever happen with a properly configured coach. For very old coaches or ones with suspect or incorrect wiring it is absolutely possible to have a problem. However, stopping the generator or turning off the inverter is masking the underlying problem which is very dangerous. The only way for what you describe to happen would be if the coach were mis-wired or had seriously defective transfer switches. A common cause of this is a mis-wired neutral line. The neutral line for a “self-derived system” is bonded to ground at a single point. This is called a NG bond. However, when the coach is connected to shore power it (by NEC code) cannot have a NG bond because that NG bond is done at the central electrical panel. In the NEC the ground line is never to be a “current carrying” conductor. It is only to be used for a safety ground to prevent shocks caused by miswiring or defective equipment. The generator transfer switch has the required NG bond as does the internal transfer switch inside inverters. If a coach has a generator that “sparks” or “causes damage” when the coach is connected to shore power then by definition that would mean at a minimum dangerous voltages would be present at the EXPOSED end of the shore power cord while the generator is running. This is very dangerous indeed and not due to the shore power connection. The same thing occurs with a mis-wired or defective inverter. The solution to the problem is not to do gymnastics such as turning off all other sources of power when switching it is to correct the underlying wiring problem. Some inexpensive inverters use a method that will cause 120 VAC to be present on the neutral line and 0 VAC on the "hot" line. This is to simulate a negative voltage on the positive side. The reason for this is it is much less expensive to create an oscillating positive voltage rather than create a negative voltage on the hot line as is normally required for AC power. Again, if there is a incorrectly NG bond this can mean that the chassis is actually "hot" during inverter operation. This is a very bad situation indeed. Finally, a mis-wired coach plus a mis-wired shore power connection can create a hot skin condition and that can cause problems as well. It is best to invest in a protection system to prevent that sort of issue.

* This post was edited 02/06/18 02:52pm by msturtz *

devildog1971

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Posted: 02/06/18 08:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If your inverter is off will your batteries still charge? I am new to the class A R V they are a lot different from the truck campers I have had until now. sorry to cut into the thread but maybe the op might need to know also.

msturtz

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Posted: 02/06/18 09:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

devildog1971 wrote:

If your inverter is off will your batteries still charge? I am new to the class A R V they are a lot different from the truck campers I have had until now. sorry to cut into the thread but maybe the op might need to know also.


It depends on the make and model of the inverter / converter. On coaches that have an inverter and a separate converter (common on Class C and Class A gas rigs) then the converter will charge the batteries with the inverter off. On coaches that have a combination inverter converter (common on Super Class C and Class A diesel rigs) then it depends on the model and configuration. Usually you can turn off the inverter part while leaving the charger part operating. There is usually a control panel that allows this. How to tell what you have is easy. Look for the inverter control if it has no buttons or controls that say anything about charging then you have a stand alone inverter. The combination units tend to be larger and usually are wired to all the outlets on the coach. Typically the stand alone ones are wired to only one or two outlets. You can tell by disconnecting from shore power with the inverter on and the generator off check several outlets. If they all have power then you probably have a combination unit. The standalone ones usually only power the TV and possibly a residential refrigerator.

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