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I just bought a 2001 Komfort 24fs fifth wheel, I am fairly handy, I had to put in a new floor in the slide out, I want to add solar, I found a red and wht. 10ga wire "cut ends" in a loom by itself next to the battery compartment in the basement, I also found 2 of the same "4 wires" under the sink just wires in a loom and cut ends, they do not go to the 12v system or ground, they do not go to each other unless I am missing a cut off switch somewhere, my question is did Komfort wire for future inverter / solar? if so where do they go? any help is appreciated.
PS, I did check continuity for all wires mentioned to each other and ground and for voltage.

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2 hours ago, tigergriz said:

...did Komfort wire for future inverter / solar?

Welcome!

Not in the least likely. More likely is an aftermarket install and "could" (based on the wire gauge and location) have been a solar install. Using the reefer vent for a wire run from the roof is common so seeing wire ends under the sink could have been where a previous owner located his solar controller. I would check the roof for any remnant indications of having had solar panel brackets installed. Ie., wear outlines or caulked screw holes in a square or rectangular pattern. You might also check the reefer vent to see if there aren't wire ends tucked in there as well when/if panels were removed.

The other possibility might have been an inverter or EMS installation, but my guess would be leaning toward solar.

If I read correctly, and there is no continuity between the wires under the sink and the ones located in the battery compartment, I would imagine that the 4 wires under the sink were coming down from the panels on the roof to connect to the solar controller and the 2 wire ends from the battery compartment leading to the sink area have just yet to be discovered. Possibly pulled back from the sink area. Either that or the wires you found under the sink ran further to another terminus location.... another cabinet or even through to the basement.

Personally, I wouldn't use any of the existing wire for a new solar install. There is no telling how old they are, how they may have worn or what condition the insulation is in. I wouldn't pull them just yet until my own install was underway though. At the least, they may prove helpful in guiding new wire runs through to the basement, behind cabinets, etc.

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Welcome to the Escapee forums!

It isn't uncommon for RV manufacturers to use a standard wire harness that has wires for every available option so that all of the same models have the same harness and just leave the wires for options not installed in the harness. I have never come across any RV that came from the factory with wires in the harness for things a future owner might want to add. Since your RV is now 17 years old I would suspect that those extra wires were put there by some previous owner and that they did connect to things when that owner had the RV but he chose to remove the items before selling and just cut the wires in doing so. You will need to trace the wires out to be sure exactly where they go and that there are no loose ends before you use them for something new.

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20 hours ago, Yarome said:

Welcome!

Not in the least likely. More likely is an aftermarket install and "could" (based on the wire gauge and location) have been a solar install. Using the reefer vent for a wire run from the roof is common so seeing wire ends under the sink could have been where a previous owner located his solar controller. I would check the roof for any remnant indications of having had solar panel brackets installed. Ie., wear outlines or caulked screw holes in a square or rectangular pattern. You might also check the reefer vent to see if there aren't wire ends tucked in there as well when/if panels were removed.

The other possibility might have been an inverter or EMS installation, but my guess would be leaning toward solar.

If I read correctly, and there is no continuity between the wires under the sink and the ones located in the battery compartment, I would imagine that the 4 wires under the sink were coming down from the panels on the roof to connect to the solar controller and the 2 wire ends from the battery compartment leading to the sink area have just yet to be discovered. Possibly pulled back from the sink area. Either that or the wires you found under the sink ran further to another terminus location.... another cabinet or even through to the basement.

Personally, I wouldn't use any of the existing wire for a new solar install. There is no telling how old they are, how they may have worn or what condition the insulation is in. I wouldn't pull them just yet until my own install was underway though. At the least, they may prove helpful in guiding new wire runs through to the basement, behind cabinets, etc.

Thank you very much for the advice, it has been raining here but I do plan on checking the roof and fridge vent spot, I have looked on the roof but it has a new coating so it does not show old solar panel wear, can you tell me the best way to get a look next to or behind the fridge? I don't see any obvious screws or brackets, but there must be a trick to releasing it?

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13 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

Welcome to the Escapee forums!

It isn't uncommon for RV manufacturers to use a standard wire harness that has wires for every available option so that all of the same models have the same harness and just leave the wires for options not installed in the harness. I have never come across any RV that came from the factory with wires in the harness for things a future owner might want to add. Since your RV is now 17 years old I would suspect that those extra wires were put there by some previous owner and that they did connect to things when that owner had the RV but he chose to remove the items before selling and just cut the wires in doing so. You will need to trace the wires out to be sure exactly where they go and that there are no loose ends before you use them for something new.

thank you, will do.

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2 hours ago, ALLOY said:

A tone generator is very useful tool.

 

 

Thank you for the tip, bought a fluke on eBay today :)

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On ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 11:40 PM, tigergriz said:

PS, I did check continuity for all wires mentioned to each other and ground and for voltage.

You done good. The first thing I would have done is similar. Check for line to line voltage, check for either line to frame ground voltage, check for frame ground continuity. Then look for any switches to see if toggling them changes any of the above???

 Since its 10 Gauge wire I doubt it was for any Battery to Inverter INPUT. Based on the wattage, it may be for panel down to a solar charge controller. While it may have been factory installed for an option that RV didn't use, I suspect it may have been added by a prior user. Its location and accessibility may provide as clue.

MY ADVICE if its not figured out is to tape off and insulate all the ends just to be safe.

 

John T

 

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14 hours ago, tigergriz said:

can you tell me the best way to get a look next to or behind the fridge?

When I ran wires down from the solar panel through the fridge top vent I routed them along the sidewalls so as NOT to interfere with venting and heat flow. With the fridges outside cover/vent open any extra wire entering up top should be in easy view. If they're down from the roof then lead to another location where a solar charge controller may be conveniently located and adequately vented, that's a good guess of their intended use.........I have used 10 Gauge (30+ amp rated)  wire when the runs were fairly short and the maximum continuous current was maybe 7 or so amps. 

John T

Edited by oldjohnt

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thank you guys for the help, I will have to check in the fridge access panel, and once I get the tone generator I will see if I can fallow them in the wall.

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On 4/16/2018 at 8:57 PM, ALLOY said:

A tone generator is very useful tool.

 

 

1

Alloy, very helpful tool, and tip, thank you, after re checking the wires with the probe and tone generator, I found my wife and I  must not have been making the connection with the extension cord and multimeter I used, I blame her, :) no I cant blame her, it was my circus and my monkeys :) I suspect the led light in the extension cord may have got me, anyway the wires, 8ga by the way, did indeed go from the basement battery area and in the wall to the kitchen under the sink and indeed the other pair went from under the sink inside the wall then up to the roof via the fridge vent, so I would have to say it looks like the wires were factory installed, and so I went forward with installing an additional pair of AGM 6volt batteries and fuses and a cutoff switch along with a 1,2, or both switch and a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter, solar panels go on the roof tomorrow, and I hope its OK I wanted to ask, if I cant isolate the 115v power to the converter to add a relay to shut it off when the inverter is on, can I put the relay on the output end the 12v side and stop it from charging there? or will it still suck to much power to have the converter on even if it is not charging, that is all depending on me finding the charge wire by itself in the basement?

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On 4/16/2018 at 6:18 AM, Kirk Wood said:

Welcome to the Escapee forums!

It isn't uncommon for RV manufacturers to use a standard wire harness that has wires for every available option so that all of the same models have the same harness and just leave the wires for options not installed in the harness. I have never come across any RV that came from the factory with wires in the harness for things a future owner might want to add. Since your RV is now 17 years old I would suspect that those extra wires were put there by some previous owner and that they did connect to things when that owner had the RV but he chose to remove the items before selling and just cut the wires in doing so. You will need to trace the wires out to be sure exactly where they go and that there are no loose ends before you use them for something new.

Thank you,

after re checking the wires with the probe and tone generator, I found my wife and I  must not have been making the connection with the extension cord and multimeter I used, I blame her, :) no I cant blame her, it was my circus and my monkeys :) I suspect the led light in the extension cord may have got me, anyway the wires, 8ga by the way, did indeed go from the basement battery area and in the wall to the kitchen under the sink and indeed the other pair went from under the sink inside the wall then up to the roof via the fridge vent, so I would have to say it looks like the wires were factory installed, and so I went forward with installing an additional pair of AGM 6volt batteries and fuses and a cutoff switch along with a 1,2, or both switch and a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter, solar panels go on the roof tomorrow.

Again, thank you for the help.

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The converter needs to be isolated on the 120 volt side.  It should be on its own circuit breaker (that could simply be turned off) or at least plugged into a single outlet were a switch could be installed to turn the outlet off.  This, of course, is assuming it is not built in as part of the 120 volt panel as I have seen in some travel trailers.

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Tiger, you ask

"I wanted to ask, if I cant isolate the 115v power to the converter to add a relay to shut it off when the inverter is on, can I put the relay on the output end the 12v side and stop it from charging there? or will it still suck to much power to have the converter on even if it is not charging, that is all depending on me finding the charge wire by itself in the basement? "

FWIW here are my thoughts:

1) YES if you like and choose for whatever reasons, you can shut off (relays or receptacles or otherwise) power to the Converter when its not in use or not needed, my 120 VAC distribution panel already had a dedicated circuit breaker feeding ONLY my converter, so its quite easy to turn it off and likewise, its an easy convenient location to tap into that converter branch circuit for switching/isolation or relay use type purposes. Mine is so easy to just flip the breaker no complicated relay circuits etc.

2) If I didn't want the converter to operate, my choice would be to shut off its 120 VAC power INPUT   NOT    leave it powered up running on idle and shut off its DC charging OUTPUT. NO it wont suck up significant power if idling with no loads and sure that will "work", its just my personal choice to shut off its 120 VAC input YOUR RV YOUR CHOICE NOT OURS. An argument for letting it idle is to keep it warm enough to stay dried out ????

3) If you're not plugged to shore power and using your inverter for certain selected limited loads and provided you're NOT powering up the entire RV (all depends on your inverter wiring methods and transfer system) there's a chance (Subject to your wiring method) there's no 120 VAC feeding the converter anyway when your dry camping and using the inverter.

4) Again the above depends on how you wire your inverter. Some (not all)  of the methods I've seen or used may be a) Plug the RV power cord direct to the inverters 120 VAC output (subject to RV and voltage) and switch and limit loads to match the inverter and its rating.  In that situation you would want to disable the converter when using the inverter.......................... b) Wire a small sub panel that serves those loads you want the inverter to operate and utilize a transfer method to switch between Utility or inverter power sources.......................c)  Wire and install convenient inverter fed receptacles at locations where you might unplug from the utility and plug instead to the inverter receptacle.

Your concern is well founded, you don't want the inverter to power up a converter to charge the batteries when operating on battery inverter power WELL DUH

I have a 2000 watt continuous PSW Inverter and adequate battery and solar power, but still for extended dry camping in order to preserve stored battery energy, I still use the inverter mainly for small electronics and phone and computer and TV and charging etc. NOT high power loads BUT THATS ALL YOUR CHOICE............ 

 

John T  Retired engineer and NOT any solar expert so no warranty, do as the "experts" say, not meeeeeeeeeeee. 

 

Edited by oldjohnt

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4 hours ago, oldjohnt said:

Tiger, you ask

"I wanted to ask, if I cant isolate the 115v power to the converter to add a relay to shut it off when the inverter is on, can I put the relay on the output end the 12v side and stop it from charging there? or will it still suck to much power to have the converter on even if it is not charging, that is all depending on me finding the charge wire by itself in the basement? "

FWIW here are my thoughts:

1) YES if you like and choose for whatever reasons, you can shut off (relays or receptacles or otherwise) power to the Converter when its not in use or not needed, my 120 VAC distribution panel already had a dedicated circuit breaker feeding ONLY my converter, so its quite easy to turn it off and likewise, its an easy convenient location to tap into that converter branch circuit for switching/isolation or relay use type purposes. Mine is so easy to just flip the breaker no complicated relay circuits etc.

2) If I didn't want the converter to operate, my choice would be to shut off its 120 VAC power INPUT   NOT    leave it powered up running on idle and shut off its DC charging OUTPUT. NO it wont suck up significant power if idling with no loads and sure that will "work", its just my personal choice to shut off its 120 VAC input YOUR RV YOUR CHOICE NOT OURS. An argument for letting it idle is to keep it warm enough to stay dried out ????

3) If you're not plugged to shore power and using your inverter for certain selected limited loads and provided you're NOT powering up the entire RV (all depends on your inverter wiring methods and transfer system) there's a chance (Subject to your wiring method) there's no 120 VAC feeding the converter anyway when your dry camping and using the inverter.

4) Again the above depends on how you wire your inverter. Some (not all)  of the methods I've seen or used may be a) Plug the RV power cord direct to the inverters 120 VAC output (subject to RV and voltage) and switch and limit loads to match the inverter and its rating.  In that situation you would want to disable the converter when using the inverter.......................... b) Wire a small sub panel that serves those loads you want the inverter to operate and utilize a transfer method to switch between Utility or inverter power sources.......................c)  Wire and install convenient inverter fed receptacles at locations where you might unplug from the utility and plug instead to the inverter receptacle.

Your concern is well founded, you don't want the inverter to power up a converter to charge the batteries when operating on battery inverter power WELL DUH

I have a 2000 watt continuous PSW Inverter and adequate battery and solar power, but still for extended dry camping in order to preserve stored battery energy, I still use the inverter mainly for small electronics and phone and computer and TV and charging etc. NOT high power loads BUT THATS ALL YOUR CHOICE............ 

 

John T  Retired engineer and NOT any solar expert so no warranty, do as the "experts" say, not meeeeeeeeeeee. 

 

Thank you John,

My old rv was much simpler, I could get right to the converter, it had it's own outlet so I used a relay and powered the entinre rv with the inverter but this rv I have yet to find the converter and as the main panel has no back side access I fear you are correct, it is built into the 120v main and as my 120v main is not marked correctly I do not trust it, I am hoping that when I pull out the main panel it will be easy to see how the converter is wired, if not, is there a simple way to tell what breaker operates the converter? 

And I do plan on wiring the inverter to power the entire trailer, so it seems like I saw an automatic switching mechanism so I don't fry my inverter when plugged into shore power can you recommend a reasonably priced one, I am planning on running 10ga s/o cord along the frame and tapping into the existing shore power cord in its j box under the sink my inverter has a remote switch and breakers in its outlets, thank you so much for the help.

Ken

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Ken,

"is there a simple way to tell what breaker operates the converter? "

 One "simple" way, if you have an idea where the converter is located, is to have someone flip breakers on and off while the other listens carefully to hear its buzz or hum sound it produces when on (If it makes such a noise that is like older cheaper units did) .............. Another way is to put a voltmeter on the battery and at rest (with no shore power to charge the battery letting it set for at least 30 minutes) if charged it should read around 12.6 volts BUT WHEN you power up and flip the correct breaker, the voltage should rise considerably, say at least 13 to 14 or so volts.............Similar with all the breakers off and letting the battery set at rest, if you power up when you flip the breaker that feeds the converter, have lights on and they should glow brighter when the converter is turned on. BUT WHAT HAPPENS IF MORE THEN THE CONVERTER IS ON A BRANCH CIRCUIT ??????????? have to figure that out yourself or we can later lol

One cheap easy and very simple way to changeover from utility shore power to the Inverter when dry camping, provided you power up the entire RV via cord to receptacle (I'm thinking a 30 amp RV here) and don't use an onboard genset, it to connect the inverters 120 VAC output to a 30 amp receptacle located say right in the power cords storage box, so if dry camping you plug the shore power cord to the inverter, but if at an RV park you plug the cord instead to the parks pedestal. Of course, you need to manually or via a relay turn the converter OFF when using the inverter. As far as the inverter, you could leave its 12 VDC input connected and let it idle with no 120 VAC output while on shore power or else disconnect (manual or relay) it from your battery. My inverter has a small remote on off switch I turn off when connected to shore power. 

Auto transfer versus manual plugging to the inverter or utility????  Sorry I cant get to mine but its a fairly inexpensive ( 4 x 6 metal box) auto transfer switch that normally connects the RV distribution panel to shore power, but if none is present and I crank up my genset (or you could use an inverter) after a time delay in which the genset (or an inverter)  produces power but there's no power from the utility, it switches to the genset. Still you need to disable the converter when running the inverter, either manually or using a relay.  

NOTE there's lots of ways to do this either manually or using relays and auto x fer switches, so the above IS ONLY ONE METHOD, not a treatise covering all possibilities. I'm sure it can ALL be accomplished automatically using xfer switches and relays but that's another whole thread and NOT any can of worms I want to open now lol   

If on the inverter you have to limit and/or switch or flip breakers so you don't over tax the inverters capacity.

Nuff said for now

John T

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Right off... the caveat: Everything John has told you is correct... as far as what is electrically "possible" and "doable" to one degree or another.

My personal opinion though is that, under the conditions discussed (stress that!), some of those options would be highly undesireable. Nothing catastrophic and it's certainly your choice how to run your own rig... and I think I understand what you're trying to accomplish, but would stongly advise against.

Getting to the crux of it... I "believe" what you are wanting is to have a fairly seamless switch-over from shore/genny power to internal inverter power... and/or have your inverter power loads if shore power were to fail... as uncomplicated and inexpensive as possible. Correct me as needed.

My personal opinion is that there is no way to have your entire cake... as I believe you are "wanting"... without installing a subpanel. Which, unfortunately, is not the least expensive option, but it is the only fully automated and able to accompish the ultimate goal. Not to mention that it's not especially cost prohibitive either. A bit more complicated, but it's a "one and done". In any and all other solutions having shore power connected and inverter in standby... either using an ATS (automatic transfer switch) a relay... or in the other scenario... tying your inverter into your 120v shore input line... will very likely lead to "highly" undesireable results.

Trying to think of the clearest way to outline why without going into too much detail.

The basic issue being that there are elements/appliances of your rig that you do "not" want to power off your inverter. The converter being the most obvious, however... if your reefer is set to "auto" or electric you will need to manually set it to LP (or isolate and kill the breaker), 120v on your WH (water heater) switched off, thermostat adjusted so the air conditioner doesn't kick on...

So let's say you're on shore power and your inverter is in standby with an ATS installed. The shore power fails for whatever reason during the night... your ATS flips and now you're powering your converter/reefer/WH all on inverter go-juice. See where I'm going with this? Your banks flat dead by morning, which you may or may not realize if the shore power came back on sometime before morning. You continue on down the road for a couple nights drycamping to find your ice cream melted and nothing works.

Most common, of course, being you just forget to manually switch everything off/over when you unplug to the same effect. That's easier to forgive though than being caught completely unawares with a dead rig.

And, no... I admit "nothing!" so no point asking. 😉

Now let's say you're in the same situation, but running a subpanel. Power fails while "on cord"... converter turns off by itself, reefer and WH auto switch to LP... plug back into shore power... no flipping no switching... Mission accomplished!

Without a subpanel: There will be some manual switching that needs to be done after unplugging from shore power (and again when switching back). No way around that. MANY folks run without a subpanel though and power their whole rig off inverter, but with the caveat that you never "mix" shore power/genset "with" inverter in the ways previously discussed. Well, you can do onboard gensets with inverters, but that's another thread and likely not applicable for you. That is why many people prefer the "quick, dirty, cheap, and brain proof (or lack thereof)" method by doing a "po'man" full house inverter install... plugging your trailers power cord directly into their inverter.

You "can" also use the other method of tying your inverter directly into your power distribution panel to power for a "whole house" install. However... only by disconnecting shore, then do manual switching (converter, reefer, etc.) and only THEN turn the inverter on... not running it in stand-by... only ON or OFF in the proper sequence.

Let's see. What was the other discussed? Oh yes... running dedicated outlets from the inverter. Again... "foolproof". The biggest bother being to move plugs from a "house" outlet to the inverted.

Inverter install note: Be sure to locate your inverter as close as possible to your battery bank, use appropriately sized cabling (based on potential load and distance) then run your 120v wiring to the connection point. It's "tempting" to mount your inverter inside the house and simply plug into the existing outlets already on it (if so equipped)... at the expense of a longgggg 12v wire run back to the batteries. That's "rough" from every angle and 120v travels.

Solar.... In a 2001 Komfort 5er... those arent factory installed. 1. They didn't do "solar ready". 2. "Solar Ready" rigs don't typically run wires through the reefer vents (although I'm sure there is some "yahoo" mfg. that does and I'm just not aware) 3. A solar controller under sink mount is most absolutely an "aftermarket" DIY or an installer that had no clue to what he was doing... or just didn't give a care.

That being said... I wouldn't choose to remount a controller in the same location. Not that you "can't", but installing electronic devices in the same compartment prone to water pipe/drain/faucet leaks, fluid containing products and/or chemicals... probably not my first choice. 😉 As close as possible to your battery bank would be ideal.

As I mentioned before, I would also run new wire. There is no telling how long it's been there, the condition, wear and/or heat exposure affect (especially in the reefer vent  area) or to what degree dew/moisture may have wicked up the insulation... causing oxidation/corrosion that may result in increased resistance (heat) and insulation break down. If I was considering it, I would most certainly meter than on load, but wouldn't have a lot of faith in what was going on between the walls.

With the relatively low cost of wiring it would be a good precaution and ensure maximum performance of your solar system. If you choose to make your wire runs through the vent again... you "could" use the existing wire runs to feed the new. Simply attach the new ends to the old and gently feed it along the existing path.... "past" the sink in a single run to the controller installation point. The shortest route is the best so you may want to consider using a rooftop c-box (combiner box). Multiple panel wires running to the box which then feeds the 2-conductor run to the controller through the roof at a more adventageous (shorter wire run) location. The c-box to controller line being sized to the maximum capacity of the controller to allow for further expansion and the added benefit of keeping the roof top 10/2, 8/2 runs to a minimumal length.

Running through the reefer vent is often further for most installs but widely used out of fear of piercing the roof. I also prefer the c-box so you can pass wiring down through a floor to roof cabinet/trimming or such instead of fishing it through walls and such and risk snagging any other crazy wiring installed at the factory. It also makes for much easier visual inspection when troubleshooting. Just my preference... and dicor doesn't scare me. LOL

You mentioned a 1, 2, both switch and 2-6v batteries. A single battery cut-off is sufficient as those would be wired in series and act as a "single" 12v battery bank.

On your convert: Yes. In your 2001 Komfort 5er the converter is an incorporated component of your power distribution panel. Removeable/replaceable though and it sounds like you've got enough electrical knowledge to readily identify the two large leads feeding from the panel area down to the component board. Pretty hard to miss one you get a look-see.

No definitive "right" or "wrong" here... personal choices based on the best information available and personal comfort/risk levels.

My 2-bits, anyway... and worth at least the cost of the paper it's written on. 😉

Edited by Yarome

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Geeeeeeeeeeeeee Yarome good detailed answer worth MORE then 2-bits, and I thought I (BOTH an attorney and engineer) was long winded LOL I agree with your comments, there are fast n dirty ways to accomplish his goals and there are all sorts of automatic methods and each has advantages as well as disadvantages. While convenience is great, on my RV's with gensets I preferred the easy sweet simple idiot proof transfer method of plugging the power cord into a generator powered receptacle, no transfer switches to go bad.  

 John T 

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20 minutes ago, oldjohnt said:

...no transfer switches to go bad.  

That's why God invented rocks. "Extended warranties" to fix ATS's. LOL

I saved up a week or 2(?) and blew my wad and an "advance" in one pop. I'm done now. 😉

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7 hours ago, Yarome said:

Right off... the caveat: Everything John has told you is correct... as far as what is electrically "possible" and "doable" to one degree or another.

My personal opinion though is that, under the conditions discussed (stress that!), some of those options would be highly undesireable. Nothing catastrophic and it's certainly your choice how to run your own rig... and I think I understand what you're trying to accomplish, but would stongly advise against.

Getting to the crux of it... I "believe" what you are wanting is to have a fairly seamless switch-over from shore/genny power to internal inverter power... and/or have your inverter power loads if shore power were to fail... as uncomplicated and inexpensive as possible. Correct me as needed.

My personal opinion is that there is no way to have your entire cake... as I believe you are "wanting"... without installing a subpanel. Which, unfortunately, is not the least expensive option, but it is the only fully automated and able to accompish the ultimate goal. Not to mention that it's not especially cost prohibitive either. A bit more complicated, but it's a "one and done". In any and all other solutions having shore power connected and inverter in standby... either using an ATS (automatic transfer switch) a relay... or in the other scenario... tying your inverter into your 120v shore input line... will very likely lead to "highly" undesireable results.

Trying to think of the clearest way to outline why without going into too much detail.

The basic issue being that there are elements/appliances of your rig that you do "not" want to power off your inverter. The converter being the most obvious, however... if your reefer is set to "auto" or electric you will need to manually set it to LP (or isolate and kill the breaker), 120v on your WH (water heater) switched off, thermostat adjusted so the air conditioner doesn't kick on...

So let's say you're on shore power and your inverter is in standby with an ATS installed. The shore power fails for whatever reason during the night... your ATS flips and now you're powering your converter/reefer/WH all on inverter go-juice. See where I'm going with this? Your banks flat dead by morning, which you may or may not realize if the shore power came back on sometime before morning. You continue on down the road for a couple nights drycamping to find your ice cream melted and nothing works.

Most common, of course, being you just forget to manually switch everything off/over when you unplug to the same effect. That's easier to forgive though than being caught completely unawares with a dead rig.

And, no... I admit "nothing!" so no point asking. 😉

Now let's say you're in the same situation, but running a subpanel. Power fails while "on cord"... converter turns off by itself, reefer and WH auto switch to LP... plug back into shore power... no flipping no switching... Mission accomplished!

Without a subpanel: There will be some manual switching that needs to be done after unplugging from shore power (and again when switching back). No way around that. MANY folks run without a subpanel though and power their whole rig off inverter, but with the caveat that you never "mix" shore power/genset "with" inverter in the ways previously discussed. Well, you can do onboard gensets with inverters, but that's another thread and likely not applicable for you. That is why many people prefer the "quick, dirty, cheap, and brain proof (or lack thereof)" method by doing a "po'man" full house inverter install... plugging your trailers power cord directly into their inverter.

You "can" also use the other method of tying your inverter directly into your power distribution panel to power for a "whole house" install. However... only by disconnecting shore, then do manual switching (converter, reefer, etc.) and only THEN turn the inverter on... not running it in stand-by... only ON or OFF in the proper sequence.

Let's see. What was the other discussed? Oh yes... running dedicated outlets from the inverter. Again... "foolproof". The biggest bother being to move plugs from a "house" outlet to the inverted.

Inverter install note: Be sure to locate your inverter as close as possible to your battery bank, use appropriately sized cabling (based on potential load and distance) then run your 120v wiring to the connection point. It's "tempting" to mount your inverter inside the house and simply plug into the existing outlets already on it (if so equipped)... at the expense of a longgggg 12v wire run back to the batteries. That's "rough" from every angle and 120v travels.

Solar.... In a 2001 Komfort 5er... those arent factory installed. 1. They didn't do "solar ready". 2. "Solar Ready" rigs don't typically run wires through the reefer vents (although I'm sure there is some "yahoo" mfg. that does and I'm just not aware) 3. A solar controller under sink mount is most absolutely an "aftermarket" DIY or an installer that had no clue to what he was doing... or just didn't give a care.

That being said... I wouldn't choose to remount a controller in the same location. Not that you "can't", but installing electronic devices in the same compartment prone to water pipe/drain/faucet leaks, fluid containing products and/or chemicals... probably not my first choice. 😉 As close as possible to your battery bank would be ideal.

As I mentioned before, I would also run new wire. There is no telling how long it's been there, the condition, wear and/or heat exposure affect (especially in the reefer vent  area) or to what degree dew/moisture may have wicked up the insulation... causing oxidation/corrosion that may result in increased resistance (heat) and insulation break down. If I was considering it, I would most certainly meter than on load, but wouldn't have a lot of faith in what was going on between the walls.

With the relatively low cost of wiring it would be a good precaution and ensure maximum performance of your solar system. If you choose to make your wire runs through the vent again... you "could" use the existing wire runs to feed the new. Simply attach the new ends to the old and gently feed it along the existing path.... "past" the sink in a single run to the controller installation point. The shortest route is the best so you may want to consider using a rooftop c-box (combiner box). Multiple panel wires running to the box which then feeds the 2-conductor run to the controller through the roof at a more adventageous (shorter wire run) location. The c-box to controller line being sized to the maximum capacity of the controller to allow for further expansion and the added benefit of keeping the roof top 10/2, 8/2 runs to a minimumal length.

Running through the reefer vent is often further for most installs but widely used out of fear of piercing the roof. I also prefer the c-box so you can pass wiring down through a floor to roof cabinet/trimming or such instead of fishing it through walls and such and risk snagging any other crazy wiring installed at the factory. It also makes for much easier visual inspection when troubleshooting. Just my preference... and dicor doesn't scare me. LOL

You mentioned a 1, 2, both switch and 2-6v batteries. A single battery cut-off is sufficient as those would be wired in parallel and act as a "single" 12v battery bank.

On your convert: Yes. In your 2001 Komfort 5er the converter is an incorporated component of your power distribution panel. Removeable/replaceable though and it sounds like you've got enough electrical knowledge to readily identify the two large leads feeding from the panel area down to the component board. Pretty hard to miss one you get a look-see.

No definitive "right" or "wrong" here... personal choices based on the best information available and personal comfort/risk levels.

My 2-bits, anyway... and worth at least the cost of the paper it's written on. 😉

Oh my gosh, joining this forum has to be one of the best decisions this year, well besides buying my Komfort 24ft fifth wheel for 3500 bucks, it had a leak and I had to replace the entire slide out floor :) anyway, what a great big bunch of helpful guys on here, thank you so much Yarome and John t., Alloy, Chad and all.

Yarome, I had wired my last RV with a 30 amp outlet and installed a relay normally closed on the converter outlet, this rig is different, much more real estate and closed off areas I need to run wire in, to do the same thing, but after reading y'alls overwhelmingly informative, educational posts I am thinking of K.I.S.S. " not the band" and leaning tword "as suggested" installing a 30amp outlet in the shore power compartment, I do not believe my inverter even has a stand by setting so it won't be coming on by itself, but I would still like to keep the shore plugged into the inverter outlet so if I stop for lunch I can just use the remote switch for the inverter and use the microwave while having lunch on a beautifull oceanside pull out vista point while watching beautiful girls surf the waves....wow.. what happened, ok, I am also stuck on using relays to shut off the fridge,W/H and converter, I am thinking it may not be too dificult to run a second S/O cord, it could even be 16 ga. from the other outlet on the inverter under the rv to the converter/120 panel area, open up the panel, cut the wires to the fridge,W/H, and converter breakers and interupt them with normally closed relays, I guess it would be best to get the wires after the breaker, so if my relay wires go south it will trip, the only thing I have not nailed down is what all may be on the same circutes as the aformentioned , and as I have yet to grab my t-20 torx driver and pull the panel out, I have no idea if I will have the space and the acsess to do that, on a more accomplished note, I finalized my 300 watt solar panel install today and in overcast skies am getting 14.4 volts and about 5 amps, so far, :) so any additional thaughts on what I am proposing? 

after all of the help, you guys have given me I feel kinda selfish even asking, but do you think I am heading in a good direction?

Also, this is the relay I used, http://a.co/bnRMksg

as it was the only one I could find that had been used specifically for what I am doing, but if there is a better choice please advise.

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Most inverters will have a "stand-by" or "idle" mode in one form or another. Typiclly, after a period of time where no active load demand is detected, an inverter will shift itself into power saving/idle mode then "wake" itself fully when a demand "is" detected.

Like a water hose pressurized and waiting to flow vs. non pressurized and a slight delay to reach full water flow.

"I would still like to keep the shore plugged into the inverter outlet...stop for lunch..."

Which you can, absolutely, do with John's method. In order... unplug from shore power, turn off/switch what you don't want powered by inverter and THEN plug your trailer cord into your inverter. You're good to go just as you described and no complicated wiring, additional wire runs, dedicated inverter outlets, ATS or other required. KISS works!

A subpanel simply automates that process. Other than to turn your inverter on/off... nothing to do or remember (or forget... as the case may be). That's "my" version of the KISS method. Think about it once, wire it, then forget it. If it's supposed to run on inverter it will... if it don't... it's not supposed to. 😉

What your talking about doing with S.O. cords and relays is actually doable... however... more complicated than installing a subpanel, not to mention a bit "messy", a higher difficulty level and not easily maintained/troubleshot in the event of a failure since the connections and such are not localized.

All a subpanel does is divide existing ciruits between the main power distribution board and subpanel. The breakers in one being powered by shore power OR inverter. The remainig are powered by shore power only. If the subpanel can be located directly next to the original panel, you're often able to simply move breakers with the original wiring to the new box.

Same animal... just a different color skin from additional wiring and relays.

Circuit-wise... I can tell you what "should" be, but in the RV industry there is often not a whole lot of logic or standardized practices. All of your high load items "should" be on their own circuits, but that's not a given. Grab your meter and start flipping breakers is about the best I have to offer. 😉

Anecdote: My rig runs, rear to front, bathroom, living room, bedroom. The living room outlet on the wall dividing the bathroom and living room is on the same ciruit as the bedroom outlets. I have absolutely no explaination why that would make even the least bit of sense... let alone "why", but that's the "nature of the beast" at times in an RV.

Never hesitate to ask questions. If you're asking it's highly likely someone else has, or will have, the same question. At the very least, someone might gain a tidbit of new information to better understand their own systems and possibilities. If not at the moment, one day or another you'll have some little tidbit, trick, or bit of expertise that only you can offer that will benefit many.

You're most definately heading in the right direction and ahead of the curve to actually ask before you "do".


Note: I was replying as I read so if I backtracked or repeated a point or two... my bad. 😉

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Tiger man, I'm going to try to keep this simple and in so doing I may miss a thing or two and NOT be 100% accurate but here goes:

1) I don't understand why you need to turn off the fridge when on Inverter power??? UNLESS its a 120 VAC powered compressor type fridge NOT a LP Gas/Electric RV type unit BUT of course you need to turn off the Converter. An RV Gas/Electric fridge draws little current and is kept on when dry camping fed from the 12 VDC battery bank. NOTE if it is a 120 VAC compressor type unit and you try to power it off your Inverter and battery bank for very long I question your solar and battery capacity !!!!!!!!!!!!  

2) A Simple NC relay installed AFTER the panel circuit breaker to turn off the Converter when the Inverter comes on is simple and straight forward, and you can handle that once you locate and isolate the branch circuit and correct breaker.

3) With the Inverter feeding a 30 amp RV receptacle located in the power cord storage compartment its great to keep it plugged there when driving and dry camping. Then a remote switch allows you to flip the Inverter on ONLY when needed which will disable the Converter,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,HOWEVER even with the Converter going off due to the relay above you still have to limit and switch off what the Inverter cant handle else the batteries discharge and/or you trip the Inverters breaker. That could involve manually opening breakers in the panel ORRRRRRRRRRR your just having enough sense to NOT turn on the AC or hair dryers etc etc etc when on Inverter power

4) If possible perhaps one single 15/20 amp branch circuit in your panel can be re configured so it feeds the Converter and whatever else is critical and MUST be off when the Inverter is on ??????????? That way you only need ONE NC relay rated for say 20 amps located after/downstream of a single 15/20 amp circuit breaker and it serves the Converter and whatever other device that MUST be OFF when the Inverter is ON. The NC relay could be a 120 volt control unit fed from the extra 15 amp outlet on the Inverter (or elsewhere) so when its ON the Converter etc are OFF  ?????????????? ONLY A SUGGESTION FOR THOUGHT NOTTTTTTTTTTT THE ONLY WAY 

5) FWIW considerations about your solar and battery capacity. Do you have two 6 volt true deep cycle golf cart batteries in series rated at maybe 200+ Amp Hours or four of them or whatever???????? I say because 200 Amp Hours isn't gonna power up a microwave via an Inverter and batteries very long less you replenish them with adequate solar. For LED lights and vent fans and water pump maybe occasional furnace a couple batteries say 200+ Amp Hours is fine but inverter fed high power loads will suck them dry fairly fast.

6) We discussed a sub panel but that's more complicated and maybe not required in your fairly simple scenario. All you need is to turn on the Converter via a NC Relay and possibly something else when the Inverter is ON

7) KISS as much as possible but if you need more complicated help we will try to help

  HOPEFULLY the other gents can add to and/or correct this since this is ONLY one mans opinion and there are I'm sure other maybe simpler and/or better methods to accomplish your goal  

John T

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14 hours ago, oldjohnt said:

1) I don't understand why you need to turn off the fridge when on Inverter power???

1. The vast majority of absorption refers are dual "power" AC/LP (a.k.a. LP Gas/Electric). Some may be AC/DC/LP. The control board is 12vdc only. The "default" setting is typically "Auto". Meaning that it will heat (or cool if that makes more sense) with AC when present and seemlessly switch to LP when it's not.

*That may not be the case with every RV and every refer, however, that is "typical". A 120v compressor/residential type fridge is a different animal all together. 

So... IF you use the auto or electric setting on your absorption refer while on hook-ups, prior to moving to inverted power, the refer should be either manually set to LP or have the AC circuit killed.

Alteratively.... "if" you only ever use the LP setting on your refer and haven't hooked up to shore power for so long that you don't remember your refer will also run off 120vac... your name might be "John" too. 😉

Edited by Yarome

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15 hours ago, oldjohnt said:

Tiger man, I'm going to try to keep this simple and in so doing I may miss a thing or two and NOT be 100% accurate but here goes:

1) I don't understand why you need to turn off the fridge when on Inverter power??? UNLESS its a 120 VAC powered compressor type fridge NOT a LP Gas/Electric RV type unit BUT of course you need to turn off the Converter. An RV Gas/Electric fridge draws little current and is kept on when dry camping fed from the 12 VDC battery bank. NOTE if it is a 120 VAC compressor type unit and you try to power it off your Inverter and battery bank for very long I question your solar and battery capacity !!!!!!!!!!!!  

2) A Simple NC relay installed AFTER the panel circuit breaker to turn off the Converter when the Inverter comes on is simple and straight forward, and you can handle that once you locate and isolate the branch circuit and correct breaker.

3) With the Inverter feeding a 30 amp RV receptacle located in the power cord storage compartment its great to keep it plugged there when driving and dry camping. Then a remote switch allows you to flip the Inverter on ONLY when needed which will disable the Converter,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,HOWEVER even with the Converter going off due to the relay above you still have to limit and switch off what the Inverter cant handle else the batteries discharge and/or you trip the Inverters breaker. That could involve manually opening breakers in the panel ORRRRRRRRRRR your just having enough sense to NOT turn on the AC or hair dryers etc etc etc when on Inverter power

4) If possible perhaps one single 15/20 amp branch circuit in your panel can be re configured so it feeds the Converter and whatever else is critical and MUST be off when the Inverter is on ??????????? That way you only need ONE NC relay rated for say 20 amps located after/downstream of a single 15/20 amp circuit breaker and it serves the Converter and whatever other device that MUST be OFF when the Inverter is ON. The NC relay could be a 120 volt control unit fed from the extra 15 amp outlet on the Inverter (or elsewhere) so when its ON the Converter etc are OFF  ?????????????? ONLY A SUGGESTION FOR THOUGHT NOTTTTTTTTTTT THE ONLY WAY 

5) FWIW considerations about your solar and battery capacity. Do you have two 6 volt true deep cycle golf cart batteries in series rated at maybe 200+ Amp Hours or four of them or whatever???????? I say because 200 Amp Hours isn't gonna power up a microwave via an Inverter and batteries very long less you replenish them with adequate solar. For LED lights and vent fans and water pump maybe occasional furnace a couple batteries say 200+ Amp Hours is fine but inverter fed high power loads will suck them dry fairly fast.

6) We discussed a sub panel but that's more complicated and maybe not required in your fairly simple scenario. All you need is to turn on the Converter via a NC Relay and possibly something else when the Inverter is ON

7) KISS as much as possible but if you need more complicated help we will try to help

  HOPEFULLY the other gents can add to and/or correct this since this is ONLY one mans opinion and there are I'm sure other maybe simpler and/or better methods to accomplish your goal  

John T

10

Hi John,

Yes as Yarome states in the next post, my fridge is A/C or LP and automatically goes to A/C when it sees A/C, so I gotta kill it, but I like both ideas yours and Yaromes about the sub panel, but I gotta look at the back of the main and check space for either, I have tomorrow off so I am diving in, but what caught my eye was,

"perhaps one single 15/20 amp branch circuit in your panel can be re configured so it feeds the Converter and whatever else is critical and MUST be off when the Inverter is on ??????????? That way you only need ONE NC relay rated for say 20 amps located after/downstream of a single 15/20 amp circuit breaker"

I like the simplicity of that, as long as the converter, fridge and water heater can be on the same...wait a minute, I can answer that, no, too many amps, for one circuit, so Yarome's subpanel will have to do unless I want to pull plugs or flip breakers, I know he tells me just put the sub panel next to the main,, OK, there is a cupboard I can steal right above it, so not to bad, but I dont see an easy way to run wires in the walls or under the floor from the inverter in the basement, so I already bought 35 feet of 10ga 3 wire S/O cord, why couldnt I run that under the coach and pop up in the main panels compartment?

so then all I would need is a panel and breakers, but when I picture sub panel I think square gray box like the one I wired for my pool, I am guessing they must have more fashionable panels for the RV industry as mine is smack dab in the middle of the living room near the floor at the base of the stairs to the bedroom, I am really surprised that I don't see any access to the rear or side of the panel? not sure I am not missing something, I will look in the basement one more time :( tomorrow,now, Yarome, it sounds like a sub panel is magic, as I am missing what is a HUGE piece of the picture, If I split a few items, fridge, W/H, and converter so they only, wait a minute, ding... I get it they will run off of shore power only, A Haa, so hopefully what is left after I split those circuits is what I need when dry camping, but wait a minute if I split it then how do I get shore power to what I have removed from it? seems like I would have to have a transfer switch there right?

 

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