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Inverter Choice


alan0043

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Hi Everyone,

 

I need to install an inverter in the truck. I do not know what would make a good choice for an inverter. I already have a Battery Minder taking care of the batteries. If you could re-do your choice, would you stay the same or go with a different idea. The nice thing about this project, is that I have a clean slate to work with. What size, brand and model number should I look at ? Do I go beyond an inverter ? I would like to hear some reasons why. The truck already has shore power from the factory.

 

Thank you for any input,

Al

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That would largely depend on what you plan on powering, how often it's being used and for what length of interval.

 

If your alternator and battery minder are filling your charging needs then it's likely not necessary to go beyond the addition of an inverter.

 

What size and type of battery bank are you going to be pulling from?

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I have the same inverter/charger in the truck that I have in the trailer. Yes it is overkill for my needs in the truck (except the time we got a early jump on the day and the wife used her hair dryer in the truck). It is also nice that in the event my inverter/charger ever fails in the trailer, a quick swap and we are back in business. Personally I was not too fond of the Battery Minder I had prior to installing the inverter/charger. I had to reset the settings every time I plugged the truck in or if power was lost. It also would turn itself off after about 30 days or so and I would have to again reset it. With the inverter/charger just plug the truck in and walk away. The fridge is on and the batteries are fully charged with out any extra checking and double checking.

 

I will admit that going this route is more costly. I got lucky and got a great deal on the inverter/charger for the truck. Other wise not sure if I would have spent that much for just the truck but I have seen where a few others have done the same thing.

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Yarome is right. I have a Xantrex Freedom 1800 HF. Really only thing I'm powering is a small dorm frig going down the road and I use my truck batteries, not a separate bank. It has a built in battery charger, transfer switch and I have been very happy with it. Is modified sine though.

 

Hi Carl,

 

This unit looks like I need to do a closer look at. I remember seeing the Xantrex in your truck. I think the unit can handle any future needs that I may have. Now to see who has the best price.

 

Al

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Hi Carl,

 

This unit looks like I need to do a closer look at. I remember seeing the Xantrex in your truck. I think the unit can handle any future needs that I may have. Now to see who has the best price.

 

Al

Al,

 

These sell for mid $400's. For about $100 more you can get the one Jack suggested and it is pure sine wave and has the same features. Will say I've been pleased with mine but I don't run a lot of things with it.

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Now to see who has the best price.

 

For the exact same unit it shouldn't be to difficult to pick one up for around $425 including shipping. I've often found marine stores, generally speaking, to have the most competitive pricing when it comes to inverters. Hodges Marine.

 

Personally... I would go the extra $125 and go with the Kisea Abso. You're getting just a bit more juice (2000/4000 vs 1800/3600), a 55amp charger vs. 40amp and a PSW vs. MSW.

 

If budget is important.. 125 bones is 125 bones. ;)

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For the exact same unit it shouldn't be to difficult to pick one up for around $425 including shipping. I've often found marine stores, generally speaking, to have the most competitive pricing when it comes to inverters. Hodges Marine.

 

Personally... I would go the extra $125 and go with the Kisea Abso. You're getting just a bit more juice (2000/4000 vs 1800/3600), a 55amp charger vs. 40amp and a PSW vs. MSW.

 

If budget is important.. 125 bones is 125 bones. ;)

 

Hi Yarome,

 

Thank you for the link. So far Hodges Marine seems to have the best price from the places I have checked.

 

Al

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So far Hodges Marine seems to have the best price from the places I have checked.

Al

 

For mid range Xanny's Hodges is usually my "go to" company. It's pretty rare to find anyone offering that class range for less and their shipping is reasonable.

 

Amazon has one through a third party seller for $435 + free shipping. Personally.. I like their no hassle returns/exchanges and have a card that gives me 5% off amazon purchases ($20 off the $435) so I would buy through there, but sans cash back... I would save the 10 bucks (aka.. steak n eggs) and buy from Hodges. ;)

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Could a guy run deep cycle batteries behind an isolator for truck non vehicle system electrical loads? Not draw on the truck batteries at all?

 

That's the system that came in my truck. It has 4 golf cart batteries for the inverter, and has a large relay that can connect the house batteries to the truck batteries so the house batteries can be charged by the alternator.

 

It seems to work well.

 

FYI, we have a Xantrex inverter and it seems to work well.

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Could a guy run deep cycle batteries behind an isolator for truck non vehicle system electrical loads? Not draw on the truck batteries at all?

That's the way we're set up. We have 4 4D batteries that run an inverter. 140 amp Isolator keeps everything charged. Alternator into isolator, 2 leads out, 1 to each battery bank- Truck and "House". You do lose about 1/2-3/4 of a volt this way, but I don't have to remember to turn anything off. Inverter has its own charger for when we're plugged into shore power as well.

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That's the way we're set up. We have 4 4D batteries that run an inverter. 140 amp Isolator keeps everything charged. Alternator into isolator, 2 leads out, 1 to each battery bank- Truck and "House". You do lose about 1/2-3/4 of a volt this way, but I don't have to remember to turn anything off. Inverter has its own charger for when we're plugged into shore power as well.

Jim - What type of alternator do you have on the truck? Does it have "remote battery sense?" Ours is a 36si.

 

http://www.delcoremy.com/getmedia/cb0016fb-45ed-44a7-b964-729b9cc42ef0/36SI-Single-Page-Brochure-4-16.pdf.aspx

 

http://www.delcoremy.com/Alternators/Alternator-Features/Remote-Sense

 

What this does is look at the battery voltage itself. So if you have that 0.6 volt drop across the isolater, and your wire loss, by using the remote sense "feature" the alternator runs at a higher voltage to compensate for them.

 

Typically, in my case anyway, they ran a jumper from the alt output to the remote sense. What I did was remove that wire and tape it clear. then I ran a wire from the remote sense to the battery, added a weather pack fuse that I terminated on the battery. (protection). It raised my battery voltage from 13.6 to 14.1 with the inverter on.

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The alternator we have I believe has Remote sense. When I installed the isolator I had several other electrical issues I was working thru.

When we bought this truck, it had an Ample Power aux generator that turned a huge alternator. Generator had issues and we sold it to Charlie at the first ECR we attended. With the generator I gave him the brains for the Ample Power system that was wired into the original truck harness.

We put a new alternator on after the rally (I paid a local shop to do it) and had a simple 3 position switch- 1, 2, 1+2, off, so I could charge whatever set of batteries I needed. But several times I forgot to switch the house batteries off and killed the truck batteries. I know that Blue Seas makes a nice ACR control, and there are other options, but I went the easy way with the isolator. Back to the story... With the Ample Power system spliced into the truck harness, there were electrical gremlins that would pop up, so I pulled all the extra wiring out and put the truck back to factory stock. Including replacing a well spliced harness. So the truck got back to a base point that everything worked and I started a "New" build for the truck house power built around the simplest way I knew of. Of course some of this was done left handed when the right wrist was broken..... because old Murphy said the truck would break down at the least oppurtune time....

I'll check the back side of the alternator and add the remote sense line if its available. Bumping the voltage up would be nice.

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I think I've posted this before, but if it's not easy to connect a remote sense wire or if you want the inverter/charger to be able to maintain the truck batteries, there's always this option:

 

Bussmann RB-BS-1315 Bi-Directional Battery Separator

 

It's a solenoid-based system, so there's (practically) no voltage drop across it. If either battery bank is being charged, it links them together. If the group falls below about 13V, they disconnect from each other. Then there's also a control terminal where, if supplied 12V, you can force the link between the two banks. That can be useful if you need to help start the truck with the house batteries. I've had the Sure Power part by the same part number on my rig, and have been very happy with how it works. It would seem that Sure Power makes them for Bussmann, but Bussmann charges about half price. At $55, it's a pretty simple setup.

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Yeah I remember the rats nest that you had. You spoke of it often and fondly NOT!!! Remember that the bump will be following the battery voltage so everything will safe for the batteries.

 

I would probably connect to the house batteries side as I think that I have more load there. I run the inverter while driving and charge the trailer with 120 volts to the trailer charger -- 12volts @ 50 amps. My limit (arbitrary ) is not loading the alternator too heavily, so 50 + truck load.

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Al,

 

No matter what inverter you buy just remember to put a big fuse in line and use proper size cables from batteries to inverter.

 

Hi Carl,

 

Thanks for the reminder about a fuse. I am trying to get a shopping list together of what I need. Do you know what size is your fuse ? 250 amp or 300 amp ? I will also use welding cables because of it being more flexible.

 

Hi David,

 

Thanks for posting the idea about the battery separator. It would be a good idea to add it now for that cost. That way I could be ready to add some house batteries at a later date. Is there anything else that I would need ?

 

Al

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