Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-10-2013, 07:04 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 201
AC vs/or DC?

Trying to figure out what/how involved I want to get in setting up the house electrical system. Ideally I'd like to have an inverter and run everything on A/C power. That way I don't have to deal with converters and DC appliances. Is this realistic? Is it one or the other or does it have to be both? Are there some things that I will have to have DC to run and there's no way around it?

If it's one or the other what are the merits of a full DC set-up vs a full A/C set-up?

Thanks
__________________

__________________
2006 Express Duramax 2500
Spoolin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
carringb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 4,360
Re: AC vs/or DC?

A/C will mean smaller wires. Staying with 12v means you will have some giant wires running to large loads. Also generally cheaper appliances.

A good inverter also generally has more 12v charging output than most 120-to-12v converters.
__________________

__________________
2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
carringb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 10:40 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
86Scotty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 8,331
AC vs/or DC?

DC is there already. Most RVs have both to take advantage of cost and convenience. You want AC receptacles for the home stuff you take along, so you'll probably want an inverter, but some things are best DC, like a furnace (propane probably but DC blower motor), and water pump will be DC if you have one. I think both is inevitable.
__________________
Currently vanless. Weird.
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013, 01:23 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 13
Re: AC vs/or DC?

If there is a choice between 12 volt and 120 volt components, I use 12 volts. Just running the inverter with no load uses 3 amps.

In our Rig components such as, LED TV, Roku, Wireless Air Card Router, DVD Player all came with 120 volt plug in 'brick' converters. The bricks convert from 120 volts AC to DC. Radio Shack sells the correct plug in and DC voltage adapters to run all on 12 volts.

The 120 volt system (shore power, gasoline generator or inverter) only needs to be used rarely to power the battery charger/UPS, microwave, electric water heater and Air Conditioner.

Espar diesel furnace and engle fridge run on 12 volts.

We don't have propane systems and would of liked a small a diesel generator, to have a one fuel Rig.
The only small diesel generators I could find were Marine models that are very expensive and would of required a lot modification to fit under the floor.
McZippie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013, 09:04 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
86Scotty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 8,331
Re: AC vs/or DC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by McZippie
In our Rig components such as, LED TV, Roku, Wireless Air Card Router, DVD Player all came with 120 volt plug in 'brick' converters. The bricks convert from 120 volts AC to DC. Radio Shack sells the correct plug in and DC voltage adapters to run all on 12 volts.
Hmmm, I never thought about that. Great idea!

__________________
Currently vanless. Weird.
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013, 11:31 AM   #6
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,838
Garage
Re: AC vs/or DC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoolin
Trying to figure out what/how involved I want to get in setting up the house electrical system. Ideally I'd like to have an inverter and run everything on A/C power. That way I don't have to deal with converters and DC appliances. Is this realistic? Is it one or the other or does it have to be both? Are there some things that I will have to have DC to run and there's no way around it?

If it's one or the other what are the merits of a full DC set-up vs a full A/C set-up?

Thanks
In my opinion youíre better off with both systems. Yeah it will cost you more in wiring but with 12V LED lighting it allows you to use minimal power when boon docking on battery power only.
Inverters use power just to operate and you need to keep the DC draw as low as possible. But some of the bigger stuff like a microwave requires AC. A generator is fine, but might bother other campers or park rules might not allow usage after a specific time.
So the way I see it is
Iíd have a DC system using a good battery system with a large enough inverter to run only those items needed when off shore power and that has the ability to smart charge the battery system. Add enough 12vDC power plugs to charge or use small things like cameras, computers and what not. A good DC run for the LED lighting, fans, and pumps. Many heating systems also use DC. A good separator may not be needed because when you hitch up the trailer, the charge from the vehicle will be from the trailer plug. That is something you might have to upgrade on the vehicle. Your generator doesnít have to be tied into the DC system provided it is tied into the AC shore power system which generally has an automatic transfer switch. Here is where an inverter is used to charge the battery systemÖplug into shore power or fire up the generator and turn on the inverter to run AC stuff and charge the battery if needed. The inverter needs to be large enough to run the largest component plus other items at the same time if required but more than likely you will use the generator if you have one. It is possible to run a microwave off the inverter and batteries only, but the battery bank will have to be fairly large (I have two 220AH batteries). I use mine on a regular basis for times up to 10 minutes on low power. Sure is nice to be able to be stealthy and not wake everybody. You can also have a smaller backup inverter somewhere on the vehicle so you donít have to run the big inverter. I carry a couple smaller ones but even those do hog a bit of DC power. If I can run something off DC, Iíll do it rather than invert power to run it. The wire going from the main inverter to the house battery system will be heavy gauge (depending on wattage of the inverter), so the closer the inverter is to the house battery system the better. The inverter should run off the shore power input then output to a standard RV electrical panel. If there are any AC/DC items that specifically switch to AC when the item(s) sees AC power, you should have that AC circuit on its own breaker so you can shut the breaker off when the inverter is on and you are off shore or generator power. In other words you donít want an AC/DC appliance to run off AC inverted DC when DC battery power is presentÖit just wastes power inverting it. All the other house AC outlets can run off other breakers but those around water need to be GFI rated. Also donít forget about solar and pre wire for that as well. Youíll need wiring from the roof to the controller (or where it will be) and from the controller to the batteries. And make easy access to the batteries, fuses (and separators if used) for maintenance and removal.

Iím sure the trailer manufacture will know how to do this all of this. There are several electrical designs from complex to simple when setting up your system. One note on converters/chargers. In the past most of them were junk when refering to their charging system. Aviod those brands/models. If you have a need to run a heavy DC only load item while on shore power, converters are a good addition. You'll have to research them to see how far advanced they have come in offering a good charging system. Remember converters do not make AC and require shore power or a generator to make DC.

Good luck
Dave.
__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013, 11:39 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
carringb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 4,360
Re: AC vs/or DC?

While you are doing the wiring, I would strongly suggest adding some hard-wired USB outlets.

That is one item I constantly wish I had in my van. I just use a cigarette lighter with 4 USB ports, but that means more wires cluttering the dash, and with 4 devices plugged in charge times get long since the 4 plugs only can handle 2.5 AMPs max.
__________________
2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
carringb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013, 12:23 PM   #8
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,838
Garage
Re: AC vs/or DC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
While you are doing the wiring, I would strongly suggest adding some hard-wired USB outlets.
X2, I have several of those Go-Pro cameras and it is nice not to have stuff all over the place. I also wish I had stereo wire plugs so I could have a set of outside speakers. If you're planning a TV, surround sound is nice as well. Pre-wire for that and any sat antenna stuff and what not.
__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013, 02:06 PM   #9
Site Team
 
BroncoHauler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern New Mexico
Posts: 9,010
Re: AC vs/or DC?

When I had some work done on my teardrop late last year, I had them install one of these. Now I'm thinking that two may have been an even better idea. Dual USB socket.



http://www.bluesea.com/products/1016


Herb
__________________
SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
BroncoHauler is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013, 04:01 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
dhally's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SE Washington
Posts: 813
Garage
Re: AC vs/or DC?

We went the other way, towards all 12v. An inverter is inefficient and just more space and weight. Same with a microwave. We did install 120v shore power for those times when we are in an RV park to save the draw on the batteries. We installed a 120v receptacle inside, and its main use is for power tools when working on the van...

We put 12v receptacles on both sides in the living area to charge cell phones etc.
__________________

__________________
---------------------
2009 E250 RB 5.4L "SilVan"
dhally is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:19 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×