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Old 12-13-2013, 06:38 PM   #1
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Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

This question is not actually a Sportsmobile question, but is very related.

My neighbor has a Sprinter-Freightliner RV and that has shore power, an on-board generator, and a converter/charger along with 300AH of AGM house batteries. We have also just added a 120W Kyocera solar panel and controller to charge the batts.

Question 1:

He would like to add an inverter so that he can use 110V when dry camping without having to run the generator. Are there any issues with simply replacing the converter with an inverter/charger/switch?

See attached pic for the before and after configs.

I can't see any issues with this arrangement but there would be two auto switches in series; the first (existing) one to switch between shore power and the generator and the switch built into the inverter/charger to pass 110VAC.

Question 2:

Can we do this with a basic inverter that does not have any switching/charging/110VAC pass-through? This would entail having both the inverter 110VAC output and output of the auto switch both connected to the 110V receptacles. Seems to me that this would require that the inverter has reverse 110VAC voltage protection for the times it is off and the shore power or generator is live. The other basic way with a simple inverter would be to have a dedicated 110VAC receptacle just connected to the inverter.......but we would like everything to switch.

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Old 12-14-2013, 01:01 PM   #2
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Re: Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

I'd want the inverter with it's own AC bypass unless you have a second standalone inverter AC circuit. Also how the DC is distributed may be an issue. A large inverter will require a fairly heavy bus from the house battery system that might not be there on the converter as all it does is supply a charging bus circuit that doesn't need to be as large. You'd have to check the specs or inverter manufacture. W/O looking how it has been designed it's hard to say. Usually they try to position an inverter as close to the battery system to avoid longer/larger copper runs to it, then run the correct sized AC wire going to the breaker panel. Mine has 4/O copper feeding the inverter (a 2000w) which is less than 6 feet from the battery. Don't quote me but I think the run to the 12v fusing area is only 1/0 with a 2 str neutral as a backup for the chassis ground. Depending on how big the inverter is and how far away it is, the 12v bus (converter to 12v system) might be too small to operate the inverter.
The DC load is fairly small to the living quarters but the AC load in my case can be almost 2000w so the DC load between the inverter and the house battery system can be 150 amps or more. I think my microwave uses about 70 DC amps and that is only a 900w microwave.
I don't know if they make a 3 position transfer switch but it seems that would be the way to go...install a standard inverter with the correct bus running to the batteries as a feed and the correct amp rated bus leaving the inverter to the ac transfer switch. Or are you after a better charger?
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:45 PM   #3
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Re: Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

Dave: We can easily run some fatter wires to the inverter from the batteries, there is plenty of room under the coach to work. The batteries and area for the converter/inverter are on opposite sides of the coach directly across from each other probably requiring 10 ft of cable.

The existing converter is an intellipower 9160?? IIRC......60 amp charger. My neighbor recently added the "charge wizard" box to the converter to allow for smart charging. Obviously, that's all going to get yanked if we install an inverter. Yesterday we removed two tired group 27 wet cell house batts and replaced them with a pair of 150ah AGMs.

He would like to do a 2000W inverter/charger, although a 1500W may be enough.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:00 PM   #4
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Re: Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

I added an inverter and left the converter. Ford SMB but I imagine it's very similar to Sprinter wiring.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...ilit=+Inverter
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:49 PM   #5
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Re: Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

Yeah, I don't think you want to run the AC from the inverter backwards through the transfer switch.
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Old 12-14-2013, 07:54 PM   #6
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Re: Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

We would wire up an inverter exactly like Tapatio has in his linked thread above, except we have a third AC input; the on-board generator.

Does anyone know if a three input transfer switch exists?
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:23 PM   #7
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Re: Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

Blue Sea has one and I've seen others but why not just purchase an Inverter with a transfer switch built in it? You can install it like in your picture on the right. I know they cost more but if you plan to delete the converter you'll need a way to charge from shore power.

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Old 12-15-2013, 10:32 PM   #8
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Re: Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder
This question is not actually a Sportsmobile question, but is very related.

My neighbor has a Sprinter-Freightliner RV and that has shore power, an on-board generator, and a converter/charger along with 300AH of AGM house batteries. We have also just added a 120W Kyocera solar panel and controller to charge the batts.

Question 1:

He would like to add an inverter so that he can use 110V when dry camping without having to run the generator. Are there any issues with simply replacing the converter with an inverter/charger/switch?

See attached pic for the before and after configs.

I can't see any issues with this arrangement but there would be two auto switches in series; the first (existing) one to switch between shore power and the generator and the switch built into the inverter/charger to pass 110VAC.

Question 2:

Can we do this with a basic inverter that does not have any switching/charging/110VAC pass-through? This would entail having both the inverter 110VAC output and output of the auto switch both connected to the 110V receptacles. Seems to me that this would require that the inverter has reverse 110VAC voltage protection for the times it is off and the shore power or generator is live. The other basic way with a simple inverter would be to have a dedicated 110VAC receptacle just connected to the inverter.......but we would like everything to switch.



Many years past I added an inverter(non charging type) and auto switch to a fifth wheel. Kind of fuzzy about how I did it but give it a shot:




I pulled the 110v circuits out of the converter into a separate breaker box so when the inverter was running the AC side of the converter was dead thus not causing a loop by trying to charge the battery. Then when the shore power or gen we're providing AC both the breaker box and converter we're live which charged the battery.

I'm no electrician and I'm going off of memory... Can't remember what I had for dinner last night

But what the heck YOLO(you only live once).
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:04 AM   #9
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Re: Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

Thanks Dave, yes we are presently planning on doing it like the sketch on the right with an inverter/switch/charger. Don't see any reason why that wouldn't work, and there is no reason to turn on the inverter with the on-board generator running.

Yodavan: Our setup is complicated by also having an on-board generator, so three sources for 110VAC; shore power, on-board generator, and inverter.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:24 AM   #10
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Re: Replacing a converter/charger with an inverter

Yeah, since you already have the 2 way switch, there is no reason to purchase a 3-way. The inverter will detect power and automatically disconnect and pass it thru. Also with a multi-stage charger you'll be able to charge with shore power or the generator. Another plus on a good inverter is many have control panels that have metering for voltage and amperage. Some even can detect poor utility voltages common at shore power pedistals. Being able to see the voltage/charging values (numbers not LED's) is nice for troubleshooting.
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