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Old 09-26-2017, 01:44 PM   #1
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Tripp Lite APS1012SW Pure Sine Inverter/Charger vs Renogy 1000 Watt

I've combed the forums for a while now trying to narrow down my [inverter/charger] or [separate inverter and converter/charger] options and decide on a purchase. I would like to hear anyone's input before making a decision.

I'm doing a home build van conversion (1990 Ford E-350 EB).
Sully - 1991 Ford E350 EB 121K Miles - Home build - Sportsmobile Forum

Here's what my electrical needs and setup is looking like thus far:

Calculated AC/DC Use/Needs = 250aH [for 1.5 days for 50% discharge]
I believe my numbers for each component and hours of use were conservative (e.x. using all LED lights for many hours- probably won't do that).

Electrical Equipment/Appliances:
Arb 50Qt fridge, Propex HS2000 furnace, MaxxFan Deluxe, 9 LED ceiling lights, LP detector, backup camera and monitor, maybe water pump, phone charging

15" MacBook, External Hard drives, camera batteries. Maybe 800 watt blender (but I would gladly leave blender at home if called for too much power, i.e. more expensive electrical components).

No air conditioning unit or microwave intended for my setup.

I may like the ability to add a small backup gas generator in the future, but I doubt it for now.

Solar Panels:
300 watts (x3 Renogy 100W panels) mounted flat on roof top with Renogy Z brackets. (~$432 total Amazon + tax)
I was looking into tilt mounting options to maximize solar potential when parked. But after crunching numbers, I decided I would rather afford extra solar panels with the $10 Renogy Z brackets instead of the tilting mount brackets which can cost $50-100 each. And I'm not interested in a DIY tilt bracket at this point.

Battery Bank:
250aH - (x2 VMAX Charge Tank 12v 125aH Deep Cycle AGM batteries) ($520 for both, free shipping Amazon)
Recommended VMAX Battery Manufacturer Specs:
Charge Current: 8-35A
Charging Voltage: 14.4-14.9V
Float Voltage: 13.5-13.8V
Vehicle Alternator: 14-15V
RV Converter: 14-15V
Solar Controller: 20A-Up
Spec Sheet:

Solar Charge Controller:
Midnite Solar Kid 30A MPPT Charger ($291)
Midnite Solar Battery Temp Sensor ($20)
Midnite Solar Whiz Bang Jr module and 50mV/500A Shunt ($78. This is for measuring accurate battery use/levels)
$389 total
Spec sheet:

I'll likely be using some laptops, external hard drives, camera battery charging, and other sensitive electronics at some point, so I'm definitely looking for a pure sine inverter as opposed to a modified sine wave inverter.

I want quality products to protect my battery life but not overkill with extra cost. Also, I'm pretty new to this and want to keep electrical as simple as possible.

Based on my setup, I am looking for a 1000-1500watt pure sine inverter.

I'm looking for a 30-40A AC/DC converter/charger (smart 3/4 stage charging) for shore power. I don't anticipate using shore power much. I would usually be off-grid for camping. The van will primarily serve as a base camp for getting to trail heads for backpacking trips with the occasional road trip. But, I would like shore power hook ups for backup battery charging and maintenance (Pacific Northwest and winter use = less solar) and perhaps to help resale value/interest.

I plan to primarily charge the batteries via solar and alternator. FYI: This is a Pacific Northwest (cloudy) van and I plan to use it in the winter for snowboarding and travel.

I'm leaning towards an inverter/charger in one-unit because they seem more affordable for my size system (under $500 for inverter/charger), a little less effort for me learning to do the AC/DC pass through switch, etc. I know separate inverter and charger is nice in case one or the other gives out, and I would definitely consider it if I had a bigger system with inverter/chargers that are $1000+. Buying a quality smart 3/4 charger and a separate pure sine inverter seems to be just or more costly for my size setup, but, I'm open to it.

Here's what I think I've narrowed it down to:

Tripp Lite APS1012SW - 1000w Pure Sine Inverter/Charger (3/4 stage smart charger)
($472 = $442 Amazon + $30 for battery temperature sensor)
2 year warranty
1000W PowerVerter APS 12VDC 120V Inverter Charger Pure Sine Wave Output Hardwired (APS1012SW) | Tripp Lite


Renogy 1000W Pure Sine Inverter/Charger (3/4 stage smart charger)
($339 Amazon - includes battery temperature sensor)
1 yr warranty.

They're pretty similar units in terms of specs. The charger's are not overkill for my 250aH battery bank. But, I'm wondering about quality. I like that the Renogy is $130 cheaper but haven't seen too many reviews- I'm trying not to go overboard because I don't see myself using shore power much for camping or battery charging, mostly off-grid charging with solar and alternator. Renogy seems like a solid recommendation for solar panels, not sure about inverter/charger.

I'm leaning towards the Tripp Lite based on cost (compared to Xantrex, Magnum, ...), a pretty good reputation it seems, and a lot of other Tripp Lite install setups I've seen. I think I just need someone to say, Yes, spend the extra money and go with the Tripp Lite.

If I was to go a separate inverter and converter/charger setup, I'm considering...

Xantrex 806-1210 PROwatt 1000 SW Inverter (Pure Sine) ($285)

and perhaps the

Xantrex 804-1240-02 TRUECharge2 12V 40A Parallel Stackable Battery Charger ($348).



- Marty

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Old 09-26-2017, 03:44 PM   #2
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Location: So Cal
Posts: 3,363
Your setup above sounds very reasonable, and very close to my setup...

I've got:

Prosine 1000W inverter (older pre-Xantrex model)
300W solar panels
350Ah AGM house batteries
Intellipower 60W charger/converter

200W electric water heater
Shureflo water pump
TruckFridge TF49 fridge (AC/DC)
Propex HS2211
1000W microwave (very limited use time-wise)
several LED lights, charge up flashlight batts, laptops, etc
Propane/CO detector

I can easily go for 1.5-2 days on 175Ah (1/2 of my battery capacity) as long as I don't run the hot water heater...that's a power sucker...and if I'm getting a little sun.

Typically, when camping and taking showers/running the hot heater with some reasonable sun the batteries don't get fully charged starting around the end of day 2-start of day 3.

The older tripplite RV series chargers/inverters sometimes have issues with GFI shore power, likely a small current leakage problem. The one you posted looks like a new design.

The Midnite solar Kid is a nice controller, has loads of capabilities like providing solar power to a dump load when the batteries are topped off. Member 1der here has one and has his water heater as a dump load.

2008 E350 RB passenger 4WD SMB penthouse
2013 KTM 350 EXC
2008 KTM 250 XCF-W
2000 KTM 200 EXC
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:48 AM   #3
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Thanks boywonder! Glad to have your knowledge and experience validate that I'm heading in the right direction.

Yeah, it seemed like the Midnite Solar Kid 30A solar charger was the right size for my system and has a lot of great reviews and versatility like you mentioned. I like that the Whiz Bang Jr module w/ shunt feeds accurate battery amperage/info to the Kid so I don't need a second display unit (just have to mount the Kid in a convenient place for me to read). I like that you can link additional KIDs together should your system grow- but really, I won't be able to fit any more solar panels on the roof. Still, a nice option.

I think I'm gonna order the Tripp Lite APS1012SW Pure Sine Inverter/Charger soon.

Next up for me: Research the threads and figure out the best alternator charging setup for my use. Isolator or separator? New AGM van battery? Solar charging to van battery as well? Backup jump capability from house to van battery? ...
1990 Ford E-350 EB - Home Build in Progress - 121K
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Old 09-27-2017, 10:23 AM   #4
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Without studying your proposal in depth, it seems pretty close to what I have. I've got 300w of Renogy panels flat mounted on the roof, two 250Ah 6v golf cart batt's (250Ah total at 12v) and a Zantrex 400W pure sinewave inverter (without a charger). Shore power charging is a converter at about 30A. Loads are LED bulbs, Fantastic fan, Norcold refer (110v and 12v) Suburban heater, small TV and DVD player, stereo, and a CPAP that runs all night. I don't have an amp counter, so I don't really know how low I'm dragging them down, but judging by the voltage in the AM, it's probably more than 50%. In strong summer sun, the batteries will be fully recharged by the end of the day, but in less than full sun, they seem to get back to about 70 to 90%. After a couple days of marginal re-charging, I need to go for a drive to fully top them off, but I normally don't spend more than a couple days in one place anyway. I'm sure I could get a longer life on the batteries if I were more careful about keeping them above 50% discharge, but since they are reasonably cheap at Costco (about $90ea) I simply change them out every few years, and don't stress about it. Prior to departure on a trip, I plug in and run the refer overnight to prechill. (the only time I plug in) Then I load it with prechilled food and beer, run it at the lowest setting while driving, then set it to the warmest setting at night. In winter, the batteries are pretty well discharged in the morning, but as soon as there is some sun they start to recharge some. I'm sure they are headed for an early death, but I'll just get new ones once they get too bad..........
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Old 09-27-2017, 10:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by marty View Post

Next up for me: Research the threads and figure out the best alternator charging setup for my use. Isolator or separator? New AGM van battery? Solar charging to van battery as well? Backup jump capability from house to van battery? ...
Separator! Isolators use diodes which typically drop .7V....that .7V is important to fully charge your house batteries. Isolators are also only one direction...from the alternator to the house batteries. If you connect solar to your house batteries the starting battery won't get charged with an isolator between them.

I suppose if you connected your solar to the starting battery and used an isolator or a uni-directional separator then it would charge the house batteries too....never really thought about it....

Consider a Blue Sea 7610 ACR ($$) or the Blue Sea 7622 ($$$). The 7610 is available in an "add a battery" kit which comes with a big manual switch to connect battery banks. I left the switch out and have a small 12" battery cable to connect the two posts together on the separator in case I need to jump start from house batteries. It's also available without the switch. The 7622 has more features and handles more starting current.

Both of the Blue sea units are bi-directional if you want solar to charge your starting battery as well as your house batteries, and they don't have relay coils like the Surepower separators, these burn power keeping the relay closed. The Surepower 1314 is uni-directional and the 1315 is bi-directional.
2008 E350 RB passenger 4WD SMB penthouse
2013 KTM 350 EXC
2008 KTM 250 XCF-W
2000 KTM 200 EXC
2003 Honda Element
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charger, inverter, pure sine, renogy, tripp lite

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