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).
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.
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.
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
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)
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).