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edmck

Newbie Inverter Question

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We recently purchased an older National Sea Breeze motorhome and it has an inverter installed in the forward passenger-side bay. Unfortunately, no manuals came with the coach and I've never had an inverter before. I can't determine the brand as the label is on top of the housing where I can't see it.  So I drove over to the coach this morning and took these two pictures with the thought of posting them and asking if anyone could help me identify the manufacturer and perhaps the rating as well. Not much to work with, I know, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

IMG_0585.JPG

IMG_0586.JPG

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Definitely NOT original equipment.  Not even wired into the coach 120 VAC system (just an extension cord plugged into an outlet).  Follow that extension cord to find out what it powers.

You will also want to trace the large gauge red wire back to the battery.  There should be a high amp (side depends on wire gauge) slow burn fuse right at the battery.

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Kind of looks like a Power Bright Power Inverter. 

Just by chance could you take a picture of the top label using a mirror? even if it is upside down and reversed - I might be able to decipher enough information.

Rich. 

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The orange extension cord appears to be #10 solid wire, another "NO-NO" if it is solid. Solid wire tends to loosen at any joint that uses screw down force to keep it in place, causing premature arching that can lead to fire. The breakdown is caused by the fact that while moving and shaking of an rv causes undue stress on the joints. Many RV manufacturers used solid wire in the late 80's and early 90's and found it not a good practice.The reason that I think it is solid is because of the flat appearance. If it is solid, I highly recommend replacing with a stranded cable, the more strands, the better, actually a 10 gauge extension cord would be the best choice. I would almost bet that it terminates into a 30 amp transfer switch.

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OK, so based on the replies so far I can determine that the inverter (a) isn't original equipment (thought so), and (b) isn't wired in to coach's 120 VAC system. I will go back and follow the extension cord to see what the inverter powers. I also understand that I may need to have the extension cord inspected and probably replaced with a 10 gauge cord.

I guess it's not possible to guess at the rating without pulling the inverter out and looking at the label (but first I'll try the mirror suggestion).

Many thanks for these helpful suggestions, much appreciated.

 

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My thought is the inverter is around 2500 and 3500 watts because it has 4 120 volt out lets and it might power the refrigerator if it has been replaced with a home model ! The person that replaced the unit might also have wired it directly to an outlet for the refrigerator.

Rich

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I agree, need to trace the "out" cord to see just where they routed it.  And perhaps we spoke too soon-- it is even possible that it does go back to the main 120 VAC breaker box.  No telling what a previous owner did!

 Let us know what you find.

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I'm betting its this one. That unit looks familiar, my grandfather rigged solar panels on the roof of his house to power one that looks identical to the one in the OP's photo. The one in my photo is a 5000 MSW. This apple didn't fall far from the trees HUH? :lol::ph34r:

96706.gif

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A 5000 watt output is huge, no? Not sure if the alternator in my motorhome's 2000 Ford V10 is big enough to keep up with the draw. Will I need to run the engine at idle while using the inverter to keep from flattening the batteries? Or is this a "real" 5,000 watt inverter as advertised. I just read a post from an electrical contractor saying that manufacturers sometimes play games with peak output for marketing and it might only be a 1,500 watt continuous inverter.

If it turns out that the inverter is wired into the motorhome's 120 VAC system, then this unit could run a large appliance. But wouldn't the house batteries (two new 6-volts) be dead in an hour? Not sure if I should even use this thing unless it's for watching the TV, charging computers, or interior lighting, etc. And I can get by with 12V power for that.

 
 

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If you were to have 5,000 watt load of 120 volt items that would be 417 amps of 12 volt load on your batteries and generator.  My diesel motor home only has a 170 amp generator.  So I doubt that your battery bank and generator will keep up.  A 2,000 watt load would be 167 amps from your battery bank and generator.  I have a 2,000 watt msw.  I doubt that even with my residential refrigerator that I pull more that 1,000 watts.  The frig pulls 4.1 amps at start up or about 500 watts.  Don't forget to add about 10% loss in changing from 12 volt DC to 120 volt AC.

The equations is P=IE or POWER (WATTS) EQUALS CURRENT (AMPS) TIMES VOLTS

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edmck, The inverter will only draw the current required to meet the load requirements. So there is very little chance of overloading it. 

Thinking it will last as long as you need it. AT 2500 watts the unit is only working at 50%

Rich.

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