Inverter/Chargers

Mike Perez

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Oct 2, 2019
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Why do I get the feeling that people in the GMC community are reluctant to replace their "dumb charger" buzz box with an inverter/charger unit? It seems that when the converter fails, people just seem to get a newer converter. I'm not sure I understand why? Is in just because they are cheaper or because nobody want to mess with the wiring?

To me, it seems nuts that someone would own a motorhome, and that you would have to turn on the generator while on the road to make a cup of coffee or heat something in the microwave for 2 minutes.

For under $800, you can get a inverter/charger that will smart charge your batteries, provide 2000w and 6000w surge of 110v power, and even auto start the generator if you want it to. What am I missing?
 

6cuda6

Member
Oct 3, 2019
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Ontario, Canada
I think its because the majority of the house acessories are 12v and work fine on the house battery/alternator...the larger stuff that has higher demand are 120v anyways so being plugged in for that is fine.

I had this discussion with my wife because our old buzz box was diing and really the only thing we need the generator for if we werent plugged in was the A/C because everything else we would use on 120 also works on propane. We barely use the microwave at home and purculate our coffee when camping as its just more fun (and better tasting) so a single propane burner suffices....besides whats the rush., we would be on holidays....lol.

Now we also do alot of hiking in remote parks that do not have hook ups so a generator and/or solar is a must....in the end i will end up with both a converter and an inverter installed so as to not p*ss of all the bears ...lol.
 

Mike Perez

Administrator
Staff member
Oct 2, 2019
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I think its because the majority of the house acessories are 12v and work fine on the house battery/alternator...the larger stuff that has higher demand are 120v anyways so being plugged in for that is fine.

I had this discussion with my wife because our old buzz box was diing and really the only thing we need the generator for if we werent plugged in was the A/C because everything else we would use on 120 also works on propane. We barely use the microwave at home and purculate our coffee when camping as its just more fun (and better tasting) so a single propane burner suffices....besides whats the rush., we would be on holidays....lol.

Now we also do alot of hiking in remote parks that do not have hook ups so a generator and/or solar is a must....in the end i will end up with both a converter and an inverter installed so as to not p*ss of all the bears ...lol.
I'm with you on the percolator.
 

RF_Burns

Member
Oct 3, 2019
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Ontario Canada
I have an all-in-one smart charger/inverter/transfer-switch with solar controller input. Before that for about 10 years I had a separate smart charger 1500 watt pure sine wave inverter. The separate items were less expensive in total. Plus these items are generally not economically repairable, just replace. So if either unit is faulty, each is much less expensive to replace.
Also with inverters, the more powerful they are, the more current they take to operate (parasitic power). So a 2kw inverter may consume a couple of Amps, where a small 300 watt inverter may consume only 1/4 Amp. So when using low power items such as a TV, using a high power inverter will consume more power.

If you are using a combination unit you are kinda stuck with a higher power inverter and higher parasitic current.
 

Mike Perez

Administrator
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Oct 2, 2019
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I have an all-in-one smart charger/inverter/transfer-switch with solar controller input. Before that for about 10 years I had a separate smart charger 1500 watt pure sine wave inverter. The separate items were less expensive in total. Plus these items are generally not economically repairable, just replace. So if either unit is faulty, each is much less expensive to replace.
Also with inverters, the more powerful they are, the more current they take to operate (parasitic power). So a 2kw inverter may consume a couple of Amps, where a small 300 watt inverter may consume only 1/4 Amp. So when using low power items such as a TV, using a high power inverter will consume more power.

If you are using a combination unit you are kinda stuck with a higher power inverter and higher parasitic current.
What brand did you go with and are you happy with it?
 

gmc260

Member
Oct 3, 2019
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Ive been looking at blue sky stuff, its pricey but have read many great reviews. rather have an all in one solution for the GMC with such limited space. monitoring software is also important to me, want to be able to monitor and log everything including solar and engine stuff all together on the same touch screen. havnt got that far yet but close enough that planning stages have begun. probably start a geek thread soon if no one else does.
 

RF_Burns

Member
Oct 3, 2019
32
10
8
Ontario Canada
Ive been looking at blue sky stuff, its pricey but have read many great reviews. rather have an all in one solution for the GMC with such limited space. monitoring software is also important to me, want to be able to monitor and log everything including solar and engine stuff all together on the same touch screen. havnt got that far yet but close enough that planning stages have begun. probably start a geek thread soon if no one else does.
My EVO1212 does logging. There is a SD card slot on the panel which logs parameters. I believe its a text file formatted so it can be read by spreadsheet or database manager programs. I stuck a new 16Gig card in it, but I have never looked at it.
 

pvfjr

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Oct 4, 2019
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Aumsville OR
My take is yes, $800 is WAY too much. I'm definitely a cheapskate. In addition, we don't drink coffee, and rarely ever use the microwave. When we're dry camping with our Thor, the only thing I ever fired up the generator for was to charge the 12V system or run the AC. Obviously, the inverter wouldn't add much in our case. We've only had an RV of any type since June and just got the GMC in September though, and we're coming out of an era of tent camping. Perhaps, we just haven't adjusted and gotten "fancy" enough to need 120VAC on-demand for small loads. I can see it being handy, but we don't want it bad enough to fork out the dough. I can do a LOT of other things with that cash.

That said, I can't wait for the 12V buzz box to die so I can replace it with something more modern and quiet. It won't include an inverter though, and the ones I've shopped for have been around $125-160 IIRC.
 

gmc260

Member
Oct 3, 2019
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does the original buzz box even charge batteries or is it just a flat 12vdc output?

My EVO1212 does logging. There is a SD card slot on the panel which logs parameters. I believe its a text file formatted so it can be read by spreadsheet or database manager programs. I stuck a new 16Gig card in it, but I have never looked at it.
I see it has three rj45 ports also so surely one of those can be tapped for real-time monitoring also. my plan is to take all available data and convert it to HTML like this: https://westyd1982.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/web-display-of-sunsaver-mppt-info/ but take it a step further and have it all done within an OpenWRT linux powered wireless router permanantly installed in the coach (that would also double as a wifi repeater) so that it can be monitored wirelessly by several independent systems. smartphones, tablets, etc. with one of them also an in-dash unit that is removable and portable.
 

6cuda6

Member
Oct 3, 2019
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Ontario, Canada
The other thing is the stock layout doesnt lend itself very well to placing the inverter or batteries in close proximity to each other. If you are starting an interior from scratch you can arrange the layout to accomodate your inverter setup but from stock not so much.
 

Mike Perez

Administrator
Staff member
Oct 2, 2019
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The other thing is the stock layout doesnt lend itself very well to placing the inverter or batteries in close proximity to each other. If you are starting an interior from scratch you can arrange the layout to accomodate your inverter setup but from stock not so much.
You can't put the house batteries next to the generator with the inverter on the level side across from the bathroom? An inverter/charger would just bolt in place of the buzz box and that's it.
 

billvv

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Oct 3, 2019
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76 Royale twin beds. My plan is to move the batteries from the ragusa tray at the front to the generator compartment, then run cables through the shore power storage area to the cabinet between the beds and mount the inverter in half of that cabinet - if it fits. The other half has the AC and DC panels. A couple large inverter installations I've seen have much longer high amperage cable runs.
 

6cuda6

Member
Oct 3, 2019
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Ontario, Canada
You can't put the house batteries next to the generator with the inverter on the level side across from the bathroom? An inverter/charger would just bolt in place of the buzz box and that's it.
Not in my application as the house battery is in the passenger side of the engine compartment and i have a factory engine coolant fed heater in the generator bay for the back of the coach because mine was a Hughes converted transmode and not a GMC install. (I hope the EV6010 Honda i got will fit....its gonna be really close)20190818_165230.jpg

If i wanted to put it in the buzzbox cabinet the cable run would be over 25 feet long.....its not really a good option for my coach.

If i do install one its going to have to go under the rear bed conversion im going to do.......havent figured out the extra battery part yet.....lol. (ignore the old yellow insulation as that has to come out yet and the swollen board will be replaced with the generator plate.....heater is on the left boxed in)
 

6cuda6

Member
Oct 3, 2019
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Ontario, Canada
Well the weather here is crap (freezing rain) and im waiting for parts to arrive for the generator install.....time to get back to doing the little things electrical.

I swappes out the old buzzbox as you guys know which meant i had to add a fusebox and the only other thing i didnt like was the PO or Hughes put all the 12DC house cables into a steel junction box.....i hate them personally on anything that moves as people always seem to messup marettes and stranded cable (this one was no exception).

So out i came in favor of a bussbar and properly crimped ring connectors......now to just tidy up the cable runs etc and this will be done for now.....lol
20191231_120754.jpg
 
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Justin Brady

Member
Oct 4, 2019
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Bell Buckle TN
www.thegmcrv.com
I agree depending on what you want to do with the RV.
We don't have anything that needs an inverter (by design).
I do have a 2000w inverter wired in to run my outlets but it's almost never on.
We've never even used it other than to charge phones.

That being said if I were doing it again I'd probably install a victron inverter charger with solar just to simplify the wiring.