Inverters how do you decide?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Brakers, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Hi Everybod There is so many threads on this and not many if any cover in reality how much is too much to pay for one.

    Inverters, how do you know which inverter is the best to buy, you can purchase an inverter so cheap and so dear I’m at a loss as to which inverter is the best to buy, without paying for the name or over the top for no reason except that is what the price is.

    I’ve read what people have said that their inverter does what it says on the tin and they have bought this one or that one, but how do they know how efficient the inverter is and the quality of it.

    I realize that the quality of the components influence the final price and also the efficiency of the inverter is another aspect but there is such a discrepancy between the cheap ones and the dear ones and also the intermediate ones it’s difficult to decide where the price is just too much for what you are getting or so cheap it's not worth the money.

    No site I’ve visited gives me a any idea which one to go for or reviews various models, I don’t mind paying for quality but don’t want to pay over the top for something I can achieve for less without compromising on quality and longavity.
    I'm not sure if I will be any wiser after this thread but I do apreciate anyone who tries to answer this vague question.
    Many Thanks Tony
     
  2. wigster

    wigster Funster

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    I have a small inverter already fitted to my van , just enough to charge laptops etc witch is silly anyway get 12 volt chargers, i digress . If money isnt a problem a pure sign wave is best.Any inverter will rip capacity ie charge out of your battery bank at a rate of knots. I need to buy 2 new batteries soon as they charge up but crash when put under load.
    What do you want your inverter to do ? and how you will get charge back into your battery's ?
    Steve.
     
  3. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    you need to say what you want the invertor for hairdryers curling tongs coffee machine?
     
  4. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Hi Steve Thanks for taking the time to answer this post, Initially I only want to power a TV and a playstation and a coffee maker, but I always want to be ready for the future, if I'm unlucky enough to meet a lady lol, then what she might use is a hair drier and straighteners then the inverter will need to be more powerfull than what I want today. I do understand there is limitations but I also hear of people running these item every day and have no trouble. I have a bank of 4 125Ampre hour batteries and I'm in the process of booking in to get two 150watt solar panels fitted hopefully in October. I also have a generator but don't tell anyone else. LOL
    Best Wishes Tony
     
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  5. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Hi Mitzimad I do not need it for curling tongs as my bonce is lacking in hair and what is there is grey as you can see from my avatar.
    I think if you read my post previously to steve it will answer your question.
    Thanks Mitzi for showing an interest in this post.
    Best Wishes Tony
     
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  6. beacons

    beacons Funster

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    Techno gave us excellent advice when we were looking for
    Inverter. what battery's. solar power we would need
    I still have his cartoon picture he sent mike it makes me smile
    Every time I look at it .
     
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  7. wigster

    wigster Funster

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    I was going to say ask @Techno but i thought it rude lol . With a large battery bank and loads of solar in the sun you will be fine if it gets sunny enough , there again we are talking uk weather. shhh Tony ive got a built in genny dont tell anyone ;)
     
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  8. wigster

    wigster Funster

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    Not me my van you understand :getmecoat:
     
  9. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    I am not getting deep into the physics of why, but everything you mentioned bar the coffee machine are better run on 12v. Any tv suited to use in a motorhome will normally have a step down transformer in the mains lead and can be run on 12v directly. You can buy a playstation in-car adaptor to run on 12v. both will use less battery power using 12v

    for a simple coffee machine you need to check the wattage of the element and buy an inverter one size above this maximum. Most of us have managed many years without inverters for coffee machines. We go low tech and use a percolator on the gas hob

    if you do buy an inverter go with a good named brand with a warranty worth the paper its written on. cheapies are great for occassional use, but will let you down when most needed
     
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  10. wigster

    wigster Funster

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    Very true 12 volt tv etc way to go ive got one , mrs says even emerdales ok on 12 v.
     
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  11. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Of course not I'm the same just hyperthetical as th saying goes.
     
  12. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I'm with @TheBig1 .. 12v is my preference ..

    coffee machine, we use a hob perculator. and also a cafeteria .. both make great coffee..

    However... I succumbed and installed a small 200 watt Sterling PSW to charge items I that don't have a 12v option... like , camera batteries, 2 x MacBook laptops and the electric toothbrush..

    I have 2 x 85 ah Gel batteries and 160 watt solar... been away for 4 weeks and was never on an EHU.. the only time in the future will be to charge electric bike batteries...

    I've looked into using an inverter for charging them but it's just not feasible.. Each battery has a charger rated at 2amps at 240v , which equals just under 500watt x 2 = 1kw inverter .. charging 2 batteries this would draw 84 amps .. so in effect I would have two flat leisure batteries within ONE hour .. (50% of total capacity) and the bike batteries would NOT be fully charged.. it's a non starter..

    Think over very carefully what you REALLY need one for .. ask the question.. is there a better option ? Then think on the power it will use and how long your batteries will last .. then buy something more useful.. like a hob percolator.. :LOL:
     
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  13. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    I'd go along with what everyone else has said. If something can be powered directly from 12v then that's by far the better option.

    If you really have to have an inverter then for anything with sensitive electronics it has to be pure sine wave and it's no good buying a cheapo one because whatever it claims it won't be proper pure sine wave and your devices won't work properly.

    For what you said you want to be able to use then a proper 12V TV, a 12V car charger for the PlayStation and a good stove top coffee maker such as a Bialetti is all you need.
     
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  14. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    Plenty of inverter product reviews on Amazon
     
  15. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Microwave work in progress just needs a surround making
    Makes many meals in the time it takes my kettle to make hot water
    image.jpeg
     
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  16. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Electric kettle saves having to clear over half the worktop to use a gas ring
    image.jpeg
     
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  17. laird of Dunstan

    laird of Dunstan Funster Life Member

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    jim,ive got 200 watts of solar and 2 x 75ah batteries ,my inverter is a 300w ,ive had no problems charging the ebike batterys with it, the batteries have droped down to 60% of charge whilst doing one but would appear to be capable of doing the recharge without going past the 50% mark. I think the trick is to recharge whilst there is sunshine
    My intentions are to increase my hab batteries to 300AH or more if i can(y)
     
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  18. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    purely on electric bikes, I am looking at ours and plan to only charge via a small inverter while on the move, so hopefully the alternator is putting as much back into the batteries as being taken out

    no use if you are parked up for weeks, but we never do (y)
     
  19. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    I agree and you would be amazed how many people they need things when they don't

    Neither the 40" nor the 36" in my RV will work on 12 volt. :D

    So I have to have a pure Sine wave inverter, so makes sense to have the Sky+ boxes on the inverter as well

    ;)Some of us didn't even know decent coffee exisited in our homes for many years, let alone our campers

    There are good reasons for some to have inverters fitted, and I agree that if a decent 12 VDC solution is available, I would always suggest it to my customers.

    ;)Many Funsters have left Van Bitz with a shopping list of 12 volt leads they need to get from Maplins, when they called in to discuss buying Inverters

    My wife is murder without the ability to use her hairdryer, so I have no option;) however, I have a very large inverter, a very large bank of batteries, a built in 6kw generator, a large roof full of solar panels, and a 200 amp on road charging system

    And I still charge my iPhone on 12 volt :ROFLMAO:
     
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  20. sallylillian

    sallylillian Funster Life Member

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    The use of electric always seems to polarise views on this forum but the use of an inverter in your AC/DC armoury can be very benificial if you take a more expansive view of its use. If its I just want to power a small item like a TV or such like then you can easily choose a small *00 watt inverter. But I believe that an inverter should be considered as a more integral part of your electrical system. Purchasing a larger and more sophisticated modern inverter/charger unit provides a wealth of benifits.
    Victron, who I have to admit after years of exeperience with a variety of units are my manufactuerer of choice, have some good models for motor homes. A charger/inverter of quality will give you a power assist function as well as a UPS (uninteruptable power supply) and it is these functions which bring the most advantage. Whilst 10 and 16 amps supplies are creeping up fast many sites have low power breakers, 6 amps or even less sometimes, and managing consumption in a MH with a variety of electrical items and family members who do not understand the concept that electrical power is finite on a site can be testing. With the above features power drawn from the EHU can be limited by dialed up selection to the maximum of the breaker, but when internal demand, say the wife puts on her hairddryer and tongs just as you boil a kettle for her tea, the inverter seamlessly provides inverted power to make up the shortfall in supply and the breaker remains connected providing as much as is possible.
    Of course you have all the other benifits of an inverter enabling the use of all your electrical kit whilst off grid, but remember that some devices, like our favourite Nespresso machine have large start up power draws which can easily kill a small unit.
    Another benifit is that the charger and inverter are one in the same box, so a saving in weight and space requirement.
    Sure these solutions are more expensive than a simple low wattage inverter but if you are either specifying a new van or upgrading old equipment then this is a route well worth investigating.
    Good luck with your research.
     
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