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Upgrading stock converter

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SkeeterPod11 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SkeeterPod11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Upgrading stock converter
    Posted: 12 Jan 2021 at 10:13am
Hi all,

Im putting thought into upgrading my stock converter on my 2016 rpod 180. Ive been reading about multi stage and charging converters and this seem like a logical upgrade. In my learning ive also been reading about the benefits of an inverter for boondocking. I do plan on boondocking quite a bit so this peaked my interest. I also do have a few tech gadgets such and high quality camera and laptops so the idea of being able to obtain A/C power from my house batteries has me interested.

Im looking for any insight on the topic or additional factors im overlooking. Im also curious about how much Id have to alter my current setup as it is stock and I dont know if it is as easy as just dropping a $700 2000w aimes inverter/charger into my current setup. The mentioned inverter is also just a context statement. Im not sure if that is in fact the inverter I would be going with. It just received great reviews and feedback and has some handy features. All input is welcome. Thanks for your time. Happy Rving.
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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2021 at 10:47am
I've never been a fan of adding an inverter for boondocking. In my mind it's simpler to do whatever you can to live on 12 volts, and supplement with solar. The only things that require 120VAC are the microwave and air conditioning, and the amount of power they require would also require a massive inverter and about a ton of batteries.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote podwerkz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2021 at 11:27am
On the other hand, installing a modest sized pure sine inverter (200 to 500 watts) can make life easier and more comfy. Forget about heating and cooking appliances, coffee makers, hair dryers or radial arm saws for that matter... BUT...you can charge up a variety of small devices, (laptops, smartphones, tablets, cellular hotspots, drones, cordless drills, cordless toothbrush, rechargeable lanterns, cameras, etc etc) without needing to buy 'car chargers' for each and every one. And you can power small 120v items such as TVs and radios, small desk fans, rock tumblers, electric carving knives, etc etc...

I only turn mine on when I use it which is only a few minutes to maybe an hour a day....if that.

Not a problem as long as you have SOME surplus 12v battery capacity and a solar panel or two to replenish the house batteries.


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SkeeterPod11 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SkeeterPod11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2021 at 1:56pm
I like the logic in your reply. As much as I like the idea of the ability to run furance and larger appliances without shore power solely through the power on an inverter. I believe the initial cost of inverter and batteries to make it worth it may be to large as GlueGuy mentions above. I plan on purchasing a generator though that can help on that front as I am going to be traveling from FL to the West Coast via south state route in the very near future but still expect to incounter cold weather. Even though I do plan on investing in a generator that can be used to run the furance and larger appliances; I do like the idea you mentioned of using a smaller pure sine inverter to increase the comfort level of day to day living and being able to power TV and charging tech gadgets. Is your inverter in addition to your on board converter..? Is incorporating the inverter to such setup if so complicated..? Please pardon make lack of knowledge on the electrical front. Im still trying to wrap my head around the electrical workings of the system involved with my Rpod.
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2021 at 5:46pm
The furnace runs on 12V power. The AC does require shore power or a generator. I use a small inverter once in a while to run the television, but have not found it that useful. I added USB charging outlets for our phones and other devices that need a USB cord. The small inverter would also work to charge a laptop battery, and I have used one for that purpose. For the most part though, we operate on 12V when shore power isn't available. 

One thing to figure out is what kind of camping you are going to do. If you plan on doing extended boondocking then a single 12V group 24 battery will likely not be sufficient. Three alternatives are to go with a pair of 6V GC2 batteries, wired in series to provide 12V output. Another alternative is to get a matched pair of 12V batteries and wire them in parallel so you keep 12V while increasing available amp hours. These can both be done with the stock converter which is a multi-stage charger (bulk, absorption, and float), and will work just fine.

A third alternative is to go with an LiFePO4 (Lithium) battery. This is what I have done. It does require more changes, both to the converter and to be able to charge from the vehicle, a DC to DC charger since vehicle charging systems are not meant for lithium batteries. See my mods for details.

Do not think you can use a small sine inverter for the purposes you propose. You would need a huge capacity inverter and an even more huge battery bank to run the larger appliances. Some of the newer RPod models come with an inverter installed. From what I have been reading, those limit the power available in the AC circuit. For example, don't plan on plugging in anything that draws above 12A. You are much better off spending the money on a good inverter generator. We recently purchased a Firman dual-fuel generator that we can run on propane. This is good because we don't have to carry containers of gasoline. It is big enough to run the AC, the microwave, etc. I don't think it would run the AC and the microwave at the same time, but the AC and other items would be okay, except for running the water heater and the refrigerator on propane also, which makes more sense.

To summarize, the converter you have is fine for standard lead-acid batteries. An inverter is not really needed for travel. There are good 12V alternatives. Some tow vehicles have 120V AC outlets in them. If you have that, use them for charging. If you don't have them, add a couple of 12V outlets and USB charging outlets to your RPod. It will serve you better in the long run.
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2021 at 6:44pm
+1 to stephenH. Really very little need for 120Vac boon docking except for the a/c and microwave which are impractical to run on the house batteries anyway. Add a 12V power port or two and some USB ports and change the TV for a dual voltage one. More efficient than running everything through an inverter.You can always carry a small plug in inverter for occasional use.

Your existing converter is fine.
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Colt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Colt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2021 at 2:21am
What sort of small, quiet portable generator could you get for under $700 and what would it weigh compared to the larger batteries you'd need to run the inverter? How simple/convenient would just using your FR supplied power cord be?

40 to 50 lbs? Run a hair dryer? Or 23 lbs and 800 watts to run a little and charge the battery.

https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/Champion-100889-Portable-Generator/p110590.html

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Briggs-Stratton-P2400-PowerSmart-Series-2400-Watt-Recoil-Start-Gasoline-Powered-Inverter-Generator-with-OHV-Engine-featuring-CO-Guard-030758/312561169
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Blender Bob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2021 at 10:44am
Yes, most critical things are 12v. But for good time -- I added 1500W inverter, mounted on top my two 12v deep cycle batteries on the tongue. Then I plugin my 30amp cable with a 30A to 15A plug adapter (two wire, no ground) to the inverter, and shut off my converter at the panel. I get 15 to 20 min of microwave on P10 for warming up leftovers. I also run my TV screen as a monitor for movies playing on my laptop and it keeps my laptop charged. I plugin 110v red led xmas lights (not to run night vision) allowing the party to be outside. All boondocking in the west with a 120W solar to keeping going and never seem to get below 50% battery use. Works for me. Be sure to get a pure sine inverter.
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2021 at 1:12pm
Using your shore power cord to connect to the inverter is a great idea, that way you can’t inadvertently connect to the inverter and grid power at the same time, while still being able to energize all your receptacles. I like it. Be sure the power to the breakers for the fridge and water heater are off as well as the converter.
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