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eagle_3464

What size inverter?

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Most everything in my wheel house is 12 volt and all lights are LED. Therefore I plan on running the house most often with a deep cycle battery, but I do plan on having a TV with built in DVD to keep the grandkids entertained and hook up the underwater camera. I will also have some 110 outlets for other things as needed. What size inverter would you recommend going with? I also plan to have a generator hook-up for those rare long weekend trips. What type of switching is needed for running the 110 off inverter and then switching to generator if desired? Thanks for any and all feedback.

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I just did what your looking to do to my Ice Cabin a month ago. First off add up the wattage for every thing you thinking you might be running at the same time. For me a 350 watt inverter was big enough. Second get a pure sine wave inverter, you could run a cheaper, modifide sine wave and be just fine for years but for me I'm planing on running a dish reciever, PS3 and 37" tv and it just isn't worth the risk. I bought a Samlex 350 for 100.00.

The hooking up part is the hardest but I've done the work for you and it took me days to figure out how to wire it in(you could always buy a inverter with a built in transfer switch but plan on spending over 400.00 or over 100.00 for just a transfer switch).

You will need to run the inverter as close to the battery as possible or you will trigger the low voltage safty feature when running a medium size load, I would say 20" of wire to the battery max. I wanted to run the complete fish house of the inverter not just one or two outlets this is easy to do but it comes with a risk of destroying your inverter if you forget to unplug your inverter and plug your house into shore power or a generator.

Like I said you can do this the easy way and buy a inverter with a transfer switch or even buy an add on transfer switch but I didn't want to spend that much money. For what I did i spent about 45.00. Your going to need 3, 30 amp L5 plugins, 2 female and one male, a piece of electrical wire with a standard male plug on the end. The male L5 will go to the inverter and a female coming from the plug on the outside of the house and a female on the wire coming from the inverter. The idea behind all this madness is there is no possible way to fry anything buy plugging in the wrong thing or forgetting to unplug the inverter and hooking up shore power.

Now the only thing you need to do and nothing bad will happen if you forget, is turn the braker for the battery charger off because it will try to charge its self with the battery power witch isn't possible and you will get the low voltage alarm and the inverter will go into a safety mode.

I've been camping in my fish house once since I did this and it worked great watch a movie from the PS3 and ran the 37" tv without a glitch. I don't know how long a battery would last watching movies but I would say at least 3 to 4 hours. If your fish house has an electric fan operated furnace your going to want more then one battery if you watch a movie at night before going to bed and don't want to run a gen over night.full-26462-48930-image.jpg

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I run a 800 watt and that is enough to run even my crock-pot full of chili on medium

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I have a 1300 watt inverter, I also have 4 outlets that are "Generator Only", the rest of the house is either 12 volt or 110 volt inverter. I run all the video, DVD, phone and Vex chargers, and fans off the inverter. I have a Onboard charger pluged into one of the generator oulets, the other 3 generator outlets are for Microwave, toaster, coffee pot, deep fryer, and any other high watt divices.When batteries get low just fire up Honda and charge things up.

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I had an inverter in my house and never use it anymore. Mine is just a cheapie 200W one, it powered the TV and DVD player when I wanted to watch a movie just fine, but drained the battery down doing this. I found it's easier now with the 2000W Yamaha to just bring that along instead and have 110v available all the time.

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I think everyone puts all the 12 volt stuff in their first fish house and then figures the generator is easier,always works, and you have all the luxuries of your living room at home.My new house has zero 12 volt wired into it. That's just an opinion.

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Yep, I do have a smaller 400 watt invertor for TV but I have 2 better batteries in the house as the furnace has a fan and need so many volts to operate. The other battery is there for whatever else if needed, typically the TV if I watch it and do not want the generator running all the time.

I run my 12volt lights almost always but have the 110 for backup.

With the 2 batteries, I have had zero issues with power. I do recharge themboth with the generator during the day for 3-4 hours to make sure I have enough battery to go the night for the furnace fan and the TV if I want. When I do run the generator, then I also plug in my phone, underwater camera and flasher to charge them all while the 2 batteries are being charged also.

I really can do without the 110 and go all 12volt and most times do exactly that.

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Whatever you do, bear in mind the current draw of an inverter and use the appropriate size 12V power cables (length also needs to be considered).

A quick way to figure the current draw is the inverter watt rating divide by 12, then add 50% for good measure. So, for an example of a 500W inverter, it would be (500/12)*1.5 = ~62 amps. That takes some heavy duty cable to minimize voltage drop if you're going to be putting a good load on it. For that load, 62 amps, the recommended cable is 4ga for 15ft cable (7.5ft each way).

I have two Samlex inverters, the 300W inverter says max draw is 40A, and the 1,000W inverter says max draw is 160A.

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Thanks for all the replies.

JSK, I like your fail safe concept. Very similar to what I was hoping I could do. The little work it takes to plug and unplug is minimal to getting the generator hooked up and running. Not only that, but it will be rare that I use a generator. What is your male end connected to in the picture? Since both the inverter and generator have overload protection, is a 110 breaker panel required in the wheel house?

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Hawg, I think it all depends on how you plan to use the house. For me, I can't imagine having zero 12 volt in the house. My use will be primarily on one lake. When I get home from work I can run out for the evening bite and a vex battery will basically power up my LED lighting. On those evenings I am not interested in powering up the 110 appliances, just a few hours of quality fishing time without dragging along unnecessary bulky items. If my intended use was primarily weekend getaways, then maybe strictly 110 would be the way to go. So yes, just an opinion and everyone's needs are different.

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I think everyone puts all the 12 volt stuff in their first fish house and then figures the generator is easier,always works, and you have all the luxuries of your living room at home.My new house has zero 12 volt wired into it. That's just an opinion.

Man that's gonna suck when you break your recoil, run out of gas, or if the generator just plain doesn't work.

"Always works" ????? Generators are pretty reliable, but they can and do fail.

Not to mention the crazy amount of wear and tear, as well as fuel........ But, to each his own.

I have all the luxuries too, but only put 4 hours on the genny in a 24 hour period to use them whenever I want.

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Eagle, depending on the layout and location of what needs powering, there is a very simple solution.

Just have your inverter near your appliances with a power strip plugged into it. No need for fancy switches or worries about backfeeding or frying something.

This is all I do to run my tv, DVD player etc. (which are all located together)

When the batteries get low, I fire the generator up without having to do a thing.

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Eagle, depending on the layout and location of what needs powering, there is a very simple solution.

Just have your inverter near your appliances with a power strip plugged into it. No need for fancy switches or worries about backfeeding or frying something.

This is all I do to run my tv, DVD player etc. (which are all located together)

When the batteries get low, I fire the generator up without having to do a thing.

+1 Keep it simple.

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I agree that there are applications for 12 volt and like Highlife says-keep it simple. I've seen friends that get somebody that knows how to wire in all the jumps and trick stuff and then be caught with a problem they have no idea how to fix. They start putzing and wires start melting. My house is so heavy that having the generator in the pickup box is pretty easy. Here's another area where it's important to have a Honda or Yamaha generator, with a cheapie there's no way I would run it as much as I do my my Honda. I try to be a polite neighbor to other houses and my house isn't bulletproof. I know my opinion may be a minority one but when I built this last house the last thing I wanted to do was wire a redundant system when I knew from experience I wouldn't use it much. LED portable lights are always there for coming and going.

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This year I plan on using an inverter also for watching TV I was going to buy a transfer switch though because I know I will forget to switch things back and forth at some point. I will tie in at the input to the house and then off the house charger, that way at worst it has some extra drain if I forget.

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Thanks again for the ideas guys. The power strip is a good idea but I plan to put at least one outlet near the back just in case I ever want to plug something in there.

Since your power strip is connected to the inverter and your inverter to the battery, do you need to disconnect the inverter from the battery when you connect an onboard charger to shore power or generator?

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Eagle, depending on the layout and location of what needs powering, there is a very simple solution.

Just have your inverter near your appliances with a power strip plugged into it. No need for fancy switches or worries about backfeeding or frying something.

This is all I do to run my tv, DVD player etc. (which are all located together)

When the batteries get low, I fire the generator up without having to do a thing.

I like this idea and sounds like a winner to me and will be logging it in the noggin for future reference . Thanks .

TD

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The thing that some are over looking is how far you are from your battery with your inverter. I was going to just put the inverter up in the cabinet with the other plugins for the tv and DVD but it wouldn't power it, tried two different inverters too. Pulled the battery out and put it on the counter and with the shorter wires it worked just fine. It all comes down to voltage drop from length of DC wire from the battery. The inverter has low voltage safety devise so you don't try to run something and not supply it with enough voltage and wreck it. Once you convert the DC to AC then it can travel much, much longer without voltage drop.

I ran into a buddy the other day and he was telling me that flat screen TV's most use a ton of power because he bought a 400 watt inverter and it wouldn't power his TV in his camper. Flat screen TVs don't use much power at all (under 100 watts) he was just too far from the battery with the inverter. If your battery is in the back of the house and you have a bigger house and try to run something bigger in the front by just plugging it into the cigeraette lighter it's probably not going to work. Small things yes, but most people buy an inverter to watch tv.

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The thing that some are over looking is how far you are from your battery with your inverter ... It all comes down to voltage drop from length of DC wire from the battery. The inverter has low voltage safety devise so you don't try to run something and not supply it with enough voltage and wreck it. Once you convert the DC to AC then it can travel much, much longer without voltage drop.

Voltage drops as a function of cable resistance, which varies with length AND conductor size (cable thickness). You compensate by either making cables shorter as you said in your post, OR by keeping the long run but using a thicker wire.

There are calculators and tables on the interwebz of course to recommend what size wire to run based on your length of run and your maximal amperage draw. Follow those recommendations and you'll be able to run the length of any fish house I've seen. Of course if the wires are behind walls and sprayed-in foam, then changing them to be thicker is not always easy -- I'm just saying there are alternatives besides running the inverter right next to the battery.

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I have gone over this before, but I will say it again, if the primary use of 110v AC is to run a TV or DVD player, before you buy an inverter, take a look at the power supplies for the TV or DVD player that you plug into the AC. If the output on those supplies is 12v DC (which it is in most cases), then you don't need 110v AC to run them, you just need to find a cord to connect to your 12v DC (cigarette plug) and plug end into your device (Radio Shack has many type of plug adaptors)

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How many of you are using a pure sine wave inverter -vs- a modified sine wave inverter? Pure sine appears to be at least twice the cost but I had also read the some electronics have a problem with the modified sine wave. Some TV's for instance may have a snowy picture using the modified sine wave. What are you using? Thanks for all the tips guys.

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As stated above, I'm using a Samlex pure sine wave. No static, no buzzing, no worries of wrecking any of my expensive electronics. It's really not that much more, yes it's easily double but I only paid 100.00 new.

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