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Post Info TOPIC: Inverters


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Inverters


I have a Trayon slide-on and recently upgraded my batteries with two lithium 100ah set up in series. I keep it all charged with a 250w solar panel. The resultant 200ah of stored power is ample to run the fridge (2.5ah), water pump, diesel hot water and lighting for weeks, but because I do a lot of remote camping, there are occasions when I need 240v to recharge laptops, etc., or briefly run small appliances. Not interested in a/c, microwaves or the like. I have discounted solar inverters as an option, but would like some advice on a smallish inverter set-up that will comply with my needs.

Any assistance will be welcome.



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Victron sell good small inverters. It is worth noting they express power ratings in VA rather than W. I think they are well priced for the level of quality.

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You need to qualify what you mean by "small appliances" - such devices may require anything from 50W to 1000W and that makes a *huge* difference to inverter selection and wiring.

Let's stick with rechargeables; computer, phone etc - the computer will require maybe 70W, the phone 15W so a 300W inverter is more than sufficient and, providing power consumption is below 100W or so, this may be run from a cigar lighter socket or, better, directly wired to your batteries with 2.5mm sq. cable. Something like this will do the trick:

E-bay inverter 

There may be posters pop up and say "Buy a 2000W inverter for future needs" - don't, if you don't need one now. A large inverter must be correctly ventilated and wired in with large and expensive cable by someone who knows what they are doing.



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Muskat55 wrote:

Victron sell good small inverters. It is worth noting they express power ratings in VA rather than W. I think they are well priced for the level of quality.


 I have Victron gear but don't have an inverter, but they do give the realistic numbers. As noted above look at the VA, not watts.

 

I am on 12v for everything. My Canon DSLR, bought a Canon 12v charger, cost more than an inverter.

 

Also use a Braun 2xAA battery tooth brush. Not as good as a 230v charging model, but bearable. A reasonable workaround to avoid 230v.

 

If you really can't set up without an inverter. At least get a pure sine wave inverter. Also consider a filter to smooth power supply for computers. Eaton have these products, better than the rubbish at the white goods stores pretending to be experts.



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Gary and Barb wrote:

I have a Trayon slide-on and recently upgraded my batteries with two lithium 100ah set up in series. I keep it all charged with a 250w solar panel. The resultant 200ah of stored power is ample to run the fridge (2.5ah), water pump, diesel hot water and lighting for weeks, but because I do a lot of remote camping, there are occasions when I need 240v to recharge laptops, etc., or briefly run small appliances. Not interested in a/c, microwaves or the like. I have discounted solar inverters as an option, but would like some advice on a smallish inverter set-up that will comply with my needs.

Any assistance will be welcome.


Two lithium 100Ah batteries connected in series will not give you 200Ah.  It will give you 100Ah at 24V.

Perhaps you meant connected in parallel which would give you 200Ah at 12V

 

 



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Muskat55 wrote:

Victron sell good small inverters. It is worth noting they express power ratings in VA rather than W.


Victron's specification quotes both watts and volt/amps (VA) and this is the correct way to specify such a product:

Victron inverters

With AC electricity it is ideal to keep both the current and voltage waveform in phase with one-another, the value which describes that phase relationship is "Power Factor" and for a purely resitive load will be 1.0. Victron specify their inverters are able to cope with a PF of 0.8 (I assume that is both leading and lagging) and it is because of this that their watt specification is lower than their VA specification.

In reality, most domestic products have a PF very close to 1.0 so it may generally be considered that for such use the VA rating may be considered to be watts, eg. this inverter which I own:

Victron Phoenix 12/500

is specified as 400W (500VA) at a PF of 0.8. As I have only one item which I know has a PF diverging significantly from 1.0 I consider and treat this inverter as a 500W unit.

FYI: the one item I mention is a, heap of crap, 12v to 20V, 27A Chinese frame power supply which when I tried to run it from a Honda 2kW generator made the generator sit up and cough a few times! :) Upon checking it's PF it transpired to be 0.6! They didn't mention that on E-bay. I do not run this item from the Victron.

Don't get hung up on power factor; most users will never need to know about it and can just accept the VA rating to be watts.



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kgarnett wrote:
Gary and Barb wrote:

I have a Trayon slide-on and recently upgraded my batteries with two lithium 100ah set up in series. I keep it all charged with a 250w solar panel. The resultant 200ah of stored power is ample to run the fridge (2.5ah), water pump, diesel hot water and lighting for weeks, but because I do a lot of remote camping, there are occasions when I need 240v to recharge laptops, etc., or briefly run small appliances. Not interested in a/c, microwaves or the like. I have discounted solar inverters as an option, but would like some advice on a smallish inverter set-up that will comply with my needs.

Any assistance will be welcome.


Two lithium 100Ah batteries connected in series will not give you 200Ah.  It will give you 100Ah at 24V.

Perhaps you meant connected in parallel which would give you 200Ah at 12V

 

 

 Yep! My bad. It is in parallel!

 


 



-- Edited by Gary and Barb on Tuesday 1st of March 2022 11:02:12 AM

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Mike Harding wrote:

You need to qualify what you mean by "small appliances" - such devices may require anything from 50W to 1000W and that makes a *huge* difference to inverter selection and wiring.

Let's stick with rechargeables; computer, phone etc - the computer will require maybe 70W, the phone 15W so a 300W inverter is more than sufficient and, providing power consumption is below 100W or so, this may be run from a cigar lighter socket or, better, directly wired to your batteries with 2.5mm sq. cable. Something like this will do the trick:

E-bay inverter 

There may be posters pop up and say "Buy a 2000W inverter for future needs" - don't, if you don't need one now. A large inverter must be correctly ventilated and wired in with large and expensive cable by someone who knows what they are doing.


 Generally, the items I most need to charge via inverter are small and low power, such as drills, laptop, a 12ah backup battery pack. Some of my items I can recharge through 12v, but others do need 240v. I don't plan on taking anything that requires a heavy draw such as toaster, a/c, or heater. I cope very well in the Trayon setup which has diesel hot water/heating, gas stove/griller, fridge freezer, hot shower, etc. Very self-sufficient, but sometimes I do need to plug into mains just to top up those items I can't charge on 12v. Maybe an angle grinder or glue gun?

300w sounds more than adequate, as suggested by you. Thanks.



-- Edited by Gary and Barb on Tuesday 1st of March 2022 11:01:15 AM

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Hi smile

My ideas on inverters. Cheap ones are just inverters of unknown quality of output and may or may not give a good clean wave form and the self protection is unknown. They have no facility to go to sleep when not supplying power, so their excessive stand by power use is just a waste of valuable battery power. Buying a bigger inverter than you need just wastes even more standby power and is silly. IMHOhmm

So buy a well known good brand that has a sleep facility (that is adjustable), if needed to suit your loads. Work out what your loads will be and allow a modest size bigger than that, say 250, 375 or 500W so you can use a couple of items on together which will be the most efficient way to do it. From my Victron book the standby power in eco mode for these are only 0.8/1.3/2.5 W. They have a 50% + overload rating to kick off a fridge or charger that has a high surge need and are well self protected. But they do have an internal fuse if you blow that it says not user replaceable.furious

I have an older Aussie made Selectronic SE10 350W that I usually do not turn off as the power loss in sleep mode is so minimal and you can just plug in whenever you need to. I cannot find the eco power specs but very low as above. It has an even higher surge rating of 50% for half an hour and up to 300% for 5 secs, both protected by thermal sensing.aww It will self protect against reverse voltage connection also which will blow the internal fuse in a Victron. And kick off a grinder or similar OK that some newer small inverters do not like.  

Jaahn 

 

 



-- Edited by Jaahn on Tuesday 1st of March 2022 11:15:19 AM

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Mike, et al,

Thanks for that info. Very useful. I now feel a lot more confident of what is needed.



-- Edited by Gary and Barb on Tuesday 1st of March 2022 11:07:52 AM

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Jaahn wrote:

So buy a well known good brand that has a sleep facility (that is adjustable), if needed to suit your loads.


Although the sleep mode sounds like a good idea what I discovered on my Victron 500W inverter is that it's not usable in my situation. I run the whole caravan from the inverter (AC and microwave excepted) and when everything is charged the quiescent power of the whole van sends the inverter into sleep mode - sounds good? Trouble is the inverter subsequently wakes up every few seconds sends a few 240V cycles to the van to check if the load has increased and it needs to come out of sleep, this action wakes up tablets, phones, weather station etc which all go "Beep, bong, bang, bing" and illuminate for a bit which either wakes me up or is really irritating if I'm awake. A good idea in theory but not so good in practice. I am not aware of an inverter which has an adjustable current limit for sleep mode, the Victron does not.

Also, even for something like a fridge which may be an inverter's sole load it may do the "Beep" thing when switched on and also, technically, I'm not at all sure I like the idea of an appliance being switched on and off a few thousand times a day, such behaviour will most certainly not have been in its design specification.

In reality the "always on" quiescent current of the Victron is not an issue with 100Ah+ of batteries



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Gary:

If all you wish to do is recharge power tool/computer/phone batteries that 300W e-bay inverter (or any other 300W+) will do the job and most likely you'll be able to run it from the cig socket rather than wire it in - although wiring it in a nicer way to do things.

No hair dryers! :)



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Hmm Mike
I must have been spoilt by my Selectronic as the auto start sensitivity is adjustable from 4-16 W.aww also it does not beep either. I would be annoyed if it did what you said toodisbelief

So it's standby current would be 0.05a if not in sleep it says in the specs.

I have a Victron Phoenix 12/500 which I have not actually used yet. The book for that does say it is Fully Configurable, bla bla........ECO mode on/off and ECO mode sense level.

But I think while the on/off can be manually done, possibly the sense level needs a computer or smart phone connection.hmm The default level is 15W.

For general interest on inverters;

i obtained this 500W Victron to fit in a friends van to replace the 2000W cheap inverter that was consuming all her power running a small 240V fridge plus her other normal stuff. The standby power of that inverter was high and as a 24/7 load it was too much added to the actual real loads. However she decided on a second battery which I fitted and the immediate problem went away. disbelief She has ideas that the big inverter will be useful for bigger loads in the future, HMM the usual thinking trap. 

We might fit the Victron after a while and see what difference it makes to the dual battery state of charge, possibly after this wet weather even. aww Just leave the big one there switched off for special use. 

I find it amazing how people do resist getting a good solution for a modest cost, when they hope a sh*t setup will somehow improve no Often the cost of a full tank of fuel will be the difference. I am a tight arse and resistant to spending money but somethings just work better and are a long term saving. I certainly do not waste money on bluetooth and the like !! Just old fashioned with real metersblankstare.

Jaahn

PS Yes get a quality sine wave inverter and you will have no unexpected surprises as to what works OK and not.  Modified sine wave means it is not a sine wave 

 



-- Edited by Jaahn on Tuesday 1st of March 2022 02:37:52 PM

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I would make sure to buy a pure sine wave inverter rather than a modified sine wave one. Some electronic devices do not like the modified sine wave ones. My partner and I had identical Lenovo power adapters for our laptops and one of them charged perfectly while the other made a buzzing sound and got hot. I doubt it would have lasted long. Swapped out the inverter to a sine wave model and no problems since.

Also, as others have said, quality often pays. Often the cheap ebay specials will consume more standby power and be less efficient in use than a reasonable quality one. Let alone longevity.



-- Edited by Are We Lost on Tuesday 1st of March 2022 02:36:46 PM

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I only use 240 volt to charge my cordless hammer drill, and cordless impact wrench (rattle gun)

I use the drill, to screw the pegs in the ground, for the awning

I use the rattle gun, to undo my wheel nuts, (which I hand torque to 120 ft lb/160 Nm)

My inverter is an el cheapo, 300/600 watt pure sinewave, from ebay
I run it from the ciggy plug, so it pulls less than 10 amp, when charging the two above items
I only plug it in, when I need it, I have had it for about 6 years

I use 12 volt to charge the phone/laptop/tablet/rechargeable 1.5 volt batteries/etc

I thought that I may have had to use the inverter on my new laptop, as it charges at 20 volt, (old one charged at 19 volt), but I purchased a 12 volt charger for it



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Mike Harding wrote:

Gary:

If all you wish to do is recharge power tool/computer/phone batteries that 300W e-bay inverter (or any other 300W+) will do the job and most likely you'll be able to run it from the cig socket rather than wire it in - although wiring it in a nicer way to do things.

No hair dryers! :)


 I had planned to use the 12v outlets in the camper so I could move it around as needed. No hair dryers - no hair!!

I also checked my 100mm grinder and it pulls 1kw, so I'll go to a cordless - just for emergencies.

 



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Hi Jaahn

A little confusion, mainly on my part, I think :)

It seems the Victron inverter *wake-up* power and time check is adjustable although one needs to buy an additional interface.

However I don't believe this solves the issue: it is not the inverter which "Beeps" but rather the items connected to the 240V system when the inverter "takes a look" as to whether the required wake-up power is being exceeded.

There may be ways around this by invoking "silent" mode on some devices but other devices (fridges?) may not have a capability to do this. In any event I am still not happy that an appliance should be woken every few seconds with a short burst of 240V - the long term effects will not be good.

 



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Tony Bev wrote:


I thought that I may have had to use the inverter on my new laptop, as it charges at 20 volt, (old one charged at 19 volt), but I purchased a 12 volt charger for it


I sure treasure my Mac laptop.  Wouldn't a (pure sine-wave) inverter be safer for charging the laptop than a 12v charger?  Btw, what do you plug the 12v charger into?  I know little about these issues



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Tony Bev wrote:


I thought that I may have had to use the inverter on my new laptop, as it charges at 20 volt, (old one charged at 19 volt), but I purchased a 12 volt charger for it


I sure treasure my Mac laptop.  Wouldn't a (pure sine-wave) inverter be safer for charging the laptop than a 12v charger?  Btw, what do you plug the 12v charger into?  I know little about these issues



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Mike Harding wrote:
Jaahn wrote:

So buy a well known good brand that has a sleep facility (that is adjustable), if needed to suit your loads.


Although the sleep mode sounds like a good idea what I discovered on my Victron 500W inverter is that it's not usable in my situation. I run the whole caravan from the inverter (AC and microwave excepted) and when everything is charged the quiescent power of the whole van sends the inverter into sleep mode - sounds good? Trouble is the inverter subsequently wakes up every few seconds sends a few 240V cycles to the van to check if the load has increased and it needs to come out of sleep, this action wakes up tablets, phones, weather station etc which all go "Beep, bong, bang, bing" and illuminate for a bit which either wakes me up or is really irritating if I'm awake. A good idea in theory but not so good in practice. I am not aware of an inverter which has an adjustable current limit for sleep mode, the Victron does not.

Also, even for something like a fridge which may be an inverter's sole load it may do the "Beep" thing when switched on and also, technically, I'm not at all sure I like the idea of an appliance being switched on and off a few thousand times a day, such behaviour will most certainly not have been in its design specification.

In reality the "always on" quiescent current of the Victron is not an issue with 100Ah+ of batteries


This reminded me of a story I heard when I started as a PMG tech in Training back in 1957. The senior tech was showing people around one of the Melbourne City telephone exchanges and also the battery room. Telephones ran on 50Vdc and used massive batteries where each cell was about 200 litres. While showing the guests around they were shown the switchboard which was dominated by a massive main load isolating knife switch. One of the guests for some weird reason went and switched the switch off, cutting off power to the exchange. The senior tech immediately switched it back on. Understandable I suppose but the absolutely wrong thing to do.

Many of the Melbourne City offices had local switchboards with drop down indicators. When the power came back on all those indicators dropped and all the receptionists answered the non existent calls. That caused all the first stages in the exchange to start and the current overloaded all the protection fuses. Replacing thousands of fuses took forever. 

Did it really happen. Dunno, but it really impressed us first year trainees.



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G'day there,

So try this guy on ebay: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/331279407166?hash=item4d21ca983e:g:FugAAOSwVGVedI5X

Its a GiANDEL Brand, not to bad I read a number of reviews before going down the rabbit hole, before I purchased their 2000W inverter.

Now here's thing it did die, possibly due to water but I thought I'll claim warranty and they replaced it. 

Allegedly they had a tech look at it but I don't think so, anyway works great and pure Sine Wave which is what you want, even if you don't know you want it, you do.

This seller was great for warranty and dispatched quickly and their realistic on price. I seen 2000W inverters sold for $1600-$2200 dollars and they all look same same but different.

Beside went through heaps of YTube videos and reviews so I feel comfortable recommending this seller and Giandel brand.

 



-- Edited by Ram Man on Saturday 23rd of April 2022 04:52:11 PM

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I have had a Giandel for 3 years now and am very happy with it smile.



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TimTim wrote:

I have had a Giandel for 3 years now and am very happy with it smile.


Hi Tim and Ram smile

I have no knowledge of this brand. However it would be interesting if you could measure the standby current draw for the information of others interested. This is the biggest problem I have observed for cheaper units. If left on so the 240 is always available, the power wasted can be a battery killer. The answer could be as simple as turning it off when not being used. Or even just another good panel on the roof.

Jaahn   



-- Edited by Jaahn on Monday 25th of April 2022 07:40:19 AM

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Ram Man wrote:

So try this guy on ebay: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/331279407166?hash=item4d21ca983e:g:FugAAOSwVGVedI5X

Its a GiANDEL Brand


 If that thing has CE approval, as it claims, I'll eat my hat and yours too.



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Hi Jaahn.  That is something that I meant to do but never got around to it.  I have 560Ah of Lithium battery so it really wasn't a concern for me but I agree that knowing the standby draw can be useful for others.  It does have a remote switch which has been very useful as the inverter is located under a bench seat.

My van is in Brisbane at the moment and Im up at wet Cairns so it will be a while before I can test it. I will post the results on this thread when I do.



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Mike Harding wrote:
Ram Man wrote:

So try this guy on ebay: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/331279407166?hash=item4d21ca983e:g:FugAAOSwVGVedI5X

Its a GiANDEL Brand


 If that thing has CE approval, as it claims, I'll eat my hat and yours too.


 According to https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/industry/products/inverters/approved-inverters GiANDEL is not on the list of inverter manufacturers.

It may be that because it is DC input that it comes under different regulations, but selling unapproved items attracts at least a hefty fine. 

ISO 9001 is Quality Management. Nothing to do with Electrical safety. And having worked for an ISO 9000 compliant company I know that once obtained the bean counters start saving costs as well as the more difficult or inconvenient items are ticked off without actually being performed.

 



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Hi Jegog,

That list is for the installation of solar systems and approved inverters under the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme so there is be no legislative requirement.  It would be nice if we were able to obtain solar rebates on our caravan solar installations smile.

 



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The 240V that comes out of an inverter, even a tiny one, will kill as quickly and surely as the 240V at home and that power is subject to the same regulation and laws under AS3001 as any other 240V in your RV.
If you want to do anything more than plug a single appliance into an inverter (even a tiny one plugged into a cigarett lighter socket) you need a licensed electritian and an approval cirtificate.
Cheers,
Peter

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Peter_n_Margaret wrote:

If you want to do anything more than plug a single appliance into an inverter (even a tiny one plugged into a cigarett lighter socket) you need a licensed electritian and an approval cirtificate.


That's alright then as I have only a single caravan plugged into my Victron inverter.



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