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dmgoetz

Inverter question for all you Houseboaters or RV'ers

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dmgoetz

I recently purchased a 34' cabin cruiser and have been trying to figure out if I want to add an inverter. Currently I have a generator but have been interested in the ability to run AC without having to run the generator. I'm not looking to run that much off the inverter, mainly a TV, coffee maker and a couple of lights. No microwaves and possibly my AC refrigerator.

Any advice on rules of thumb about how large of an inverter I should purchase? How many batteries?

Thanks for the help

Darren

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MoonDawg

It sounds to me like the highest consumer of electric in your list is the coffee pot. My $20 Mr. Coffee that I have at work consumes 900 watts. I purchased a couple of 1000 watt inverters from Costco and use them with Two Optima Blue Top batteries to drive some computer equipment in my Van. The computers will run for several hours on the two batteries without recharging.

Costco now sells a Xantrex 1750 watt inverter for ~$200.00

742845L.jpg

from Xantrx site

"....The Prowatt 1750 is designed to handle high power and many industrial applications, and is ideal for running virtually any electrical item found in a home, or several small appliances simultaneously. Typical applications include large televisions, full-size microwaves, coffee makers, toasters, and blow dryers."

Using the PIE formula: 900watts/12Volts = 75 Amps

The Optima Blue Top deep cycle battery (model D34M) is rated 55 AH (amp hours) @ 12 volts so you would need two batteries in parallel to deliver the constant current required to drive the cofffee pot. If it takes 20 minutes to brew a pot then you would get 3-4 pots of coffee before you completely drain the batteries.

Edited by MoonDawg

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vlxjeff
I recently purchased a 34' cabin cruiser and have been trying to figure out if I want to add an inverter. Currently I have a generator but have been interested in the ability to run AC without having to run the generator. I'm not looking to run that much off the inverter, mainly a TV, coffee maker and a couple of lights. No microwaves and possibly my AC refrigerator.

Any advice on rules of thumb about how large of an inverter I should purchase? How many batteries?

Thanks for the help

Darren

Darren,

I think you may have too high of an expectation for an average inverter. On my houseboat, I have a 1500 W inverter connected to 2 6V golf cart batteries with a 50W solar panel charging everything. I can run a 13" TV and a DVD player or VCR. I can also run a razor or most electric power tools. However, it will not run any heat generating appliances. I've tried to run a 900W coffee pot, but it will not work. It's can't handle a blow dryer either.

A inverter may be rated high, but it is only a momentary rating. Plus you will need a very large bank of batteries to provide the power to the inverter to run any appliance that produces heat. I've never investigated exactly how many more batteries I would need to handle a coffee pot. For me the expense wouldn't be worth it. Not only would it cause me to get a lot more expensive batteries, I would then need to upgrade the solar panel charging system.

I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just saying it will cost a bit to accomplish. It might just be cheaper to get a Honda 2000W generator, which is so quiet that it is more cost efficient, at least in my opinion.

Just for a little more info, here's a web page that discusses 12v applications and using inverters.

12 Volt Systems

There are many web pages that provide info on this subject.

Hope tis info helps.

Edited by vlxjeff

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stewart

I recently purchased a 34' cabin cruiser and have been trying to figure out if I want to add an inverter. Currently I have a generator but have been interested in the ability to run AC without having to run the generator. I'm not looking to run that much off the inverter, mainly a TV, coffee maker and a couple of lights. No microwaves and possibly my AC refrigerator.

Any advice on rules of thumb about how large of an inverter I should purchase? How many batteries?

Thanks for the help

Darren

Darren,

I think you may have too high of an expectation for an average inverter. On my houseboat, I have a 1500 W inverter connected to 2 6V golf cart batteries with a 50W solar panel charging everything. I can run a 13" TV and a DVD player or VCR. I can also run a razor or most electric power tools. However, it will not run any heat generating appliances. I've tried to run a 900W coffee pot, but it will not work. It's can't handle a blow dryer either.

A inverter may be rated high, but it is only a momentary rating. Plus you will need a very large bank of batteries to provide the power to the inverter to run any appliance that produces heat. I've never investigated exactly how many more batteries I would need to handle a coffee pot. For me the expense wouldn't be worth it. Not only would it cause me to get a lot more expensive batteries, I would then need to upgrade the solar panel charging system.

I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just saying it will cost a bit to accomplish. It might just be cheaper to get a Honda 2000W generator, which is so quiet that it is more cost efficient, at least in my opinion.

Just for a little more info, here's a web page that discusses 12v applications and using inverters.

12 Volt Systems

There are many web pages that provide info on this subject.

Hope tis info helps.

I'm w/ Jeff. We have a 2000w inverter in our motorhome hooked up to (4) 6 volt batteries. It runs almost everything. The only exception is the microwave (it runs but not at power) and the AC.

The inverter is great for running your TV's, etc. but you will need to run you generator at least a couple of hours everyday to keep the batteries charged.

The recommendation of a smaller generator, is actually what a lot of my friends who have MH's use when we dry camp for a week, so I would think it would be a good alterantive on a boat as well.

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mbwagoner

a 12v coffee pot might be a cheaper option than an inverter that will handle a normal pot. A google of "12v coffee" returns a bunch. Last time I was houseboating someone fired up the generator early to make coffee and they almost tossed him off the boat. Generators are great for most times, but not first thing.

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NorCaliBu

For coffee?...heat the water on a propane burner (stove) and use a coffee press...yummmm Drool.gif That's my favorite part of camping. Biggrin.gif

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vlxjeff
a 12v coffee pot might be a cheaper option than an inverter that will handle a normal pot. A google of "12v coffee" returns a bunch. Last time I was houseboating someone fired up the generator early to make coffee and they almost tossed him off the boat. Generators are great for most times, but not first thing.

Yeah I've wondered about those 12v coffee pots. I've never heard anything good about them. My wife has tried the 12v blow dryer and the 12v curling iron, but they didn't work out very good at all. n fact the 12v blow dryer was about as effective as a high volumn tube inflater. Not much heat.

The generator does raise an issue with noise. I mentioned the Honda because they are supposed to be so quiet the if you have it in a compartment, it won't be heard. I don't know first hand, but am thinking about upgrading my generator. Right now I have a 3KW craftsman and it will wake the dead.

For coffee?...heat the water on a propane burner (stove) and use a coffee press...yummmm Drool.gif That's my favorite part of camping. Biggrin.gif

I just use one of those camp stove coffee pots, that you can buy at Wal-Mart. Cheap and easy.

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stewart

We did the 12v coffee pot thing.... it didn't work that well. The coffee took foooreveer to make, plus it drained down a regular 12v deep cycle to do it Crazy.gif

We did the stove top perculator as well, but in the end, we just pushed the switch on the genny.......

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LS-One

I would say at least a 3500 watt or better, thats what most of my houseboat buds are using. Also, they are a whole lot more money but an inverter/charger is a better option so when you do drain your batts they can be quickly be recharged if and when you can you gain access to AC. You also mentioned something about a fridge, I would suggest a full sign wave inverter, a modified sine can cause humming in appliances such as fridges.

This crap gets complicated and expensive in a hurry, I know, because I'm in the midst of it on my houseboat right now.

Jeff was correct in his analogy.

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stewart

Don't HB's and in this case a 34' cabin cruiser have a propane or similar system for the refer?

My MH can run the refer on AC, propane, inverter, or just 12v battery. Crazy.gif

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LS-One
Don't HB's and in this case a 34' cabin cruiser have a propane or similar system for the refer?

My MH can run the refer on AC, propane, inverter, or just 12v battery. Crazy.gif

yup, but propane refers have to be very level to work, I don't know if the cabin cruiser underway would be stable enough Dontknow.gif

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stewart

Don't HB's and in this case a 34' cabin cruiser have a propane or similar system for the refer?

My MH can run the refer on AC, propane, inverter, or just 12v battery. Crazy.gif

yup, but propane refers have to be very level to work, I don't know if the cabin cruiser underway would be stable enough Dontknow.gif

We always ran our refer in propane mode in the 5th wheel and MH while driving down the road and it worked....

Another thing to look at is an inverter that will allow you to charge your batteries while your using the inverter as well.

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vlxjeff

Don't HB's and in this case a 34' cabin cruiser have a propane or similar system for the refer?

My MH can run the refer on AC, propane, inverter, or just 12v battery. Crazy.gif

yup, but propane refers have to be very level to work, I don't know if the cabin cruiser underway would be stable enough Dontknow.gif

If it's a dual Propane or AC refer, this applies to either heating source. If the refer isn't level the cooling unit on the fridge will eventually become damaged. If he was unable to keep his refer level, then I think he would need a household type refer.

I just did some checking around and it looks like most similarily sized cabin cruiser use electric only fridges. Usually dual voltage 120v or 12v. But no propane in the fridge.

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dmgoetz

Thank you all for your responses thus far. To get to a couple of the questions, I am not very knowledgeable about my electric system in the boat and am not totally sure how I'm currently hooked up. I believe the fridge is just one of those AC deals that I had when I lived in the dorms. The inverter/battery expense is something I am weighing as I personally could go w/ the thought process that we are camping when we are on the boat, but not sure if the co-pilot is going to be good with that.

Darren

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