Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Seattle, WA
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I suppose I could be a little more specific about my set-up, and what my needs are. Here's what I've got so far:
2) 150AH AGM batteries
roughly 400W solar (haven't actually purchased the panel yet)
Victron MPPT solar controller
Blue Sea ML-ACR for controlling connection to engine battery
I would likely be using the van mostly for long weekend excursions off-grid, but intend to sell the van at some point, and I feel that built-in shore power is a good feature. My own AC power needs are modest, some small device charging and running a laptop or two, but I'd like to build-in enough oomph to maybe run a small microwave or espresso machine for a few minutes. I'm thinking an all-in-one inverter/charger in the 1500w-2000w range, knowing full well that I don't have enough battery to produce those levels of power for very long. The transfer switch seems like a good feature, as does the multi-stage AGM changing that all the inverter/chargers seem to provide. I would prefer that the inverter be hard-wire to the dist. panel, and that the inverter be able to be powered-off so as not to draw power (or make noise) when not in use.
I'm expecting the solar to do most the of the charging work, and I'll connect to the engine batt while driving if I need an extra bump, as per KOV's suggestion (haven't decided yet if a B2B charger is necessary). Mostly I want the inverter to serve the basic AC runs throughout the van, but also have the option to power-up or charge from the grid via shore connection if needed.
There are a dizzying array of inverter/chargers available. I won't go the Harbor Freight (aka Hazard Fraught) route, but working up from there I see a lot of options in the $400-$700 range, and then a bunch of devices at well over $1k. I'm trying to keep the price moderate, but also don't want to make a bad choice and buy a real POS. In other words, looking more in the Kisae/Xantrex range rather than in Victron/Magnum land. Haven't heard much negative feedback on any particular brand yet, so maybe just making a choice based on size/features and price range is the way to go. Heck, if a HF inverter doesn't burst into flames immediately, then the rest have got to be reasonably reliable...
Last edited by rumpus; 05-25-2019 at 11:30 AM.