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I got all of my DC wiring finished and tested and it seems that everything is working good. Now I need to figure out how to do the AC side.

My plan is to have an inverter/charger, only two AC circuits (one for two 120v plugs and one for the air conditioner), and the ability to plug into shore power.

1. Do my two AC circuits need to be wired into some kind of a breaker box or can they just be plugged directly into the inverter?

2. If the inverter has a charger capability do I just need to wire the shore power line to the inverter and it will handle the rest? Will I need a fuse (or breaker) in this line between the shore plug and the inverter?

3. If I'm on shore power (probably won't be very often) should I have some ability to switch to shore power only for running the AC circuits or should I have it always feed into the inverter?

For the air conditioner I was looking at the Coleman Mach 8 with a soft start installed to keep the initial starting amp spike lower so that I had the ability to power it for very brief periods of time from the battery bank and inverter. Of course this would require a larger inverter than if I powered the air conditioner from only shore power, because the other AC circuit will probably only power something small like a game console for my son. Has anyone here done this? Is it too optomistic? How do you have your 120v AC side set up?
 

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ElGuapo here is a rough schematic of our electrical build.
We went way overboard on AC and DC outlets and have been enjoying all of them.
One thing I learned early on by studying various builds is that breakers are a good thing, each breaker is an insurance
policy, and they are cheap in the big scheme of life. They are required anywhere there are large power sources.
For your first question I say yes, run the two AC lines into a box with a breaker for each line---that way when you work downstream you can shut
off one or the other. Your second question 'handle the rest' ??? Well yes if it is a charger-inverter it will
charge the batteries and invert power from the DC batteries into AC for your two AC lines. Your third question was one I puzzled on and in the end
decided to make the air-conditioner run only on shore power but we also placed an outlet inside that is also only useful when on shore power.
 

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We solved that issue as many others probably have. To use our inverter you must plug directly into it and our outlets are wired, through breakers, to the shore power. This works for us as we don’t have any regular 110Volt appliances. If we had a microwave or induction stove we would have wired them directly to the inverter. If we had AC we would have wired it directly to the shore power. I see no reason we could not feed the inverter to the shore power input on our converter through a double pole double throw switch so only one or the other was available to feed 110V. Then we could choose shore power OR inverter but not both. Simple and inexpensive. I wonder why I didn’t do it?
 
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Are you guys referring to using an inverter/charger with built-in transfer switch?

That would seem to allow simplifying the electrical system quite a bit.
 

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Thanks for the info. I had forgotten about the buildagreenrv site. It appears that he feeds the shore power line directly into the inverter/charger and then it goes from the inverter/charger to the 120v AC breaker box. It appears than medicineman goes from shore power to the breaker box and then into the inverter.

Is there a breaker box that most people recommend or just one from the hardware store work fine?
 

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I used a WFCO Converter that provides battery charging, 110V ac and 12 volt dc circuits all protected by breakers or fuses. I picked a small one but they come in sizes for larger RV’s. I had one in my previous RV and it worked well. It has settings for AGM and FLA charging too. They are compact, reliable and inexpensive.
See: https://www.amazon.com/WFCO-WF8725P...1&sr=8-7&keywords=wfco+35+amp+power+converter
 
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El Guapo I did something different on top of that.
I went from shore power (routed behind the bumper) directly into a Progressive Industires surge protector....from there I split into a breaker box where half goes to the inverter-charger and half to the air-con and frig.
The surge protector only because I've heard many horror stories of people plugging into bad power and hurting various electronic elements downstream in the van.
Now when I plugged in my little Hurricaine generator the surge protector protested and then I had to learn about little gen sets that aren't grounded. Happily the makers of the surge protector know we little camper people use little generators to top off our batteries and mad a provision for that :)
Sorry for rambling. I know known of that helps you in your quest.
 

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My AC wiring plan

I decided to make it simple and "unpluggable." Because I built my interior to be removable, the AC needed to be easily disconnected if I took out the couches, etc. So I basically put AC outlets at the front and back of each wheel well box, and they are designed to be more permanent (the wheel well boxes stay in place).

Everything else is made up from extension cords with the outlet end cut off and an electrical box connected instead. These boxes are in the kitchen cabinet, couches, and b column bases. Maybe a picture will explain better...



There is a 15A circuit breaker and 15A GFCI at the point where the AC enters the van. From there, power is distributed with installed heavy duty extension cords.

In the base of the kitchen cabinet I have a plug that is plugged into the Shore Power or Inverter power outlet, depending on need. The only place that inverter power is available is in the kitchen cabinet for the microwave and counter outlet. Pretty simple...
 

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Thanks for you post. The AC inverter to me is 300w DC 12v to AC 110v power inverter. This tool is main used to charge devices like phone, laptop, camera battery and shaver. Easy to connect it with car cigarette lighter charger outlet. The advantage of this charger is soft and convenient to take away and travel around the world. If you are interested in knowing more details about this charger, you can search bestekmall on Google. Hope this tip is useful to you. Best regards.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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I'm at the same point in my install now. Can anyone give us the pro's/con's of wiring it the way Gary does vs medicineman's wiring setup?

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Hi Josh,

Not sure I can give a pro/con, but here are the things that attracted me to the setup I used.

Inverter-Charger:
The Inverter-Charger automatically senses when shore power is available and switches over from providing 120VAC from the inverter to providing 120VAC from the shore power. This is a convenience over some of the more manual switch over schemes.
On a more subtle issue, it also changes over the ground point so that when you are on shore power the grounding point is moved out to the shore power box, but when on the inverter, it moves the ground to the inverter ground wire in the RV. This is technically a code requirement, and probably also has some actual safety benefits.
At one time I was concerned that the inverter/charger might leave the socket where you plug the shore power extension cord into the van hot when on inverter, but it handles that correctly as well.

The inverter/charger probably saves a little wiring and space over separate components.

On the downside, with the combined inverter with charger, if the inverter part or the charger part goes out, you have to replace both.

As to the particular Triplite unit I bought, I'd probably look for an inverter charger with a pure sinewave inverter as they have come down in price.

AC-DC Distribution Panel:
My AC loads are pretty simple, and I started out thinking that I'd just rig up some kind of simple way to have a couple of AC plugs with one or two breakers, but I had trouble finding a small, simple AC panel or the like to do this -- plenty of AC panels, but mostly big and bulky. Then I ran across the combined PD5000 AC/DC panel that was not much more expensive or larger than a DC distrbution panel, and this looked like an ideal solution. It probably provides a bit more of an AC panel than I need, but that's OK.
http://www.bestconverter.com/PD5000-30-Amp-ACDC-Power-Control-Panel_p_27.html#.WXlW8YjytnJ


Certainly not saying this is the best way to do it, but it has worked fine for 3 years, and none of the folks looking at it on my site or here have pointed out any fatal flaws :)

Gary
 

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Now that you mention it, they do seem a bit loose.

I checked the breakers in my house AC panel, and they are not much better.

The way the breaker locks into the contacts does allow some up and down play, so it seems like the cover would have to be a tighter fit to eliminate that up and down play.

I did pull a couple of the breakers on the RV panel, and the contacts looks fine. And, I've not heard of anyone having problems with these panels, which, it seems like, are in every other RV out there. I've decided to ignore it :)

Gary
 

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Hi Josh,

Not sure I can give a pro/con, but here are the things that attracted me to the setup I used.

Inverter-Charger:
The Inverter-Charger automatically senses when shore power is available and switches over from providing 120VAC from the inverter to providing 120VAC from the shore power. This is a convenience over some of the more manual switch over schemes.
On a more subtle issue, it also changes over the ground point so that when you are on shore power the grounding point is moved out to the shore power box, but when on the inverter, it moves the ground to the inverter ground wire in the RV. This is technically a code requirement, and probably also has some actual safety benefits.
At one time I was concerned that the inverter/charger might leave the socket where you plug the shore power extension cord into the van hot when on inverter, but it handles that correctly as well.

The inverter/charger probably saves a little wiring and space over separate components.

On the downside, with the combined inverter with charger, if the inverter part or the charger part goes out, you have to replace both.

As to the particular Triplite unit I bought, I'd probably look for an inverter charger with a pure sinewave inverter as they have come down in price.

AC-DC Distribution Panel:
My AC loads are pretty simple, and I started out thinking that I'd just rig up some kind of simple way to have a couple of AC plugs with one or two breakers, but I had trouble finding a small, simple AC panel or the like to do this -- plenty of AC panels, but mostly big and bulky. Then I ran across the combined PD5000 AC/DC panel that was not much more expensive or larger than a DC distrbution panel, and this looked like an ideal solution. It probably provides a bit more of an AC panel than I need, but that's OK.
http://www.bestconverter.com/PD5000-30-Amp-ACDC-Power-Control-Panel_p_27.html#.WXlW8YjytnJ


Certainly not saying this is the best way to do it, but it has worked fine for 3 years, and none of the folks looking at it on my site or here have pointed out any fatal flaws :)

Gary
I was hoping to save a bit of money by not spending the $500 on a inverter/charger combo and buy the components seperate. But after reading more it seems that id just be making more work and complication for myself. And probably not even saving much.

My plan for shore power is to just go from this:
[ame]https://www.amazon.com/ALEKO-30AINWH-White-Power-Twist/dp/B00P8K1NIK[/ame]

To this:
[ame]https://www.amazon.com/Power-PICOGLF15W12V120VR-1500W-Inverter-Charger/dp/B00W2PTMR8[/ame]

Now, is a surge protector needed? These things seem to be $200+. Thats just not going to happen.
 

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I just bought a 2000w cheapy inverter from HF (on sale at about $110) and an AGM charger from Amazon for $75 and put them on a manual switch. When I'm plugged into the grid the power goes to the charger then to my one 110 circuit and when I want the inverter I simply switch the switch the opposite direction and the single AC circuit is energized by the inverter and the AGM charger is disconnected.The work great and if one goes no big deal or expense. Easy peazy and inexpensive. I have no need or desire for pure sine wave so I didn't even consider it. Why do you think you need the pure sine wave? Do you have delicate electronic equipment you need to run? If not, forget it, If you do need it fine get it :)
 

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I just bought a 2000w cheapy inverter from HF (on sale at about $110) and an AGM charger from Amazon for $75 and put them on a manual switch. When I'm plugged into the grid the power goes to the charger then to my one 110 circuit and when I want the inverter I simply switch the switch the opposite direction and the single AC circuit is energized by the inverter and the AGM charger is disconnected.The work great and if one goes no big deal or expense. Easy peazy and inexpensive. I have no need or desire for pure sine wave so I didn't even consider it. Why do you think you need the pure sine wave? Do you have delicate electronic equipment you need to run? If not, forget it, If you do need it fine get it :)
Do you have a schematic of your setup on the site that ill be able to find?

So I can go shore power plug to something like this?
https://www.amazon.com/Powermax-PM3-12V-PM3-35-Supply-Converter/dp/B00F8MC418

Then that separates into going to the battery bank and to the AC distribution panel? At this point ive read a lot of posts here and the buildagreenrv site on electrical and I think my brain is fried. Home electrical work is like a walk in the park in comparison. But im probably vastly overthinking everything.
 

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ElGuapo here is a rough schematic of our electrical build.
We went way overboard on AC and DC outlets and have been enjoying all of them.
One thing I learned early on by studying various builds is that breakers are a good thing, each breaker is an insurance
policy, and they are cheap in the big scheme of life. They are required anywhere there are large power sources.
For your first question I say yes, run the two AC lines into a box with a breaker for each line---that way when you work downstream you can shut
off one or the other. Your second question 'handle the rest' ??? Well yes if it is a charger-inverter it will
charge the batteries and invert power from the DC batteries into AC for your two AC lines. Your third question was one I puzzled on and in the end
decided to make the air-conditioner run only on shore power but we also placed an outlet inside that is also only useful when on shore power.
I'm thinking like Josh, if I get an AC, I'd only run it from Shore Power. My question is would I be able to wire it up through the PD5000, or would I need to get a separate box like your graph? If not, I guess I could always just wire it up to the inverter but never turn it on. I'm just trying to keep the wiring simple.
 

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I was hoping to save a bit of money by not spending the $500 on a inverter/charger combo and buy the components seperate. But after reading more it seems that id just be making more work and complication for myself. And probably not even saving much.

My plan for shore power is to just go from this:
https://www.amazon.com/ALEKO-30AINWH-White-Power-Twist/dp/B00P8K1NIK

To this:
https://www.amazon.com/Power-PICOGLF15W12V120VR-1500W-Inverter-Charger/dp/B00W2PTMR8

Now, is a surge protector needed? These things seem to be $200+. Thats just not going to happen.
Hi,

That looks like a good unit with good reviews.

I don't use a surge protector, and I think that most people don't, but shore power at campgrounds has a reputation for being not so high quality.

As KOV points out, the separate components without the sine wave inverter would save a couple hundred dollars. I guess it depends a lot on how much AC you plan to use, and what kind of appliances they are.
I have found stuff that would not run on my modified sine wave inverter (thou not many) -- I've decided that with sine wave inverters coming down in price, that my next one will be a sine wave.

Its kind of interesting the range of electrical systems you can have in a camper van -- all the way from a simple DC only system for a couple hundred dollars up to Winstons super mega system -- and, all safe and effective. I guess its just a matter of deciding what meets your needs.

Gary
 
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