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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

I'm trying to figure out my electrical system. At first I was looking at an all in one inverter/charger/transfer switch. However I've stepped back in terms of cost and thought about doing a simple 2000w inverter, a pd charger for lithium, and 30 amp transfer switch. This is also nice because if one part fails, I don't need to replace the entire inverter/charger, just the broken part. However I've come across the xantrex HFS series which is another all in one, but I can get it for the same price as the individual parts. This will also save me on room and extra wiring.

What is everyone else's take on an all in one solutions vs individual parts?
 

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I have for over 50 years always preferred individual "parts" as it is easier to understand the whole. Troubles are easier to isolate and a single failure may not take the entire system down. Repairs are easier. This has been my philosophy for aircraft, boats, and vehicles.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
I'm in the more stuff combined in one unit camp.

The combined units generally take up less space, require less wiring, and you can be sure that there will not be any incompatibility issues that you might get from individual units. If you do have a problem, the individual part makers can't point fingers at each other.

The exception for me is if I think that I see a change in requirements down the line that would require changing the whole combined unit rather than just one of them (eg need for a lager inverter down the line).

That said, I think there is a pretty good case to be made for either approach, and its whats most important to you.

Gary
 

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I'm with seapro on this one. Easier to troubleshoot and cheaper to replace if there is ever a problem plus it's easier to upgrade different parts if they become available without replacing the whole unit.
 

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I went with combined, but as Gary said, it's a personal choice. My pros: smaller footprint in a small RV and tighter integration of the 3 functions (one remote, etc), all for the same initial cost. The only con is higher replacement cost if one function fails or needs upgrading. Mine has a 2000W pure-sine inverter. I don't see outgrowing that if I actively manage loads (one big load at a time, etc).
 

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I just had a call from a fellow here in town and they just lost the inverter that runs their refrigerator in their Sprinter. I’m betting they are happy to have the many parts solution. They fail! Amazon delivers tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I just had a call from a fellow here in town and they just lost the inverter that runs their refrigerator in their Sprinter. I’m betting they are happy to have the many parts solution. They fail! Amazon delivers tomorrow.
My inverter will only run a laptop charger (if I even bring the laptop on a trip), my induction cooktop and electric kettle. I will have my backpacking stove as a backup so in case of failure, I really wouldn't be that bad. All the critical stuff (heater, fridge, lights, ect.) will all be 12v. Only thing that would be bad if the unit failed is the battery charger, but the way I plan on traveling, I'd be places without hookups anyway and I'm planning on a lot of solar plus alternator battery maintenance so I think I'd be okay.

I think the appeal of simpler wiring and a single unit to find a location for will probably be better for how I plan on using the electrical system.
 

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I agree with the separates-is-better thoughts. I realize that wiring is a complex issue for many so I understand the all in one benefits.

In my setup, I mounted the charger, inverter and major fuses on a single piece of plywood so the wiring is made up of short jumpers, and everything is located under my couch/bed. It made it easier to hook it all up, and the batteries are located about a foot away. Two heavy duty sets of wires go to my Battery Doctor for van charging and a feed point in my upper cabinet where all my branch 12V circuits are. It has worked well that way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wouldn't powering something 24/7 put lots of miles on an inverter?
Agreed and a larger draw from the batteries. I was planning on having as much as 12v as possible.
 

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I keep finding folks with newish vans who choose to buy a cheap college kid refrigerator for about $100 and run it on an inverter instead of buying a $600+ 12 volt refrigerator. I encourage them to get the 12 volt’er but many see it as too expensive and so go with a running inverter. I expect that is the reason theirs failed. Look at it this way, you have the 12 volts, there are 12 volts appliances all over the place, why introduce a device between them that is going to fail sooner or later and that will leave you with rotten shrimp in your refrigerator. Now, I know any refrigerator can fail too, but why introduce more intermediary devices to bring the mean-time-between-failures down? It’s Nuts! Here is my progression. No propane, so butane stove, so no microwave, so no 120 volt, so no running inverter, so 12 volt refrigerator.
 

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I keep finding folks with newish vans who choose to buy a cheap college kid refrigerator for about $100 and run it on an inverter instead of buying a $600+ 12 volt refrigerator. I encourage them to get the 12 volt’er but many see it as too expensive and so go with a running inverter. I expect that is the reason theirs failed. Look at it this way, you have the 12 volts, there are 12 volts appliances all over the place, why introduce a device between them that is going to fail sooner or later and that will leave you with rotten shrimp in your refrigerator. Now, I know any refrigerator can fail too, but why introduce more intermediary devices to bring the mean-time-between-failures down? It’s Nuts! Here is my progression. No propane, so butane stove, so no microwave, so no 120 volt, so no running inverter, so 12 volt refrigerator.
HEY, I represent that!!! My $60 120 vac dorm fridge from Wallyworld works great, is a good size and has never let me down. I've run it for as long as 5 weeks 24/7 off the inverter with no problems. BUT, the only need I have for 110 AC is to run the fridge and micro and it seems silly to have to run an inverter 24/7 just to power the fridge. The micro gets maybe 5 or 6 minutes a day use and the inverter can easily be switched on for that and that's why I'm considering spending $700 on a 12 vdc fridge I don't really need ;)

Speaking of inverters - I have a cheap HF 2000 w (I paid about $110 on sale) that works extremely well for what I ask it to do. I have no need for a pure sine wave inverter it would be nothing but a waste of money. The HF inverter does the job and the fan very rarely even comes on. If I blew up tomorrow it wouldn't own me anything after 3 years and I would buy another one in a second to replace it!
 

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I have the same 2000 W inverter that KOV has. Works great with my microwave and my wife's single cup coffee maker.

An induction cooktop, on the other hand, did not get along with the inverter at all - I'm sure it's the "not-pure-sine-wave" issue...so I returned it.

Everything else in the van is 12V. For cooking, my butane burner works great, and is priced right!

All inverters have some losses due to the electronics that are involved, so, a fridge designed for 12V (and coincidentally, also works on 120VAC) is a better solution to get the most out of your battery(s)... KOV (and others on the fence), go for it!
 
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