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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm avoiding using shore power because I'm afraid a power surge or something could damage my inverter. There's no fuse or anything between the shore power outlet and the inverter. Can using a heater through the inverter while hooked up to shore power damage the inverter in any way? Is there some kind of surge protector I should have? Or a surge protector on the outlet? Is there such a thing?

My shore power outlet is like this (left pic). I have a 12/3 triple tap extension cord, which doesn't plug in so I need to get another cord. Even the single 12/3 probably won't fit in the outlet because it has a big fat plastic outlet. Can I use one of those 16/3 orange chords? That fits. Or is there a better outlet? I don't expect to ever use 30A ever, although I did buy a while back this 30A outlet. I haven't fully installed any of it until I decide on this.
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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
You can just run the shore power to a separate 120 VAC outlet in the van. This way there is no connection betwen your inverter and the shore power -- you just use the added separate outlet in the van when you are hooked up to shore power.

I have an inverter/charger that automatically senses when you are hooked up to shore power and turns the inverter off. We don't use shore power much, but in 7 years have had no problem with the inverter and shore power interfering with each other.

edit: did not read MSNomers suggestion -- this would be a really easy way to add the dedicated shore power outlet in the van.

Gary
 

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If you want to connect shorepower to the same 120V circuits powered by the inverter, I think they normally recommend a transfer switch to automatically isolate the inverter when you plug into shorepower. Like Gary, my inverter-charger has one inside it. But, if your shorepower needs are small and infrequent, a completely separate 120V circuit with dedicated outlet(s) for shorepower would be simpler and cheaper. You can always upgrade it in the future.

And yes, there are RV surge protectors. They are a good idea, especially if you frequent small run-down RV parks with sketchy electric hook-ups. 99% of our shorepower use is at home, so we haven't bothered getting one. I also recommend reading the No-shock Zone, either in book or web form. It's scary, but good to know info about RV shorepower.
 

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2018-2500-159" aka Sun2 -NE Ohio
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Check the specs on your inverter. Depending on what you have it may already have surge protection built in.
 
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The easiest thing to do is install this on your rear:


Attach this to an all-weather extension cord that you thread through the trailer wiring hole. Plug your heater into the extension cord.
I have 2 of those outlets.....usually there is 110 and 30 amp at campsite....i hook one to 110 and use a 30 amp adapter from hardware store which gives me 2 110 outlets.....it like in kitchen u can't have 2many outlets.....usually one I will hook up to a 4 way thingy.....


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
SO HELPFUL! Thank you everyone.

I have a Renogy inverter / charger. There's no on / off switch, so it must do it automatically. It is a power hog, IMHO, so I mostly keep it turned off.

I love @MsNomer 's solution! I got cooking down to a fairly low power consumption. And everything else is 12v, except the Water heater, and heater. So this is is the perfect way to run those items.

I guess the charger part of the inverter still has value. I can use it to recharge the batteries when the sun fails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Check the specs on your inverter. Depending on what you have it may already have surge protection built in.
It says this. I think this means surge protection.

2000W continuous, 4000W peak surge during load start-up, 12V to 120VAC pure sine wave with conversion efficiency >90%, reduces conversion loss. 【SAFE FOR USE】 LED indicators for under-voltage and over-voltage protection, over-temperature protection, over-load protection, and short circuit indication.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi,
You can just run the shore power to a separate 120 VAC outlet in the van. This way there is no connection betwen your inverter and the shore power -- you just use the added separate outlet in the van when you are hooked up to shore power.

I have an inverter/charger that automatically senses when you are hooked up to shore power and turns the inverter off. We don't use shore power much, but in 7 years have had no problem with the inverter and shore power interfering with each other.

edit: did not read MSNomers suggestion -- this would be a really easy way to add the dedicated shore power outlet in the van.

Gary
I'll probably go with the AC port plug, but I'm curious. To get the dedicated shore power outlet, would I wire a standard outlet to something like this?
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I have the Renogy inverter/charger as well. I didn't wire dedicated shore power plugs, I run everything through the inverter. Keeps the house batteries charged as well (you already know that).

The surge ratings listed above are for the OUTPUT of the inverter. I have done some testing to verify their claims. I just have a 15A waterproof connector (like the one you show) passing through the floor in the rear - some sort of insane thought about "stealth" power connector. I wired my van using 12 ga extension cords and wired a length between the socket, above, and the inverter. Since the inverter can't source more than 2kw continuous (3kw for 3 seconds) I didn't worry about using heavier wire.

I just assumed Renogy put in proper protection for the input of their inverter.

One annoying thing about the inverter is that it has to be "on" to supply 120vac even though it lights up and fans whir when plugged into shore power. I would have thought connecting to shore would perform the auto switch to power the outlets w/o having to activate the charger/inverter part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have the Renogy inverter/charger as well. I didn't wire dedicated shore power plugs, I run everything through the inverter. Keeps the house batteries charged as well (you already know that).

The surge ratings listed above are for the OUTPUT of the inverter. I have done some testing to verify their claims. I just have a 15A waterproof connector (like the one you show) passing through the floor in the rear - some sort of insane thought about "stealth" power connector. I wired my van using 12 ga extension cords and wired a length between the socket, above, and the inverter. Since the inverter can't source more than 2kw continuous (3kw for 3 seconds) I didn't worry about using heavier wire.

I just assumed Renogy put in proper protection for the input of their inverter.

One annoying thing about the inverter is that it has to be "on" to supply 120vac even though it lights up and fans whir when plugged into shore power. I would have thought connecting to shore would perform the auto switch to power the outlets w/o having to activate the charger/inverter part.
I’ve been struggling to solve the lithium batteries in sub zero weather problem. Not that we get much of that here, but I want to be prepared. And that means leaving a heater on set at 40 degrees over night. A dedicated shore power plug would completely bypass the inverter and I like that idea.

my first Renogy inverter charger was faulty and they replaced it. That left me feeling it’s a sensitive piece of machinery that I could easily break, so I do my best to avoid it. 🤪😛😝
 

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I might be confused?

Your inverter is connected to your 12 volt battery. It converts 12v DC into 120 volt AC. You plug in a 120 vac appliance (say a heater) to the plug on the back of the unit. There is no connection whatsoever to the shore power that's outside on the campground post or the extension cord from your garage. Now you run a power cord from the shore power to the inside of your van via some type of receptacle. There is still no connection between Shore power and the inverter. You can plug in another 120vac appliance to the shore power, say a microwave oven. It has no effect whatsoever on the inverter.

Now... If by some chance you get a big (ugly) surge of power from the campground power supply, it COULD damage the microwave but the inverter (and anything connected to it) is totally isolated. This is where a surge protector on the shore power supply comes into play. As others have noted, there are different types of surge protectors that RV type people use to keep their equipment safe when connected to shore power.

That "4000W peak surge during load start-up" is something completely different. If you plugged in, say, a blender to your inverter, when the motor starts it will momentarily draw large current. For example, say it pulled 3000 watts. That's more than the inverter is rated for but it can handle the extra load for a short period and not be damaged. --KenA
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I might be confused?

Your inverter is connected to your 12 volt battery. It converts 12v DC into 120 volt AC. You plug in a 120 vac appliance (say a heater) to the plug on the back of the unit....
My renogy inverter charger doesn't have an outlet on the back. I have seen pictures of a 2000w renogy inverter charger with that outlet. I don't know if it's an older version, or maybe a canadian one??? The one I bought 10 months ago is different. It looks like this:
Output device Electronic instrument Audio equipment Gadget Font
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See the 2 white ports on the upper right side? Each has a 10/3 wire, where one goes to the distribution panel and one to the Power Input Inlet installed outside the van. I think the confusion is I'm referring to the second mentioned 10/3 wire which is the shore power connection, and you're thinking I'm talking about plugging shore power into the outlet on the back that you have but I don't have. Does that make sense?
 
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