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Old 11-10-2017, 03:22 PM   #1
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Default Roadtrek Inverter Upgrade

I'd like to replace the 700w inverter in my 2004 Roadtrek with a 2000w so as to be able to run my microwave. I reached out to Roadtrek and they said I should get a professional to do this since the wiring might need to be upgraded among other reasons. Does anyone know if my swapping out the inverter would necessarily require new wiring?
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Old 11-10-2017, 04:40 PM   #2
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The new inverter could draw 3 times the current from the batteries. You definitely need to verify that you've got the correct gauge cables for that. Then you need to run additional AC wiring to connect the microwave. This is not a drop-in replacement.
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Old 11-10-2017, 05:18 PM   #3
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The '04 I had came with a 600W Tripp-Lite inverter/charger. The wiring was 6 gauge so good for 50A DC (50A x 12V = 600W)

'04 was a change over year and the first model year to come with the inverter/charger. My unit actually had one 30A self resetting breaker in the mix leftover from previous year designs I assumed. The other breakers were 50A.

So, in addition to upgrading the wiring, the circuit breakers would also need to be upgraded.
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Old 11-10-2017, 05:28 PM   #4
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I'd like to replace the 700w inverter in my 2004 Roadtrek with a 2000w so as to be able to run my microwave. I reached out to Roadtrek and they said I should get a professional to do this since the wiring might need to be upgraded among other reasons. Does anyone know if my swapping out the inverter would necessarily require new wiring?
You have to ensure that your coach battery capacity will be sufficient to supply the increased demand on the batteries by the higher power inverter.
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Old 11-10-2017, 05:50 PM   #5
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You do need quite a bit of battery to run the microwave through the inverter. We could successfully run the micro in our 07 Roadtrek 190 with 260ah of GC2 wet cells, but it was pretty iffy if they were under 50% full. AGMs will do better, but you will still have a cutoff someplace in the the state of charge due to low voltage. You likely will pull high 90s amps on full AGMs, and up to 120amps or more as the voltage and state of charge drop.

An the later Roadtrek Chevies, getting the micro on the inverter circuit is not too bad a job, as you can just wire the AC from the micro to the kitchen inverter circuit or to the tv cabinet. Disassembly of some of the kitchen is needed, but doable. Yours has a slightly different kitchen setup, so things may be a bit different than ours,

For many folks who want to run the micro off an inverter, it is helpful to have the engine running also to get some help from the alternator, but you will only have 50 amp DC wiring and an isolator that will drop some voltage, so won't get as much benefit, or none if the 50 amp breakers trip. Upgrading the wiring and going a separator, would allow you to get pretty much enough power from the alternator for the microwave, so hardly any battery depletion. It works out much better than starting an Onan to run the micro a couple of minutes.
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:00 PM   #6
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You do need quite a bit of battery to run the microwave through the inverter. We could successfully run the micro in our 07 Roadtrek 190 with 260ah of GC2 wet cells, but it was pretty iffy if they were under 50% full. AGMs will do better, but you will still have a cutoff someplace in the the state of charge due to low voltage. You likely will pull high 90s amps on full AGMs, and up to 120amps or more as the voltage and state of charge drop.

An the later Roadtrek Chevies, getting the micro on the inverter circuit is not too bad a job, as you can just wire the AC from the micro to the kitchen inverter circuit or to the tv cabinet. Disassembly of some of the kitchen is needed, but doable. Yours has a slightly different kitchen setup, so things may be a bit different than ours,

For many folks who want to run the micro off an inverter, it is helpful to have the engine running also to get some help from the alternator, but you will only have 50 amp DC wiring and an isolator that will drop some voltage, so won't get as much benefit, or none if the 50 amp breakers trip. Upgrading the wiring and going a separator, would allow you to get pretty much enough power from the alternator for the microwave, so hardly any battery depletion. It works out much better than starting an Onan to run the micro a couple of minutes.
Hi booster,

I agree that it works out better than starting an onan when it should not be started, obnoxious and wrong to do. Otherwise, I choose to give up this one feature of running the microwave vs everything involved to accomplish this one feature as I have about the same setup with my 05/04 190P. I'll just make the coffee at 6:00am another way.

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Old 11-10-2017, 07:11 PM   #7
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I hear you Bud, every little "feature" we need, or just want, is one more complication of the systems and extra cost. There is merit to a simple system, especially if it well suits your lifestyle and use. If we had to hire and pay labor on the things we do to our van, I am sure we would be a lot closer to your style that what we have. As it is, I have a good hobby, and we get stuff done at bargain rates, as I work cheap
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:03 PM   #8
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Or…get a smaller microwave and a smaller 1000 watt inverter which what I did on my Agile. I can run one at a time our K-cup Coffee brewer or the 600 watt MW (actual power usage is about 950 watts) off our 220ah AGM battery without the engine running and it works ok. You still need to upgrade the wirings and breakers though.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:25 PM   #9
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... It works out much better than starting an Onan to run the micro a couple of minutes.
I'm starting to think running the Onan isn't so bad after all!

BTW - what got me thinking about this was my wife needed to heat a heating pad for a lower back injury. And so I thought it'd be great to just upgrade the inverter. Or maybe just add another one directly wired to one of the batteries.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:50 PM   #10
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Especially if it is a short term thing like a heating pad therapy, going right off the batteries with a standalone inverter is not a bad idea. Getting set up for convenient use of the microwave is much, much more work and money.
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:16 AM   #11
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I have read over the discussion, and now I want to ask for some advice on upgrading the Inverter my my '15 210, with four batteries. My wife is talking about that Insta-Pot; I believe it draws something like 700W. I don't like working close to the max, that is the reason for wanting to upgrade. Will you folks make some recommends at to what to get...I am totally ignorant in this arena. I will have it professionally installed. Ron
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Old 07-10-2024, 06:50 AM   #12
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Default Microwave power

[QUOTE=ManWonder;64762]I'd like to replace the 700w inverter in my 2004 Roadtrek with a 2000w so as to be able to run my microwave. I reached out to Roadtrek and they said I should get a professional to do this since the wiring might need to be upgraded among other reasons. Does anyone know if my swapping out the inverter would necessarily require new wiring?[

I have a 2010 Roadtrek Popular and am someone who uses a microwave a lot. I plan on upgrading to 200 amps of lithium ion batteries anyway, and have thought of simply wiring in a second, higher capacity inverter and running power to a 110 fused disconnect near the microwave and a new 110 outlet. Power transfer would be easy-- plug into the inverter for battery power, plug into the original outlet for shore power. One circuit for the inverter. The new accessory inverter would simply be a new draw on the battery and not need changing any of the factory original circuitry in the van panel.

Weigh in on the technical feasibility of this, please. It isn't that much money or time involved to me, it's a functionality that would bring a lot of enjoyment to me.

Additionally, I boondock and stealth camp extensively, so firing up the generator just to make some ramen simply isn't that practical or desirable.
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Old 07-10-2024, 12:20 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=Regnad;154619]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ManWonder View Post
I'd like to replace the 700w inverter in my 2004 Roadtrek with a 2000w so as to be able to run my microwave. I reached out to Roadtrek and they said I should get a professional to do this since the wiring might need to be upgraded among other reasons. Does anyone know if my swapping out the inverter would necessarily require new wiring?[

I have a 2010 Roadtrek Popular and am someone who uses a microwave a lot. I plan on upgrading to 200 amps of lithium ion batteries anyway, and have thought of simply wiring in a second, higher capacity inverter and running power to a 110 fused disconnect near the microwave and a new 110 outlet. Power transfer would be easy-- plug into the inverter for battery power, plug into the original outlet for shore power. One circuit for the inverter. The new accessory inverter would simply be a new draw on the battery and not need changing any of the factory original circuitry in the van panel.

Weigh in on the technical feasibility of this, please. It isn't that much money or time involved to me, it's a functionality that would bring a lot of enjoyment to me.

Additionally, I boondock and stealth camp extensively, so firing up the generator just to make some ramen simply isn't that practical or desirable.

You don't say if it is a 170, 190 or 210, but all are probably similar in wiring but not necessarily in where the parts are located in the van.


The microwave is not on the current inverter circuitry and probably has it's own 110v breaker in the breaker box by the entry door. There are really only two places to access that wiring, one at the microwave and at the breaker box.


The outlet for the microwave on our 07 190P is behind the microwave so not accessible to swap plug ins without removing the microwave. So that will be an issue for you if yours is similar.


There is also the difficulty in running BIG 12v cables up to wherever you put the inverter by the microwave if you do it that way. If you run a new AC line to the area from wherever the inverter is going to mount, it might be easier, but you would need the 12v cables to that area.



A lot may depend on where you put the lithium batteries and where the existing charging parts are located. On a 190 the charging parts would be behind a panel at the passenger side rear behind the wheelwell inside the van. Batteries would be in the passenger side outside storage bin in front of the year wheel and accessed from outside.


If you don't have it, get the owner's manual from the Roadtrek site, and if it is the new version manual without wiring diagrams and locations get one from about 2008 as they have the diagrams and locations. They should be very close to correct for a 2010.



The first time we modified our 07 190 to run the microwave on an inverter, I also changed the charger and got rid of the Tripplite that was in van originally. I put a standalone charger and separate inverter in the same area as the original Tripplite. Using and inverter/charger with an internal automatic transfer switch would be easier. To get the power to the microwave I just moved the wiring for the microwave outlet to connect to the kitchen outlet that is on the inverter circuit from the factory.


Best, I think, is to get a more detailed plan based on the model you have, where the lithium is going sit, and where all the other bits and pieces will go. Pulling wires, especially big ones is not easy in these vans so avoiding that need will simplify things a lot, IMO. Especially if you are going to change to lithium also, you need to consider the entire system and how it all has to work together. No matter what the sellers say, lithium is not a simple "drop in" replacement for lead acid batteries, IMO.



Most 2K watt pure sine wave (needed) inverters will has significant idle power use, with somewhat less if they have a "search" feature that might work in your case. Being able to turn it off would be good thing to have with only 200 AMP HOURS of battery capacity.



It is likely that your system, if it is AGM or wet cells and a Tripplite, will have only 80 amps of power to the coach from the alternator. Ours had a 4ga cable and 80 amp breakers for wiring. Even two AGMS can pull more than 80 amps when charging and cycle the breakers repeatedly. 200 amp hours of lithium will take way more the 80 amps and trip them all the time while trying to charge while driving. A battery to battery charger or other current limiting device will be needed to go to lithium if you are going to charge off the engine.


Stealth camping in a Roadtrek seems like it would be pretty tough as they are very obviously an RV.
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Old 07-10-2024, 05:50 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=booster;154620]
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You don't say if it is a 170, 190 or 210, but all are probably similar in wiring but not necessarily in where the parts are located in the van.


The microwave is not on the current inverter circuitry and probably has it's own 110v breaker in the breaker box by the entry door. There are really only two places to access that wiring, one at the microwave and at the breaker box.


The outlet for the microwave on our 07 190P is behind the microwave so not accessible to swap plug ins without removing the microwave. So that will be an issue for you if yours is similar.


There is also the difficulty in running BIG 12v cables up to wherever you put the inverter by the microwave if you do it that way. If you run a new AC line to the area from wherever the inverter is going to mount, it might be easier, but you would need the 12v cables to that area.



A lot may depend on where you put the lithium batteries and where the existing charging parts are located. On a 190 the charging parts would be behind a panel at the passenger side rear behind the wheelwell inside the van. Batteries would be in the passenger side outside storage bin in front of the year wheel and accessed from outside.


If you don't have it, get the owner's manual from the Roadtrek site, and if it is the new version manual without wiring diagrams and locations get one from about 2008 as they have the diagrams and locations. They should be very close to correct for a 2010.



The first time we modified our 07 190 to run the microwave on an inverter, I also changed the charger and got rid of the Tripplite that was in van originally. I put a standalone charger and separate inverter in the same area as the original Tripplite. Using and inverter/charger with an internal automatic transfer switch would be easier. To get the power to the microwave I just moved the wiring for the microwave outlet to connect to the kitchen outlet that is on the inverter circuit from the factory.


Best, I think, is to get a more detailed plan based on the model you have, where the lithium is going sit, and where all the other bits and pieces will go. Pulling wires, especially big ones is not easy in these vans so avoiding that need will simplify things a lot, IMO. Especially if you are going to change to lithium also, you need to consider the entire system and how it all has to work together. No matter what the sellers say, lithium is not a simple "drop in" replacement for lead acid batteries, IMO.



Most 2K watt pure sine wave (needed) inverters will has significant idle power use, with somewhat less if they have a "search" feature that might work in your case. Being able to turn it off would be good thing to have with only 200 AMP HOURS of battery capacity.



It is likely that your system, if it is AGM or wet cells and a Tripplite, will have only 80 amps of power to the coach from the alternator. Ours had a 4ga cable and 80 amp breakers for wiring. Even two AGMS can pull more than 80 amps when charging and cycle the breakers repeatedly. 200 amp hours of lithium will take way more the 80 amps and trip them all the time while trying to charge while driving. A battery to battery charger or other current limiting device will be needed to go to lithium if you are going to charge off the engine.


Stealth camping in a Roadtrek seems like it would be pretty tough as they are very obviously an RV.
That's good info. Especially about the inverter having a constant ghost draw.

I thought to connect the inverter, with appropriate sized cables, directly to the lithium batteries so the run would only be a few feet to wherever I mount the inverter. . The much longer independent direct fused wiring to the microwave would be 110. The existing shore power outlet could be moved to facilitate going from shore to inverter, or I could use a transfer switch.

Roadtrek 190 Popular.
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Old 07-10-2024, 07:08 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=Regnad;154625]
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That's good info. Especially about the inverter having a constant ghost draw.

I thought to connect the inverter, with appropriate sized cables, directly to the lithium batteries so the run would only be a few feet to wherever I mount the inverter. . The much longer independent direct fused wiring to the microwave would be 110. The existing shore power outlet could be moved to facilitate going from shore to inverter, or I could use a transfer switch.

Roadtrek 190 Popular.

Yes, using an automatic transfer switch will help you out a lot, as you don't want to wind up relying on manual transfer to keep from back powering the entire campground.


By far the hardest part will be running the AC cable to the microwave outlet if you use the one that is in place behind the microwave.



I think a 2010 will not have the audio cabinet next to the kitchen to the rear, so you could wire out from the microwave outlet to a junction box on the bottom of the overhead storage there, or run it behind the finished wall (lots of work) to the water heater area bolster directly below it. The existing shore/generator transfer switch is there and your new transfer switch would go onto the output line from that transfer switch. The output also goes to your existing charger and fuse panel. The transfer switch you wire in would have the priority default input as the output of the main transfer switch and the the other input your inverter output.



My guess is that you will wind up with a 200 amp hour battery, the inverter, a 40 or 60 amp B to B charger, the added transfer switch, and any other stuff inside the storage on the driver side of the van. If you have the power sofa, you will use up a lot of your storage area. My guess is that by the time you are done the costs will be more than you are imagining, especially if you use quality parts for it all.


Probably would be good to sketch up a wiring diagram of it all so you know what is going to be needed, including any engine charging needed.
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Old 07-10-2024, 09:00 PM   #16
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I plan on building a storage cabinet floor to ceiling by the kitchen, and making the queen bed permanent on a 6" higher platform to give me permanent trunk space. I've lots of armored 15 and 20 amp housewire and it should be simple to route it and house a transfer switch.
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Old 07-10-2024, 09:16 PM   #17
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I plan on building a storage cabinet floor to ceiling by the kitchen, and making the queen bed permanent on a 6" higher platform to give me permanent trunk space. I've lots of armored 15 and 20 amp housewire and it should be simple to route it and house a transfer switch.

We did similar on ours very soon after we got it in 2008, probably a year later. Our full time bed isn't that much higher, though, at only a couple of inches higher. Nice with no supports to be in the way. We left a notch at the bolsters, like the couch would be without the filler piece for easier access.


Are you going to make the cabinet from the rear bolster cabinet up to overhead bin, or cut them out of the area? Either way, that side would be too short for the fore and aft sleeping, though, so tough if two people traveling. Or are you going to take out the furnace and armoire in the front to do it?
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Old 07-14-2024, 04:34 PM   #18
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If you plan to run an Instant Pot be sure that you get a pure sine wave inverter for the replacement: the electronic controls on the Instant Pot (or a Keruig or Induction plate) are not happy with the power provided by a MSW inverter.
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