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Old 10-27-2018, 05:36 AM   #21
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so i finally got the time to do a spreadsheet of the electronics I'd sometimes need to have in the van, and running on 120v.

it is just below 2,100 watts.... (max) all on an inverter.... and that is not including the 12v lights, ceiling fan, etc in the van.

I really dont want to haul a generator

So... pardon the novice questions:

would a 2,800 watt inverter be enough?

and how much battery capacity would I want to be able to run this gear (just less than 2,100 watts) for, say, 1 hour? (3 hour?)


how much solar would anyone suggest for the roof to be able to more or less recharge in about a day.... yes I know time of year / angle of sun all is a variable.

Thanks for any and all tips and thoughts.


Originally Posted by booster View Post
You may want to take a good look at projected power use vs your use patterns.

A single gp31 is only in the 120ah range, so the 2000 to 2800 watt inverter would really only be able to run with the engine on, and only if the wiring is large enough to supply 100 amp to the coach. The Isotherm will likely use 30-70ah of battery per day, leaving little for anything else.

I thing you will need more battery, at least double, probably the more common two 6 volt golf cart batteries that are in the 220ah range. You need to be able to recharge them reliably so that is part of the use pattern and equipment, so shore charger if you often plug in, solar for at least some of the recharge capacity, and some sort of generator for the rest if the others can't keep up.

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Old 10-27-2018, 11:55 AM   #22
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Watts divided by Volts = Amps

A quick way to do the calculation and account for system losses and inefficiencies is to divide Watts by 10.

Four 100Ah batteries would/should allow a 200A load for one hour and also run the fridge, lights and fan etc. for the entire day.

The challenge then becomes recharging the batteries for the next days use. If you don't ever fully recharge the batteries then expect to replace them often.

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Old 10-27-2018, 11:56 AM   #23
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Rough numbers for one hour would be four batteries for the 120 volt plus at least one more for the 12 volt as you plan on a 12 volt fridge, assuming L/A or AGM batteries. 2100 watts for one hour plus 10% inverter inefficiency would be close enough to call it 2400watts. That would be about 200 amp hours. Again, rough numbers. The inverter alone would need four AGM/LA batteries. For one hour. This would be roughly figuring on a 50% discharge, leaving a cushion for extenuating circumstances if required. This is also assuming a 100% full battery charge everyday which can be sometimes problematic to make happen. A lithium battery pack($$$$$) gets into a different realm which I pretty much ignorant on.

Solar on roof would probably need about six hundred watts. Obviously, solar would be weather dependent. Any clouds/shade/winter sun would impair getting a full charge.

Practically speaking, you are looking at a genny. Either underhood or portable/attached.

Don't forget to add inverter inefficiency and 12 volt, it all adds up. Especially with the electric fridge.

Just in rough numbers, with an electric fridge you will want/need 100 amp hours just for the 12 volt, depending on your electric budget. This will practically require two AGM/LA batteries and 200watts of solar. And do not count on a 100% full charge off of solar alone. Again, weather dependent.

Good luck.
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Old 10-29-2018, 07:30 AM   #24
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Thanks everyone for the good info and ideas...

I went back to my list of electronics I'd need for work... and cut it down to the very minimum... and at the very least I'd need 1,200 watts continuous to run my work electronics. (a bunch of gear)

I do own a Honda 2000 that I modified to run off propane... works great, and zero smell of gas as it has never been run on gasoline.

The van won't have propane installed at all.... dont really fancy hauling around a big tank of propane...

so perhaps finding shore power would be good for work, if i need to work

or buying an expensive metal box to mount and then carry a generator, outside the van, would be an option. Not wild about that idea.

or perhaps I could somehow run an inverter from the 12v from the van? and run the van for an hour..... perhaps have Ford install a 2nd inverter? Has anyone done anything like this?

thanks anyone for any ideas


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