Power inverter information..

Tron

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As my search continues on how to power an ETM with out a gas generator, house power or doing modifications to your vans engine or components, I'm finding a lot of usefull information on the one alternative I can think of. Power Inverters.
So I figured I'll share what im finding this far and be open to ideas or objections to these theories so we can make the best and most informed decision.




Inverter FAQ


How does a power inverter work?
A power inverter converts DC power into conventional AC power allowing you to use your favorite devices when an AC outlet is not available. Simply connect an inverter to a battery source, plug your appliance into the inverter and you're set!


How do I know which inverter to buy?
Different devices require specific wattages to run correctly and efficiently. Please use this easy formula to determine the correct size inverter:

AMPS x 120 = Watts

Example: 15 Amp Cooling Unit X 120 = 1800 Watts

Please refer to our estimated watts page to help you find the inverter that is right for you.


How far can I keep my inverter from my batteries?
Keep the cables between your inverter and batteries as short as possible. This will help your batteries perform their best and keep the inverter's signal clean. The cables that come with the inverter are "rated" or good for up to six ft. If you plan on going over six ft., drop down to a larger gauge cable. Please call us if you are still unsure. This is pretty important stuff that should NOT be overlooked. If the cables between your battery and inverter get hot while under heavy load, then you should use heavier cables.


Can I use an extension cord with my inverter?
Yes, no problem. If cables need to be run, it is best to keep inverter as close as possible to batteries. Use extension cords on the output side (Vac output) rather than extending the Vdc cables. Tip: Contractors often need to mount the inverter in the back of their trucks. In a case like this it would be best to mount a secondary battery near the inverter and wire it to the primary truck battery. Vac extension cords should not exceed 200 feet or you will have signal loss


How long can I expect my devices to run?
The run time depends solely on the amount and size (capacity) of your batteries.

FORMULA:
Total the amps on your batteries and divide by 12. Take that number and set it aside, we'll get back to it in a moment.
Total the amps on the devices you will use on the inverter, add another 1/2 amp for the inverter itself.
Take THAT total and divide into the first number you came up with.
The result will be your runtime in hours. The more batteries you put in parallel the longer runtime you can expect.



With an inverter installed on a truck, can the engine be idled to maintain a charge on the batteries to offset the drain by heavy powertool use?
Yes, most of our customers will leave their vehicle running while using their inverter. We recommend that only 2500 watt inverters and below be used on your truck or large vehicle. Advise your vehicle's manufacture or mechanic to make sure your alternator will keep up with the amps being used.

What is the Low Voltage Alarm & Shutdown?
The low voltage alarm will sound when the DC source falls below 10 volts and the automatic shutdown will power off the inverter. This is done to save your battery(ies) so you can restart your vehicle.

My inverter's fans won't come on
Good! On almost all of our inverters over 1000 watts, the fans are connected to a thermal switch which will only allow the fans to come on when they reach a certain temperature. This helps keep your batteries holding their charge longer, and also makes it QUIET! Hooray!

Is my inverter weatherproof?
No. Treat your inverter like you would your TV. You wouldn't put your TV outside in the rain, please don't leave your inverter there either. Be aware of lighting storms. If struck, your inverter would go into a permanent overload state and may even smoke it. If using in a marine environment, try to keep it tucked away underneath, in a dryer area.



What type of batteries do you recommend?
Most of our customers prefer to use deep cycle marine batteries with their inverters. A few advantages are:
Delivers higher peak amps faster than conventional batteries
Provides up to twice the life of conventional batteries
More consistent voltage across the discharge curve
Superior cold and hot weather performance vs. conventional batteries


We suggest Lifeline deep cycle batteries, they work extremely well with power inverters.


The following three paragraphs are from OPTIMA Batteries
Connecting Batteries Together in Parallel
If your battery application requires more starting power or reserve capacity you can install multiple batteries together in parallel by connecting the like terminals together (positive to positive / negative to negative). Each time you add a battery in parallel you increase the CCA and Reserve Capacity, the voltage remains at 12 volts. For example, two OPTIMA® 34/78's in parallel will provide 1600 CCA and 208 minutes reserve. Three in parallel provides 2400 CCA and 312 minutes of reserve. If you have any questions about multiple battery installations, contact an appropriate automotive service center.


Suggestions for connecting batteries in parallel
Use batteries of identical make, model, and age.
Make sure cable gauge is sufficient to handle the higher current flow.
Prevent cables from shorting (do not allow them to rub against the vehicle body).
Use only high quality connectors, clean all contacts prior to installation.
Periodically check all connections for snugness.
If you are unsure of this procedure, contact your automotive service center.



Battery installation tips
Ensure that the battery is properly secured in the vehicle or equipment to prevent movement or vibration wear.
Do not over tighten the hold down bracket
Connect high amperage accessories such as a winch to the top terminals only. Do NOT use the side terminals.
Replace any cables and connectors that have corrosion, rust, or other damage.
Do not install batteries in a non-ventilated or sealed compartment.
Do not lift or handle the batteries by the terminals.
Do not over tighten terminal bolts



What is the difference between a modified sine and pure sine wave inverter?
Modified sine wave power inverters are more portable than pure sine wave power inverters, lighter, and lower in cost. If your device will handle voltage fluctuations, a modified sine wave inverter should be considered.Most devices that people typically wish to power will work fine with a modified sine wave inverter, as a precaution, please contact the manufacturer of your device to determine if it is compatible.

Pure sine wave power inverters motor's run cooler, last longer and provide very clean power like you would receive from a power company. Devices such as laser printers, digital clocks, and most medical equipment require a pure sine wave inverter to run correctly. As noted above, as a precaution, please contact the manufacturer of your device to determine if pure sine wave power is required.


Do I need a transfer switch?
Maybe. Never leave an inverter connected to a line where other power (shore, household .etc Vac) may feed into inverter. It doesn’t matter if inverter is on or off, you will most likely smoke your inverter. Need a transfer switch? CLICK HERE!


We like to go camping and travel quite frequently. My spouse uses a CPAP machine, will your inverter work?
Yes, many of our customers use their inverter for that very reason. We do recommend a pure sine wave inverter though, but as always, please check your manual or contact the manufacture of your device.
 

Bob Savage

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.
Although a power inverter does work as described, you would need quite a large one to power an ETM. You would also need a huge DC source to power the inverter, more than a single 12VDC vehicle battery can provide, unless you leave the vehicle running so it can be charging from the vehicle's alternator.

If it was a large inverter, you would need multiple 12VDC batteries in parallel, to supply enough DC amps in the first place.

You can purchase a self-contained inverter/generator, that will supply enough power for what you are wanting to do.

An inverter generator can run at lower RPM's than a conventional self-contained generator when the amp draw is not high, thus saving some fuel.

http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect...nverter-Generators-Reduce-Unwanted-Noise.html
 

drp5

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As my search continues on how to power an ETM with out a gas generator, house power or doing modifications to your vans engine or components. . . .

That's easy, forget the inverter and just get a diesel generator. No gasoline to run it, no house power involved, no windmill on your trailer needed, no solar panels required on the top of your Prius, no stopping to hug trees to and from the job, etc. . . . Heck, to power the diesel generator just go down to your local pond and get some algae to fire it up. . . .
 

Jimsteam

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Tron
Good info on the tread I started "Power inverters are they capable".
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/generators/outdoor-equipment/ecatalog/N-a2b?xi=xi Graingers has some belt driven generators as well as others. Rv generators also.
I've been using generators for camping or home stand by for years. I personally prefer PORTABLE generators for the fact they are so versatile. Yes in an contained area such as a van you will have an fuel odor. Pulling an trailer (believe you have one) mine is always securely positioned in my truck bed and slid to tailgate when in use. With the Genny I have the choice of mine or the clients power. Choosing clients power whenever feasible thus lengthening the life of generator.. Like anything else you get what you pay for including generators.
8600/6800 watt will easily power your main essentials in your house when needed or my Jaguar extractor.
An ETM using only an inverter with no fossil fuel is an great thought and one I like to see also but .........
 

drp5

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As my search continues on how to power an ETM with out a gas generator, house power or doing modifications to your vans engine or components, I'm finding a lot of usefull information on the one alternative I can think of. Power Inverters.

Why invert and lose efficiency? There are vac motors that run on 36vdc and pull next to no air watts. As my electrical instructor repeatedly made the point, "There is no free lunch." If you want power then it has to come from somewhere.

If having an ETM is your goal using batteries and an inverter only then good luck affording and maintaining a battery bank. You might want to check out Shorai LFX Lithium Batteries to keep the weight down. My earlier reply mentioned a Prius in joking but think about getting a Prius (201.6vdc 2004 and later or 273.6 2001-03) or other hybrid and tapping into the battery. Might work if your goal is having only a one trick pony ETM.

In all seriousness, I think Mytee is on the right path with their version on an EMT. The concept can be ramped up into a bigger vehicle in needed or into a smaller vehicle if the engine compartment allows. Not everybody has the same needs in equipment, heat requirement or range of versatility. Having another choice is far better than no choice.

Back to the point if I really had one, there is no free lunch. To power an ETM with out a gas generator, house power or doing modifications to your vans engine or components can be done but you are limited to the amount of energy you can store, the efficiency or transferring the energy into the form desired (electrical energy to air movement), the amount of air movement desired (cfms), the difference of pressures between atmosphere and desired lift, and probably a lot more variables than I care to think about just to squirt some water at carpeting and suck most of it back up.

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and going around and around and around and if I was in the market for new equipment I would buy the Mytee van setup, keep the generator/inverter, keep the heat exchangers and use them in conjunction with a Savage Heater with the patented technology to ultra have high heat, and replace the ETM unit with the “Adrenaline” overloaded Jaguar which is a true electric truckmount/portable. I would back up the awesome cleaning power with at least a 1/2” orbital pad machine using one of the many special and magical Internet shampoos. That along with my trusty 175 I would have all of the bases covered.