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Old 10-26-2009, 07:35 AM   #1
jpbcny
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M.O.C. #4571
12 Volt Improvements (on the Cheap!!!)

I do a bit of "Dry Camping" each year, I use a Honda 2000 Generator when I want to charge the Batteries, or need 120V power, for those times when the use of the generator is not feasible due to restricted hours, or if I only need a low amperage power draw for a short duration I use a 700/1400 (continuous/surge) Inverter.

Improvements for RVing without Utilities, while traveling or Dry Camping:

Installed (2) 6 Volt Golf Cart Batteries


Yes it is a "Home Made" Box, I vented it, and put a drain in



Mounted the Inverter In the Forward Compartment


Installed An Inverter Switch Box Inside the 5er


The Switches are Heavy Duty Toggles Rated for 20 Amps @ 125 Volts


The top switch is an "ON-OFF" SPST that controls the inverter remotely

The other 2 switches are "ON-OFF-ON" which are used to control the receptacles, and GFCI circuits in the 5er. The switches allow me to power the TVs, DVDs, or Stereo via the Inverter. The use of the "ON-OFF-ON" Toggles allow me to select "Line" Power (Whether it is from Shore Power, or the Generator), or Inverter Power, while the switch will not allow both Power Sources to be energized at the same time. I haven't labeled them yet, but it's on my todo list.


Installed a 12V Outlet over the Dining Table






I use the Outlet to power my 140 Watt Plug In Inverter when I want to use the Computer with the Air Card, and have nothing else powered up.

Installed Vortex Retrofit Fans in the Bathroom, and Bedroom


These fans are not as powerful as the factory installed one in the living area, but they are much more powerful than the standard bathroom fan, this setup allow me through the use of fans, and windows to vent the trailer of hot air on those warm nights when running on batteries, we usually just shut the bedroom door, and use the BR fan to draw in cool air. The only drawback is they are not variable speed, and are a bit loud, but at $40 a kit, they are much cheaper than getting a "Northern Breeze" or similar fan.

Total Cost for all the Upgrades: About $300.00 (Labor was Free!!!)

JP
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:58 PM   #2
mcgiver2
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Well everthing looks very good install you have done a good job and thanks for the pictures iam sure a lot of us will enjoy doing a few idea you have.........
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:31 PM   #3
scattershot
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Looks great. How long can you camp without using the generator? I assume sparse TV use, etc.
Thanks
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
RRman
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Are the Vortex Fans quieter than the stock bathroom fan?
Thanks!
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:58 AM   #5
Tom S.
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Since the fan is 12v DC, I would think a rheostat (aka variable resistor) from Radio Shack would turn it into a variable speed fan.
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:22 AM   #6
jpbcny
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by scattershot

Looks great. How long can you camp without using the generator? I assume sparse TV use, etc.
Thanks
The longest I have gone without running the Generator is 4 days, I could have gone longer, the Battery Monitor was still showing 3 out of 4 lights, but I had a need for some more wattage. The Golf Cart Batteries have an incredible reserve vs Deep Cycle RV - Marine Batteries.

JP
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:24 AM   #7
jpbcny
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by RRman

Are the Vortex Fans quieter than the stock bathroom fan?
Thanks!
No, they spin at a MUCH HIGHER rate, therefor the noise is increased vs a Standard Bath Fan, I installed them to increase the venting volume, which they do quite nicely...

JP
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:26 AM   #8
jpbcny
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Tom S.

Since the fan is 12v DC, I would think a rheostat (aka variable resistor) from Radio Shack would turn it into a variable speed fan.
Yes, I would say your assumption is correct, and I will look into it this winter before next year's Camping Season...


JP
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:35 PM   #9
Dennis and Carol
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JP, looks like a great mod. Guess I am having a Senior Moment", but I am having difficulty in figuring out how to wire the on-off-on switches. Also, why did you locate the inverter in the front compartment rather than nearer the power center. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Dennis
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:11 PM   #10
mtheo
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Dennis
I'm not sure why JP did what he did, but the manufactures recomend locating the inverter as close as possible to the 12 volt power source, less voltage drop with 120 volts than with 12 volts.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:16 PM   #11
jpbcny
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Dennis and Carol

JP, looks like a great mod. Guess I am having a Senior Moment", but I am having difficulty in figuring out how to wire the on-off-on switches. Also, why did you locate the inverter in the front compartment rather than nearer the power center. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Dennis
The ON-OFF-ON Switches have 3 terminals,


The Outside terminals are used for your Input Voltages, One from your Circuit Breaker, the Other from the Inverter, the Center Terminal is the Output to the Circuit you wish to Power.

The Converter was mounted in the front compartment for several reasons:
1: Noise , the fan runs constantly, while the inverter is Powered ON

2: I'm able to use the second receptacle to Power a drill (as a backup to power my Slide Pump in case the Motor Failed), or some other light duty appliance (you never know when you might want to run a Blender, or Rotisserie Outside!).

3: It was a convenient spot to mount it, I got (2) #4 cables from Pep Boys ($5 each), and connected them to the Slide Pump Lugs, it made for an easy, solid connection.

4: My Power Center is located under my Kitchen Cabinet, and there really isn't much room available, without a lot of re-work, or cutting...


JP
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:50 AM   #12
Dennis and Carol
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JP, from your photos, it appears you have switches to control 2 circuits. Where did you make the connection from the switch to the various circuits. Also, where did you make connection for the shore/gen-set hot wire for the switches.

Again, thank for the help.

Dennis
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:48 AM   #13
jpbcny
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I ran a line from the Inverter to the Power Center (which is located in the cabinet below where I mounted the switchbox), My unit (Mountaineer 329RLS) has (2) Circuits I wanted to be able to feed with the Inverter.

Circuit 1: Powers the "Street Side" and "Rear Living Area" receptacles, including the Entertainment Center.

Circuit 2: Powers the Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, and Outside GFCI receptacles, and the 120V Ceiling Fan, and the "Curbside" Slideout 120V Lights.

I basically just ran "Loops" from the Power Center to the switches feeding 1 side of the switch from the breakers of the 2 circuits, and fed the other side of the switches with the voltage from the Inverter, then I connected the Output of the switches to the lines feeding the 2 circuits using wire nuts, and tape in the Power center.

If you have ever mounted a Manual Transfer Switch to a Panel Box it is pretty much the same idea, I also use my Honda 2000 to provide backup power at the stick house, I previously had posted about installing a small 4 circuit 15 amp transfer switch for your home here's the link: 15 Amp Manual Transfer Switch

JP
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:35 AM   #14
Dennis and Carol
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JP, hope this is the last question. Where did you locate your switches? We are presently visiting some of our kids in Spokane, WA and I visited the local Radio Shack and their selection
was very limited. We will be back in SoCal next week so will possibly have better luck there.

Again, thanks for the help.

Dennis
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