What’s an inverter & more important, do I need one installed or a portable or not at all?

My husband tried to explain the science of it for about 15 minutes and when I tuned back in, I just nodded and smiled and now I am asking you.

We are ordering our [email protected] 320CS soon with 150 watt solar panels installed. We plan on Boondocking some. Do I need an inverter? If yes, Is it something they can install at the factory? Can you recommend one? Am I better off buying and shipping for them to install like I am with the Maxx fan? We are not do-it-yourself kind of people at all. We are both artists and we could paint you a nice picture of an inverter, that’s it. Does a portable inverter do the same thing? I just need someone to tell me what to do on this one really.

I like to run the A/C. We don’t have a microwave or coffee maker, we’d like to watch the TV. Is this enough info? Thank you!

P.S. Yes, I tried to search for this here already and no, I am not finding the answer I need.

Live in Downtown St. Louis, Missouri but we are travelers
2018 Ford Edge SEL AWD
2019 [email protected] 320 U being custom ordered this week!

Comments

  • ScottGScottG Posts: 2,212Moderator
    Inverters take 12V power (from your camper battery) and turn it into 120V power (like in your house). The amount of 120V power you get will be limited by your battery capacity. As you might predict, powerful appliances can deplete your battery very quickly.

    You certainly don't need an inverter. Many of us "boondock" quite comfortably using battery power and propane, with solar to recharge the battery. The only thing you absolutely can't use in your [email protected] without 120V power is the air conditioner.
  • ColleenD2ColleenD2 Posts: 256Member
    So we will have a CS which means a 2 way fridge so I guess we just do a cooler then instead? Man, I am such a baby when it comes to the Midwest heat.
    Live in Downtown St. Louis, Missouri but we are travelers
    2018 Ford Edge SEL AWD
    2019 [email protected] 320 U being custom ordered this week!

  • rkj__rkj__ Posts: 510Member
    ColleenD2 said:
    So we will have a CS which means a 2 way fridge so I guess we just do a cooler then instead? Man, I am such a baby when it comes to the Midwest heat.
    Perhaps a generator would serve you well.  It would use gasoline to give you 120V power, so you can run your air conditioning and fridge. 
    2016 [email protected] 320 CS-S - 2018 GMC Sierra - St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 2,803Moderator
    You can run your frig off your battery that you recharge with solar.  Just plan on camping in full sun so your mounted panels remain in the sun.  
    Sharon
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio
    2017 TaB CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan

  • ColleenD2ColleenD2 Posts: 256Member
    Ok, and I wasn’t sure about the generator since we will sometimes be with other people.
    Live in Downtown St. Louis, Missouri but we are travelers
    2018 Ford Edge SEL AWD
    2019 [email protected] 320 U being custom ordered this week!

  • maddmikemaddmike Posts: 135Member
    There are quiet generators out there, Honda being the best and quietest but also very expensive. I ordered the Yamaha powered unit from Costco which runs $500 but has good reviews and is reasonably quiet. We have a ten month old baby and don't want her to overheat so here in the south, getting out of the heat and into AC is necessary.
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 2,212Moderator
    ColleenD2 said:
    So we will have a CS which means a 2 way fridge so I guess we just do a cooler then instead? Man, I am such a baby when it comes to the Midwest heat.
    If escaping the heat is a problem, an inverter is not going to help. You'd need a truck full of batteries to provide enough juice to power your air conditioner through your inverter!

    As for the fridge, the 2-way models are much more efficient on 12V DC than the 3-way models. (They operate completely differently from one another.) As SAM indicated, you can likely run it off your battery so long as you have a reliable way to recharge.
  • ColleenD2ColleenD2 Posts: 256Member
    Generator it is! 
    Live in Downtown St. Louis, Missouri but we are travelers
    2018 Ford Edge SEL AWD
    2019 [email protected] 320 U being custom ordered this week!

  • LojocamperLojocamper Posts: 21Member
    Generator or no, you only need an inverter if you are boondocking and want to run something of higher wattage that won't run on 12v power. Keep in mind that if you are running the inverter you are probably using a lot of precious battery. Since I can't live without my hairdryer, we take an inverter with us for the few minutes in the morning I need the dryer (which is a low wattage model); We actually connect the inverter to the truck battery.  I think we are unusual in that we boondock without a generator. When our solar panel is not sufficient to recharge the battery, we just recharge the battery from the truck battery by running the truck engine for a few minutes. We find we get along fine without small appliances that run only on 120 (we plan accordingly), but I gotta have the hair dryer! We just came back from a 4 day/3night boondock trip, no problem running the 12V 2-way frig and watched a DVD on the 12V TV/stereo system. Had a somewhat shady campsite, so did have to recharge the battery with our "generator" (the truck) on the last day. Of course, we can't run the AC from our truck-as-a-generator method, so we just try to avoid the heat when boondocking and head for our favorite electric campsites, the State parks.
    "[email protected]" - a silver/black 2018 [email protected] 320 CS-S with Outback axle and AT tires / 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi/ Colorado

    States Visited Map
    [email protected] Adventures: 3
    Nights:  13



  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,577Member
    Generators (Honda, Yamaha, etc) come with built in inverters. That's why you can plug straight into it. This is opposed to generators that need to be hard-wired into a building or house for back-up power.
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
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