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Thread: Lithium Battery - Inverter/converter question

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    Lithium Battery - Inverter/converter question

    I've read many older threads on the subject trying to see what makes the most sense but the amount of info is confusing. In light of the Costco battery sale something I thought was further into the future has been moved up. As I see it there are a few options, one of which will be best/most cost effective. My goal would be to run gfci outlets off of the batteries which would/could operate tv, coffee maker, and chargers. I may add the microwave depending on complexity. i don't see a need to worry about fridge or anything else that can run off of propane. I would just still use a generator when ac is needed. We boondock quite a bit for a few nights and would like to not have to run a generator to make coffee, watch some tv, or make sure the furnace gets through the night (which just going to lithium (not to mention 2) should solve.

    1. add an inverter/charger that is connected to the main 50 amp coming in. I saw posts regarding go power. I assume everything downstream would try to run off the batteries when not connected if you turned them on. What happens if ac is accidentally on or fridge on electric, just drain the batteries down I guess???

    3. add inverter charger and run gfci 120 volt lines from breaker box , through the inverter with ats, to gfcis. Seems easiest?

    4. add inverter charger with ats and run it to new breaker box which would include breakers for gfci and any other lines. More parts/cost but more flexibility in running additional lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eodenc View Post
    I've read many older threads on the subject trying to see what makes the most sense but the amount of info is confusing. In light of the Costco battery sale something I thought was further into the future has been moved up. As I see it there are a few options, one of which will be best/most cost effective. My goal would be to run gfci outlets off of the batteries which would/could operate tv, coffee maker, and chargers. I may add the microwave depending on complexity. i don't see a need to worry about fridge or anything else that can run off of propane. I would just still use a generator when ac is needed. We boondock quite a bit for a few nights and would like to not have to run a generator to make coffee, watch some tv, or make sure the furnace gets through the night (which just going to lithium (not to mention 2) should solve.

    1. add an inverter/charger that is connected to the main 50 amp coming in. I saw posts regarding go power. I assume everything downstream would try to run off the batteries when not connected if you turned them on. What happens if ac is accidentally on or fridge on electric, just drain the batteries down I guess???

    3. add inverter charger and run gfci 120 volt lines from breaker box , through the inverter with ats, to gfcis. Seems easiest?

    4. add inverter charger with ats and run it to new breaker box which would include breakers for gfci and any other lines. More parts/cost but more flexibility in running additional lines.
    First, I would not recommend you install any Inverter solution unless you have a good understanding of your electrical system, since messing with Electricity can be dangerous,

    Second, congratulations on upgrading your coach to Lithium !!!

    Now, to answer your questions and/or give you my recommendation...

    I am going to talk about the Victron Inverter/Chargers because I am familiar with their inner workings: the first thing you need to understand is how your 120v electrical system works inside your coach. Your 50 amp plug brings in two 120 volt lines into your breaker box, inside the breaker box each line powers up 1/2 of the 120v circuits inside your coach. The two halves of your circuits are planned out so that you don't overload one side of the 50 amp circuit, for example: if you had two air conditioners, only one air conditioner would be on either line (side) because, if both air conditioners were on the same line (side) that would overload the circuit and cause the breaker to trip on the power pole out side. The rest of your circuits are divided up between each side (line) i.e.: your bathroom GFCI might be on the opposite side of your kitchen GFCIs.

    With this division in mind, it becomes relatively simple to install an Inverter to directly power one side (line) of the breaker box (i.e.: half of your coach). Now, if you pick a side at random, you might wind up making your morning coffee in the bathroom because the kitchen outlets are powered by the other side (line). Fortunately, you can plan out which circuits you want to be powered by the Inverter and if you want something powered by the Inverter that happens to be on the other side of the breaker box, you can swap that circuit onto the side that is powered by the inverter, and move something from the Inverter side to the side that will not be powered by the Inverter.

    With regard to the Victron Inverters, they have a built-in Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), consequently you would decide which side of the breaker box you want powered by the inverter and you disconnect that line from the breaker and run that line into the inverter (AC In) and you run the line coming out of the inverter (AC Out) to the breaker you just disconnected. That's it, it is that simple, it is also more complicated, but basically it really is simple in concept. Once you connect your Inverter to the breaker, everything on that half of the breaker box will be able to get 120v power when you are dry camping.

    I would recommend using the Victron Inverter/charger, there is a reason Victron is number one in the boating industry for power products. Victron is also cost competitive with other Inverter/chargers in the market (actually, I was surprised how cost competitive they were).

    PS: you don't need to run any additional GFCI circuits because any circuit that already has a GFCI will still be protected (i.e.: Kitchen and bath outlets).
    David and Peggy
    2019 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.7L Diesel, Dually, Long Bed
    Running with 20k Reese Goosebox (Love It) and Ford Factory "Puck" system.
    Stopping with 8,000 lb Disc Brakes and Titan Hydraulic over Electric Brakes system.
    Powering all this fun with 1200 Watts of Solar, two Tesla, Model S, battery modules, 24 volt Victron Inverter.
    2018 Solitude 310 GK

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarPoweredRV View Post
    With regard to the Victron Inverters, they have a built-in Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), consequently you would decide which side of the breaker box you want powered by the inverter and you disconnect that line from the breaker and run that line into the inverter (AC In) and you run the line coming out of the inverter (AC Out) to the breaker you just disconnected. That's it, it is that simple, it is also more complicated, but basically it really is simple in concept. Once you connect your Inverter to the breaker, everything on that half of the breaker box will be able to get 120v power when you are dry camping.

    I would recommend using the Victron Inverter/charger, there is a reason Victron is number one in the boating industry for power products. Victron is also cost competitive with other Inverter/chargers in the market (actually, I was surprised how cost competitive they were).
    .
    Thanks for the great info. I'm not sure I'm going to do it myself but want to get it all figured out. I got the batteries on order so I know I'm doing something and have all summer to sort it out. I'm an ME so i get electrical a bit but know there is a lot I don't know.

    I have my electrical diagram. I see where i can use the victoron on one half, move one wire for a "refrigerator which includes some outlets" down to the unused ac breaker, and have power at all outlets, microwave, and tv.

    I would have no power to ac, hot water heater, and fireplace. The existing converter is also on the line without power. I don't think would i even need to run that line to the new inverter since it would be getting its power right from the shore connection.

    I know I want to have the inverter near the batteries and can move those inside. Also would want a monitor of some sort I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eodenc View Post
    Thanks for the great info. I'm not sure I'm going to do it myself but want to get it all figured out. I got the batteries on order so I know I'm doing something and have all summer to sort it out. I'm an ME so i get electrical a bit but know there is a lot I don't know.

    I have my electrical diagram. I see where i can use the victoron on one half, move one wire for a "refrigerator which includes some outlets" down to the unused ac breaker, and have power at all outlets, microwave, and tv.

    I would have no power to ac, hot water heater, and fireplace. The existing converter is also on the line without power. I don't think would i even need to run that line to the new inverter since it would be getting its power right from the shore connection.

    I know I want to have the inverter near the batteries and can move those inside. Also would want a monitor of some sort I think.
    With the Inverter/Charger, you can eliminate the Converter altogether.
    David and Peggy
    2019 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.7L Diesel, Dually, Long Bed
    Running with 20k Reese Goosebox (Love It) and Ford Factory "Puck" system.
    Stopping with 8,000 lb Disc Brakes and Titan Hydraulic over Electric Brakes system.
    Powering all this fun with 1200 Watts of Solar, two Tesla, Model S, battery modules, 24 volt Victron Inverter.
    2018 Solitude 310 GK

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarPoweredRV View Post
    First, I would not recommend you install any Inverter solution unless you have a good understanding of your electrical system, since messing with Electricity can be dangerous,

    Second, congratulations on upgrading your coach to Lithium !!!

    Now, to answer your questions and/or give you my recommendation...

    I am going to talk about the Victron Inverter/Chargers because I am familiar with their inner workings: the first thing you need to understand is how your 120v electrical system works inside your coach. Your 50 amp plug brings in two 120 volt lines into your breaker box, inside the breaker box each line powers up 1/2 of the 120v circuits inside your coach. The two halves of your circuits are planned out so that you don't overload one side of the 50 amp circuit, for example: if you had two air conditioners, only one air conditioner would be on either line (side) because, if both air conditioners were on the same line (side) that would overload the circuit and cause the breaker to trip on the power pole out side. The rest of your circuits are divided up between each side (line) i.e.: your bathroom GFCI might be on the opposite side of your kitchen GFCIs.

    With this division in mind, it becomes relatively simple to install an Inverter to directly power one side (line) of the breaker box (i.e.: half of your coach). Now, if you pick a side at random, you might wind up making your morning coffee in the bathroom because the kitchen outlets are powered by the other side (line). Fortunately, you can plan out which circuits you want to be powered by the Inverter and if you want something powered by the Inverter that happens to be on the other side of the breaker box, you can swap that circuit onto the side that is powered by the inverter, and move something from the Inverter side to the side that will not be powered by the Inverter.

    With regard to the Victron Inverters, they have a built-in Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), consequently you would decide which side of the breaker box you want powered by the inverter and you disconnect that line from the breaker and run that line into the inverter (AC In) and you run the line coming out of the inverter (AC Out) to the breaker you just disconnected. That's it, it is that simple, it is also more complicated, but basically it really is simple in concept. Once you connect your Inverter to the breaker, everything on that half of the breaker box will be able to get 120v power when you are dry camping.

    I would recommend using the Victron Inverter/charger, there is a reason Victron is number one in the boating industry for power products. Victron is also cost competitive with other Inverter/chargers in the market (actually, I was surprised how cost competitive they were).

    PS: you don't need to run any additional GFCI circuits because any circuit that already has a GFCI will still be protected (i.e.: Kitchen and bath outlets).
    +1M on the Victron! Best for both mobile and sticks-n-bricks installs.

    Sent from my SM-T290 using Tapatalk
    Mark & Mary. Currently hailing from New Mexico. Hopefully full timing in late 2022.
    Current camper: Purchased a 2021 DG Reflection 320MKS!
    Current Rig: 2019 Ford F350 SD Crew Cab, w/8' box, Lariat, SRW, 6.7l Diesel

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    Scoped out my existing wiring although I still need to test each breaker and outlet to verify what GD sent.

    Adding the victron to the bottom leg and moving one wire from top to bottom would be ideal from a power and simplicity standpoint. The downside is that there is no way the victron can go where the existing converter and power comes in now. It would either go in to the closet above which is closest or in the pass through which of course means running wires underneath the rig. Of course I think I may be moving the batteries in the pass through so there is at least one wire I will need to move or add.

    Now thinking of going an inverter route but still need to decide which breakers I want to add that to and how to best do it.
    Imagine 2020 2670MK,
    2019 RAM 1500

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    Quote Originally Posted by eodenc View Post
    Scoped out my existing wiring although I still need to test each breaker and outlet to verify what GD sent.

    Adding the victron to the bottom leg and moving one wire from top to bottom would be ideal from a power and simplicity standpoint. The downside is that there is no way the victron can go where the existing converter and power comes in now. It would either go in to the closet above which is closest or in the pass through which of course means running wires underneath the rig. Of course I think I may be moving the batteries in the pass through so there is at least one wire I will need to move or add.

    Now thinking of going an inverter route but still need to decide which breakers I want to add that to and how to best do it.
    I'm not sure what you mean in the last sentence ("Going an Inverter route")?

    I presumed the first part of your post was discussing how you were going to install a Victron Inverter. If this is correct, it is easy to install the Inverter remotely and you can easily run wires inside the hold.

    My recommendation is to install the Inverter close to the batteries and run the 120 volt wires back and forth to the breaker box, because, you have less "line loss" in the 120v AC wires. Be sure to use conduit wherever the wires would be exposed.
    Last edited by SolarPoweredRV; 07-04-2020 at 01:55 AM.
    David and Peggy
    2019 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.7L Diesel, Dually, Long Bed
    Running with 20k Reese Goosebox (Love It) and Ford Factory "Puck" system.
    Stopping with 8,000 lb Disc Brakes and Titan Hydraulic over Electric Brakes system.
    Powering all this fun with 1200 Watts of Solar, two Tesla, Model S, battery modules, 24 volt Victron Inverter.
    2018 Solitude 310 GK

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarPoweredRV View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean in the last sentence ("Going an Inverter route")?

    I presumed the first part of your post was discussing how you were going to install a Victron Inverter. If this is correct, it is easy to install the Inverter remotely and you can easily run wires inside the hold.

    My recommendation is to install the Inverter close to the batteries and run the 120 volt wires back and forth to the breaker box, because, you have less "line loss" in the 120v AC wires. Be sure to use conduit wherever the wires would be exposed.
    A few months later and the batteries are still sitting but have been charged. My thought process and the "inverter route" explained. This is a 2670mk so the breaker is under the closet and there is little room to install anything there although an inverter could fit but the batteries would be a greater distance away unless I put them in the closet which I would prefer not to do.
    - I only have two batteries and trying to do half of the breaker box seems like overkill and the victron would not fit in the closet space and require running much larger wiring so I'm leaning towards just inverting one breaker circuit which is the GFCI outlets and I would swap the tv outlet to that circuit from the fireplace circuit
    -I know you want the batteries near the inverter and I think i want my lithiums under the bed for temperature and theft reasons which means the inverter needs to be under the bed or in the pass through (probably pass through)
    -Both options require and a few battery wire changes at the pass though plus of course the fuse and monitor (not sure I need an additional shutoff versus what is there)
    -SO I could just swap my existing charger for the lithium version in the exact spot it is in under the closet space and add an inverter/transfer in the pass through. This requires running two romex lines to and from the breaker area to the inverter
    -Using the victron inverter/charger/transfer I would not need the charger but would need to bypass the existing charger and do some rewiring of 12v but most of existing wiring should be there and I still just need the two romex.

    Am I missing something here? I may have the dealer do this or at least quote it but want to understand what is involved. Thanks
    Imagine 2020 2670MK,
    2019 RAM 1500

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    Quote Originally Posted by eodenc View Post
    A few months later and the batteries are still sitting but have been charged. My thought process and the "inverter route" explained. This is a 2670mk so the breaker is under the closet and there is little room to install anything there although an inverter could fit but the batteries would be a greater distance away unless I put them in the closet which I would prefer not to do.
    - I only have two batteries and trying to do half of the breaker box seems like overkill and the victron would not fit in the closet space and require running much larger wiring so I'm leaning towards just inverting one breaker circuit which is the GFCI outlets and I would swap the tv outlet to that circuit from the fireplace circuit
    -I know you want the batteries near the inverter and I think i want my lithiums under the bed for temperature and theft reasons which means the inverter needs to be under the bed or in the pass through (probably pass through)
    -Both options require and a few battery wire changes at the pass though plus of course the fuse and monitor (not sure I need an additional shutoff versus what is there)
    -SO I could just swap my existing charger for the lithium version in the exact spot it is in under the closet space and add an inverter/transfer in the pass through. This requires running two romex lines to and from the breaker area to the inverter
    -Using the victron inverter/charger/transfer I would not need the charger but would need to bypass the existing charger and do some rewiring of 12v but most of existing wiring should be there and I still just need the two romex.

    Am I missing something here? I may have the dealer do this or at least quote it but want to understand what is involved. Thanks
    I think you are over thinking the installation.

    Try to simplify your installation...

    First, you do not need a Converter if you have a Victron Inverter. The "Charger" portion of the Inverter/Charger replaces the Converter.

    Next, you need to simplify your Battery and inverter installation. You are correct in that you want your batteries as close to the Victron Inverter/Charger as possible, this reduces energy loss in the cables running between the batteries and the Inverter. Note: it doesn't matter how long your AC wires coming from the Inverter are because 120v AC does not have any (appreciable) line loss between the Inverter and your Breaker Box.

    I don't know which Inverter you have, but, my guess is you have a 12v, 3000 Watt inverter, if this is your model, it has a built-in 50a transfer switch which allows you to pass the 50a Shore Power through the inverter (be sure to run 6ga wire for your 120v AC).

    Again to keep your installation simple, you can run the AC output from the Victron Inverter directly into one side of your 50a Breaker Box which allows you to power every circuit in that half of the Breaker Box from your batteries.

    So, which side of the 50a Breaker Box do you want to power with the Inverter?
    Typically, you want the half with your Fridge (if residential), your Microwave, your TV/Entertainment center, and the Kitchen outlets (Note: this half usually also powers the Living Room Air Conditioner).

    To power your DC lights and devices you will need to tap into the 12v DC circuit with either the old Converter wires, or the old battery cables from the new batteries.

    As far as the physical installation of the Inverter and batteries go; you can install both in the hold, or the batteries under the bed and run the cables to the inverter through the floor into the hold where the inverter is. It is up to you, just keep the cables as short as possible.

    A follow up note: if you want to have Inverter power on a circuit that is not powered by the half of the Breaker Box you picked, it is a simple matter to swap a circuit from one half to the other half by moving the wires between breakers, just be certain the breakers you swap are the same amperage i.e.: 20 amp.
    David and Peggy
    2019 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.7L Diesel, Dually, Long Bed
    Running with 20k Reese Goosebox (Love It) and Ford Factory "Puck" system.
    Stopping with 8,000 lb Disc Brakes and Titan Hydraulic over Electric Brakes system.
    Powering all this fun with 1200 Watts of Solar, two Tesla, Model S, battery modules, 24 volt Victron Inverter.
    2018 Solitude 310 GK

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    I did the Victron MultiplePlus inverter install and it was easy...once I did my research. Here is the amsolar site that I ordered my parts from. And a youtube video that will be helpful in explaining the install...and yes it's really that simple as mentioned in the video.

    Amsolar.com

    https://amsolar.com/victron/inv-vt-3000

    I went with this kit:

    RV Upgrade 50A Kit (99-VT3050KIT) - This is a kit that includes all the components commonly needed to install the MultiPlus into an RV that already has a 50A main panel and shore power connection. This kit includes a Smart Phase Selector (SPS) Patent Pending that allows a single inverter to power both sides of a 50A main panel.

    Here is a great youtube video that helped me.



    Hope that helps. There is a lot of info out and a lot of us were where you are. The guys at amsolar are helpful and will answer questions but sometimes it takes 1-2 days to get back to you. There are a lot of folks on the board that have done this installation and can help as well.
    Jim & Kate
    2019 Ford F350 CC 6.7 Diesel DRW
    2020 Solitude 344GK
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    2017 Ford F250 6.7 Diesel (Sold - already miss her)
    2018 GD Reflection 315RLTS (Sold)

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