RV Inverter Install for Full Time RV Life | Changing Lanes!

inverter project is fun right I didn’t do a damn thing to help today’s video we’ve got a lot of requests story a lot and honestly it’s my fault that it hasn’t been put out yet the inverter project itself was super long because it’s a lot of work I’m gonna talk about how I broke that down this is basically all him because I didn’t do anything to flip the breaker here and there okay doing he did all the hard work I have really no idea about stuff that he’s gonna talk about because I don’t know this is not going to be a super detailed technical lesson in converting watts to amps and all that stuff there’s plenty of resources on the internet I’ll put some links below this is gonna talk about how we’re set up how I installed it and more importantly how I did our install without disrupting our life I can’t just have our electricity turned off for days on end and this project can take days on end it’s quite a bit of a bit of work as you’ll see yeah so first of all what is an inverter versus a converter a converter converts AC to DC power and it’s that DC power is used to charge your battery or batteries as well as supply DC power for your rig most rigs all of your lighting sometimes your refrigerator if you’re running it on gas and electric or bring on a gas a lot of your of a 5th wheel toy hauler is designed to run off DC power so you don’t have to be connected to power to do simple things like lights fans that kind of yeah and that’s all a converter does it’s not designed to go the other way it in Berger takes DC power and makes AC to run things like coffee pot television Apple TV microwave for a little while and sometimes an AFC so that’s what an inverter does and that’s the difference it’ll also typically do the converters jump and provide DC power from AC to charge your batteries you want to make sure in spring and wind yeah we’re gonna meet you inside the rig because it’s freaking windy out too windy out here so we’re going in we’re inside whoo okay much better in here yeah let’s talk about why we needed an uber first of all you don’t need an inverter but we needed a burner so here’s what we found in our first few weeks of owning our rig we were boondocking at my buddy’s house and we had to run the generator for everything if we want like a pot of coffee turn on the generator if we wanted to watch TV at night generator and I have a problem with that because the generator is right underneath our bed yeah and I don’t like noise like that and you have the generator running right below you I found that quite annoying right so we knew right away we want an inverter there’s a lot of inverter is out there and doing a lot of research lots and lots of research the install can be pretty complicated the reason being 50 amp power comes in on two legs of 120 volts technically it’s 50 amps on each leg a lot of inverters could only handle one leg meaning you have to do some special work with your wiring and split off one of your legs to breakout panel and another one to your inverter and then you got to figure out how to rejoin them you have to figure out which outlets which things you want to power because when the 15th comes into our main fuse panel down here it splits off into like one and leg two and then things that are on those legs so for instance one of the ACS is on one leg too or on another the microwaves on one while some of the other outlets are on another and it would be a pain to figure all that out so I found the go power GPI c2000 PKG tell us what’s called full 50 amp pass-through and what that allows me to do is just run both legs into the inverter both legs out i don’t have to figure out what we want to run what we don’t want to run basically we could turn on every freakin thing in this rig on an inverter granted do it overload the inverter so we still have to be mindful of what we turn on what we don’t but I don’t have to worry about it as far as the wiring goes and I’ll show you that when I get to each phase of the install it hurts my brain that hurts my brain I kind of I kind of feel like I hear I

think I’m just gonna hand this over to him now because I don’t have anything other than I really like to be able to make coffee and watch TV without having the loud generator so I’m gonna turn it over to you right I’m gonna take you outside and we’re gonna walk through this thing how I did it step by step I’m gonna show you each piece of it how I did it and all that good stuff sweet so as Tara and I were saying because we live in our rig I didn’t want to in dork but I really have everything apart all in one day or two days in a row you know when you’re working on an inverter and you’re dealing with electrical wiring you got to shut everything off imagine living in your house without power for two or three days your life would not be happy finally about me so I took this project and I thought about what I could do in certain steps ahead of time what what steps I could do without turning off power the first step I had to turn off DC power and some AC power but the first step was the batteries I had to upgrade the batteries now there were two major things to consider with these batteries a the weight of them they’re about 62 pounds each so at for them I’m looking at about 250 pounds after a little bit of research online I found that some people who had put heavier batteries in their front bay here which is where all the DC wire and go so it’s not used this area to be kind of silly they had problems with the floor here sinking you know it’s basically you’ve got frame and then frame and then it’s just sheet metal in between so my first goal was to shore up the battery area with some angle irons actually angle aluminum’s automotive column but I put three supports along under here too and both do those to the frame provide more support for this battery area I don’t want to have to worry about it popping out of the bottom of our rig while going down i-80 the other major concern or thing that I had to take into account was a battery box batteries especially flooded cell need to be sealed and vented it’s kind of the conflicting ideas but you want it sealed so that battery gases can’t be released up into this area here because if you notice here I have a little machine that makes a bunch of explosions to generate power so mixing those two together is not good the battery that came with the rig had a battery box but obviously it’s just designed for one battery when I came up with was this tote from Home Depot it fits all four of those batteries very snugly but well and then basically I took the top and bottom bed pieces of the box that came with a rig I cut him out I glue it into this I put everything together and boom I’ve got a battery box the other thing that I did when I put this battery box in was bolted to the floor of the bay which actually worked out fine because of the sports I put through there I bolted it straight through into those supports also through the floor so it’s very very secure so the other thing that I wanted to consider when I built this battery box is I wanted accessibility so I didn’t want the cables coming in through the top like they were with the original battery box because taking the top of the battery box off it then be difficult I don’t want that to be difficult because I want to be able to service these batteries regularly check the water levels so what I did was I ran all the cables in through the top edge of the box that way the top itself is movable I got eight screws I think securing the thing on and I could pop that off I’ve got it loose here and I can get to my batteries whenever I need to also if you’re curious this is just plain 22 gallon tote from Home Depot works great or for trojan t105 the reason I went with trojan t105 is they did get very good ratings I got a good deal on them they’re good solid batteries I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on just batteries too although that would be great wasn’t in the budget so the second step in my phased install was a non-disruptive phase and that was to wire the control cables or run the control cables that was probably the hardest part of this whole process if you can see in here it’s just a big spaghetti mess of wires this originally was in the middle here tonight to move that down to make room for this panel at the same time I put in this EMS control panel that’ll be a separate video by I ran both those wires at the same time for convenience so I tried fish tape I tried those long like fiberglass stick things I tried all kinds of things to try to get this wiring through and I ended up doing was using a bunch of slack so down in the basement where all these control cables go and meet the control boxes down there for this interface and for the lights and all that stuff the brains down there there’s a lot of slack down there now initially when I saw that I was like oh man look at all this wiring it’s not in

the way or anything and a lot of people complain about wiring and stuff but it saved me so I was able to figure out one of these cables in here add Tara tug on all I followed it down below to see which cable it was these wires go back and then over and then down so getting a fixed date through there was not going it happened I pulled all the slack through down into the basement taped up both control cables both of these control cables were essentially little phone jack cables on the end so I staggered them picked them up real good to the source wire and then I just yanked on him pulled him through and it worked thank God I knew that by itself was gonna take some time so I made that its own step so the third step which also was aimed on interruptive non-disruptive step was to just mount physically the inverter where I wanted it to go so choosing where to install the inverter was its own little research project my initial thought that I would do was I was gonna put it up in the Bay where the converter is currently thinking okay what’s doing inverting and converting it can just replace it and sit in there however one of the major considerations when doing this is distance from the batteries because the inverter as the potential draw a lot of current we’re talking 300 amps here the inverter has to be very close to the batteries because I had sealed the battery box very well I was able to co-locate in the same same space right up here so that way I could keep my cable runs short now you keep everything right here one tight little area and not have to worry about it so I wanted to put it on top of this enclosure here for the generator but I didn’t want it just sitting on this metal just like I didn’t want the battery box sitting on the metal that was a pretty easy solution I just got some two by fours and cut them the whole length and you can see probably in the screws right here I screwed those boards straight through and then mounted the inverter to those boards that distributes the weight across the entire top of the generator compartment and I feel a lot better about it being up there the next non-disruptive step was to install this control panel to do that I had to take this panel here at the LCI one control and move it down that actually was pretty easy because if you look here the frame of the mounting bracket actually only covers the lower portion of this so originally this thing was topped off right here obviously that wasn’t going to work to fit that in there so I was able to move it down by cutting some extra link down just on the bottom section here moving this mounting bracket down and then just mounting this guy right there which left me a room for this and for my EMS and this is obviously a pretty simple install I just cut the area out that I needed and put the screws in so after I got the control panels mounted my next step was also non interruptive that was to do my DC wiring and my plan and what I did was to get all the DC wiring in place but just leave the cables disconnected and just sitting in here again trying to think of steps that I could do and not have to turn off our power that seemed like the logical next step was to get my cable runs done I made my own cables I used welding cables now the difference between welding cable and regular DC cabling is stiffness the welding cable is made up of many many tiny little strands whereas a standard cable would be bigger thicker and the reason being is that the thinner strands the welding cable is very pliable it’s very soft and bendable so I measured out what I needed and I knew I also needed to mount my fuse and my cutoff switch up in the spate here so that’s what I did I had the burner Rd mounted of course so I made my cables to custom link to do that I had to buy a special crimper you don’t want to actually videos online of people of doing soldering and things like that you don’t want to do that I didn’t want to do that I have read bad things about you don’t want any air in that connection especially talking about 300 amps of DC you want a nice solid crimp so I bought a nice hydraulic crimper I bought the wire ends and lugs and I made my own cables so as you can see here I’ve got my positive side that runs straight from the inverter down and up to cut off switch and the cutoff switch goes to the fuse and then I just let that wire hang as long as ready to hook it up so I got that wiring all in place and then I basically just let it hang out in here the other thing that I did during this step was to take my battery temperature sensor which had about a mile long cable on it and I shortened this because it

only has to go from here here you know they give you lots of cable in case you need it I didn’t want to just have that cable all wrapped up in here and I already had the tools to basically cut and crimp a new phone cable that’s all that control cable is it’s a four wire phone cable to an RJ 15 jack just like a phone jack so I already had the tools I even already had some RJ 15 connectors from back in my network wiring days you know I had some RJ 15 rj45 sitting in a bag just just in case and if you’re wondering what RJ 15 rj45 are RJ 15 are the tiny phone connectors and rj45 are the bigger network connectors that you’ll see on network cables so the final part of the non-disruptive installation was to get my AC wiring it so AC wiring is a lot easier than BC wire simply because DC wiring you’ve got to have a lot higher power they are capable to go the same distance you might with AC cabling which is why Nikola Tesla was right and Edison was wrong slow AC DC history they’re basically my goal here was just to get the AC wiring hooked up to the inverter and in place and laying up in here so just a little review on how the AC wiring is set up here by default we have AC wiring coming in from the side of the rig where you plug into your 58 power that typically comes straight into an ATS or an automatic transfer switch I have it routed through an EMS will be a separate video on that install which is a surge protection voltage protection it’s uh yeah we’ll go to that later the ATS also hasn’t been put from the generator and then come out of the ATS automatic transfer switch it goes to the distribution panel which is right over there and the front of which is inside the rig where you have all your breakers and then of course distributes things out through the rig so what I needed to do was take the output from the 80s and run it up and over and across to the inverter and compliment Berger back over to the distribution panel basically I’m putting the inverter between Shore power or generator power because it’s coming in after the 80s and the distribution panel for AC wiring in this rig it’s really not much different than household wiring I used six three row mix which is basically six gauge three wires it’s got hot one hot two and a neutral and of course you grew out so it’s really four wires but that’s not what’s coming you can get that at any Home Depot and Lowe’s any home improvement store I hooked them up to the inverter rated hole right up here I ran the cables across above the supports for the furnace ducting and up to the front and I just let those wires hangar ran those cables along with the control cable because remember the control cable was just sitting down in here after I and run it through to the front so I ran in the control cable that way and I wearing the giggles that way anywhere that I put Kayla like whether it’s DC or AC I put shielding around it you know this thing bounces down the road it’s 60 65 miles an hour or it’s an earthquake that’s an earthquake for your wiring as well so where I’ve got cables run all over these supports everything I don’t want those things Robin I’ve got all of my cabling shielded whether it’s a DC or the AC stuff up in the front compartment for the battery the AC wire here it’s all shielded so at this point in the project everything is basically in place and just laying there everything’s pretty much ready to go so I picked a time it was a nice cool day because they could turn the AC and power off shut off shore power disconnected shore power shut off battery power through my battery disconnect here and basically made sure the coach was dead make sure there’s no juice on any of the connectors any of the lines and then it was just a matter of hooking things up so that basically entailed running my 6-3 romex up to the distribution panel distribution panel is really easy there’s the cover pops off four screws pop that off you can pull the whole distribution panel out I removed the wiring that was existing coming from the 80s and plugged it in it’s it was simple it’s four wires and screws it’s not that difficult just got to make sure you were routed to the appropriate sensors so it can sense current you don’t lose any of that functionality and the DC cables just a matter of popping them top off the battery box and running my cables into the sides sealing them up and connected the batteries also as part of this since my inverter is also a converter in other words is the inverter / battery charger I no longer need the stock converter that came with the rig I didn’t completely remove it I wanted to keep it in the rig just in case I need it but if you look at it it’s basically right down here on the floor and it gets its power from outlet that’s on the floor in here and the belly of the beast and so I just unplugged it I threw the breaker in that way if I ever have a problem with a murder and I need to go back to the old converter just to get DC power to charge the batteries and run

things in the rig it’s still there all I got to do is plug it in I might even be able to reach it through this panel here plug it in hit the breaker and good you don’t want to sources of DC power trying to charge your batteries and fighting each other I don’t even know what would happen might cause a rift in the space-time continuum then we go to the futures on the other so at this point it was just a matter of power testing so I’m gonna use the microwave is a test just to see if it gets power I’m not gonna try turning on the microwave and drawing a lot of juice so I am going to throw all my breakers except for the microwave that’s the converter which I just disconnected someone throw all of them through the main let’s see microwave there is the microwave running off the inverter we’re not even connected to shore power so if we hit the inverter off then the microwave should go off Oh microwaves off they’re gonna connect short power make sure the microwave comes on wall number 327 in camping always assume there’s a hornet’s nest inside this thing is there one well there was a wash but you know you know I’m allergic okay what’s gone it’s for that all right solicit we got under indicator here yep indeed the microwave is on all righty so 8 ply a seashore power did that 10 seconds boom that kicked on that’s on univer is currently off because they see shore power his power in the light bulb aka microwave preston release on/off switch to turn on the inverter so now I can remove short power and this should all stay on inverter should kick in so while I go do that pull the breaker out there keep an eye on this in the microwave we’re on DC status yeah microwave stayed on that’s pretty cool that’s it we’re done all I got to do so right now Shore power is off what else collector ah let’s turn the TV on oh let me flip the rest my breakers here now I can see I’m drawing 43.8 amps from the batteries to uh for the inverter yeah see if the TV and stuff works be proud of daddy why you getting excited what’s this cool dude this is really what we wanted freakin TV on DC power the Apple TV’s work and the TV’s working their stuffs charging this is a project long time in the making you did a drawing 63 amps let’s turn the coffee pot hey Dad Oh jump the whole jump duck 250 coffee maker drew what 90 cuz it was 62 then you turn on the coffee pot yeah let’s kick this off you can see the lights got a little the lights got a little dim when I turn the coffee pot on let me go kick Shore power back on DC status should go into a positive range and go into charging the TV and all that suckers all stay out okay I heard it both charging there go okay yeah now it’s positive everything’s still on see microwave kV boom now we’re bulk charging that’s pretty freakin cool you did it you did it all by himself murder project is fun right I didn’t do a damn thing help it’s about charging at 80 amps that’s so cool it’s gonna charge it so fast so after getting everything installed and tested there’s still a little bit tweaking that needs to be done namely these settings for our batteries you essentially need to tell the inverter what kind of batteries you have and how you want them to be charged so you’ll want to do a little research on this part with your battery manufacturer to make sure you get these settings right if I would have followed just the instructions from the go power manual I would have been charging these things at a much higher rate than I should have the formula that they gave me basically came out to 80% charge meaning 80 of the hundreds of total available watts for charging meaning 80 watts of the available hundred watts for charging so I contacted Trojan batteries and basically gave them a list of all the settings that I could tweak on this control panel and ask them for the recommendations so the settings that I made were the battery type which is flooded sell of course you can also have it set for a GM and a couple of different types and you can even do a custom charging profile if you perhaps you have lithium batteries or something

fancy like that another setting that I confirmed with Trojan is the maximum charge time for this particular setup which was the four trojan t105 so if you remember it is 12 hours max charge time hopefully that wasn’t too over-the-top complex and crazy and not too long but I’ve been promising to get this out for a while so there it is yeah bottom line what’s the bottom line well the bottom line is I appreciate all your hard work that you did first of all it’s added to the comforts of our life and the great thing is when we do boondock or mooch stuff like we’re doing right now we don’t have to have that generator running all the time I’m sure that the neighbors next door are happy about that too right a lot of times when you’re in close proximity fuze want to be courteous and you don’t want to be already a generator at 10 o’clock at night watch to watch I Love Lucy reruns we never watch that little scooter here I don’t want to be looking a generator late at night for anything great why don’t they go power were in no way affiliated with them but I do recommend that inverter and they’ve been super with their support yeah apparently Bob that’s how you’ll get probably if you email support or call support you’ll get Bob he’s awesome I went through our planned installed with them before I ever did it to make sure everything was on the up and up and they were really super helpful and very responsive well and that’s important when you’re doing a big project like this yeah a couple of future things I do have coming up I do plan on putting a victor on Bluetooth battery monitor shunted and I’ll explain that in that video but a much better battery monitor so we do want to do solar at some point obviously solar is just another piece to the power picture power vector yeah it’s pretty expensive and we don’t boondock that much now to take advantage of it but we will probably next year we’re heading out west next year so we’ll probably need a lot more often that way soon yeah we hope you liked this how-to video please subscribe if you haven’t already please click the like button and if you have any questions at all comment below and I will get back to you as quickly as I can we’re on Instagram and Facebook yo so follow us there too yep see ya