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Best Inverter for an RV – Pure vs Modified and Watts

When we first purchased an RV we didn’t really understand power inverters, we only knew what mattered: An inverter converts the battery power (12 Volt DC) into power that works with our electronics (110 Volt AC power).  After one year on the road the charger and battery on my laptop stopped working, and thus began the tireless research to find the best power inverter for our RV.  Below is my take after two years of research, conversations with dozens of service techs, and getting it straight from the “horse’s mouth” (RV mfrs. and inverter mfrs) on why we ended up with a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter.

Let’s start where it all begins: The Factory.

When you talk to RV Manufacturers the saying goes something like this:  “if you want your RV built with all the highest quality products, fit, and finish…the rig would cost $5 million!”  There might be a little exaggeration there but you get the point:  in general RV manufacturers cut corners and install middle-of-the-road products to save you money on the MSRP.  Our Monaco Vesta came equipped with a basic 1500 watt Modified Sine Wave Inverter and charger (that’s right the charger is built into the inverter, which is not good, but I’ll save that for another post).  The factory installed inverter is pretty much the “go-to” for many RV mfrs, it works fine for many circumstances, but it’s not made to run all the expensive gadgets that typically end up in an RV.

Which is Better, a Pure Sine or Modified Sine Inverter?

While researching a new laptop battery and charger I noticed HP recommends a Pure Sine Inverter for their laptops.  About that same time our Nespresso Milk Frother stopped working and I had some of my rechargeable AA batteries go bad.  So I dove into researching Modified vs. Pure Sine Inverters.  If you look at the facts, and don’t consider price, a pure sine inverter is a no brainer.   Of course that one caveat is a huge one, and the main reason we delayed switching from a modified inverter right away (currently a Pure Sine inverter can cost between 2 and 5 times more than the same wattage modified version).  If you’re planning to do your own research on modified vs. pure (which I highly recommend) you should know that Modified sine is sometimes referred to as “stepped sine” and Pure sine is sometimes referred to as “true sine”.

Does this Sine Wave graphic mean anything to you?

Pure Sine vs. Modified Sine Wave
Nope…me either.  To break it down I’ve made this simple bulleted list why a pure sine wave inverter is a better investment for RV power:

  • Pure sine is a direct replica of the power in your house, and it’s what all 110 Volt electronic devices are made to run on (i.e. anything with a 2 or 3 prong plug).
  • The more sensitive (read “fancy”) the device, the less likely it will work well on a Modified Sine.  For example our induction plate wouldn’t even run on our old Modified sine, but runs perfectly on our new Pure Sine.  Newer devices such as camera batteries, air purifiers, computers, tablets, LED TV’s, power tools, etc. may be damaged over time when used on a modified sine wave.
  • Pure Sine power outlets are often protected by GFCI (you know the little test/reset switch that’s built into bathroom outlets that disconnects power to protect electronics).
  • Pure sine is more efficient.  The best example is with boiling 1 cup of water in a microwave: on a pure sine it takes 1 minute, on a modified sine it takes 2.  Using less energy means you can use more devices, or save money by installing less solar or batteries.
  • The biggest part for us is not having to replace sensitive gadgets on a semi-regular basis:  Laptop Battery $140;  Laptop Charger $80;  Milk Frother $100;  AA Rechargeable Batts $15

Just to be clear, a Modified Sine Inverter will run many devices, especially basic ones like a griddle, electric kettle, hair dryer, etc.  If you’re not planning on powering any techy gadgets (you know fancy, sensitive, expensive, etc) save your money and go for the Modified Sine, it’ll most likely serve your needs just fine (but don’t say we didn’t warn you!).

A Kindergarten Drawing of Other Sine Waves

I didn’t want to get sued from some company for copyright infringement so…we’ve made these awesome drawings comparing the most popular sine waves. Enjoy 🙂
Sine Waves

How many watts do I need for an RV inverter?

Our old inverter was 1500 watts, and for the most part it provided enough power, but there was one thing that really eeerked me: it had a 15 amp built in fuse that would trip every time we would run the microwave and any other device at the same time.  For example:  On “Movie Night” we’d power the DVD player/Home Stereo and the LCD TV.  If we felt the urge for the full theater experience we’d start to pop some popcorn…and…Goodbye Power!  No matter if we were plugged into shore power, running the generator, or using solar we had to keep track of what devices were plugged into the inverter outlets; it was a constant headache because the majority of the outlets in the kitchen were wired through the inverter, thus making me run outside no matter the weather or hour of the night to flip a stinkin fuse switch!  Yes, it was a pain in my butt!

For our inverter upgrade we wanted to power additional outlets in the RV (1 in the bathroom, 2 in the living area, and 1 by the driver’s area), but most importantly we wanted to watch a movie and have our popcorn too!  So we chose a 3000 watt pure sine inverter.  With 3000 watts Nikki can blow dry her hair while I’m making breakfast using the electric kettle and griddle.  In my humble opinion 1500 watts isn’t enough for a full-timer, like they say “go big or go home”!

Buying an Inverter

If you’re looking to purchase an inverter we’ve found the best prices are on Amazon(at least from reputable sources). Here’s a link to the 3000 Watt Pure Sine Inverter that we installed: Go Power! GP-SW3000-12 3000-Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter


Hope this breakdown helps you find the perfect inverter for your RV. If you have any questions or personal experience with Inverter Wattage, Modified vs. Pure Sine, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, we’d love to get a discussion going on this often misunderstood RV topic.

 

2015 Update: We have an all new improved solar set up. Click the button to see our most recent upgrades:

 

Disclaimer: Take our recommendations for what they are: our opinions! We are not “experts”, we’re just “users”. Go Power! provided our inverter for testing however our opinions are not purchased and are 100% our own.

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (266)

  • No Snow

    Great site!! Glad I happened on to this blog. We lived in our RV for several months last winter while avoiding the cold and snow. we didn’t boondock all winter, but we did enough that I decided we should have an inverter rather run the generator all the time. I mainly want to have it to watch tv without running the generator for 3 hrs. at night. I was going to take the lazy way out and install the inverter close to the batteries and just plug the trailer cord into the inverter. The trailer has a built in converter that converts 120v ac to 12v dc. and charges the batteries. Will I need to isolate the converter from the system when using the inverter to prevent overheating?

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  • Donald S Ruddell

    thanks for making that video.

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  • Nice article, summed up nicely why I need pure sine for my van

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  • Jack Ackerman

    I have a 1981 ford camper. I have no a.c and may refrigerated don’t work.

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  • DavidYR

    Thanks for the detailed overviews on inverter usage and wattage a particular appliance consume. It was really very helpful to me.

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  • Sarah & Jason

    Hey guys,
    I just wanted to say thank you so much for providing all of this info and making these complicated concepts wayyyy easier to understand! My fiance and I have been SO inspired by you guys. We really cannot say thank you enough! We are in the process of manifesting this reality for ourselves and will be using the resources y’all have provided to help us every step of the way. Resources aside, seeing two REAL people like ourselves making their dreams a reality just makes our hearts flutter and fills us with hope and love! Would love to run into you guys on our travels. Much love from Virginia! <3<3<3

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  • Gaylord Levan

    you will have an awesome weblog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

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  • Flick

    that’s right the charger is built into the inverter, which is not good, but I’ll save that for another post, still curious and waiting with patience, or so I would have you believe…

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  • Chris

    Really enjoyed your video & explanation! 🙂 It helped me understand what my husband is up to!! You did a great job of combining FUN with EDUCATION! 🙂

    reply
    • Thanks Chris, we try to share our learnings in a way that we’d understand. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  • Slim Lundeen

    What a great explanation. I could use your video to teach anyone about inverters. One suggestion though; you should have a direct link to an explanation as good as this one on charging your batteries; solar and genset. You two are way to much fun to watch. Thanks so much for taking the time.

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  • Jonathan Arbel

    Hi,
    I have 2 questions. I bought a 3000w inverter and it’s very loud, even on a light load. The fan pulses on and off every few minutes. Can you recommend a quite inverter ?

    Also can an inverter be installed in line to give you power from the same 110v electrical outlets in an RV and use the battery banks when you are not plugged in automatically. Thanks

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  • Antony Veto

    I’m wanting to set up a solar inverter system .. I only need around 600watts.. Can you tell me what would the best brands to go with and what is all the equipment I’ll need to run one .. The system will be used everyday , I’ll be running 2 6inch fans continuously throughout the day … So I know I need a solar panel, a inverter, a battery … What size of all them will I need and what is a great brand … Only wanting to spend around $200

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  • Paul Larsen

    I have been following this and doing a bit of my own research. I have worked in the electrical industry for almost 40 years , so I think I know a few things. First, what are you planning to power with the inverter? If its electronics . I would recommend a pure sine wave inverter. a good simple rule is a factor of 10 . ie if the device takes 5 amps at 120vac then it will be 50 Amps at the 12 volt side. This is not factoring in the inverter losses. Also get an inverter that can be switched off when not in use , and be careful with loading on it . The inverter should be located as close to the battery as possible and connected with suitable heavy wiring #1 to #4 wire or basically same size as the cable going from the battery to your vehicle starter. I am presently installing a 1000 Watt PSW inverter in my trailer , Battery is 2 heavy duty 6 volt ones in series. I do not reccomend 12 volt batteries in parallel, but that is a story for another day. Hope this helps a bit.

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  • John

    All your thoughts are considered and appreciated. I do have a few thoughts about a pure sign wave inverter that I have been struggling with since we purchased our 2015 RV new at a dealer. What size battery and how many do most of you use to support sufficient inverter operation during times of no Electric or generator use? Our big 44 foot RV came with a 1000 watt pure sign wave inverter and one group 24 deep cycle battery.
    Main use is for the refrigerator only. I know this battery was not big enough up on the purchase but the dealer wouldn’t hear that. After field testing it proved to be too small, so I purchased a group 29 deep cycle battery which is better, but my thoughts are the unit really needs two hooked in parallel for extended inverter use. Although the battery box is not large enough.
    Comments please, Thanks.

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  • Sue

    Can we use an inverter to run a small frig in a small mh? Like to camp where no electric.

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  • Marg McGill

    In your video on the portable solar panel kit you don’t show how it connects to your RV or is that a stupid question ? Does it connect to your power in cord that you normally plug in when you get to a site? Am I missing something? What about the inverter if my RV is a park model? I am really trying to figure this out as I would like the solar for my hydro needs if possible. Just me most of the time but still need to save money .any literature that may help me let me know. Live your videos. New to RVing but live it. My RV is stationary.

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  • Bill

    This may be a dumb question but on that huge motorhome it must have a large generator why would you even care about using an inverter why wouldn’t you just fire up the generator to power your stuff ?

    Now my real question I am looking at a motorhome that doesn’t have a generator so the inverter is a little more necessary for power. Now can I just have it wired into the electrical system and when the batteries get low just power up the motorhome engine to charge the coach batteries sort of use the motorhome engine like a generator ? or will this end up killing the engine alternator, set the batteries on fire or worse ?

    Thanks
    Bill

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    • There are lots of reasons to avoid using the generator but our short list is: they are loud and create fumes so they are not pleasant to run. Plus, certain areas have generator restrictions.

      The alternator isn’t strong enough to charge the batteries efficiently. You would want to add a couple of solar panels and or a small generator.

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  • Wolf Alaska

    Hi Nikki, I think Jason did this topic, but you seem to handling the more recent replies.
    My comment is: a good guideline for MSW vs PSW inverter usage is to consider the device to power with an inverter. Anything that uses electricity to heat can be more economically powered by MSW inverters. Devices that use electric current electronically need the PSW. If you still have the 1500 watt MSW inverter from the Monaco, you could use it for resistance loads such as running an RV refer on electricity, an electric heater, an incandescence light bulb, or a hair dryer. Everything is better on PSW inverter power, but it is more expensive power. With a breaker box pulling power from both a MSW and a PSW inverter, electricity can be routed to selected receptacles or hard wired to selected appliances. You and Jason are very technically savvy, so you could handle the use of side by side receptacles, each labeled as to whether it has MSW or PSW power.

    I have a Trace MSW 4000 watt inverter that homes utility power to all connections when on shore power or genset power. When powered by those sources, it also functions as a battery charger with 200 amps capability. This inverter cost less than $1200. I’ve just installed a new Sammi 600 watt PSW inverter for selected circuits that need the PSW power. Sadly, it does not have the capability to provide genset or shore power to its connections, so I must provide additional receptacles side by side with existing receptacles and then move power cords to the inverter receptacles when on inverter power. All of the regular receptacles have MSW power whenever the genset shuts off or shore power gets disconnected. Of course, all of the RV lights are 12VDC lamps which run right off the batteries.
    BTW, my practice is to use genset power to top off the battery bank twice a day and that becomes the opportunity to use the microwave oven and other appliances that need PSW power, but can’t be powered by the 600 watt PSW inverter.
    Enjoy your Alaska adventure ! Yea, fuel prices are down !
    Let’s Roll !
    Wolf

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  • Doug Mecimore

    Hello. We have a 1200W inverter on our RV but it won’t power the microwave. Any idea if this is expected? Do we need to upgrade our inverter? Also, if you are attending Burning Man this year, please come see us at Camp Pickleback at H & 7:45 – would love to meet you. Cheers!

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    • Super hard to try and help with this kind of stuff without being in your coach but could be 1 of 2 things most likely: 1) That outlet is not wired to run off the inverter but you can have it wired to do so. 2) You have a modified sine inverter (not a pure sine which is best for appliances like microwaves) and your microwave doesn’t like the broken power of the modified sine and you would want to upgrade your inverter.

      Sadly, we are not going to make it to BM this year because we are still in Alaska. Maybe next year!

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  • Curtis Lester

    I lost complete power with out tripping a breaker out side or inside I know my batteries are dead do I just need new batteries or a inverter to?

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    • without knowing a whole lot more info we couldn’t say what the issue is. you will want to talk to a repair shop for proper diagnosis.

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  • How difficult is this to wire in, wire up or connect? This turns the power from your 12 volt battery into power you can now use to run other appliances, right? How quickly will this drain your 12volt RV battery? Should I think about adding a 2nd 12 volt battery to my Camping trailer or go solar before I purchase an inverter? We hardly ever go dry camping or boon docking, we most often go to a place that has electric hook ups, so would i be wasting my money buying an inverter for 500 bucks just to have on board in case?

    Thanks as always for your great work and sharing your fun and experiences with us all.

    Sincerely,

    Chuck Lundberg, Milford NH

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    • Chuck, if you don’t boondock or wild camp and have no desire to, then I don’t know that I would bother getting an inverter. We love being out in the wild so having a bigger battery bank, solar power and an inverter makes a lot of sense for us. We had our inverter installed at a service center but if you are handy with electrical systems, you could do it yourself. If you are seriously considering one, I would contact go power and speak with customer service to have them help you choose the best inverter for your needs and rv.

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  • JoAnn

    Hi I enjoyed your information. Do you have 12volt deep cell batteries and how many do you use?

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  • Kristi Case

    Nikki and Jason, thanks so much for all the great information your provide on your videos. We got so excited about the solar we are on the schedule at an installer to put ours in! Luckily we already have an inverter and our camper is prewired for solar but unfortunately only have space up top for one panel. I have a couple questions….We are getting a 160 watt panel/9.14 amp with 30 amp controller. We will be putting in 2 Lifeline GPL-4CT 6 volt deep cycle batteries. Right now we already have a 1000w inverter. Would it be possible to put a 1500w inverter on our system? I don’t know what the amp/watt need is for the size of the inverter or if it matters. Also, I saw in one of your videos that you have the portable solar that you just plugged in, how did you wire the quick connect for that? Sorry if this sounds like a mess, I am new to the whole electric thing but crazy excited about ditching the generator! 🙂 – Kristi

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  • Amanda

    Ok..I’m new to the RV thing…here’s my issue. My son moved into our 30′ travel trailer with my husband and I. Over the past year we have replaced the GFIs 2x….now surround sounds cracks and pops, PS4 quite..plugs stopped working, breaker won’t reset and now no lights or air conditioning. .HElp What do I need?

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  • Chris

    Hi guys! We’re adding a pure sine inverter this winter to our ’03 Fleetwood Flair 33R. It currently doesn’t have one, so it will be a fresh install (::gulp::). I know the GoPower! you chose is pretty much only an inverter. Do you think there’s an advantage to having a separate inverter, transfer switch, and charger, as apposed to one unit that does it all? My biggest concern is the complexity of hooking up multiple units as apposed to a single unit that does everything (and of course making sure our converter/charger shuts off when the inverter is active).
    Thanks for any insight, and hope we see you guys out there!
    Chris

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  • tom

    Just wondering why you paid $1,000 for a 3,000 watt inverter when you can get the same thing from Whisler (3,000watt) for
    $223. on amazon buth pure sine wave and 6,000 pax peek. I don’t see much difference between them, so just wondering why you spent an extra $800. for one.

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  • Azad Tarikian

    Hi Guys!

    Questions:

    1) Who installed the inverter for you? Our Bounder have a Intellitec electronic power management system and we would like to install the inverter integrated with the management system but are quite confused after inquire with 3 RV dealers and all 3 giving us different answers.

    2) After installed ANY outlet will work with the inverter? I think this is possible just depending ou the connection at the breakers. Of course not using everything at same time…

    3) Did you removed your old inverter?

    4) Switching from the shore power X generator X inverter is all automatic?

    Thx

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    • I hate to say this but…you are officially confused on how this all works and oh my, I know how you feel. It’s hard to wrap your head around all of it and everyone you talk to at a dealership gives you a different answer. Here are the short answers to your questions.

      #1 – We had a random dealer install for us and they are all different. It’s a roll of the dice as to whether you will get someone who knows what they are doing or not.

      #2 – you can have them wire more outlets to work off of the inverter but they do have to be wired for it. It’s not automatic.

      #3 – Yes

      #4 – It’s automatic.

      If you are considering replacing your inverter, you should check out the magnum we have listed in our store. It’s a good one and may be an easier swap for the one you currently have.

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  • This is a great post about the pure sine and modified sine inverter. More importantly, it is explained in a simple language so that people can understand it. Thank you for sharing.

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  • Joe

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for all your great info and knowledge.. My wife and I have decided to become full timers in about 2 years when I quit/retire from my present job. Been looking at RV’s and also hungry for any and all info which is where your blog comes in. I’m learning so much and I want to make sure we have All the knowledge available when we pull the trigger and are heading out on the open road. Thanks again..

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  • Doug S.

    I know I saw in your great videos, which my wife loved as well, a smart charger & pure sine wave inverter. What brands did you choose? In your research, did you discover a big difference (performance wise) between the different brands?

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  • gary lucas

    Another way to do it is to purchase a small true sine wave inverter for electronics (300w ish) and then a much bigger ‘house inverter’.

    The idea here is that you don’t always need house power, you can run your small inverter to charge your sensitive stuff and then use the big inverter for the rest of the coach when you need it.

    You’ll spend allot less and it’s better to use the smaller inverter due to efficiency issues.

    all inverters suffer power loss, 85-90% efficient… 10-15% of 300w is much less than 10-15% of 3000w…

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  • Raymond

    Hi Jason, I am new to your site, thank you for your insight and experience. I’m not clear about one issue. If buying the Pure Wave Sine 3000 inverter. When replacing an old inverter do you have to rewire the new inverter or is it just a matter of plugging in? We’re looking to purchase an older model 1995 Sahara Serengeti motorhome. And my thoughts were we would need to find one that work for that particular motorhome.
    Thanks,
    Raymond

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  • hi Wynnbers ( thats Wynn every so often neighbors) Mica here, your parents neighbor, glad to see you are back, as always, i truly enjoy watching your videos clips, very fun and informative. hope to see you sometimes…

    mica win,
    on millwood dr farmers branch

    reply
  • Richard R.

    Jason & Nikki,

    I’ve been enjoying reading about your life on the road, and your adventures–you’re both quite an inspiration (and your videos are such fun to watch!) I hope to be able to move my life on the road in the next year.

    I hope you don’t mind a question regarding your Go Power 3000 Pure Sine Wave Inverter, and its installation.

    I bought a used GPSW-SK3000-112 Go Power inverter, and nothing seems be working (no lights on the front, cooling fans don’t run.) Does this inverter need to be connected to any of the DC fuse kits to make it operate? (Can it work just connected to a deep cycle battery?) I have it wired up to a Lifeline 27T, 100ah deep cycle battery, using 2ft lengths of 4ga. power cables–the unit doesn’t appear to power up.

    I’ve contacted the manufacturer, but they state that they don’t provide (or do) any repair work (at all) and there are no serviceable parts in the inverter. I know this is probably beyond your expertise, but any help you can provide will be greatly appreciate.

    Thank you.

    Richard R.
    Portland, OR.

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      • Richard R

        Jason,

        Thank you for following up with your contact–I was afraid that would be the response. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to buy used (read: unknown condition.)

        I have tried to contact the seller, to no avail; clearly, he knew or suspected it was faulty.

        I guess I’ll soon be the proud owner of a new 3000w pure sine wave inverter.

        🙂

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  • Hi Jason,
    Thanks for the informative, creative, and fun videos. When you added the solar and inverter system to your RV, was it necessary to have the electrical wiring to outlets and appliances re-wired or re-terminated on a new service panel that then connected to the new inverter?

    You brought up the point that most RV manufacturers install inverter systems for minimal or light recreational use. In our 30′ travel-trailer, the 12VDC battery and inverter operate the slide, lights, and radio/TV however I don’t believe the larger appliances, furnace, or 110V outlets are wired to draw from the inverter.

    Thanks!

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  • Hi Jason & Nikki

    Love the feature you’ve done on power inverters, at last someone else is preaching the message about pure sine wave!

    I wrote a couple of posts on my caravanning blog (travel trailer blog to you guys!) in the UK about inverters…. a little bit techie, but hopefully easy enough to follow for anyone that wants to know why pure sine wave over modified sine wave….. http://caravanchronicles.com/guides/understanding-inverters/ and the second part was a ‘buyers guide’….. http://caravanchronicles.com/guides/understanding-inverters-pt-2-buying-guide/

    Something you might want to cover as you guys use banks of 12 volt batteries is the correct way to connect then in parallel…. there is a right way and a wrong way! This is something else I have been preaching on how to get the best out of your batteries and maintain them efficiently…. http://caravanchronicles.com/guides/how-to-connect-two-batteries-in-parallel/

    For those RV’ers or Travel trailer guys that want to know a bit more about how to work out volts amps and watts… I also put this together…. http://caravanchronicles.com/guides/understanding-watts-amps-volts-and-ohms/ it somtimes is easier for me to point people back to this when they ask questions related to electrical equipment. Feel free to remove the links if you don’t want them on your website.

    Love the blog and videos,

    Enjoy life and stay safe

    Simon

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  • Tim G.

    Your article ..

    Best Inverter for an RV – Pure vs Modified and Watts | Gone With The Wynns

    is a good start, but contains significant technical errors or omissions.

    It did not cover a common type: “whole house” inverter/charger with automatic transfer of “shore power” AC to your RV sockets when you are plugged in. That type would have prevented this problem:

    Our old inverter was 1500 watts, and for the most part it provided enough power, but there was one thing that really eeerked me: it had a 15 amp built in fuse that would trip every time we would run the microwave and any other device at the same time.

    With a transfer switch, your RV AC circuits are connected directly to the AC line and are not running off the inverter, so you are not limited to what the inverter can supply. And, when you are not plugged in, the inverter AC goes to every socket in the RV, just like when it’s connected to shore power, including all the GFCI sockets. You do not lose protection when running on inverter power.

    Pure sine wave inverters are not “more efficient”. There is another explanation for what you observed:

    Pure sine is more efficient. The best example is with boiling 1 cup of water in a microwave: on a pure sine it takes 1 minute, on a modified sine it takes 2. Using less energy means you can use more devices, or save money by installing less solar or batteries.

    If you used a 3000 sine unit to compare with a 1500 modified sine unit, the longer boiling time is caused by the 1500 watt unit not delivering enough power to the microwave for it to run at it’s rated output. The energy drawn from the battery will be the same – it draws less power for a longer time. Microwaves, battery chargers, and some other equipment draw high currents at the peak of the sine wave (pure or modified), while inverter ratings are based on resistive loads, which draw power smoothly over the entire cycle. This means a 1000 watt microwave might still overload 1500 watt inverter and heat slowly because of that.

    I did not find your reason for preferring a charger separate from the inverter; frankly, I prefer the integration of the inverter and charger, as it gives me more control over power system, and is easier to install.

    reply
    • If you delve a bit deeper into Alternating Current theory you find out there are three voltages associated with a pure sine wave – Average, RMS and Peak.

      If you put a multimeter across the contacts of you domestic outlet or RV outlet, you will get a reading of 110 volts RMS. For a true sine wave the peak voltage is actually about 1.4 times the RMS voltage. So for a 110 volt outlet the peak voltage is 1.4 x 110 = 154 volts. (you can work back and use 0.707 x Peak voltage to find the RMS voltage).

      Modified sine wave inverters don’t actually produce a peak voltage as such they just replicate the RMS voltage which causes a few problems for some equipment.

      A lot of equipment, especially multi-voltage power supplies (like laptop chargers) actually need to know the peak voltage in order to work properly.

      Anything with a transformer wont work as efficiently either. Voltage transformers rely on having a smooth hysteresis loop – basically as the voltage reverses each cycle, the magnetic field collapses and reverses smoothly and efficiently.

      With a modified sine wave this doesn’t happen so well as the hysteresis loop is distorted and the electrical current reverses faster than the magnetic field collapses.

      So Jason you are right, when used on a modified sine wave quite simply your microwave won’t work as efficiently as it should.

      Sorry to get a bit ‘techie’ but there is a whole lot more going on with the electrical system in your RV.

      Even though they cost a few bucks more, I’d always recommend a good quality pure sine wave inverter such as the “Go Power” units that you have.

      Enjoy life and stay safe.
      Simon
      PS.. this is a simple explanation of measuring Alternating Current: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/electronics-measurements-how-to-measure-alternatin.html

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  • I shared your inverter video with my parents. We’re in our 40s and are full-timers, We’ve mentioned your experienced a few times and wanted to show them how much fun you’re having. It’s fun watching you!

    reply
    • Thanks Greg, as you know, it is fun! Where are you guys this winter?

      reply
  • Ken

    Jason: How ’bout a video explaining all of the options for batteries (6v vs. 12v, AGM vs. wet cell vs. Gel, etc…)? You can dumb it down for me! Thanks for everything! \ken

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    • Ken

      PS. I bought the GoPower 3000!

      reply
      • Kay

        Hi Jason! Love watching you guys and the information is so helpful. We are looking to go RVing and be “green” with solar so your website is my “bible!” I haven’t come across a video about batteries. Were you still going to make one? Any info you could share would be wonderful. Having difficulty deciding between wet batteries and uh, non-wet batteries (not clear on the lingo yet) and 6volt or 12volt….I’m stuck! LOL Thank you!

        reply
  • thanks for the info – helps guide my purchasing decision

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  • Bruce

    I like anything that uses the phrase “sine wave.”
    I also will allow cosine wave, or tangent wave, however.

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  • I recently got a 410 watt inverter from walmart for $39.97. I needed it to run my 40″ LED TV, PS4(slim) and my Clear 4g Internet/Router.

    I have about 80 usable amp hours (2 12v 80Ah batteries) and can run my system for over 5 hours before depleting my batteries to about 50%.

    I am under the impression that both my tv and ps4 will “clean up” the power from my un-pure inverter. This is the same for my laptops from what everyone tells me.

    So far I have not had any problems with my electronics, but I am curious about any long term effects using a modified sine wave inverter might have on my electronics.

    reply
  • Stewart Biggan

    Your research is very helpful, saves me lots of time.
    I plan to get a portable solar system soon for our new RV trailer.
    Thank you for your help.

    reply
  • Karla

    love your blog- keeping rving young

    reply
  • Skye Erickson

    Great Info!! Thanks for all the leg work. . .

    reply
  • I want to win! It’s like getting a piece of the “Wynns” RVing days! 🙂

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  • Steve Fox

    My cutrent inverter is always behaving badly. It barely gets us by. So i would like to replace it with one that gives us peace of mind. What cost is your 3000 watt?

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  • Wow, pretty interesting video. My wife and I are going to be full timing soon, and I run my design and marketing company remotely, so it’s really important to have power continuously. This is really great insight. Thanks!! 🙂

    reply
  • Ching

    Great video and explanation of science that would otherwise put me to sleep! Thanks for all the useful information.

    reply
  • Heather

    Very interesting! I learn something new in every blog post. Thank you

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  • Interesting… never thought of it until reading this post, but I suppose this is why my MacBook Air battery was bad after only a year of owning it. Never even knew that there was a difference… now I’m thinking I need to modify my sine! heh.

    Thanks guys!

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  • Gary

    Like you, our otherwise fancy RV came with a 2500 watt MSW inverter. We’ve burned up coffee pots, clock-timers, and some remote control devices! Ours has a 30A breaker in it, but we still manage to trip it once in awhile, since just about all of the house outlets (+ microwave) are channeled through that one breaker. So now we are shopping for a 2500-3000 watt pre sine inverter. However, it complicated by the fact that changing the inverter also means changing out our remote control battery monitor panel and the Auto Generator Start panel, both of which are tied to our old brand and model of inverter. OUCH!

    reply
  • sans

    very informative. looking for solutions so we can be as sustainable as possible while were out and about with the rv

    reply
  • Sally

    I thought I did this already…but I don’t see my comment…I am eagerly awaiting your news!!!…hope I win…and hope you don’t stop blogging!!

    reply
  • Lee

    Great info. Thanks.

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  • Love the info… and the site!
    My wife and I are 2.5 weeks into our full-timing adventure, and I love coming across sites/info like this.
    Thanks!

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  • Ken

    Been looking at these. Lots of info in the forums … over my head often. Thanks for boiling it down for me! \ken

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  • Jeff

    Thanks for the non-technical explanation! This is great information.

    reply
  • Hmmmm…..we just replaced our inverter but maybe we should have researched it a little more.

    reply
  • Connor

    Just found you guys a few hours ago (I know this sounds a bit creepy) and I can’t stop watching! Great vids!

    reply
  • Keith Buchanan

    I had no idea and wondered if using the inverters you put in your power plug to run your computer is going to damage it.

    Keith

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  • icurnet

    A really nice and easy to understand coverage on inverters. I especially liked the efficiency example.

    reply
  • Dillon

    What would we do with out an inverter?

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  • Adam

    Thanks for the info-very informative.

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  • Jen

    Thanks for the inverter info. We’ll be looking for an inverter to go with our awesome Go Power solar panel.

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  • Matthew

    Since I have been following the RV scene, I have really learned a lot from Ya’ ll. You explain everything in simple format, which I greatly need, LOL. Keep up the great videos, I sure could use that 1500 watt inverter. Big Smile 🙂

    reply
  • Matthew

    You guys are awsome! I love you you took this comlicated thing and made it simple to understand. My wife dosent understand electronics very well but as soon as she see’s this I think she will understand what it is I have been talking about for the last month with our power consumption and inverter issues. Thanks for all your hard work in simplifying this hard topic and I can wait to see what you bring to the table on batterys.

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  • Bill

    I have a small inexpensive MSW inverter to power the tv and satellite receiver for a little while after quiet hours for the generator, BUT I have never used it out of fear. I have a small 12v battery that I can sit in the floor of the travel trailer to power it. I DID use it on a camping trip last week. I sat it in the bathroom and plugged a nightlight into it. Worked great, haaaaa. I am going to spring for the PSW , or hopefully win yours, so I can use the TV and not worry .
    Safe travels to you and thanks for the info.

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  • Brian

    Love the great video and the kindergarten drawing. This is usually a confusing subject for most folks so I enjoyed your clear and simple explanation. Great info!

    reply
  • Gary Schneider

    Jason, I really enjoyed your video on the inverters and I understand the system now. Your story and your editing made it so easy to understand. My question is did you use the 24–105 lens to do the entire shoot? Or did you use a combination of lenses to do the project. Thanks.

    Gary

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  • Sheila King

    Thanks for clearing up the many ?????? About inverters.
    Sheila

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  • Karyn

    Thank you for this! I was so confused!!! Now I’m much happier.

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  • Wayne

    Thanks of the graphic display on the differences between pure sine wave and modified sine wave. With your graphic I can easy see what those are. Now it makes perfect sense.

    reply
  • Eileen

    Good information presented in an entertaining way. Thanks! And where is that lovely location where the video was shot?

    reply
    • This is Mono Lake! It’s fantastic Wild Camping!

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  • Jackie

    Great information

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  • DEbbie

    enjoy following your adventures…trying to win the inverter for my hubby and his solar endevors.

    reply
  • J. Francis Triplett

    Please excuse this question, but I am completely in the dark. I don’t get it? Can you not just run your TV/DVD, charge your batteries and etc. from DC outlet? Will the microwave, TV, and other appliance’s not run from the coach generator?

    reply
  • Ben Mathew

    I enjoyed the video and would definitely enjoy the inverter!

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  • Chris

    This is great information! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Jeff

    You truly are living the dream.Thanks for the inspiration !

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  • You guys do it different. You boondock, but are addicted to 120v gadgets. We do fine with solar to power mostly 12v devices and propane for cooking and heating. I think long and hard before getting something that will require an inverter. It’s life style choice I suppose.

    reply
      • Doug

        Do they even make 32″ TVs that run on 12VDC? How about 12VDC microwave ovens? Some things just require an inverter.

        reply
          • Doug

            I suppose I could use a solar oven—but a microwave cooks food a lot faster (especially at night!) and is a lot more convenient.

  • Jennifer

    Great info, as always. I have been following you since I saw you at the Early Bird RV Show in Abbotsford BC.

    reply
  • alex

    sorry we missed you at the show in abbotsford this fall

    reply
  • nguyentran

    is this real win ? good luck

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  • Doug

    The problem is, large pure sine wave inverters are mega-expensive. My solution? Two inverters. An modified sine that only powers the microwave and central vac. For everything else, I use a 300W pure sine inverter. Both cost about $150 each.

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  • Shiela Van Drei

    Very nice article!

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  • John Chalupowski

    I am still working, but I enjoy RVing and exploring new locations as much as I can. I am currently finding new ways to live off the grid (dry camping). Your videos are inspiring! Keep up the good work!

    John C.

    PS: Love the cat!!!!

    reply
  • You guys rock! You’ve got mad skills with the camera, and now you’re giving stuff away. Neat 🙂
    -Chad

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  • Mark

    Great info, Love your blog,We are hopping to be on the road next fall.

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  • Denise

    You have completely inverted our thinking about inverters! When we travel, we need to bring medical equipment for one of our daughters. It is so nice to understand why it is possible to interrupt this flow of electricity because of the overload, or the devices used! Who’d a thunk?! We will be able to shop more wisely because of you taking the time to share what you learned with us! You are a great traveling resource and we thank you deeply for all the tidbits of information along the way! Big Hugs!

    reply
  • MarkB

    Very informative and helpful!

    Thank You,

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  • Ian Brown

    I’d love to win a good inverter. I have a tiny piece of junk modsine I use on my truck trips and my Skywarn emergency events, but really need a lot more stability, and I’m worried about all my business and electronic goodies that I know really shouldn’t be on modsine. I can’t really afford something good right now.

    Also, speaking as a trained electrician, the post and vid were really nice for the layman. You did a fantastic job of keeping it simple for the inexperienced. You have the hearts of teachers, and I can pay no higher complement.

    reply
  • Colleen Donnelly

    Thanks for the opportunity to win this inverter I’ve been eye balling for quite some time!

    reply
  • Always great and informative videos!

    reply
  • Shirlene

    Great Info

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  • Tom

    Hey guys,
    I discovered you when you did that TV spot on the real estate show where you chose Windy. After seeing you on the Global TV Morning News in Vancouver BC I had to look you up and read your blog from the beginning ( Im kind of OCD that way). I’ve really enjoyed the experience and really feel like I’m getting to know you which is weird because we’ve never met and this is my first time posting ( shows the power of free stuff!). Thanks for a window into your lives, it’s really enjoyable to see you pursuing a mobile life style and being open to different ways of thinking about situations. Oh, and winning a free pure sign inverter would be sweet too 🙂

    reply
    • Well Tom so glad to see you’ve come out of the shadows! I can’t believe you went all the back to the beginning. It’s had for us to go back a read some of our very first postings and those first few videos were kind of terrible. But we all have to start learning one way or another. When you leave comments or share your stories, that’s how we get to know you! Hope to see more of you and glad you are enjoying the journey!

      reply
  • Bryan Carbonnell

    Great info. Thanks!

    reply
  • Dave McKie

    I also love your photogaphy. Excellent Site

    reply
  • Crystal

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for an informative and entertaining video! I really appreciate it!

    Crystal

    reply
  • steph

    I really appreciate your posts and info!

    reply
  • STeve Keithley

    Perfect timing for this informative video. Quartzsite is fast approaching. I hope this vendor is there.

    reply
  • Aaron

    Excellent advice. Thank you!!

    reply
  • Mike Morrison

    Love your site. Lots of good info. You got me into solar, now an inverter to go with it ……

    reply
  • Savannah

    Great info! love your videos! 🙂

    reply
  • Brian

    Love the youtube channel guys hope ya keep it up! 🙂

    reply
  • Richard & Karen

    You two are awesome!! Been following you from the start and always find your blog entertaining and informative. Info on the inverters are very helpfull.Thanks.
    And keep up the good work.

    reply
  • Todd Britton

    This has inspired me to dig deeper to understand more about the difference between curves (pure) and squares (modified).

    I see you’re in/around Arches…one of my favorite national parks…enjoy!!!

    reply
  • Phil

    This was a very helpful video. I did not know there were two different types of inverters before. Thanks for keeping the presentation relatively simple.

    reply
  • Grant

    Thanks for the contest and for the great website.

    reply
  • Rich Groh

    Absolutely love your YouTube videos. Recently installed 400 W worth of solar panels and am currently looking for a pure sine wave inverter this would be fantastic win for me. Keep up the great informational videos.
    Rich

    reply
  • Scotty McBee

    Just bought a 93 motorhome and I need one of these bad. Thanks.

    reply
  • Steve

    Great info thanks.

    reply
  • Kathy

    This is the information I needed for our boat. Thanks!

    reply
  • Shawn

    Thank you so much for simplifying the differences between pure and modified sine inverters. My husband and I are planning to start our RV experience this coming spring. I can’t wait.

    reply
  • Tammy

    Thanks for the great info! We’re going to look into solar for our big ol’ toyhauler 5th wheel!

    reply
  • sally

    Thanx for the info!

    reply
  • GEORGE HILL

    love your adventures

    reply
  • Grant Tanner

    Super great info. If you’re new to small living, like me, all this AC/DC stuff can be confusing; this helps!

    reply
  • Katie

    Very useful info on the behind the scenes mechanisms that makes a home run!

    reply
  • Paul

    Your simple yet informational explanation of inverters was Awesome.
    Thank you!

    reply
  • Allen Puckett

    The one thing one needs to be aware of is battery run time at different watts. I think the 1500w is a great midrange wattage that won’t drain the battery so quick. Can you do a video on this next?

    reply
    • Batteries are our next big video and post…so yep, you got it!

      reply
  • Jim

    Great explanation of the different sine waves

    reply
  • Thanks for the information Wynns!

    reply
  • torrie k

    Love the blog

    reply
  • Matthew K

    Extremely well done!

    reply
  • Jill Fyffe

    Sounds like you have done the research for us, thx . . .hubby and techie son will review it all anyway 😉

    reply
  • Brian

    Thanks for the info. I really enjoy seeing your solar and pwr posts. I have a travel trailer with 90 watt solar panel and 30 amp charge control. Use a 400 watt inverter but never really understood the types of inverters. I’m considering adding more batteries and 1500 watt inverter. Perfect timing to see your post. Thanks.

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  • Jerry Rounds

    Great idea and interesting inverter information.

    reply
  • Debbie Broadstreet

    This is exactly the information we are looking for. You have taken the mystery out of the RV electrical system. Now we know what we need. Thanks! You guys rock!

    reply
  • Ken

    I like the video, very well done.

    reply
  • Thanks for thinking of your fans by offering this give-away!

    reply
  • Thanks for the great info and video. You both are so talented! We just had the M3 service done on our 02 diesel; just bought new Michelin’s; I think this is next on our list for our Baby!! I look forward to your emails!!!! Thanks for all you do for us!

    reply
  • Victoria

    Thank you for the give away and useful information!

    reply
  • Leann

    Awesome contest!!

    reply
  • Matt

    Great video!

    reply
  • Love the videos. You guys are so stinking cute together! We are learning so much as we prepare for our big adventure.

    Trina

    reply
  • Good to know whats, what, had an inverter on a sailboat, but didn’t use it enought for anything to break I guess

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  • Hey guys, good post on an important topic.

    A few quick corrections though — many modified sine wave inverters include GFCI outlets, and some pure sine wave inverters do not. This isn’t related to the inverter type at all.

    As you mentioned – for some use cases, a pure sine inverter is more energy efficient, like boiling water in a microwave. But in general over average loads, the modified sine wave inverters that I have seen (and read the specs on) tend to be slightly more energy efficient overall at converting DC to AC power.

    The advantages of going pure sine though are many – one that upsets a lot of people is that a MSW inverter can cause some electronics to buzz annoyingly. We had a Dell monitor that used to buzz even when it was turned off when plugged into a MSW inverter. We’d have to literally unplug the monitor (or shut down the inverter) to sleep.

    Speaking of sleeping – a lot of us leave our inverters on 24/7 to keep our outlets always powered. Some inverters are too noisy for this, and others waste a lot of power when on and mostly idle. Have you taken any sound or sleep current measurements on the Go Power inverters you have tried? I haven’t seen one of them in person.

    There are a lot of awesome features and capabilities that more advanced inverters enable, we wrote about some of our experiences here:

    http://www.technomadia.com/2012/04/boosted-electrons-better-views/

    It is hard to imagine not having a boosting inverter anymore once you get used to what it enables.

    The most advanced inverters for RV’ers on the market that I know of are from Victron, Magnum Energy, and MasterVolt.

    Outback Power makes very rugged systems, and Xantrex is the next step down.

    I am really curious to hear your reasons for wanting a separate battery charger, and not using one built into an inverter. Most separate battery chargers are small – 600W, or even less. The charger built into our Victron however can charge our batteries at 120A, 3x – 4x faster than most standalone chargers. And you don’t need another set of heavy gauge wires too by using a combined unit.

    Anyway – hopefully we will manage to at last cross paths in person and we can geek about this stuff.

    Fun!

    – Chris // http://www.technomadia.com

    reply
  • Jack & Val

    Ahhh, the power to “invert” but… how many batteries can one link together to provide that power ?

    reply
    • This post was strictly about inverters as batteries a whole other large subject. But don’t worry, that’s our next big post!

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  • Jean

    Thanks for all the useful info we’re never to old to learn something new….

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  • David

    Perfect timing! Shopping for solar now. Pure sine wav is the ONLY way to go.

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  • Mike

    Great videos and love the enthusiasm. When are you coming back through the SF Bay Area?

    reply
  • Dave Hoagland

    I am in the market for an inverter so this is very timely, thanks.

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  • Bob

    Great info your blog always has great ideas.Thanks so much Bob in Md

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  • Stella MacDonald

    Who doesn’t like free stuff ? Thanks for all the great info.

    reply
  • Loretta

    This sounds like something that we really need. Love your videos and I always learn something,

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  • Jacquie Mason

    We just upgraded from a 23′ international Airstream to a 25′ international Airstream and will be in the market for a solar system and now perhaps a new inverter. Although our new trailer came with a 600 watt inverter we really have no idea what we have or need. So reading about your research is not only enjoyable but very valuable. Keep it up and when we are ready to add to our Airstream I will be re reading your gathered info first.

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  • Hector Campos

    Very Good & Entertaining Explanation for those of us not in the Power Industry. I’ve used a small one in my camping (tent) Old School variety in the past. But with all of the devices (electronic) that we have now its pretty important when you start shopping for these to have a good understanding of what you need. Thanks Wandering Wynns!

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  • Jackie

    awesome information on the size inverter needed, so glad you posted.

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  • Great info. I’m just having a hard time finding a pure sinewave inverter that can power my 1.21 gigawatt flux capacitor. Once I find one, I’ll be all set!

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  • Marie

    Very informative as well as entertaining! Thanks for breaking it down so that us non-geeks can understand it.

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  • Teeka

    Thanks for the great video!

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  • We haven’t added an inverter just yet, but thanks for the great informational video. We have two 95 watt panels and four 12 volt AGM house batteries. We don’t use the 120 volt appliances that you do. On occasion we will use the generator to power the microwave since we need to run it two hours a month anyway to keep it in good shape. We have a 12 volt charge cords for our laptop, Kindle and phones, a 12 volt Jensen LCD TV and a 12 volt crock pot. (Load the crock pot in the morning on a travel day and you will have dinner ready at the end of the day!) We use our propane cooktop for cooking and heating water for coffee/tea and use the oven for baking or use our outside propane grill for cooking. We can buy a lot of propane for the $3000 it would cost for the 3000 watt inverter and installation just to run some 120 volt appliances that we don’t really use. We are glad that it is working for you and that you can use all of your gadgets that make you happy!

    reply
    • Frank, there are all different types of us campers out here and we all do it a little different. Thanks for sharing your fully loaded DC life! When we had our VW camper van we used all DC items as well, we even found an old school coffee percolator that was DC and loved it! Nowadays, I am spoiled and I sure do love my frothy cappuccinos, my induction plate (although my solar oven is my fave) and other kitchen gadgets. It’s all about finding what works best for you. Thanks again for sharing frank!

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  • Teresa Barnwell

    Thank you for this information that will help us solve the problem we’ve been having in our RV whenever we use our microwave. We really enjoy following the Wynns and have learned so much from them! They are the best!

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  • Don Thompson

    Best video ever, and great use of your combined talents.

    Glad to know some electronics go bad over time from the wrong inverter. I had thought that if the items worked, all was well. Thanks for straightening that out.

    Time for us to upgrade. We can’t even run the microwave on our current inverter.

    Don

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    • Don, our old inverter wouldn’t run our microwave either which can be so frustrating! Hope you get a new awesome inverter that makes life a little more fun and off the grid!

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  • Scott

    Thanks Jason for your explanation and video. I installed a pur sine wave inverter into our little travel trailer mostly to power a cpap machine off a bank of 6 volt batteys. I havn’t yet installed any solar and rely on the generator to recharge the batterys when we are boondocking. It works great though. I got it at Costco.com , it is a 2300 watt with 4600 peak/startup.

    One thing people need to rememeber is that you need BIG wire from batterys bank to inverter.

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  • Mike

    As always, excellent info and well told. Thanks for sharing the latest on your experiences!

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  • Meg Herweier

    Wow I finally get it. Your presentation was so simple and succint. Thanks so much for passing on your research. It saves us all alot of time and money.
    Cheers
    Meg

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  • Meg Herweier

    Wow that was the most simple succint explanation ever. Thanks so much, i think I’ve finally got it.
    Keep up the good work
    Cheers
    Meg

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  • Mark Beresford

    Excellent funny video…But don’t forget an inverter is only as good as your 12v battery and it won’t last long running power hungry devices via an inverter….

    reply
    • batteries are our next big video and post. Do you use any major power hungry devices in your little blue camper? We always make sure to run our power hungry devices during the day when we have lots of good sun pumping us right back up!

      reply
      • Mark Beresford

        Not really…To be honest most devices we use will run off 12v and those that don’t we only use when we have an EHU. We let the wind dry our hair..lol

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  • regina nokes

    Just bought the same crappy inverter that came with our camper that only lasted 2 years so I will need a new one again soon. Haha

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  • Thanks for this great info! You always present it in such an attainable way.

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  • Warreen Goodwi8n

    Perfect job explaining Pure and Modified. Most engineers would overcomplicate it.

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  • Dora Taylor

    Our inverter just went out on our RV!!
    Thanks for the information!

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  • Allen

    The video always helps, I love seeing you guys explain stuff.

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  • Godbee Smith

    My brother in law’s gas/elec refrigerator died and he replaced it with a house refer and installed a small sine inverter just to run it while going down the road. The house refer was way less expensive even
    with the in inverter and he found a same size refer that
    fit right in the hole the other came out and a more dependable refer to boot.

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  • John

    Also, for people with any medical equipment or warrantied electronics, the warnings and warranties almost always include the requirement for a pure sine inverter.

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  • ken

    Great information. Your site is not only entertaining, but imformative as well. We have been RV ing for years without even giving this a thought. Thank you !

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  • Thanks for the great information. We are only months away from full-timing it. We sold our dining table set this weekend!

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  • Russ G.

    Informative. Thanks… and you guys are the cutest couple 🙂

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  • Elijah Neal

    Great video, thanks!

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  • We are gearing up to go solar so this is perfect timing. We are also following in your shoes. We sold the house, most of our stuff, and bought a big truck. Hope we see you out there somewhere.

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  • Dave

    We just bought a Rialta with no inverter so one of these would be a great addition.

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  • Thanks for all the information you provide. We’ve only been full timing for about 3 months now but your site has been invaluable in learning about RV’s and the lifestyle. Love your stuff and you are an inspiration for me to find a mobile job and go further.

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  • Rick

    Thanks for this article. From what you have said, and from everything else on the subject I have researched, I don’t know why anyone would want anything BUT a pure sine wave inverter in their RV.

    This subject ties in very much with your other posts on solar power – as it’s all about RV electricity. Also – from your links I learned about Technomadia, where Chris and Cherie have also written some great articles about RV battery systems and inverters – to a nice level of detail.

    It’s great to get this kind of information from those of you who out in the real world actually using (testing?) products in your daily RV lifestyle, so when it comes time for us to take the plunge into these systems we are more informed about the best way to go.

    Thanks!

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  • Larry Beck

    Loved your blog and video on inverters! However, I think the output you show as a “modified sine wave” is really a “square wave” output whereas modified or stepped-sine is a sine wave (the smooth one you show) with steps in it, that’s why it’s called stepped-sine. I can understand why a square-wave output might harm some electronic devices and not run others, but I think a stepped-sine with small enough steps should be OK. Would it be possible for Go Power to provide you with some actual oscilloscope pictures of the wave their inverters produce? I think we will see that there are some small steps in it. It would be interesting to actually see what your original inverter produced, I bet it was much closer to a square-wave.

    Also, you never mentioned how long your batteries can provide current to power your inverter. Providing 3,000 watts AC at 90% efficiency will take 277 Amps at 12 VDC! I looked at the spec on my Trojan 6 Volt golf cart batteries (I run two in series) and they have a 225 Amp-Hour rating (22.5 Amps for 10 hours). I also don’t think they are designed to provide 277 Amps for more than a minute or two. I’m assuming that when your are pulling 3,000 watts out of your inverter that you are either running your generator or plugged into shore power, right?

    Thanks again for your great blogs!

    reply
      • Larry Beck

        Thanks for the reply, Jason. I watched your day-in-the-life video and it was very informative, especially with all the detailed numbers on the KWatt-Hr usage of the different devices and the total for the day. I liked the shots, too, of you monitoring your usage- that’s probably how you’ve been able to make this work instead of just winging it and hoping you don’t run out of power. Thanks, too, for getting the feedback from Go Power about the different sine waves. I think I will look into getting one of their PWM Solar Controllers, I bought an inexpensive (~$30) PWM controller off Amazon and it doesn’t really seem to pull much power from my 100 watt panel so I’m not sure I didn’t really waste $30!

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  • Diana

    Great info. We’ve been trying to go solar for awhile now. So much to learn!

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  • Rick

    Thanks for the info. now i know what one to get…

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  • Matt

    Thanks for the info. I enjoy your informative emails.

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  • Cassie Blake

    We love keeping up with you “kids”! We’ve been RVing for many years, but we are still learning good stuff from your site and videos! Thanks for the opportunity to win cool stuff!

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  • Leo Mosley

    Thanks for the info. In addition to the Inverter info, It was interesting to find out that your Inverter is hard wired to selected outlets. As you can probably guess, I don’t have one in my motorhome

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  • Mara Lisauskas

    Great timing! We were just looking to purchase a system!

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  • EIleen

    Thanks for sharing all the information

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  • I am so glad that you posted this! I lived in Costa Rica for two years and it was devastating on electronics. The electricity there was quite “dirty” with huge variations in power (surges/brown-outs). I had all most of my electronics on a UPS which actually burned out, most likely from protecting my computers. I’m not full-timing yet but because of my experience I was already wondering about dirty electricity being an issue. Now I know that it can be an issue and what to do about it. My electronics and pocketbook thank you!

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  • Steve

    Always great info, one of the few blogs I recommend to friends 🙂

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  • Very cool.. Lets see if maybe I can win this time 🙂

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  • Matthew Houghtelin

    Great information. I like how you broke it down and simplyfied the whole thing. My wife and three kids are starting our new life as full time RVers this weekend. We have been following your posts on FB and on your web page for a while now and have taken alot of your advice. In my opinion I think you guys have some of the best advice when you say “Dont take our word for it, try ir your self”. That has been some of the best advice I have seen.

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  • Steve

    I have the same situation, can’t run microwave and toaster without a trip outside. Will a 3000 watt pure sin wave have a higher fuse switch? Steve

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  • This would be a great replacement for our current inverter 🙂

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  • Constantly we watch your videos with a smile on our face. We dig the hell outa you two.

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  • Thanks for the easy to understand primer on the differences between pure and modified sine wave. Makes it easy for beginner!

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  • Must have been pre-mustache

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  • Rick

    Great information as I was already looking into a new invertor for the motorhome. I had a pure sine invertor in the thinking and this post confirmed my thoughts. I want to really thank you two for putting so much info out there.

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  • Just finished reading about inverters yesterday and then your post pinged in. Perfect timing. I have a small Goal Zero inverter in my portable solar kit I took to Africa for charging my digital cameras and computers. But am looking at Sp a diesel generator and a modified sine inverter that will clearly need to be upgraded for use with all my digital toys. BTW Great job on the video! You’ve developed a style all your own that simplifies the information no matter what it is.
    You make it look simple and are always so perky about everything! I loved the smooth vs. bumpy road bit !

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  • Ted

    Thanks for the info. I know very little about power

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  • Geoff Money

    Now I know why my laptop battery gave out after one year!!!

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  • THANK YOU for sharing this article. We are in the planning stages of our RV adventure which kicks off in 2014 and will DEFINITELY be taking plenty of electronic devices – we don’t want to damage them. Your article helped us understand we will be wanting a Pure Sine Inverter. We enjoyed your post on the Go Power Solar System too, so will be decking ourselves out with that before we take off. Hope to see you on the road!

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  • Great info and awesome video as usual Nikki and Jason! We are in total investigation phase for full timing in the next couple years (Stephanie is 80% on board at this point I think!). In the mean time we are enjoying our RV with lots of little trips but an inverter would make them that much easier!

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  • RVgeeks

    What a super informative primer on inverters! Great post and so awesome that you’re giving away something as useful (and valuable) as a pure sine wave inverter. We’ve had our 2,800 watt pure sine unit for the past 8 1/2 years on the road and would never go back to modified. It was so worth the investment for us.

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  • Thanks for doing all the hard work for us!

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  • You guys are so awesome AND informative!!!

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