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Old 06-30-2019, 12:47 AM   #1
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Model: Outlaw 29H
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THOR #12751
Outlaw 29H: Inverter Upgrade Project = Free Air Conditioning!!!

I have been doing several upgrades and modifications this season on my 2018 Outlaw 29H from the suspension… to adding solar… to contemplating upgrading the stock Inverter and changing the wiring to get more use out it when needed.

This weekend’s project was finally the Inverter…. and almost by accident I really struck gold with my final design!

First, I purchased the Xantrex Freedom XI 2000 Watt inverter. I wanted a little more power over the stock Xantrex Pro XM 1000 Watt inverter but I really wanted a true sine wave inverter so I could run the 5000 BTU air conditioner in the garage / master bedroom if we were boon docking and could not run the generator for some reason.

My initial plan was to install the Freedom XI in a cubby hole under the bathroom sink right next to where the WACO panel and most of the wiring is located. I was going to use the Freedom XI to power the GFCI circuits. My wife wants to be able to use the crock pot if we are driving long distances so dinner is ready when we get to our destination but that would require running the generator the whole time while driving. With the engine running all day and charging the batteries that would work just great. I also could plug the garage air conditioner into one of the GFCI outlets nearby so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone.

I also intended to keep the stock inverter powering the TV’s but also rewiring it to power the fridge off the Inverter if needed for some reason.

When I got the Freedom XI from Amazon yesterday the thing was much bigger than the stock inverter and it would not fit in the cubby hole as I had planned. Fortunately, I did not order the 17’ 2/0 AWG cables I planned to use to wire it directly to the house batteries…. those puppies are expensive!

So, I figured… no problem…. I’ll put the stock inverter in the cubby hole since it is smaller and keep it powering the TV’s and then make a minor wiring change to add the fridge. Then I’d put the Freedom XI where the stock Inverter was in the outside storage compartment.

I pulled the stock inverter out today and hooked up the Freedom XI quick and dirty just to make sure it worked ok before mounting it. I also checked the size of the stock Inverter and saw it would fit nicely in the cubby hole so I figured I was in business.

The Freedom XI powered up and seemed to be working as expected. For a good test, I ran an extension cord from the TV outlet in the garage / master bedroom to the air conditioning unit and fired it up. It ran with no issues and started cooling the garage nicely on this hot day.

I was really surprised because the sun was in and out and we were having sporadic storms but the solar was able to keep the house batteries charging while I was running the air conditioner. I had it on the low setting and the batteries (two stock Group 27’s) never dropped below 11.7 volts after running it for 15 minutes. I then cranked it up to the high setting and let run another 15 minutes. Again, the Inverter said the batteries were hanging between 11.6 – 11.8 volts.

I could not believe that I ran the garage air conditioning for about 35 - 40 minutes without the low battery alarm coming on. I only shut it off because I wanted to move onto finishing the installation.

Way to go solar!!!! I've never had free air conditioning before so this was very cool to see the Inverter and the solar working together!!!

During this whole testing process, I also learned some things about the Renogy Rover MPPT Charge Controller that I installed a few weeks ago. I installed two flexible 160 watt panels and I have never seen it generate much above 80 – 90 watts and a few amps of current on the sunniest of days. I didn’t think much of it because I have the panels attached flat to the roof with Eternabond tape so I knew I would not have them angled for best performance. But it was keeping the batteries charged and going through all the charging modes without having to keep the shore power plugged in at home.

While I was running the air off the Inverter I pulled up the Renogy Bluetooth app and to my surprise the panels were generating 180 - 200 watts with the load on the batteries and currents over 10 – 20 amps from the panels and the batteries as well. This was on a day when it was not clear. There was sun and clouds so I was really surprised to see how well the solar was performing…. and apparently the Rover MPPT Controller has a lot of built-in smarts to know when to call for more power from the panels (if it is available) and the batteries are under load.

This is when I had a great idea hit me!!!!!

Instead of having two Inverters, purchasing expensive 2/0 awg battery cables, re-wiring the fridge circuit and the GFCI circuits for the two Inverters…… why not treat the new Inverter like I do my portable generator when the power goes out at home? Why not wire the Inverter directly into the breaker panel and use it to supply power when and where I need it just the way I do with my generator at home when I lose power?

This would eliminate a lot of work plus some extra expense in cables, etc. and it also solved a complaint that I had with the stock Inverter.

The stock Inverter was in an outside compartment under our bed and we could hear it at night from time to time when the cooling fan would come on. It wasn't super loud but it was noticeable when things were quiet at night. I always keep the Inverter off when not using it but the fan runs anyway because Thor wired AC into the Inverter and used the built-in transfer switch in the Xantrex to power the TV’s with or without shore power.

I could see no real advantage of using the built-in transfer switch on the new Freedom XI. If I didn’t wire the AC circuit into the Inverter the way Thor did, the Inverter would not need to run the cooling fans when it was turned off and not using the batteries. That would be a win to keep things quieter when sleeping and on shore power.

So after all of that……. here is what I did to accomplish my new Inverter plan:

1. I removed the AC power going into the new Freedom XI Inverter.

2. I took the wires that Thor ran into the AC input side of the stock inverter and wired them to the TV circuit directly. That way the stock 15-amp breaker supplied power to the fridge and straight to the TV’s without going through the Inverter first.

3. I then took the AC output wires from the Inverter that were originally running to the TV’s and I ran them back to the WFCO breaker panel.

4. I had an open breaker space in the WFCO panel so I installed a new 15-Amp breaker that would be the power into the AC busbar when I am using the Inverter and not shore power or the generator. This new breaker is Off when on shore power or using the generator and it is only On when I want to use the Inverter power.


There are a critical sequence of steps that I must follow for everything to work properly and not damage anything. I was not too worried about this because I have to do something similar when the power goes out at home and I plug my generator into the subpanel in my garage to get power to parts of the house.

Here are the steps that I will now follow when wanting to use the Inverter:

a. After disconnecting shore or generator power, turn off all breakers in the WFCO panel.

b. Turn the Inverter on using its control panel.

c. Turn on the new 15-amp breaker that allows power to flow from the AC output of the Inverter to the WFCO busbar.

d. Turn on the breaker in the WFCO panel for the circuit that I want to supply power to from the Inverter:

i. If I want the fridge or TV’s to be powered, I turn on that 15-amp breaker
OR
ii. If I want the garage AC to be powered, I turn on that 15-amp breaker
OR
iii. If I want the microwave to be powered, I turn on that 15-amp breaker
OR
iv. If I want the general outlets to be powered so the wife can use the crock pot while we’re driving, I turn on that 15-amp breaker

e. Make sure the Converter breaker, 30-amp Main breaker and Main Air Conditioner breaker always remain Off when using the Inverter!!!

f. Make sure not to run too many things at one time!

Here are the steps that I will now follow when wanting to go from the Inverter back to shore / generator power:

a. Turn off the new 15-amp breaker to stop the AC output from the Inverter flowing to the WFCO busbar.

b. Turn the Inverter off using its control panel.

c. Turn on all of the stock breakers in the WFCO panel (except for the new 15-amp Inverter breaker!!!).

d. Plug in shore power / start generator.

I have to say that it does not get much better than this setup and I am extremely happy with the way it turned out after changing my plan in the middle of the project.

The Feedom XI 2000 was a little pricey at $566 but with some very minor wring changes and the addition of a $25 breaker, I can now use the Inverter on any 15-amp circuit when I need to and if there is some decent sun the solar will help keep the batteries charged if needed. I also saved about $200 in wiring and parts and a lot of crawling around under the rig to keep the stock controller when I determined that I really didn't need it with this type of setup and the better Freedom XI.

The control panel for the Freedom XI was the same footprint as the stock one so it swapped out perfectly as well and I didn't have to run a new communication cable for it. That was a secondary reason I chose this model too.

Now I have a used Xantrex Pro 1000 for sale if anyone is interested!

I may make one modification but I'm going to wait to see how it performs with more use. Thor cut a lot of corners with the stock Inverter. They did not run a negative cable back to the battery. They ran a short cable and grounded it to the chassis, which according to Xantrex you should not do. Thor also did not run heavy enough cable to the battery given the length of the run, which I would estimate at almost 25 feet. I may upgrade the cables from the Inverter to the batteries to 2/0 awg and run the negative back to the battery as well. I'm not going to do that if I don't have too because two cables of that size and length will be about $150.

Next project may be swapping out the stock house batteries for two 6V Costco Golf Cart batteries.... if they will fit.

Here are a few pictures of the inverter upgrade completed:
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:01 AM   #2
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I like what you did, but the DW would need a detailed instruction book on use protocols, lol.
Now to figure what it cost for the free, plus your time, I am not enough of an electrical engineer to get this much figured out in a timely manner.
Nice.
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:49 AM   #3
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THOR #8860

You almost make me wish that we had kept our Outlaw: your modifications really make great sense!


http://www.thorforums.com/forums/att...1&d=1562068120
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge View Post
...
There are a critical sequence of steps that I must follow for everything to work properly and not damage anything. I was not too worried about this because I have to do something similar when the power goes out at home and I plug my generator into the subpanel in my garage to get power to parts of the house.
......
e.Make sure the Converter breaker, 30-amp Main breaker and Main Air Conditioner breaker always remain Off when using the Inverter!!!
:

While this setup may work for Judge, and I expect he understands the care needed - If you do not understand how dangerous this can be - do not attempt this...

The intent of the transfer switches in our RVs is to isolate input power sources and insure there is one and ONLY ONE active at any time...
It is also why the inverter has a built in transfer switch.

This process leaves to a ‘checklist’ and ‘human error’ the isolation... and if not followed properly can result in damage to components, a fire, or injury to people.

Have I back fed a house after a storm from my genny? Absolutely... but VERY carefully and knowing there was no one else touching anything involved... and still prefer the transfer switch setup albeit more expensive.

The clean way to do this is running a circuit from the current panel to the inverter at or below the rating of the inverters transfer switch - the output of the inverter goes to a sub panel, and the desired circuits are moved from main panel to sub panel..
The total normal load on the sub panel must be less than the transfer switch rating... but already insured that with the input feed.
You can still select with circuit breakers what is actually receiving power from inverter, but there is no way for more than one input to be active on any circuit.

To each their own... just please understand the risks...
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:17 PM   #5
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THOR #12751
I did another test of the upgraded Inverter yesterday. I needed to turn in the fridge to get it cold for a trip tomorrow so I decided to use the Inverter.

I turned the fridge on at 9:00am and by 5:00pm it was getting cold..... it was down to the low 40’s...... all running in battery supplemented by the solar for 8 hours.

So far I am very pleased with the Freedom XI Inverter and the Renogy flexible solar panels with the Rover charge controller.
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:20 PM   #6
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THOR #12751
Quote:
Originally Posted by 10scDust View Post
I like what you did, but the DW would need a detailed instruction book on use protocols, lol.
Now to figure what it cost for the free, plus your time, I am not enough of an electrical engineer to get this much figured out in a timely manner.
Nice.
I'd say the whole project was about 2 to 3 hours of work overall. The hardest part was removing the old Inverter and mounting the new one because it was in the storage comparment and needed to be more flexible than I am..... LOL

The cost of the Inverter, breaker and some Romex was about $600. I am going to sell the stock Inverter so if I get $100 - $150 for it the material costs will be $500.

I'm not an electrical engineer but know enough about working with electrical circuits.

I hear you on the DW..... I handle all the technical stuff so when my DW tells me she wants to use her crock pot while we are driving so dinner will be ready when we get to where we're going.... I'll just make that magic happen! LOL
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:35 PM   #7
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https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...=1562077987668


Alexa/Echo command sequences can fix the multiple complicated rules/steps/configurations for you.

'Alexa,,, I'm turning on the slow cooker'

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...8Gqfv04fvRXrtp
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:42 PM   #8
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THOR #12751
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmc View Post
While this setup may work for Judge, and I expect he understands the care needed - If you do not understand how dangerous this can be - do not attempt this...

The intent of the transfer switches in our RVs is to isolate input power sources and insure there is one and ONLY ONE active at any time...
It is also why the inverter has a built in transfer switch.

This process leaves to a ‘checklist’ and ‘human error’ the isolation... and if not followed properly can result in damage to components, a fire, or injury to people.

Have I back fed a house after a storm from my genny? Absolutely... but VERY carefully and knowing there was no one else touching anything involved... and still prefer the transfer switch setup albeit more expensive.

The clean way to do this is running a circuit from the current panel to the inverter at or below the rating of the inverters transfer switch - the output of the inverter goes to a sub panel, and the desired circuits are moved from main panel to sub panel..
The total normal load on the sub panel must be less than the transfer switch rating... but already insured that with the input feed.
You can still select with circuit breakers what is actually receiving power from inverter, but there is no way for more than one input to be active on any circuit.

To each their own... just please understand the risks...

You are correct.... you do have to know what you are doing and understand how things work and risks for doing something wrong.

When I built my garage a few years ago I had the electrician add an outdoor receptacle so I could just plug in my portable generator when we lose power so I can run the well for water, fridge, etc. as needed.

When that happens I throw the master breaker so as to not feed power out to the lines where the electric company workers are so as not to injure them and then I turn off every breaker in the house and garage except for what I need to run off the generator. This works great but you need to know what you are doing.

Now back to the Inverter.....

Thor did not follow any of Xantrex recommended procedures for hard wiring their Inverters.

They do tell you that you do not need to use the AC input / transfer switch of the Inverter if you do not want to. However, they do recommend using a subpanel for the AC output of the Inverter when hardwiring. You should use a 15a breaker for a 1000W Inverter or a 20A for the 200W models.

Thor took the cheap and easy way out. They hardwired to the internal GFCI outlet wiring in the Inverter instead of the actual AC output lugs. This way they could use the built-in circuit breaker for the Inverter GFCI outlet instead of adding a subpanel and breaker.

I used Thor's wiring for this but I had already bought s small subpanel and 15a breaker for the AC output if I want to add it. My challenge at the moment is finding a place to mount it and have easy access to it.

I have plenty of protection with my current setup. I have the built-in 20a breaker in the Freedom XI for the output, which is the recommended maximum for the AC output. Then I have a 15a breaker on the WFCO panel for the AC output from the Inverter that supplies power into the AC busbar in the WFCO. So I actually have two breakers in the circuit.

Then I have the physical breakers installed by Thor for each circuit that I choose to run..... fridge..... garage AC..... kitchen.

I am very comfortable from an electrical design and safety aspect of the system at the moment. But I would prefer to use the AC out lugs in the Inverter with a subpanel and a 15a breaker for the AC out of the Inverter even though 20a is the recommended max.

The only advantage of using the Inverter's transfer switch is if I was powering something mission critical such that if shore power was lost, the Inverter would automatically kick in to keep power flowing.

The only thing that critical would be the fridge and since I don't have a residential fridge, I don't need it since the fridge would switch to propane automatically if shore power was lost.

There is a difference with the transfer switch of the Xantrex Pro and the Freedom XI. The Xantrex Pro Inverter can be turned off completely when shore power is being used. This is how I always used it. I never had it on when using shore power.

The Freedom XI Inverter automatically turns on and can't be turned off when shore power is being used. That way it can fail over to the batteries automatically without human intervention.... again to protect mission critical needs, which I don't have.

All in all it is a very simple setup with very little rewiring in order to provide Inverter power to any outlet in the coach where and when I need it.
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ducksface View Post
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...=1562077987668

My system will be almost as complicated.
I'm hoping some alexa/echo commands will handle it all.
That was funny.... and brought back some memories!

All in all my approach was pretty simple.... compared to having to rewire all the circuits where I wanted to be able to use the Inverter. One or two wiring changes and I have Inverter power anywhere I need it now.

And during sunny days, the solar and Inverter appear to power anything I need. It will be great when the rig is parked at home. I don't have to pull out the shore power cable and plug in to charge the batteries or even turn on the garage AC if I am tinkering.
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