Wiring in an inverter

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 00:02
ThreadID: 134993 Views:2752 Replies:8 FollowUps:11
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I'd like to hard wire at 2.5Kkw inverter into a popup I am building. But all the ones on the market just have two three pin sockets on them.

Is it permissible to use heavy three core flex and 3 pin plugs from the RCD breakers straight into the inverter, provided of course that inverter is suitable for RCDs? I did hear from somewhere that this type of wiring is illegal and that the inverter has to be connected directly to the appliance concerned.

The only other option is get my sparkie to dismantle the inverter and wire straight in. Any advice would be welcome.
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Reply By: Member - Jim B8 - Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 06:18

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 06:18
Have you checked out the whole proposal? At 12 volts, 2500 watts draws over 200 amps, if 24 volt, over 100 amps? It wont last long I predict, as the limitations of the batteries will be an issue?
I dont know the entire plan so forgive me if I am wrong when I say down scaling the idea is recommended. I wouldnt bother hard wiring to it as at that size it really needs a 48 volt battery, and big as well (capacity).
We use gas and 12 volts mostly, 240 for the air conditioner when in van parks
Good luck with the project
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 08:30

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 08:30
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Sorry Keith, it is NOT permissible to "use heavy three core flex and 3 pin plugs from the RCD breakers straight into the inverter".

There is an option to use fixed wiring to connect the inverter to the RCD breakers of your van installation but it would need to be done by a licensed electrician in accordance with the regulations. The rest of your van 230v wiring also needs to be installed by a licensed electrician.

But my recommendation is to forget the whole idea. As Jim has pointed out above, the battery drain of a 2.5kW inverter makes it impractical.

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Allan

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Reply By: Keith B2 - Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 09:27

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 09:27
I should have explained. It's actually a very large 1.2Kw solar system and the aim it to run a small 200 watt aircon overnight off 400 AH Lipo4 batteries and recharge by early afternoon in sunny weather. In winter when the charge is poor, aircon won't be an issue.

2.5Kw is a overkill for sure.I was worried about stating current and occasional drain from a microwave. But a smaller inverter will work fine. I have a marine sparkie, who I haven't consulted yet, to do the install, but I need to supply the components.

Hence the question.You can see the build on Mywag: "World's Slowest Build".
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 12:04

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 12:04
200W aircon?

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 12:05

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 12:05
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Hmmm, massive system for a cool breeze, but your choice.

If your "marine sparkie" is conversant with the appropriate regulations and suitably qualified then you would do best to ask him the question, not seek the advice of unqualified persons here.
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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 10:29

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 10:29
Hi

Whats wrong with simply plugging into the three pin plug on the inverter with a heavy extension lead and feeding into the rear of a std 240 outlet in the popup?

Looping from the first GPO and onto the others is standard practice in a normal wiring situation.

I don't see any difference in doing that as against an extension lead into the inverter and using an appliance. Either way you are not modifying in any way the inverter or making that system any less electrically safe.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 11:58

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 11:58
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Well Bungarra,.......I'll tell you what's wrong with "simply plugging into the three pin plug on the inverter with a heavy extension lead and feeding into the rear of a std 240 outlet in the popup?" It is not in accordance with the Wiring Rules and is possibly unsafe, that's what's wrong.

You may not "see any difference" but that is because you are not skilled as an electrician.
However, it is not for me to 'educate' you here. Just take my word for it...... it is different and illegal.

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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 18:10

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 18:10
Bzzz! Bzzzzz! Bzzz!

I can see someone get zapped following that logic.

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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Friday, Jun 02, 2017 at 14:41

Friday, Jun 02, 2017 at 14:41
Bungarra, are you suggesting a male plug to male plug - plugging into the output of the inverter and then the first GPO???

Unfortunately some tradesmen did this on a house once and the poor unsuspecting sparky didn't go home to his family that day, when he went to wire the switchboard he was electrocuted, please do not do this.
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Friday, Jun 02, 2017 at 15:13

Friday, Jun 02, 2017 at 15:13
From his description it sounds more like male into inverter - bare wires hard wired into the rear of the plug.

Problem is, what happens when the mains power and inverter power try to work together? Also, what happens when you forget to turn of the inverter (or mains) and power continues to run through the circuit?

My trailer has three different power circuits 12 volt, 240 volt inverted and 240 volt mains. Each is completely independent of the other (seperate circuit breakers, power points and switches).

That is the only way to do it - each circuit completely seperate and suitably protected.

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Anthony
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 09:39

Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 09:39
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Anthony,

Your trailer wiring arrangement is an excellent way of doing it....... having separate power points for inverter and mains.
There are more complex change-over systems to share the outlets but you way is safer, cheaper, and really no less convenient.
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 09:54

Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 09:54
Thanks Allan

I went with a very simple system so that it has built in redundancy. That is if the inverter dies, I can connect up the generator likewise if the 12 volt dies.

Mains power points are white, inverter power points are black so they can't be confused.

It does add some more weight (with extra wire, breakers and powerpoints etc) but I know the power system is100% safe.

One thing that shocked me (no pun intended) when fitting the system - the factory fitted powerpoints were not double pole and it had been certified by the factory in house electrician. I also put all wire in convolute tubing as it ran around the trailer - it is amazing how much chaffing there was on brand new wiring.

One day the industry will be regulated and have a common set of standards. I know ther are some standards that must be followed (gas, electrical) but once the walls go up and the certification plate goes on - a Miriam of sins are hidden.

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Anthony
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 11:22

Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 11:22
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Yes, it's a poor show when a caravan or trailer is not supplied fitted with double-pole outlets as this has been required since AS3001 was introduced in 2008.
The fact that double-pole are somewhat more expensive than single-pole may have something to do with it. But it makes one wonder what other corners may have been cut by the manufacturer. And whether the person doing the wiring is properly qualified and cognisant with the regulations.

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Reply By: Keith B2 - Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 13:47

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 at 13:47
By sheer good luck, I managed to track down my marine sparkie who had moved workshops. Haven't spoken to him since he did my boat about 15 years ago. He said he had just finished a big Unimog RV with a similar setup. Apparently Victron has just bought out an "affordable" inverter which is designed to be wired into RCD breakers to supply all of the house outlets.
I'll go seem him next week.
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Reply By: dublediff - Friday, Jun 02, 2017 at 22:50

Friday, Jun 02, 2017 at 22:50
Lots of experts here telling him what not to do, maybe you could assist with a realistic solution. I am clealy not an expert but I will suggest that you try an invertor with a hard wire option, such as xantrex, seem to hold up to corrugations well, and hav it wired in by your marine elec. 300 or 400 ah lithium should run a small a/c for your purposes and the solar panels you suggest should keep up with replenishing. I do,have lithiums and know how quickly they can be recharged.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 15:29

Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 15:29
I thought that there were constructive expressions being made, but with the magnitude of the proposed system and allusions to wiring to fixed outlet sockets there was some justification to voice warnings.
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Follow Up By: dublediff - Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 15:54

Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 15:54
agree wholeheartedly with the warnings as they were justified, some of the comments were purely negative, pardon the pun.
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 14:07

Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 14:07
If only a couple of outlets are involved an inverter with pass through
might be the way to go if a fully automatic system is desired.

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Reply By: Keith B2 - Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 16:32

Saturday, Jun 03, 2017 at 16:32
I spoke to my marine sparkie yesterday arvo. He said it is easy to hard wire an inverter into the system and he does it all the time on boats,as well as his own giant RV.
He suggested an inverter charger with auto switching, which removes the need for a changover switch.
I'll get him to wire it up and will let everyone know how it goes.
Doesn't sound like a cheap day out though.
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