12v an Inverter or both? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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Old 05-31-2010
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12v an Inverter or both?

I am going to be setting up a few electrics in my boat and I am deciding on what route I should go. I have a few things in mind and was hoping to get suggestions from others on here about what they recommend. This will not be for week long cruises, only weekend overnights at least until the gulf oil spill is stopped.

First I am considering going all 12v, running something like pictured below hooked to a 10ft extension which will be hooked directly to my 12v battery. I will run a small 12v wall fan, charge a cell phone or laptop, and maybe run a 12v cooler or some other small device. There are many direct to 12v products around to do the things I want to do, especially in truck stops. I think many of that stuff would be great for onboard use. As long as they are not ran too much to drain the battery.

The other option I was considering was hooking an 800watt inverter such as the one pictured below, directly to my battery. Then running a regular household extension from the inverter to inside the cabin. I can then just plug in whatever devices I need to use right there. This inverter I wonder if it would drain my battery faster?

Last option I thought about was getting a second battery and running both setups. I just don't think that is necessary for what I want to do right now. I would surely want to pickup an extra solar panel. So this way I would end up spending more on the setup instead of the much needed devices but it could be a good choice in the long run. Any suggestions? I am open to other ideas too.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailguy40 View Post
I am going to be setting up a few electrics in my boat and I am deciding on what route I should go. I have a few things in mind and was hoping to get suggestions from others on here about what they recommend. This will not be for week long cruises, only weekend overnights at least until the gulf oil spill is stopped.

First I am considering going all 12v, running something like pictured below hooked to a 10ft extension which will be hooked directly to my 12v battery. I will run a small 12v wall fan, charge a cell phone or laptop, and maybe run a 12v cooler or some other small device. There are many direct to 12v products around to do the things I want to do, especially in truck stops. I think many of that stuff would be great for onboard use. As long as they are not ran too much to drain the battery.

The other option I was considering was hooking an 800watt inverter such as the one pictured below, directly to my battery. Then running a regular household extension from the inverter to inside the cabin. I can then just plug in whatever devices I need to use right there. This inverter I wonder if it would drain my battery faster?

Last option I thought about was getting a second battery and running both setups. I just don't think that is necessary for what I want to do right now. I would surely want to pickup an extra solar panel. So this way I would end up spending more on the setup instead of the much needed devices but it could be a good choice in the long run. Any suggestions? I am open to other ideas too.
I'd do both.

I think the best way to think about it is that you want everything to be 12vdc, and you strive to have it all 12vdc, but there are just some things that aren't going to be 12vdc so you have to have an inverter to accommodate those items. The reason you like them to be 12vdc is that they use less power because the conversion to 120vac and then back (through the wall wart) to some lower voltage wastes a lot of power for no good reason at all. So yes, get the 12vdc fans, etc, if you can.

You mentioned having to get a second battery, that may be true in that your battery bank should be generous, but you don't have to have a separate battery one for 12vdc and the other for the inverter, they can both be hooked to the same battery. Really your inverter is like any other 12vdc load, just like a fan, it just uses more amps and sometimes requires bigger cables.
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I second Wind. I used to run 12V only some years ago, but couldn't avoid the 120 AC. In my case, Apple laptop, friend's cell charger, some kid's toys charger, etc ... my Inverter is just 350W, and think 800W could be just a bit big one. Whatever you take, having both will prove right shortly ....
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Old 06-01-2010
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I only suggest the inverter if you need to run 120v. If you don't have much for 120v, you could get a small 150 watt that you can plug into a standard 12v plug. Either case, you need to make sure that you have the correct wiring size and make sure that you use appropriate fuses or a breaker.
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Old 06-01-2010
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Given how you are going to use your boat, I would just go to Walmart and get a plug in inverter and let it be. My issue with many of the 12v appliances is that they are very expensive. You can get a basic 400w inverter from walmart or target cheap that has both a cigarette lighter adapter and a hard wire.

You will probably not be able to run a hair dryer, coffee maker, (maybe a toaster), or microwave. However, except for the hair dryer, there are work arounds. We used a bodum when we first started boating - then all you need is a kettle or something to heat water with. Most things can be warmed up on the stove. You can toast bread on the stove or in a pan, etc.

I wuold keep it simple and cheap until you find that you need something more elaborate.

My opinions.

Brian
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