Ryan Herbst

Camper Inverter Install

by on Dec.26, 2011, under Misc Projects

The goal of this project was to add a 12V inverter to my¬† 19′ Palomino Puma camper.

First I purchased a Cobra CPI880 Power Inverter. While some of the higher power inverters from Cobra support a remote control & monitoring panel, this inverter does not have that feature. Since I planned on installing the inverter under the cabinet near the AC/DC distribution panel, I needed a way to turn the inverter on and off. I also wanted to be able to view the red and green status LEDs.

I decided to create a custom control panel and modify the inverter wiring to attach this custom panel to the existing power switch and status LEDs.

Switch Connections Internal External Switch & LED Wires

I added wires to the existing switch, removed the existing LEDs and added new longer wires to the locations where the LEDs connected to the circuit board. I then created the custom control (panel shown in the picture below). The panel consists of a rocker switch and two panel mounted LEDs installed on a plastic project box cover. This box cover was then installed onto the outside of the trailer cabinet.

Custom Control Panel

The next step was to wire the inverter into the existing trailer wiring. I wanted to preserve the ability to power the trailer outlets from 110V shore power through the AC distribution panel. I devised a relay circuit (shown below) which would leave the trailer outlets connected to the AC distribution panel when the inverter is off. When the inverter is turned on the 110V output turns on the relay to connect the trailer plugs to the inverter output. For safety I switch both the hot and neutral lines. The inverter ground lead is connected permanently to the existing trailer ground lead which is tied to the trailer chassis.

Relay Block Diagram

The relay box is shown below. A 15Amp DPDT relay with 110V coil voltage was used. An appliance cord allows the relay box to be plugged directly into the inverter 110V outlet.

Relay Box

Below is a picture of the inverter installed under the trailer cabinet. Notice the large guage DC power leads attached to the invert at the left side. These leads are wired directly to the DC distribution panel at the point where the feed wires from the trailer batteries are attached.

Inverter Installed

Below is a picture of the installed relay box.

Relay Installed

The inverter install is working well. It allows me to power any AC appliance from the trailer batter (with a 900W limit). I carry a generator with me when camping which allows me to recharge the batteries during the day if necessary.

Email me if you have any questions or comments.

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