I'm looking ot be able to power a small tv/vcr combo while underway for the kids to watch, onboard microwave, small vac. for little spills and on chilly rides, perhaps the portable heater. I have no problem in alternating what I use = I dont need to run everything at once.
The only things I have handy right now are the tv/vcr and heater
Tv/vcr AC 120v 60 Hz 65w/DC 12v
Heater AC 120v 60Hz 600w/900w/1500w
I've heard stories of larger cables, upgrade the batteries, too much stress on the alternator, too much heat to put it on the engine compart, ect.... yet on a trip this summer to PIB I met a guy that bought one for $75.00 at Cosco and installed it himself and loves it. I dont know what size he got though.
I also bought a 1000watt 2000surge inverter from Cosco for $69. It is modified sinewave and is not compatable with a boat electrical system supposedly. I spent about $130-140 in wires and switches. I am pretty happy with it although astonished at the expense of wires. I can run just about anything except a space heater or hair drier. Something to do with the modified sine wave burns up heating elements. My 1K microwave, tv, vcr, dvd, vacuum, lights, fan are all no problem. Marine inverters are simulated sine wave and can run things like heaters and are supposedly safer to be wired directly into a boats electrical system although I have had no problems. I already had lots of capacity with my battery bank. There are formulas that you will get with each inverter pertaining to how much reserve you will need with what you plan to do. It is not as simple as Ohm's law, but not much more difficult.
I believe Brian from Lazer marine (Tango_7) installs inverters on a regular basis, not sure though, but he might be a good person to ask also.
Brian is great. It will either be him or Dave from Blaz (being that Dave is going to have my boat for the winter.) I'm just trying to learn what I can instead of just paying someone to do the work and not knowing anyting about what is going on with it.
It will definately be less expensive to go with a modified sine-wave inverter, but they are not recommended to work in conjunction with an existing boats electrical system. Expect to pay BIG dollars for wire depending on the length of wire required, power typically has to come from 1 or 2 gauge wire + switch + mega fuse +++. A simulated sine wave is probably a better deal to wire directly into your existing electrical system without too much hassle but the inverter will be more expensive. I'll see if I can dig up my estimate tables for you.
Jim, I agree with hazy. What he did will work for most people and it would most likely work for you as well. That being said you should use a Marine inverter. You will spend a bit more but in the long run it is the way to go. If you are looking at using it mostly while under way, you should be ok with the alternators you already have but I can't guarantee without checking it. There are a couple of different things you can do about the heat. Let me know when you have some time and we can talk it over.
I'll give you a call shortly. THe boat is still inthe water adn will stay there probably another 2 weeks or so. We'll be out Perch fishing this weeknd till about noon both days.
I dont mind spending the extra money for the right one. Sure beats the alternative if something goes wrong with the wrong one.