Home Authors Posts by tinayu001


The RV Inverter Guide for Beginners What's an RV inverter and do you need one? How do you choose the right inverter for your RV and how do you go about installing it? We were able to consult RV expert, Gary Brinck, on this topic to put together this concise guide for you. You may have noticed that the 120v wall outlets in your RV only work when plugged into shore power or when using a generator. That probably includes the microwave and TV as well. That means your RV is not equipped with an inverter. To find out more about RV inverters, keep reading. What’s An RV Inverter? The inverter is an electronic module that gives the capability to power things that normally require 120VAC shore power (when not using a generator). Having an inverter is hugely convenient if you like to camp off the power grid but still want to watch TV or charge up your phone. Mid- and high-end RVs often come with inverters already installed. They serve just a few items or maybe even all the outlets in the RV. The good news is that if your RV doesn’t have an inverter, you can add one! Sounds attractive, right? However, except for the simplest needs, adding an inverter is a major change in how the 120VAC system in your RV works. In most cases, it's not what you would call a “plug ‘n play” upgrade. How Does An RV Inverter Work? An inverter uses the RV’s 12v batteries to supply the power and inverts the battery 12VDC to become 120VAC power for the outlets. In theory, you can power everything with a large enough inverter, even the air conditioning. However, the inverter cannot provide more power than the battery bank that supplies it. The laws of electricity are that increasing the power output from 12v to 120v (a factor of 10x increase) causes a 10x increase in the input amps (current) as well. That means a high wattage appliance like an AC unit or hair dryer that draws a lot of amps will pull a huge amperage from the batteries. For example, a 1500 watt appliance uses 12.5 amps @ 120v, so it will draw a minimum of 125 amps from the batteries when inverting from 12v to 120v. There is also a power loss of around 10% when inverting. A rule of thumb is that the inverter will draw about 10% more battery amps than actually needed by the power conversion. This is called the efficiency of the inverter and 90%-95% is typical. Since a typical RV battery can supply only 50-70 amps for a mere hour, you can see that batteries quickly become the bottleneck if you try to do too much. The cost, weight, and space needed for a large battery bank are prohibitive for most RVers. For practical purposes, you will want to limit what things you expect to power.
- Advertisement -