What inverter should I use in my RV?2019-10-16T13:34:06-07:00

Project Description

I need power that doesn’t keep the campground up at night! Does this sound familiar?

You can have power and not run the generator by using an AIMS DC to AC power inverter.

Most RVs come with a converter.

Don’t mistake a converter with an inverter. A converter converts 120 VAC electricity into 12 VDC. The converter charges your batteries and powers lights, pumps, and all of the 12 volt equipment.

The RV’s inverter converts 12 VDC from your battery into 120 VAC, standard house electricity.

In order to buy the “right” inverter for your RV, you’ll need to determine the size of the inverter. To decide what size you need, total the wattage requirements of all the equipment you want to power, and then add another 20%. Next you’ll need to decide if you need a pure sine or modified sine inverter. Most pure sine inverters will power any type of device. Modified sine inverters are better for pumps, motor, tools or equipment that has a DC brick power supply (from experience Macintosh products excluded). Microwaves are temperamental and we recommend using a pure sine. Click here to get wattage appliance estimates. Pumps, compressors, heaters, microwaves and some tools have high surge requirements to get them started  so make sure you include these in your calculation (3x-5x surge in most cases). You want to use the surge rating of all the equipment to size your inverter. Buy an inverter that has a continuous rating that matches the surge total of all equipment and then add another 20%.  Example: Total appliances running at the same time including the surge is 3600 watts but the running watts are only 2000 watts. You would get an inverter that is 3600 *1.20 = 4320 watts. Obviously, we don’t have a 4320 watt inverter so we would recommend a 5000 watt.  Your continuous running amp draw is 2000 watts/12DC = 166DC amps. Note this number for the next section.

How many batteries do you need?

You also want to determine if you have enough battery power available. Using the example above, you don’t want to install a 5,000 watt inverter if the 166DC amps needed to supply it will run down your batteries in 30 minutes.

To estimate your anticipated power consumption, take the current (from the example above) 166 DC amps and multiply by the number of hours per day that you expect to use it. Let’s say you will run 2000 watts, 166 DC amps for a total of 2 hours per day. You will need 166*2 hours= 332 amps total.  You will also want to check the efficiency of the RV inverter that you are selecting. Because the process of converting from 12 VDC to 120 VAC generates heat, the inverter will always draw more watts from the batteries than it can deliver. Some brands have greater losses than others (usually 8-10%). If you have a battery bank of 400 amps, you will be able to run your 2000 watts for 1.2 hours but we don’t recommend fully depleting your battery bank. Take your total available battery amps of 400 and divide by your total amp need of 332 and you get 1.2 hours. 400/332= 1.2 amp hours. We recommend no less than 50 depth of discharge. If you follow this recommendation you will get 1.2 hours * .50%  = .6 hours of run time.

Features of RV inverters:

We offer many inverters that have built in transfer switches that allow you to go back and forth between shore and inverter power. Our inverter chargers allow you to use the inverter with city or generator power to recharge the batteries/bypass when you have access to AC. Some have cooling fans, remote switches and add breakers for safety. Some also have direct connect terminal blocks to tie into a panel. Please call us if you you need more info about RV inverters.