How to Install a Power Inverter in a Camper

Ah, camping! A wonderful way to relax, unwind without the distractions of everyday life. It may be a total luxury for some, but at some point almost everyone will want the help of electricity to power a stove, refrigerator, or microwave.

And then, after being offline for several days, you’ll probably want a full load on their phone to check Twitter or Instagram (that breakfast cooked over an open fire won’t post on its own!) or maybe stream some Disney+ while you’ continue, sitting in front of a crackling fire and listening to the hooting of owls.

This is where an inverter comes in handy. Not only are you charging for your needs, but with the right inverter, you can stay off-grid and still stay connected.

Your caravan will indeed become a home away from home. The inverter allows your most important devices to run on your caravan’s leisure battery for extended life and reliable power.

Like few, but not all, RVs come with an inverter already plugged in, but you need to decide which type is best for you and then follow the steps below for installation.

Determine the Inverter you Need

    Type

First you need to determine the best type of inverter for your caravan. You can choose from a built-in model, which is best if you are trying to upgrade a charger or converter. Or the standalone unit that works best if you have a large charging unit and multiple devices that need charging.

     Size

An inverter boosts the DC power supply, which runs on the caravan’s battery. When your caravan is connected to the electricity grid of a campsite or your house, you run the power through an inverter. Therefore, you must first determine how much energy it takes to run your appliances while moving away from modern civilization.

Obviously, your investor will be priced by size, so the larger the investor, the more expensive it will be. Just because you can buy the largest inverter doesn’t mean you buy the best inverter for your particular caravan and needs. It is generally recommended that you buy the smallest sine wave that will meet most of your needs. Bigger isn’t the best in this case, as your inverter will continue to use electricity even when you’re not.

Most campers recommend an inverter of at least 1000 or 2000 watts, but only you can determine how much power you need. We recommend testing your power needs in the future and going much higher, such as a 6000 watt inverter or higher. Also, keep in mind that your electrical appliances require more power than expected, so it’s best to add a 250-watt buffer to your total power consumption. Also keep in mind that starting up will cause an increase of almost double the normal power.

    Modified versus Pure Sine

When modified inverters were invented years ago, they effectively saved money because pure brisket was expensive. However, today sine wave inverters are reasonably priced and effectively hold the load for all elements while custom inverters do not. Also keep in mind that a custom inverter will not work effectively with timer items like coffee makers.

If you’re planning to camp, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you choose the right inverter for camping.

Step-by-step instructions of connecting the inverter

Now that you have determined the best inverter for your caravan, you are ready to install it yourself! Fortunately, this is a relatively simple process.

If your inverter is small (around 75 watts), you simply plug it into the cigarette lighter and your job is done. Congratulations!

Realistically, however, most inverters for your caravan will be larger, meaning the inverter should be connected as close to the battery as possible to reduce voltage drop. The actual operation of connecting the inverter to the electrical side requires special attention.

Your first connection option would be to use cable. When using cable, it is more efficient to use the largest possible cable that will fit your inverter terminals as you lose as little power as possible. Power lost is power lost. An easier method is to connect your battery to the inverter with large battery cables.

When wiring the inverter, make sure your inverter is turned off while the inverter is turned on. Otherwise you just push the currents back and forth from the inverter to the inverter.

It can become difficult to route the output power from the inverter to the caravan. There are several ways to connect the power output to the caravan so that you can use the inverter.

First, it would be easy to switch the outputs and have the outputs connected to the inverter via an extension cord. This means that you must connect an extension cord connected to the inverter directly to anything that needs power. Simple and effective. The downside would be having a cord that you could trip over and have to plug and unplug so it doesn’t always feel permanent.

The second method is more difficult in a caravan where the walls are thin and it could be rewiring, but you could rewire all the outlets to connect them directly to the inverter. Or you can use surface mount wiring to avoid damaging the walls of your caravan.

Unfortunately, this method requires a lot of remodeling of generally thin RV walls. On the plus side, this means that your plugs are always connected to the inverter and the power is continuous.

Related article: How to install an inverter in a car

Emphasis on safety

As with any project, inverter wiring must be done carefully to ensure that power does not rush to supply power to one outlet at a time. That would potentially destroy anything plugged into the outlet.

Furthermore, poor maintenance or bad installation can also make the inverter a fire hazard, so always make sure that everything is well maintained and connected.

Special features to be aware of

Many inverters have a fan and it needs to be cleaned from time to time to remove debris. If the batteries mounted directly on the inverter leak, they will also cause damage, so it is best to use a battery that is sealed to prevent damage. In addition, an inverter is susceptible to damage from high temperatures or water, so make sure to keep the inverter cool and dry.

Campers have two different types of batteries: motorcycle and recreational batteries. A motorcycle battery works for a short time at a higher voltage and is then recharged by the alternator. However, if a motorcycle battery is empty, it must be replaced.

A leisure battery emits less power, but can last longer and can also be charged in different ways.

Using these guidelines to install your inverter in your caravan will help you stay connected while you are away from it all. Or at the very least, it gives you the option to choose your level of connectivity with the outside world.

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