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A power inverter uses direct current (DC) power to produce alternating current (AC) power, like in your home. Depending on what you want to power, there are many sizes available, from 50 watts all the way up to 5000 watts.
Inverters use 2 differing ways to generate AC power: modified sine wave and pure sine wave.
Inverters also can be packaged with a battery charger and automatic transfer switch built in, though these types are quite expensive and are generally reserved for the mid-to-high level trailers and motorhomes requiring high power delivery. So now that you have a little background on inverters, let’s take a look at a few example installations. Next up is a mid-power inverter powering a coffee pot (or anything else less than 1000 watts).
There are other AC wiring options so you don’t have to remember to turn off certain breakers. The type of inverter described above will have a remote control panel to manage and monitor many electrical parameters, such as battery status, AC information, inverter mode, charger mode, and overall system information.
At this power level, a large battery bank is required, typically consisting of 6 to 8 6-volt golf cart deep cycle batteries. When I decided to replace my RV’s original Battery charger, I selected the Tripp-lite 750 watt model, as it seemed to be the best choice for the loads that exist in my motor home. Plus this unit has 3 step charging, equalizing option, 200% output for 1 minute, an optional remote control, and many dip switch settable options.
We can run our Satellite receiver, TV, or DVD movie, run a 60 watt lamp, and wife has her heating pad while boondocking NOT running the generator.
With the generator and solar panel, you are in a great position to provide both AC power and recharging of the RV batteries. I also changed the original Magnetec converter (30A) to a Power solutions 60A with a Charge Wizard, which kept the T-115 batteries up to snuff. Think of it as the Breakers are just switches to disarm any appliances that would harm the Inverter. As a guide, be aware that every Amp out at 120V is (roughly)10 Amps load on the inverter input Batteries.
Have looked at a number of websites but no one has suggested a solution so the battery charger in the installed coach converter does not charge the battery when the inverter is supplying 120 VAC to the rig.
Mount the relay inside the TS-30 and connect the coil side of the relay to the shore power side.
I do know the one draw back would be all the DC led lights would be running off the ac-dc converter, but even with the loss, I think this would be the easiest and safest way to rig this up. 2) If the 30Aac main breaker needs to be on (and hence converter), does it really suck up 600W?
I have a 30-foot Southwind Storm and installed a Xantrex 2KW True-sine inverter vertically to the left of the emergency brake pedal.
Separately, I attend Burning Man every summer, and I run the inverter continuously, strictly to provide power for the computer gear that gives us internet connectivity. If you are not a member, please consider registering so you don't have to fill out this form each time you comment. April 19, 2016 on Mod #82: Air Conditioner Hard Start Capacitor by Robert m taylor - Have s 2000 model Coleman pop-up w. April 4, 2016 on Mod #100: Honeywell Digital Thermostat by Jim Veillette - Thank you for posting pics and this write up. The popularity of power inverters is ever-increasing as auxiliary electrical power demands on pickups used in the trades take on more importance. Inverters make the mobile office function–and they bring much needed grid-like power to tools and accessories contractors and heavy construction workers use every day. Most inveretrs are channeled to the end user in one of two primary ways: It’s either sold to and installed by the manufacturer, or sold to a retailer where an end user (or service center) purchases it for aftermarket installation. Whether you’re dealing with a boat, RV, commercial truck, utility truck, ambulance, or even a military vehicle, inverter manufacturers usually offer installation support through their dealers. High-power inverters require professional installations to optimize both function and safety. One major benefit of the OEM install is that the consumer is able to take full advantage of the manufacturer’s detailed engineering work that has been built into the production process. From the electrical supplier offering applications support, to the OEM’s electrical engineers specifying the best cable size, to the design staff ensuring proper compartment size and cooling, going the manufacturing route provides a highly professional, relatively safe, and efficient installation from concept through production. In addition, the inverter OEM brings solid knowledge of the installation, which allows for outstanding customer support as needed after the sale.
The customer is faced with multiple options to choose from, which requires knowledge of how the electrical system will be used, prior to ordering.
My wife may ask me to change the fluids in her car, which infers she has “qualified” me as capable of performing this job. However, does her qualification guarantee we’re not going to end up with gear oil in the crankcase?

Case in point, if you need an inverter installed after the vehicle has been built, it is imperative that you find a service center that either has a good reputation, specializes in inverter installs, or has a stamp of approval from the vehicle manufacturer — or better yet, all three.
Another big surprise: realize that every service center install differs from the one before.
For instance, if you’re having a 3000W inverter installed, and the last vehicle they worked on had a 2000W inverter, will they use the left over parts from one, for the next? The first thing I have to say about shade-tree electrical upgrades is to refer once again to the ‘gear oil in the crankcase’ scenario: If you plan on doing an inverter installation yourself, first candidly assess your skills, knowledge and experience. Where do you stand on a scale of 1-10 as far as proven qualifications are concerned, and then subtract two points for safety. But please, for larger inverters that require hard-wiring, fusing, voltage-drop calculations, and knowledge of UL standards and the National Electrical Code for AC and DC systems, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get it right the first time. I’ve seen way too many faulty installations that result in property damage and injury to be apathetic in this recommendation. The OEM install may not be the most cost-friendly, but that slight increase in cost translates to system insurance for longer reliability and safety. Good luck in your next electronics purchase … and may you make the right choice for you on your installation!
TECH DOCTOR DON WILSON has worked in technical capacities in the automotive,RV and marine fields and for the military since 1989.
I was certain something went wrong and you burned your Jeep to the ground especially after I saw the comment about insurance and cars burning plus your user name . The Go Power!™ TS-30 is a 30 amp AC switch that automatically connects shore power (when available) to your breaker panel.
Oftentimes, the question will arise on how to run a coffee pot or a microwave without a generator or other 110 VAC power source to the RV. In an RV, an inverter is connected to the battery and provides 110 VAC for running appliances, like a coffee pot, microwave, or electronics like a TV, satellite receiver, computer, or cell phone charger.
This is very convenient way to have many components packaged into one form factor, eliminating some of the wiring work required when using separate components.
This will power the entire RV so it is essential that the converter, refrigerator, air conditioner, and electric water heater breakers are all turned off at the AC distribution panel, especially the converter. It involves wiring in a sub-panel, which is a panel of AC breakers separate from the main AC distribution panel, that is dedicated to circuits in the RV you want to power. This is the creme of the crop and is typically found in either higher-end motorhomes or in RVs whose owners can afford to not have to worry about powering anything. These can be adjusted to meet the demands of your particular installation, particularly battery charging.
As detailed above, the inverter must be very close to the battery bank and have cabling of sufficient size to handle the input current requirements. Installing an inverter requires understanding of safe electrical practices and electrical safety code. I bought a 75 watt version and a AC to USB adapter so I can also charge USB devices, like my iPhone and BlueTooth ear piece. I’ve been to a few truck stops during my camping travels and have seen the huge supply of 12-volt goodies. We leave it running constantly to power all of our AC appliances and devices when dry camping, other than running the refrigerator which we set to gas. Installing an inverter and 6 volt batteries, is one of the best upgrades you can do to your RV. Automotive batteries are not designed to provide long-term power at medium to high current demands. A small inverter would work very well for times you are not running the generator or have hook-ups.
I used a xantrex sw3000 pure sine wave inverter, an automatic transfer switch and used a Marinco ac receptacle - all with four 6 volt interstate batteries.
Read the Load wattage of the Appliance and divide that number by 12 and you will have the current draw on the Batteries for Inverter input.
These installations are specified and part of a process that delivers production consistency.
There may be the temptation by the crew to use similar components for different installations. Will they use the same cable for both installations, regardless of a difference in cable lengths?
If you’re working on a 12-volt lighter plug or a 300W inverter for the laptop, well then knock yourself out. On the one side, you have those who prefer to just use a good old coffee percolator over an open flame. For example, if you want to power a typical 4-cup coffee maker which has a power consumption rating of 800 watts, then an inverter rated for 1000 watts is a good choice.
If you want to power sensitive electronic gear, like a laser printer (don’t laugh, some full-timers do it on the road!), or even a microwave, the pure sine wave inverter is the proper choice.

Simply plug the inverter in to the 12-volt receptacle (typically found near where the TV is mounted) and plug the TV in to the inverter. Because of the high input current requirements (nearly 100 amps!) to produce 1000 watts of AC power, the inverter must be directly wired to the battery, rather than through the 12-volt receptacle as described above. Inverters in the 2000 to 3000 watt range are used to power anything from a convection microwave oven to a washer and dryer. Adjustments can be made for battery types, charging times, and temperature-compensated charging.
If you don’t have the necessary skills, get a qualified electrician to do the wiring. The beauty of this model is that it is a true UPS, loads connected to it do not see virtually any “off” time when the 120 VAC fails and this unit switches silently and instantly to making AC from your house batteries, so if your Computer is running, it does NOT reset! Depending on the state of charge of the batteries, it can run the air conditioner to cool down and keep the trailer cool at night. I install the inverter under the front storage of our 5th wheel next to the batteries, and wired the remote up into the bed area inside our 5er.
Planning on purchasing 2nd so we can run AC when not hooked up) I want to be able to run TV DVD Direct TV box while boondocking. And besides, if you inadvertently run down the F350 battery(s), you won’t be able to start the truck! I currently run an extension cord into the trailer and feed my TV and Sat Receiver from there.
A former customer service manager dealing with electronic issues, Wilson currently serves as a technical instructor for the RV industry’s RVIA Trouble Shooter Clinics and is a full-time sales application specialist for Xantrex Technology Inc.
Your inverter should be located close to the batteries, but in a protected area free from moisture, dust, dirt and battery fumes. Wire your converter to the shore power side of the transfer switch to ensure the inverter is not being used to charge the RV batteries.
Transfer Switch (GP-TS) combined with a GPC Smart Battery Charger creates a totally hands-free system. Most other devices and appliances will work well with a modified sine wave inverter but there are some that are very finnicky or don’t work at all, like the digital control on an electric blanket or mattress warmer. Typically, this means that the inverter should be placed within 5 feet of the battery (but not in the same compartment) to avoid voltage drop from the battery to the inverter, resulting in poor inverter performance. This will in turn deplete the battery supplying power to the inverter, which is supplying power to the converter to charge the battery.
A competent RV electrician or very knowledgeable RV enthusiast should be consulted to provide the design and installation. If the battery charge is good, it will run both the roof AC and microwave at the same time. We have a Onan LP 5500 Generator for serious power, so I went with the smaller watt Go Power inverter.
Make sure you understand what your appliances are using for power, especially if you are using a smaller inverter.
The DC Install Kits listed on page 10 contain everything you need to install your inverter properly. Add a GPC-Smart Controller and take advantage of high powered three-stage smart charging capabilities. Large gauge cables, 4 gauge in this case, should be used for DC connections to the inverter through a 150 amp fuse. If you don’t have the skills required, have a certified electrician assist or do the job for you. What is amazing is the microwave clock keeps perfect time when running on the inverter, just like plugged into shore power. Whatever the case may be, there are a multitude of ways (and costs) to accomplish what you want. Since the power requirements are less than 150 watts, the 12-volt receptacle has adequate wiring to carry the power required. Xantrex makes an awesome display panel for this unit and it tells you a lot about what’s going on with the system. Since inverters come in all shapes, sizes, and efficiencies, choosing and installing the right one can be a daunting experience. Depending on power consumption, the batteries must be charged daily or every other day using a generator and high output 3-stage battery charger. Fuel consumption averages about half gallon per day using a Honda 2,000ia if using the AC sparingly at night. One final thought, if you aren’t 100% sure you know what you are doing, have an electrician do the wiring and hook ups.

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