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HomeRoad TripFull Information to Motorhome Inverters

Full Information to Motorhome Inverters


Contemplating an inverter to your motorhome or campervan? Unsure what measurement you want or which is greatest? Don’t worry- right here’s every thing you want to find out about selecting the most effective motorhome inverter for you.

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Motorhome inverters- the fundamentals

I’ll be trustworthy, I don’t actually ‘get’ electrics. And I undoubtedly don’t get something which entails taking part in round with motorhome energy programs and batteries which may kill me if (when!) I get it incorrect.

Nonetheless, ever since our very first motorhome, we’ve agreed an inverter is a necessary piece of equipment for the way in which we use the van, so, when my final one broke (my fault!), I wanted to get a brand new one.

So, the primary query is: why?


Do you want an inverter?

Most individuals who use campsites recurrently in all probability don’t must trouble about becoming an inverter of their motorhome or camper. In any case, the concept of it’s to vary 12v energy from the leisure battery into 230v energy which can be utilized to energy home equipment like laptops and hairdryers.

So, for those who already primarily use campsites and their energy provide, you possibly can already energy/ recharge these gadgets.

Nonetheless, we LOVE motorhome wild tenting/ parkups. We like staying off-grid, or utilizing aires in France, or staying in forestry automobile parks.

None of those have energy out there, so we must be self-sufficient. While the motorhome can survive for a number of days off-grid, gadgets like my laptop computer (which this complete motorhome weblog was constructed on) or our drone, or our Ecoflow energy station, all want topping up to ensure that us to proceed to spend time off-grid.

We additionally tour with motorbikes, and infrequently use the inverter to recharge our helmet intercoms or our heated clothes battery packs.

For that cause, for us, it’s a van life important and permits us to be far more versatile quite than needing campsites on a regular basis. (See extra motorhoming necessities right here.)


What measurement inverter do you want in a motorhome or campervan?

Ahhhh, isn’t that the necessary query!

In contrast to diesel engines, you don’t need to work an inverter arduous. You truly need there to be some wiggle room.

Nice, so simply purchase the largest one the market?

Nope- coz that’s a)- costly and b)- will drain your leisure battery tremendous quick. There must be a bit extra thought into what measurement inverter you want to match.

Inverters usually are not 100% environment friendly. The truth is, for many inverters, you possibly can anticipate about 80-85% effectivity. Due to this fact, to know the scale you want, take the most important equipment you need to energy from the inverter, see what it attracts (enter energy), then ensure you add no less than 20%- that’s the scale inverter you want.

There are two varieties of energy you’ll see on an inverter- steady energy output and peak energy output.

Peak energy is short-duration, often on start-up. Steady is… steady. That is the quantity you want to take a look at once you’re choosing one to buy.

My first inverter was 300w. As you possibly can see within the video, it wasn’t large enough to do what I wanted it to do. The brand new one is 2000w!

That is the one we simply fitted:


Pure sine or modified sine?

Okay, for those who perceive electrics look away now, as a result of that is in all probability extra fundamental then you definitely need it to be.

A pure sine wave provides a clean voltage curve, which is what most home equipment are designed to run on. A modified sine wave has ‘steps’ the place the facility will increase or decreases in jumps. These jumps in voltage could cause issues with delicate electrics, like laptops, TVs, espresso makers, energy stations and CPAP machines. It will probably additionally trigger overheating of transformers and chargers.

Nonetheless, they’re usually positive to energy issues like hairdryers, energy drills, battery packs and many others.

As a result of they’re not as refined, modified sine wave inverters are MUCH cheaper to purchase than pure sine.

NOTE: Should you’re shopping for off Amazon or on-line, many abroad locations state their system is pure-sine when it’s not. Do your analysis rigorously. You possibly can see the one we bought within the Youtube hyperlink above.


Becoming an inverter in a motorhome

Right here’s how we fitted our new inverter in our motorhome. It wasn’t too tough BUT, for those who’re in any approach not sure, please ask knowledgeable to assist so that you don’t damage your self or injury your programs.

Suggestions for becoming a motorhome inverter

Listed here are some ideas that will help you:

  • Don’t let something contact the battery terminals collectively
  • Inverters are probably the most current-heavy gadgets you possibly can connect to a 12V battery. Use plenty of fuses as security breakers.
  • Fashionable battery cables have the continual present ranking marked on them – be sure your fuse by no means exceeds these ranking.
  • Make certain the wires/ leads are the right gauge. Some inverters are provided with cheaper leads which aren’t sturdy sufficient to do the job.
  • Some small inverters might be powered from a 12V cigarette socket. DON’T plug thes into the socket within the cab as that’s powered by your car battery and can drain it. Solely use it from sockets within the hab space that are powered out of your leisure battery.
  • Keep in mind that simply because it may be powered by a cigarette lighter, doesn’t imply the cigarette lighter in your van is powerful sufficient to energy it; a 120W inverter can draw round 10A, which is able to doubtless blow a cigarette-lighter fuse at full energy.
  • Attempt to place the inverter as near the leisure battery as attainable to maintain the cables brief (max 2m for any inverter over 2000w). This reduces the temperature and voltage drop within the cables.
  • If this isn’t attainable, enhance the diameter of the cables.

The best way to use a motorhome inverter

The best approach to make use of a motorhome inverter is to plug your system or equipment straight into the 230v 3-pin plug socket truly on the inverter.

Alternatively, you need to use an extension result in make it simpler to entry, however don’t overload the inverter with an excessive amount of.

It’s actually difficult to get an inverter to run the present 3-pin sockets within the habitation space of your motorhome, so attempt to keep away from considering of it like that.

We ONLY use our inverter while we’re driving. This enables us to cost gadgets prepared to be used after we cease AND stops us from by accident draining the leisure battery. We additionally by no means use it for longer than an hour and it’s hardly ever working at something near full energy.


How lengthy will an inverter run off a motorhome battery?

Like every thing else, this can rely on the scale of the inverter, the scale of your motorhome leisure battery/ batteries and the scale of the system(s) you’re powering.

Nonetheless, to present you an concept, a 2000w inverter (just like the one we put in), working at FULL POWER (which is unlikely for an extended interval), might flatten a 100A motorhome leisure battery in 36 minutes.

Right here’s the maths:

  • 2000w/ 12v= 166.6 amps/ hour
  • 100amp battery/ 166.6= 0.6 hours (36 minutes)

BUT- you don’t need to flatten your battery, so in actuality you solely have about 18 minutes of full-power use earlier than you want to cease. That is another excuse we solely use the inverter while driving AND solely after we’ve been driving some time, so the battery has had time to get no less than a bit of bit recharged.


In the way in which WE use the motorhome, an inverter is crucial. However it’s not for everybody. Earlier than you lay out on one, ensure you suppose it’s one thing you’ll undoubtedly want.

Need extra ideas for motorhome life?

Listed here are some extra concepts you may discover helpful:

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