Taking the RV out is always a great time but you’ve got to be prepared. You may stop somewhere that doesn’t offer power hookups or any type of external power for you to use. In these cases, you might be able to use a battery for the majority of your power needs.
It is possible to run your RV outlets using a battery but just how much you can do on the battery will depend on many factors. You might be limited with the things that can be run but you should be able to power basic things and use your RV’s outlets with battery power.
For your RV outlets to work using a battery, you will need to use the appropriate type of battery. If you use the wrong battery type, you may be disappointed in your functionality.
In this guide, we will break it down for you and talk about the batteries you can use and what you might be able to expect from them as well.
RV Power Explained
Every RV has battery power. That is how your RV works when you have it connected to other power sources. Those sources include a moving camper, an external power source, or alternative options like a battery or generator.
Campers have a battery much like vehicles do that are meant to source power when they are connected. How much power they source depends on their charge or how they are used. Different campers also may have different sizes of batteries.
It’s possible to add batteries or power to external batteries to get more power. You just need to know how to do it right and what you have to work with.
How Much Power Do RV Outlets Have?
Most RV outlets have similar power to what an outlet in your home would produce. Outlets are slightly different in an RV because it’s a completely different type of structure. However, the overall amperage is the same either way.
RV outlets produce anywhere from 15-20 amps of electricity when they are powered.
RVs put out DC power and they typically rely on a stored charge. When you plug into an external power source, this charges the batteries while also providing power for your electronics within the RV.
RV Battery Systems
In the RV, there are two different types of battery systems.
- House/Coach battery system
- Starter/chassis battery system
These different systems are designed to do different things. The starter/chassis system is meant for startup purposes. If there is an engine, it starts the engine, gives power for lights, and would power things like a USB port or a cigarette lighter.
The house/coach battery system is designed to power the things within the RV that you use for living and luxury. This is a series of 12-volt batteries that manage things like the fridge, TVs and appliances, water pumps, air conditioning, and so on.
All of the appliances powered within the RV use either 110 or 120 volts of AC power to operate.
How to Get the Right Power for Your RV?
You may have noticed that when you use a battery to power your outlets probably don’t feel like they have all of the power that they should. When you’re hooked up to an external power source, this probably doesn’t cause much of a problem but when you power off the batteries, it’s noticeable.
That’s because the power source of the batteries is different than the outlets. The best way to handle this is to simply use a power inverter to properly convert DC power from the batteries to the AC power that you need.
There are different types of inverters out there so be sure to use the right kind of inverter for the task.
When your inverter is on and attached, things will power properly. When it is off, things will not power because there is no conversion taking place.
Operating High Power Equipment
When you need to power things that require higher levels of power, you will need a higher power source. This can be accomplished with shore power or even a generator if shore power is not available.
Things like full-sized refrigerators, as well as AC units, are going to need more power than your battery can give them, even with an inverter.
Your RV is designed to power minimally through a battery and most likely even has a bank or compartment of DC batteries on it to power certain items. When you need to use the bigger items, plan on an external power source to get the job done.
Happy camping to you!