More Electrical Stuff (for My personal knowledge)

What is a deep cycle battery?

Blobber: RVs come equipped with deep cycle batteries for the coach. Most RVs come with a single Group 24 deep cycle battery. Deep cycle batteries are rated in amp/hours. How many amps the battery can deliver for how many hours before the battery is discharged. Deep cycle batteries are designed to be discharged over and over again and still take a charge. If you enjoy dry camping (without hook-ups) you depend on your deep cycle battery(s) to take care of your 12-volt needs. You can purchase a deep cycle battery with a higher amp/hour capacity that will last longer. The higher the amp/hour capacity is the larger the battery is. If you have room for a larger battery and enjoy dry camping you may want to consider a Group 27 or Group 31 deep cycle battery.

INVERTERS: When you need a little power and don’t want to turn on the generator.

Blobber:  Inverters are nice to have at times when you are dry camping and/or when you aren’t plugged into an AC Source. Batteries produce power in Direct Current (DC) that run at low voltages. Power companies and AC generators produce sine wave Alternating Current (AC), which is used to operate 120-volt appliances and electronic equipment. An inverter takes 12-volt DC power from your RV batteries and electronically changes it to 120-volt AC.  RVers use an inverter just to watch TV or charge their personal computer. Some with more powerful batteries use an inverter to operate microwaves, coffee pots or other larger appliances. When you purchase an inverter the inverter’s output capacity must be capable of operating the loads that will be placed on it.

Two different capacity ratings of Inverters you should look for.

Continuous output rating and surge capacity rating.

Continuous output is the maximum wattage the inverter can output for a long time. Surge capacity is the maximum wattage the inverter can output during initial start up.

All appliances require more power when they are first turned on, compared to what they use to keep them running. An appliance can use as much as two or three times the amount to start then what they use to run, so the starting power required for any appliance that you plan to use with the inverter must be within the surge capacity rating.

Two types of inverters: Modified sine wave inverters and true sine wave inverters.

The Difference: A true sine wave inverter is mucho expensive, but they are capable of producing power as good as your home power company and all appliances and electronic equipment will run as they are intended to. Realize: You are drawing the power from your RV batteries and any power used has to be put back in through some type of effective charging system.

Blobber: When you’re plugged in, in someone’s driveway!

Plugged in to a 15-amp outlet, exercise caution. When the A/C compressor kicks in, it requires more amps (about 13) (and think about when you have it cycling on auto) … more power whacking the supply than it does once it is running. Because of this you need to turn all appliances off before starting the A/C, to include switching the refrigerator from A/C to LP gas.
Once it is running it may be possible to use a small appliance or electronic equipment that operates on low amperage, like a TV, You need to monitor the voltage to prevent damaging any appliances or electronic equipment.

Blobber: Long extension cord must be #12 wire or lower, (heavier gauge) to keep the amount of voltage drop from causing problems.”

Reply: If possible, no extention cord is better.

Purchase an RV extension cord that is compatible to the electrical system of your RV, and have it on hand. If you do purchase an extension cord somewhere else I recommend 10-guage wire and use as short of a cord as possible.

Bloomer: I have my RV plugged in and the refrigerator on all of the time in my driveway, will it do damage?

The RV should be on level ground so the refrigerator operates properly and you will need to monitor it for when it needs to be defrosted.

Here’s the concern: The coach battery. Whenever the RV is plugged in the coach battery is being charged. It’s really just a trickle charge, but over time it can deplete the electrolyte levels in the battery cells. You need to check, or have somebody check the battery at least monthly when the RV is plugged in during storage.

If I plug my 30 AMP into a 50 AMP at the campground!

Electrical adapters are a necessity for RVers. Eventually you will be in a situation where you have to use some type of electrical adapter to make a connection at a campground. It may be an outdated campground or isolated area that only provides 15 or 20-amp electrical service, or the only site available is a 50-amp service for your 30-amp system. There are adapters that will go from your RV type plug and size down to household type outlets and adapters that go from household type outlets to all types of campground RV connections. You must exercise caution and use common sense when you use them. If you have a 30-amp system and you have to use a 50-amp service use your RV electrical system exactly the same way you do when you’re plugged into a 30-amp service. In other words don’t try to run anymore than you normally would.

Bloomer: The coach battery in our motorhome won’t start the generator and other times it will. My question is why isn’t the RV battery charger keeping my battery charged when I leave it plugged in all the time?”

Answer: The battery charger in the RV converter provides a trickle charge and is only designed to keep the coach battery(s) topped off. It is not designed or capable of recharging a battery that is completely discharged or damaged. The automotive alternator also charges the coach battery when you are driving the RV. The alternator is probably charging the battery enough to start the generator sometimes after driving for a while, but the RV battery charger can’t charge it enough to start the generator when it’s plugged in. The constant charging from leaving it plugged in all the time can deplete the electrolyte level in the battery(s) cells. Depending on how often the battery(s) is being charged will determine how often it needs to be checked. You should check the battery(s) at least monthly and if you use the RV on a regular basis and / or you leave it plugged in when you’re not using it you may need to check the battery(s) more often.