Basic RV Wiring Question

Assuming a 5th wheel with a built in converter/charger and an added generator, if I install an inverter or inverter charger and wish to run the 110 volt outlets in the rig from the inverter when shore or generator power isn't available, how would that be accomplished? Same question for the microwave (I realize I'd be limited to short bursts, but that might be enough to reheat my coffee.)

Similarly, in setting up the above scenario, how would I prevent the air conditioning (or other specific loads) from drawing on the inverter output?

Am I looking at adding transfer switches or subpanels?



  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,160 admin
    More or less--Your loads you want to run from an AC inverter + Battery bank should go to a separate sub-panel. All of your "off grid" loads should go there.

    If you want to power those loads directly from Grid and/or Genset, then yes, one or more AC transfer switches are in the mix.

    There are AC inverters that can have two inputs (AC1 and AC2--AC1 for grid power, and AC2 for generator power)... These AC inverters tend to be large wattage, more complex, include an AC to DC battery charger, and can be pretty programmable... But may be outside your budget or simply "too big" to be practical for smaller loads (running a microwave does tend towards the "medium sized" inverter.

    There are some pretty simple "relay based" AC transfer switches that can make some of this not to expensive to add this type of functionality:


    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ShadowcatcherShadowcatcher Solar Expert Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
    I did it with a DPDT switch that intercepts shore power to the converter and provides 120 AC from the inverter to the circuit breaker in the power center.
  • RussOnTheRoadRussOnTheRoad Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭
    Thanks, Bill.

    I think I've seen an inverter/charger with dual AC inputs in the 2000 watt pure sine wave class which is the wattage I'm thinking about.

    It's clear I have  lot of research to do before I have a clear picture of all the pieces and how they will work together.
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