RVs use a lot of power and with all of our devices and added appliances, this power load increases. But you can't just use the power straight out of the shore power outlet for many of these electrical devices. RVs use two power systems, 12V DC power and 110V AC power. Converters are used to change the 110V AC power from the shore power to 12V DC power for your RV appliance and items such as lights, fans, vents, and more. The converter also works to recharge your batteries when you are hooked up to shore power, which means your batteries won't drain, further extending their lifespan. And since having access to battery power is so important for RV life, having a converter to charge the battery is equally important.
Converters are similar to inverters in that they change the voltage of the electricity to fit the needs of the system. While converters transform AC 110V voltage to DC 12V voltage, inverters transform DC 12V voltage to AC 110V voltage. And while you need both to properly run your RV, we're taking a look at converters this time. Inside of a converter, you can find many parts. The power inverter changes the power from AC to DC and back so that you can run your batteries. The circuit board is the access point for the converter. The resistors keep the electric currents in check without overloading the system. And the power converter fans keep the electrical system from overheating when charging the battery.
Types of RV Converters
There are a few kinds of RV camper converters:
Multi-Stage or Smart Converters are capable of charging batteries efficiently, keeping them at a consistent level and shutting off the power supply when your batteries have reached an optimum level of charge. These days, these converters are most people's first choice. Unlike single-stage converters, which can often overcharge your batteries, a multi-stage converter is designed to protect your batteries over a long period of time.
High Output Converters are the best if you need to charge multiple batteries with enough juice to power larger appliances running off of a DC current. This is also a great converter for camping in harsher or colder climates or if you need a higher output of energy.
Deck Mount Converters are great for installation ease. They can be installed almost anywhere, meaning you don't have to worry about inconvenient locations for installing it.
Distribution Panel Converters are generally designed with the intention of replacing older models, often being installed in the same place. These are capable of charging your batteries while working silently to power your appliances.
Generally speaking, your RV converter is going to be located near your control panel. You will likely see a small vent or fan near the panel, which is a sign that your converter is near. You can also find your converter by turning off all lights, AC units, and other appliances and listening for a slight buzzing sound to show you the location of the converter. If you are still having trouble locating your converter, consult your RV manufacturer.
How to Tell if your RV Converter is Bad
There are a few ways that you can tell if your converter is bad. You can check for dimming or flickering lights or if your electronic devices don't work as well as they should or if your refrigerator is having a hard time maintaining the temperature. Also, you can see if your outlets aren't getting the right amount of electricity. If your batteries are drained and will no longer hold their charge, this could be the sign of a converter not doing its job as well.
While there are several ways that you can test whether your converter is working properly or whether something else in your system is at fault, we recommend that you go to a certified RV technician, as electrical problems are often difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to properly fix.
Maintenance is key in the RV world and your converter is no exception. Before a long trip, spend some time testing your system at home to make sure everything is working properly and check your RV periodically during times of storage. If you live in a hot climate or near the coast, your batteries will often die out every few years. To prevent losing power on the road, make sure to replace your batteries every 3-5 years. Before you plug your rig into the shore power at the campground, make sure the circuit breaker is closed first, with no power running through it. Once you're plugged into shore power, you can open the breaker. This will prevent an initial power surge. Also, when plugging into the shore power, inspect the power station that you will be plugged into. If you notice anything odd or wrong about it, make sure you bring this up to the camp office. If you do have trouble with your RV converter, the best thing to do is to take it to an RV technician, as they have the skills and experience needed to properly solve the issue.
Safe and reliable power is within your grasp by purchasing from the line of converters from RecPro. The internal components are constructed with materials that meet and exceed industry standards. Strict attention to detail goes into the manufacturing process of the RecPro converters, which helps each piece stay durable and efficient. Not only will the top grade components keep you safe, but the short-circuit and thermal protection will give you peace of mind, knowing that your unit will operate optimally for years to come. Each unit is individually tested and complies with FCC standards.
Click on the product links to view the full line of power converters available from RecPro. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our Customer Care Department.
** Products are not designed for and should not be used in any life-support systems, nuclear facility applications, aircraft control applications, or any other applications in which failure of the product, in any way, could reasonably result in harm to life, property, or the environment without the specific prior written consent of an officer of the supplier.
** A life support system is defined as a product or system intended to support or sustain life and whose failure can be reasonably expected to result in significant personal injury or death. Nuclear facility applications are defined as any application involving a nuclear reactor or the handling and processing of radioactive materials in which the failure of equipment, in any way, could reasonably result in harm to life, property, or the environment.