If you’ve spent time in a camper, then you know how limiting it can feel to rely on shore power or a noisy generator. Installing a power inverter is an easy solution, allowing you to generate your own power and live completely off-grid when hooked up to a solar panel system
This guide walks you through how to install a power inverter in a camper step-by-step.
What You’ll Need
- Power inverter
- Screws or bolts (depending on inverter)
- AWG cable
Step 1: Choose the Right Power Inverter for Your Camper
Before learning how to install a power inverter in a camper, you’ll need to make sure you have the right one. Keep in mind, pure sine wave inverters tend to work better with delicate electronics than modified sine wave inverters do. Also, make sure to check how much solar power your RV might need prior to installing your inverter. And always read the manufacturer’s instructions (1)
Today’s power inverters are safer than ever, with a number of features that help keep you out of trouble–such as a cooling fan, overload indicator, and automatic shutdown for those who ignore the indicator. Still, using an inverter without first reading the manufacturer’s instructions can result in property loss, injury, and even death.
That said, with the consequences of choosing the wrong inverter possibly resulting in property loss, injury, and even death, you must utilize licensed electricians and know the differences between modified vs pure sine wave inverters for a safe install.
Step 2: Find a Space in the Camper to Install Your Power Inverter
The next step in your RV inverter installation is to find the ideal place for your power inverter. The ideal places is:
- Near your RV’s battery charger
- Not in the same compartment as your RV’s battery
- Away from heat, liquids, and foot traffic
- In a place where it will receive adequate airflow
Many people install their power inverter in the cargo hold, but every camper’s layout is different. Remember to keep safety in mind when deciding where to install an RV inverter.
Step 3: Secure the Power Inverter in Place
Your power inverter may have come with mounting hardware, in which case you’ll be able to use the included screws or bolts to secure it in place.
Otherwise, measure the holes in the mounting frame and use the proper screws or bolts to fasten the device to the chosen wall.
Step 4: Get a Licensed Electrician to Wire the Power Inverter to Your Camper’s Battery
Doing electrical work including wiring your inverter without consulting a licensed professional can be dangerous.
Each device is a little different, so make sure to follow the recommendations outlined in your power inverter’s instruction manual.
In most cases, you’ll just need to have your RV inverter connected to the battery terminal using AWG cables. Just make sure to provide thick cables for better energy transfer (2).
Step 5: Ground Your Camper’s Power Inverter
Your power inverter probably came with a ground cable. If so, follow the instructions in the user manual to ground the unit to safeguard your equipment. This is usually done by connecting the ground wire to your RV’s chassis (3).
Step 6: Take Your Camper Off-Grid
Now that your RV inverter installation is done all that’s left to do is to take your camper off-grid and test it out. If you’re having trouble getting your system to work, check out this great video by Why Not RV:
All in all, adding sustainable energy sources to your RV is a terrific way to promote eco-friendly living. So, my friend, I’d like to conclude this by saying thank you for taking a step towards a more sustainable future. Godspeed, and seeya on the road maybe!
Where Should I Put My RV Power Inverter?
You should put your RV’s power inverter as close to the battery as possible without being in the same compartment.
Positioning them close to each other reduces the amount of energy that gets lost when it’s transferred from one to the other. Keeping them in separate compartments is a safety precaution in case of combustion.
What Wiring Should I Use for My Camper’s Power Inverter?
The wiring you should use for your camper’s power inverter will be included in your guide, and will recommend a specific gauge cable. In general, use the thickest AWG cable you’re able to get since thicker cables are able to transfer more energy than thinner ones, reducing energy loss.
Do I Need to Ground My Camper’s Power Inverter?
Yes, you will likely need to ground your camper’s power inverter. This is typically done by attaching the ground cable to the chassis (3). As always, make sure to read your owner’s manual to guarantee your safety as each machine is different.
- Can a Pint-Sized Power Inverter Replace a Generator? Retrieved from: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/02/can-a-pint-sized-power-inverter-replace-a-generator/index.htm
- The Importance Of Using Proper Gauge Wire. Retrieved from: https://allelementsauto.com/the-importance-of-properly-sized-gauge-wire/
- RV Electricity — The ABCs of campground power and grounding — Part 2. Retrieved from: https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-the-abcs-of-campground-power-and-grounding-part-2/