The Ultimate RV Power Converter Guide

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A lot of RVs, campers, and trailers rely on an RV power converter to run lights, the refrigerator, vent fans, and even the thermostat on the heating system. A converter transforms the 110-volt AC power from a local power source to the 12-volt DC that those appliances need.

There are a few things to know about your power converter, however. Here’s a look at a few things to know about your RV power converter.

RV Power Converter Troubleshooting

You may find that your power converter isn’t actually transmitting power to your devices, or that it’s only sending partial power. You’ll want to try the following to see where the problem lies:

  • Make sure it is actually the power converter that isn’t working and not another problem. Connect your RV power converter to the power supply and check the voltage at the point of entry. It should be between 108-130 volts.
  • Then check the voltage at the other end – where the power converter connects to the 12v DC breaker box. You should have a range of 11-13 volts.
  • Check your batteries. One bad battery can draw a charge from normal batteries and cause all of them to fail. Check each battery individually to see if they’re fully charged. Also, check whether they’re recharging to full capacity with a multimeter.
  • Check your RV power converter fan. The fan cools the power converter as the electrical system is charging. If the fan is functioning properly, you should be able to hear it. You can replace a malfunctioning fan pretty easily, but you may have to do some legwork to track down the replacement. Be sure to know the make, amperage, and voltage of the original fan so you can search online for another.
  • In some RV power converters, a resistor controls the voltage to the batteries and 12v DC system. The resistor should give a readout between 3-13 volts.

You may be able to fix the part of a damaged RV power converter, but you may also have to purchase a new RV power converter. Fortunately, they’re not terribly expensive and there are several models to choose from, depending on your needs. You may also want to use an RV power inverter in some cases. A power inverter for RV converts 12v DC battery power to 110v AC power that enables your electronic devices to work.

An RV power converter that works well can make or break your trip. Knowing a little about yours and how to troubleshoot some of the problems it may have can definitely pay off!

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