An RV solar setup functions very much like a residential PV system, only on a smaller scale. An inverter is still at the heart of the process: it makes the power generated by solar panels usable by converting DC into AC. However, these devices have a number of important differences that are crucial for choosing the best RV inverter.
What is an RV inverter
The principle and purpose of an RV solar inverter are no different from a larger residential or commercial device. It converts direct current generated by the panels into 120V AC power. Still, there are many RV specific features that a residential solar user might be unfamiliar with. The number of additional functions tends to increase with price.
For example, more advanced RV inverters will also be able to charge the 12V battery bank of your RV when you’re connected to shore power. Another popular feature is called automatic transfer. It allows the shore power to bypass your RV power inverter when you’re connected. Even more sophisticated models offer hybrid functionality, allowing simultaneous use of shore and stored power. This will come in handy if you need appliances that consume a lot of energy.
How to take care of an inverter
The average lifespan of an RV inverter is 10 to 15 years. The intensity and frequency of use will certainly play a role. But even if you travel in your RV extensively, there are ways to stay with the inverter for much longer:
- Establish a cleaning routine if your RV power inverter has air intake filters. After a while these filters get dirty and it’s better to call for professional help to clean it. The air is necessary for cooling the device down, but dust may simply kill it.
- Wipe the dust with a dry cloth every once in a while where you can reach. The less debris and dust, the better for an RV inverter.
- Keep an eye on the inverter’s display. If it shows an error, take it to a professional.
- Make sure the connections to the battery are clean and fixed tightly.
Advantages of RV inverters
A modern inverter for RV will have a number of advantages compared to older models:
- Pure sine wave lets you run even very sensitive electronic devices in your RV
- Safety standards (UL or CSA) ensure that the inverter won’t put you or your property at risk
- With warranties up to 25 years, some RV inverters might outlive your RV! Enphase microinverters are a good example.
How to install RV inverters
An RV inverter installation process is very straightforward. First, you’ll be better off placing the device somewhere near a battery to minimize power losses. Then, to connect it to a solar panel system, all you need to do is hook it up with a battery using large battery cables. Usually you’ll need to add a fuse or a circuit breaker between an inverter and a battery for safety reasons.
Choosing the right spot to install the device is crucial. Excessive stress isn’t beneficial for any device, so try to avoid humidity, unsafe temperature and direct sunlight. Model-specific details are fully described in the included user manuals.
How much do RV inverters cost?
The price gap between the most advanced and the most affordable models is huge. Depending on the functionality, power, brand and reliability you could buy an RV solar inverter for as little as $200 or pay $2,000 or more for your purchase. A1SolarStore offers a selection of devices manufactured by reliable brands. They have been picked by our experts for being the best models in their price range.
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