Have you ever wondered how the electrical system works in an RV? It’s got to run your microwave, pump cool air out of the air conditioner, charge your phone or computer and allow you to use a hair dryer or shaver so that you don’t have to go outside with a scruffy beard and your hair all out of place.
How Do RVs Get Power?
RVs have a 12V and 120V electrical system. The 120v electrical system is used by plugging into an RV hookup, which is usually equipped with 20, 30 or 50 amps. It powers everything in your RV — including the 12V battery.
The 12v system is comparable to what you’d find in your car — like a cigarette lighter. When your RV isn’t plugged into an external power source, you need to rely on the 12v RV/Marine battery.
Typically, the 12V battery will operate in conjunction with the propane system to run your fridge. In older RVs, you’ll need to use a cigarette lighter adapter to charge your computer or phone. New units will usually have a converter so that you can plug in your low-intensity devices, but don’t expect this to last very long.
You also can’t expect to run your microwave or air conditioner off of the 12V system. It just doesn’t have enough power.
Parked Or Enjoying The Road
As you can see, to enjoy the benefits of all the devices and have full electricity in your RV, you’ll need to be parked. Otherwise, you’ll be able to get by with limited electricity when you are traveling to your next destination.