Electrical Basics Every RV Owner Should Know
Power is important in many situations, but it’s especially important when you’re touring the country in an RV. Your recreational vehicle runs on a different electrical system than what you’re used to back home. It relies on batteries to keep you moving and your appliances and other electrical items running. RV batteries need to be plugged in at whatever campsite or park you choose to put down stakes in, short or long term. Prepare to handle electrical emergencies while staying safe. Here are the electrical basics every RV owner should know.
Know How Your Batteries Work
Your RV has not one but potentially two batteries (one being the car battery under the hood, to help start the engine if you have a motorhome). More precisely, you may have one battery that handles two different jobs and several systems, respectively. For starters, though, your RV battery handles both alternating and direct current (AC/DC, as the terminology goes). Whether it’s a lead-acid or 12-volt lithium RV battery, the AC current charges the big stuff, like the air conditioning, refrigerator, and other big-ticket items. You need to keep it charged through attachment to a grid in a park or campsite which offers electricity. The DC also needs to be charged; it kicks in when you’re on the road and provides power to the inside lights, fans, water pumping system & other major electrical components. You should consider familiarizing yourself with the batteries, what they can do, and how to replace them in an emergency.
Be Aware of Your Amperage
The next electrical basic every RV owner should know is to check your owner’s manual or, even more simply, check how many prongs your RV’s power cord has. A 30-amp cord has three prongs, while a 50-amp cord has four. Even when plugged in, the 30-amp cord can only accommodate so many appliances at one time before tripping the circuit breaker. A 50-amp connection can handle more items at once, but still, take care about how much power you run through your RV and battery. In any event, make sure the place where you park or camp can provide the right amperage.
Often, when the power goes out on an appliance or even several systems in your RV, it’s because of an overloaded power circuit. Check your fuse box or circuit breaker. See if the breaker tripped or a fuse is loose. The next step is to turn it back on. Most likely, the overload was a one-time thing, but keep your eyes open for similar outages. If the power goes out again, see if the wires connected to the box or the connectors attached to your battery seem loose and adjust them. Another thing to consider is whether the cord you’re using is wearing out and needs to be replaced. It’s a good idea to keep a backup cord stowed away. If you have several appliances working at the same time (e.g. Air conditioning and coffee machine), they could pull too much current causing the breakers to trip. Try not to turn on appliances that require high currents at the same time.
Need An RV Battery
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