what is an inverter for a caravan?

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At Horton Common, our guests have access to fully serviced pitches with a 16A electrical supply 🔥 However, when talking with our guests we often discuss other sites they have visited and from time to time we discuss ‘wild camping’ 🙌 Another way to describe wild camping is going ‘off-grid‘. This may be at a dedicated caravan site with no mains power, or it could be a day at the beach. In either case, even without a mains power supply, you may want access to a 230V power supply to run various appliances. This is possible by using a 230V inverter in combination with your 12V leisure battery. However, inverters are based on different types of technology, for instance, sine wave vs modified sine wave inverters. [1]
Within the field of electrical engineering inverters have a vast number of application’s. An increasingly common one is connecting solar panels to the normal AC power grid. They may also be found in some wind turbines where they enable the production of steady AC power regardless of the speed of the wind.In this guide we focus on small inverters as these are the most useful to those camping in tents, caravans and motorhomes. Typically these are in the range 100 watts (W) ideal for low powered items like phone chargers and laptops to 3,000W for a kettle of heater although this high output would drain the typical battery set-up in minutes. (last edited 7 days ago by Ikechukwu Ludwig from Chengdu, China) [2]
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According to Hugo Cortes at, there are two main types of inverter, modified sine wave and pure sine wave, this refers to the waveform the of the AC output and how it is generated from the DC supply from your battery. We don’t need to be concerned with how these waveforms are generated but the end result is that a modified sine wave inverter is cheaper than a pure sine wave inverter and will run most but not all appliances whereas a pure sine wave inverter produces a cleaner output that is essentially identical to your mains supply at home so will run all appliances. (we truly appreciate Vangie Dowling for telling us). [3]
So how can an inverter create hi-voltage AC from low voltage DC? Ok, lets first look at how you generate electricity. All we need to generate electricity is a coil of wire and a spinning magnet (or a spinning coil of wire and a fixed magnet works just as well) If you look at “Drawing 1” below you can see the schematic of how a rotating magnet induces a current in a coil as the magnetic poles pass the coil. Each time a pole passes the coil a small electric current is produced. As the pole passes and the next pole lines up to pass, the magnetic field is reversed and the current starts to flow in the opposite direction. Rotate the magnet fast enough and an alternating current is produced. (we say thank you to Shaquanna Alaniz from Ibb, Yemen for telling us). [4]
The second factor when choosing the size of your caravan inverter, is the battery. Make sure your battery bank is large enough to power the inverter. Check your battery specifications for the maximum discharge current rating (A).This rating multiplied by the voltage will give you the peak wattage that your battery can produce at 240V, which is equivalent to the size of inverter your battery can power. For example, an Enerdrive 200Ah B-TEC Lithium Battery has a maximum discharge current of 200A, with an average output voltage of 12.5 volts. 200 x 12.5 = 2,500 watts. So this battery is a good pair for a 2000 watt inverter. (revised by Maika V. On November 4, 2020) [5]
Before you get plugging in, there are a few considerations. There are a couple of ways to set up an inverter, and a few different sizes to consider, too. Inverters start as small as 350W in the REDARC Inverter range, enough to power your washing machine, laptops and other electronic devices. If you are looking at running something a bit thirstier on the power, perhaps the microwave, a coffee machine or even a Thermomix, you’re going to want to look towards the top end of the range, sizes like the 3000W REDARC Inverter that we have installed in our caravan. [6]

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Mae Chow

Written by Mae Chow

Passionate about writing and studying Chinese, I blog about anything from fashion to food. And of course, study chinese! I'm a passionate blogger and life enthusiast who loves to share my thoughts, views and opinions with the world. I share things that are close to my heart as well as topics from all over the world.

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