Inverters for cabins and RVs are smaller versions of those for homes and properties but with increasing acceptance of the small and light switch-mode units. They convert 12 or 24 volts dc to 110 or 230 volts ac.

This is a small transformer-based inverter. Pic: Jaycar.

Inverters for cabins and RVs

Care is need when purchasing. There are substantial differences in price range and quality. Their usable ability reflects much what you pay.

Many inverters for cabins and RVs have a so-called switch-mode operation. Unlike inverters made for homes and properties, few switch-mode can sustain their rated output for more than a few seconds. Some can sustain 80%, however, cheaper models may struggle to maintain 50%.

This is a major problem if using (say) a tyre pump. Most devices that have electric motors draw two or three times their running current whilst starting. Air pumps and compressors, however, start up on full load. Because of this switch-mode inverter for such usage may need to be rated at least five times that pump’s rated draw. A suitable transformer-based inverter may even be cheaper.

Small transformer-based inverters are still readily available. If weight is not critical (in solarbooks.com opinion) they are often a better buy. Most produce twice or more their rated output for a few minutes. Some do so for up to half an hour.

Most small inverters have inbuilt socket outlets. You can plug appliances into those sockets (or via a multi-outlet power board). In many countries (like Australia) you must never plug their output any fixed 110 or 230-volt wiring. Doing so bypasses all safety devices such as circuit breakers and RCDs. You may, however, plug in a multi-outlet power board (as that is not legally an ‘appliance). 

Inverters for cabins and RVs (and their installation) is covered in our books, Solar That Really Works! , Solar Success and Caravan & Motorhome Electrics. These books are now available right now in downloadable digital form from our Bookshop. They are available in print form from all Australian bookshops – or by email from booktopia.com.au