Does An RV Inverter Charge My Battery? [Solved]

Does An RV Inverter Charge My Battery? Some RV inverters are designed to charge batteries. Determining whether or not an inverter can charge your battery will depend on the type of inverter you have which will also affect the type of battery it will be able to charge. If you have a 120-volt inverter, it may only be capable of charging 12-volt batteries.

When shopping for an RV inverter, you’ll quickly notice that they all come with a label stating whether or not it’s capable of charging your battery. While many people believe that they’re purchasing an inverter to charge their battery, this is not necessarily the case. So, make sure you are buying the correct inverter for your needs.

I will explain in more detail how inverters work and whether they will charge your battery.

What is an RV inverter?

An RV inverter is a box in your RV that converts the direct current (DC) from the RV batteries to 120V alternating current (AC), powering household appliances such as TVs and refrigerators.

RV inverters are great for boondocking and camping without hookups as the take the energy in your RV batteries (12 volt DC) and change it to 120 volt AC which can be used to power your appliances.

RV Inverters have different capacities so make sure that they have enough capacity to power your appliances.

The two capacity ratings are continuous and surge, appliances tend to use more power when starting up. As long as you don’t start every appliance in your RV at the same time, look for a continuous rating that will power most of your appliances at the same time.

There are two types of inverters for RVs, they are either pure sine wave inverters or modified sine wave inverters. The differences between them are significant and so is the cost.

An RV pure sine wave inverter has a smooth and continuous wave form, mimicking that from shore power. This allows for a constant and clean output voltage which is safe for even your high tech equipment.

Modified sine wave inverters are more volatile and can rise and fall abruptly, this can leave momentary power shortages to your appliances and electronics.

How does an RV inverter work?

As explained by VeHQ, an inverter works by increasing the draw of amps (units of electrical current) from the battery to power higher wattages (the measure of amps transferred over a certain period) than would normally be possible. 

This extra draw does lead to some power leakage, though.

Some of the amps being drawn are lost in the extended circuit created by the inverter. Because of this, the efficiency of inverters hovers between 90% and 95%.

An RV inverter is a power converter that converts DC current from solar panels, battery banks, or shore power into AC current. There are three components to an RV inverter- input circuit, conversion circuitry, and output circuit.

RV inverters are an essential component of the power supply system in an RV. An inverter converts DC electricity to AC electricity so that it can be used by the RV’s power outlets, which are specially designed for use with this type of power. The voltage output needed is 120 volts, but it needs to be converted from 240 volts in order to match the input range of its intended load. To do this, the inverter changes the waveform slightly.

Does an RV inverter charge the battery?

An RV inverter is not designed to charge the battery, it is designed to take 12 volt DC power out of the battery and convert it to 120 volt AC power for your appliances. Most RV inverters will drain the battery as they are using their power.

To make matters confusing though some RV inverters do have the ability to charge your batteries when connected to shore power or a generator. An excellent example of an inverter/charger is shown below.

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These are typically inverters, converters and chargers in one so they can perform all tasks. This is great as it cuts down on space and is efficient, however if something goes wrong with the unit you lose the functionality of all three devices.

It is important to understand how your RV inverter operates because while having an inverter is very convenient, the device has limitations. 

It’s also important to get the right inverter for your RV. The majority of RVs use a 12-volt battery system. An RV inverter does not have any effect on the power stored in your vehicle’s battery but it may cause it harm. It is important to know where the battery is, what size it is, and which terminal needs to go towards the negative connection when connecting the charger.

What is the difference between an inverter and a battery charger?

There are many differences between an inverter and a battery charger, but the most important distinction is that an inverter can produce AC power from DC power while a battery charger cannot. 

An inverter converts DC power into AC power. A battery charger, on the other hand, recharges lead acid batteries. They are two different types of electronics that are used for different purposes.

A battery charger’s only function is to charge batteries. It provides less power than an inverter and can take up to 20 hours to charge a RV battery completely.

Does an RV Inverter Charge My Battery – Final Thoughts

An RV inverter is a device which converts Direct Current (DC) electricity from the batteries  into alternating current (AC) electricity for your appliances.

An RV inverter draws power out of the batteries so it doesn’t act as a charger.

However you can get inverter/chargers like the AIMS Power inverter charger that can act as a battery charger when connected to a generator or shore power. Make sure that you read the spec of the inverter before you buy it to make sure it is fit for purpose.

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