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Converter? Inverter? Confused? A converter is standard equipment on most RVs. Connected to commercial power or an auxiliary generator, it changes 120 Volt AC power to 12 Volt DC. Some of this is fed direct to RV circuits and some is fed to the batteries through a battery charger. An INverter does the inverse. It takes 12VDC from the batteries and changes it to 120VAC so standard electric items may be operated without "plugging in" or running a generator.

Once you know what an inverter is and what it does the basic question remains: Do you need an inverter? Or, alternately, Can you make use of an inverter? Enough to justify the cost? More than anything else, the answers are a matter of "lifestyle."

People who use full hook-ups every night might not need an inverter. People who don't mind irritating their neighbors with a roaring generator and its fumes might not. People who have adequate 12VDC equipment (TV, radio, etc.,) and don't feel the need to run micro-wave ovens and similar AC items might not.

But there are many people who need, or can make use of an inverter. Consider the person who must rely on a breathing machine: Their travel is severely limited and they are locked into commercial campgrounds. So much so that they often stop RVing. An inverter can return their freedom. Then there are those with computers--RVs are subject to easy power outages (pulled plugs, unreliable campground hookups, stalling generators) that can wipe out a computer. Some buy back-up power supply systems (for big $) without realizing that all they contain is a small, rechargeable battery and, a miniature inverter. The much larger RV battery system is far superior and only requires adding an inverter. And some people do need/want to use microwaves, large TVs, VCRs, stereos, kitchen appliances and power tools. An inverter can actually pay for itself when used for these purposes.

phred Tinseth © 1998-2000 Reproduction Permitted

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