How the RV Electrical System Works

Jun 17, 2020 Randy Lancaster Comments Disabled
How the RV Electrical System Works


How Does an RV Electrical System Work?

Navigating through an RV's electrical system can be challenging without fundamental knowledge of how it works. Every RV has three different electrical units, 12V DC automotive unit, 12V DC coach structure, and the 120V AC coach unit.

Besides being comfortable and convenient on the road, it's crucial to acquaint yourself with your RVs electrical system before taking off.

Basics of the RV's Electrical System

The 12V DC automotive unit powers your RV's operation when driving from one point to another while the 12V DC coach unit powers the electrical appliances such as fans, water pump, overhead lights, refrigerator, and stereo. The 120V AC/DC derives its power from an external source before converting part of it for appliances that need the 12V source.

RVs have batteries that receive power from the 120V AC/DC unit and keep it for electrical appliances. You charge the battery when the RV/generator is running or attached to the external power source. The 120V AC/DC coach unit links power to your microwave, refrigerator, and air conditioner.

Various Sources of Power

Your automobile has two fundamental sources of electrical power, house batteries, and shore power. Other alternative sources may include generators and solar power. Shore power refers to plugging the RV to a campground's power grid or your home's electrical circuit. This may depend on the brand, but most RVs have electrical units and long power cords to source electricity from shore power.

Larger RVs require more shore power, and with this, class A models have the 50-amp plug, and class C have either the 30-amp or 50 amp plug. Class B RVs have the 30-amp plugs since they are smaller. More appliances in your RV boost the need for more amperage.

House batteries power the 12V outlets as well as items such as carbon monoxide detectors and exhaust fans, lighting, and refrigerators. It's crucial to keep a keen eye on your RVs type of battery and opt for deep cycle batteries since they can handle heavy power consumption.

Alternative Power sources


They function like shore power since they power your AC system. Some RVs have in-built generators found on the exterior.

Wind and Solar

Renewable sources of energy charge up the batteries but do not offer on-demand energy. Solar energy offers a renewable energy source, ideal for boondocking activities.

Whether you are purchasing or renting an RV, learning its electrical systems is essential. Our dealership will provide guidance and counseling on the features and how the RV electrical systems function.