When your device or appliance cannot run without AC, either the battery is dead or AC is required. The following are common AC appliances in RVs:
- Household items that can be plugged in
- Air conditioners and heat pumps
- A refrigerator that is set to AC mode
- Electric water heater
When it comes to RV electricity systems, how do they distinguish between them?
Although RVs today are equipped with fairly sophisticated electrical systems, even older RVs are equipped with power stations.
The power station
It is the power station that controls RV electricity. There are two types of safety features. The DC system has fuses, while the AC system has breakers. The DC system has fuses, while the AC system has breakers. Power converters on the power station convert AC electricity from the RV park pedestal into DC electricity so your battery can be charged and your DC appliances can be operated. The power from your battery may also be converted into AC power when the RV is not plugged in to the shore power. Newer RVs usually come with an inverter that turns DC power into AC power.
The basic AC and DC electrical issues that RVs face
Having a basic understanding of how your RV’s two types of electricity work and where they come together can assist in diagnosing basic RV electricity problems. To figure out what is causing something to not work, you need to go through the following checklist in order to identify the problem.
Determine whether the AC or the DC system is affected: If you can’t turn on your microwave or air conditioner, or your fridge has switched to gas, but all your lights work, your AC is probably the problem. Conversely, if you notice that your lights won’t turn on, your water pump isn’t working, or the vent fans aren’t working, DC power isn’t reaching them.
Discover the issue by working backwards: Examine the appliance that is having problems first. A burned-out bulb, for instance, should not lead you to suspect a problem with your DC system.
Be safe: There is a danger associated with RV electricity. DC systems can also be highly dangerous and at the very least, painful if they are mismanaged. Ensure that any metal tools you use are properly insulated before handling any bare wires. Be sure to disconnect your RV’s battery and unplug any AC power before you attempt to inspect your system further than flipping a breaker back on. As a general rule, it is best to leave electrical work to professionals if you are unsure.