As a rule, I’ve always been against inverters, because they are generally a great way to kill leisure batteries. The exception would be medical equipment that was only available in 230V form, such as a CPAP machine (although I understand these are also now available in 12V).
But I have a confession to make – I recently installed a 1500W pure sine wave inverter in KC. My reason for doing so doesn’t involve a direct medical need, either. My wife has very advanced arthritis in both knees and can no longer walk very far, so we bought a small mobility scooter.
However, we only had a mains-powered charger for it and much of our camping is done off-grid at motorsport venues, making it difficult to recharge the battery (it’s a small scooter, so doesn’t have a huge range). The inverter will allow us to recharge it more easily.
Another convenient use we have found for the inverter is powering the built-in microwave.
We both enjoy a nightcap of mulled wine, but we each prefer a different brand. We could warm our drinks in a pan on the stove, but that means warming one cupful at a time, which is frankly a pain. In the microwave, it takes just a couple of minutes to heat both cups at the same time. Although the current draw on the batteries is high (around 115A on start-up), this is only for a very brief period.
We have a 100W solar panel factory-fitted on the roof, which so far seems to cope with recharging the batteries the next day.
I’m not overly keen on wiring inverters to feed all of the sockets in a motorhome, because that means a change-over device of some sort is required to switch between EHU and inverter.
Besides, I just don’t see the need to have every socket powered and available for use. I prefer to have separate sockets that are solely powered from the inverter.
One feature that was tempting was the ability to connect a remote switch panel to the inverter, which could be mounted somewhere convenient. The only downside to this was the LED on the remote panel, which remains permanently lit, whether or not the inverter is switched on.
It only draws a tiny current of 0.01A when the inverter is off, but if the motorhome is in storage for a few weeks, with poor or no sunlight, that could well drain the leisure batteries and might even do them some damage.
- Looking for more ideas for what to get for your ‘van? Then take a look at our quirky motorhome accessories round up.
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